Archive for October, 2010

NLCS Gameday: Phillies vs. Giants, Game 5

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, October 21, 2010 05:21 PM Comments: 630

Philadelphia Phillies (1-3) at San Francisco Giants (3-1)
San Francisco Giants

Roy Halladay (1-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (2-0, 1.69)

Time: 7:57, AT&T Park
Weather: 58, Partly Cloudy
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I did some math Tuesday afternoon, following the Phillies’ Game 3 loss to San Francisco, to nail down my plans for the rest of the series. For instance, I discovered that the Phillies were 3-0, going into last night’s game, in postseason play when I wrote the gameday post, so I volunteered. I also chose my spot to watch the game based on past performance: Jersey’s American Pub in Lindenwold–the Phillies were 6-1 all-time in postseason play when I watched the game there, the best record of any site at which I’d seen 4 or more playoff games (the Flyers, incidentally, were something like 8-2 during last year’s playoffs when I was there, too. The place just radiates good karma). Ordinarily, I’d have picked a shirt and hat based on track record, but I couldn’t pin any juju, good or bad, on a particular article of clothing.

Of course, I’m well aware that there is absolutely nothing I can do to influence the Phillies’ performance one way or another. But I needed to feel involved, with so much on the line, superstition was all I had left. I am, after all, the guy who made his grandmother sit in the exact same spot on the sofa for the entirety of Game 1 of the 2001 NBA finals. I’m the guy who  And despite going to my lucky bar, writing my lucky post, the wheels came off. And that’s how we all started taking comfort in the 2003 Marlins, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, and the 2010 Flyers. Down 3-1, there’s nothing left we can do for the Phillies–it’s all in Doc’s hands now. And all we can do is hope.

By this point, we know all about the Giants–who’s good, who’s bad, who’s not, who’s not. With Tim Lincecum on the mound, and Brian Wilson, most likely, good for at least an inning at the end of the game, the Phillies’ best chance at extending the series is to get to the soft underbelly of the Giants’ pitching staff–Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla, and Jeremy Affeldt, the middle relief. Otherwise, it’s a matter of Halladay being sharper and luckier than Lincecum. If we’ve learned anything from the first few games of this series, it’s that the difference between the Giants’ and Phillies’ starters on any given night is a matter of luck. With righty Lincecum on the mound today, we’ll see the Phillies’ base lineup: Raul Ibanez is back on the field, and Chase Utley and Placido Polanco have been returned to their original spots.

Game 5 Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Halladay P

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Sierra Nevada Porter

In memory of better times, I give you the Gameday beer from Game 4 of last year’s NLCS: Sierra Nevada Porter. For those of you who don’t remember immediately, that was the game that ended in Jimmy Rollins’ walk-off hit against Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton. Pat Gallen described it last year as having “a smoky flavor with  hints of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. It is remarkably smooth and an overall great tasting genuine porter.” Here’s hoping this potent porter portends more good NLCS memories.

- Michael Baumann


Learn From a 23-Year Old? The Phillies Can

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 21, 2010 12:02 PM Comments: 34

It was hard not to notice the kid with the mask on. He’s outstanding behind the plate, calling a very good game for another youngster standing just about 60 feet from him. Next to it, he’d been struggling before Game 4, but broke out of that shell in a big way.

Buster Posey is youthful and poised – he looks about 18 – yet seems to have it all figured out already. With just 108 regular season games under his belt, and now eight more in the postseason, Posey hasn’t even reach a full year. That’s not stopping him from looking the part of all-star backstop.

Through those eight games, Posey is hitting .344 with an OPS of .838. In each of his first six games, he found a way to reach base – the first five with a hit, the sixth Posey went 0-for-3 with a walk. But in that eighth game, the one where the Giants took a 3-1 advantage, nearly choking out any hope the Phillies had of advancing to a third consecutive World Series, Posey had his coming out party.

The 23-year old went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI in the 6-5 walk-off win. Numbers are nice, but it was something else that caught my eye that even the Phillies can learn from.

After the Game 3 loss, Chase Utley and others were examining footage of themselves in the clubhouse following the 3-0 loss; one in which they were completely shut down by Matt Cain. Maybe now they should be looking at tape of Posey’s ninth inning at-bat against Roy Oswalt, a former all-star and NLCS MVP.

In the at-bat, Oswalt challenged Posey immediately with a 94 mph fastball down the middle. He missed, then fouled off three straight pitches all of similar velocity. A rookie move would be to continue to look fastball, but we’ve established that Posey doesn’t think like one. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Posey looked at a changeup that just missed the outside corner, setting up a 1-2 count, still in Oswalt’s favor.

Oswalt then threw a decent slider that caught the outer edge of the plate, which Posey deposited into right field. Only a great sliding stop by Jayson Werth kept it from being the winning RBI hit, but what was so impressive was the way Posey handled himself at the dish.

Go back one inning. The Phillies had Jayson Werth on second base following his RBI double scoring Ryan Howard. Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco, and Carlos Ruiz each came up to bat and each failed. Each tried their best to pull the ball into the corner, which was the mistake.

We can over-analyze all day what Charlie Manuel should have had Rollins do in that first at-bat following Werth’s double. The correct move may have been a bunt to push Werth 90 feet, but Manuel has too much confidence in the bat of Rollins. Either way, J-Roll had a chance to make his mark and did not. He was given two straight fastballs on the outer edge. It ended in a pop up.

With one out, Ben Francisco, a fastball-fiend, stepped to the plate against the righty Sergio Romo. Ben Fran tried to pull the ball as he normally does and was undone by three straight sliders from Romo, quickly sitting down. Carlos Ruiz lasted just three pitches as well, two swings and misses and one called strike in between.

Both guys pulled off each slider with more force than the one before.

Buster Posey simply took what was given to him and sent the final pitch he saw from Oswalt into right field. An opposite field hit, a novel concept. It’s a fundamental trait often overlooked, and last night, was so by the Phillies. Posey’s base knock set up a game-winning sac fly by Juan Uribe.

Three straight fundamental breakdowns by Rollins, Francisco, and Ruiz left the Phillies wanting more and staring at a deficit they’ve rarely seen over the past few seasons. Were they the only mistakes of the night? Absolutely not. However, Posey’s poise at the dish made these errors in hitting stand out even more.

That was Mr. Posey’s lesson for the day. Will the Phillies pass the test tonight?


The Greatest Story Ever Told

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, October 21, 2010 05:30 AM Comments: 84

For Postgame analysis of NLCS Game 4, go here.

Calling Game 4 of this NLCS an emotional roller coaster would do it a disservice. It got me out of my seat multiple times for a called strike one. I first-guessed, then second-guessed, then third-guessed any number of decisions by Charlie Manuel. I screamed in agony, I screamed in fear, and I moaned with the resignation of defeat, multiple times–not just in the context of this game, but in the context of this season at large. I invested more of my soul into this game than any other single event that I can remember.

I know in my mind that it’s certainly possible–though not likely–that the Phillies can rip off three wins in a row to take back this NLCS. It might happen–certainly, history indicates that 3-to-1 comebacks are in the realm of possibility. But I find myself with a peculiar mix of feelings, having just digested, quite possibly, the most heart-wrenching loss I’ve suffered as a Phillies fan. Whatever Roy Halladay and (if necessary) Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels do for the next three games, I’ll look back on this season fondly. I think we can all agree that, with 97 wins and (at least) a trip to the NLCS, we’ve had more highs than lows in 2010. But when I stare elimination in the face, it doesn’t bother me that my team won’t win another World Series. Ok, it does, let’s not kid ourselves, but that’s not the part of tonight’s game that will keep me up. It’s that the phenomenal ride that we’ve all gone on together this year could be taken away at any moment.

When I was a senior in college, I watched all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica in 20 days. When it was over, I cried. I was inconsolable in the theater when I went to see Toy Story 3–I’ve never sobbed so much in my life. In both cases, it wasn’t so much because what I was watching, in and of itself, was sad. It was because these characters, whom I had gotten to know so well, were going away. I had immersed myself in the narrative of both series, and once they were over, I felt a profound sense of emptiness. So, too, with these 2010 Phillies.

I take a lot of flack around here for boiling the game down to numbers, and for that I won’t apologize, because I think that throwing around WAR, WPA, OPS+, and the like, are the best way to analyze what each player gives this team. I write about these things because I’m here as an analyst, and it’s my job to give you, the readers, facts and arguments, whether you agree with them or not. But too often I’ve stifled my voice as a fan, which, for better or worse, I am. I live and die with the Phillies, just like you all do.

So when Juan Uribe hit his sacrifice fly to end Game 4, I couldn’t make sense of it from an analytical point of view. All I could think about was how this narrative of the 2010 Phillies, in which I’ve invested hundreds of hours of work, which has brought me unspeakable joy, immeasurable sorrow, white-knuckle moments and days of bliss, could come to an abrupt end in a city known for being the home of Full House and Rice-a-Roni. Between Doc’s two no-hitters, Chooch’s tremendous season, The Ballad of Wilson Valdez, the redemption of Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge, and God only knows how many other subplots, 2010 has been the most drama-filled of any Phillies season I can remember. And, like a favored TV show or movie franchise, I’ve invested too much in its characters and its nuances to let it end without shedding a few tears.

So if, in the unfortunate event that this wonderful, mysterious, mind-bending ride comes to a halt in the NLCS, look out for a man, sitting alone, weeping openly at the end of the bar. If there’s any kindness in your heart, you’ll walk over, put a comforting hand on his shoulder, and tell him that, even though the story’s over, one day everything will be all right.


Questionable Decisions Have Phils Facing Elimination

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, October 21, 2010 12:33 AM Comments: 37

Devastating. Excruciating. Mind-blowing. Baffling.

Those are just some of the words that come to mind after the Giants put a stranglehold on the 2010 National League Championship.

With the swing of the bat, Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly put the Phillies back against the wall, giving San Francisco a 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Let the second guessing of Charlie Manuel begin. Joe Blanton was pulled from Wednesday’s night game after going 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and throwing just 63 pitches. While Blanton didn’t have his best stuff, he did what he normally does: kept the Phillies in the game. However, Manuel’s decision to pull the rotund righty opened Pandora’s Box.

If the leash was so short on Blanton, then why not just pitch Roy Halladay on short rest? A decision that became even more perplexing when it was Roy Oswalt who came out of the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the ninth. While many will answer that it won’t affect his potential Game Six start, what would have happened if Oswalt would have gotten out of the inning? How many innings could he have gone? I guess we’ll never know.

The Halladay/Oswalt/Blanton decision wasn’t the only head-scratcher. Some had big influences on the game, others not so much…but some food for thought:

-Why was it Domonic Brown who was called on to pinch hit in the fifth inning? Brown faced one pitch and ended the inning on a soft ground ball. With a lack of speed on the bench, Brown was really put on this lineup for pinch running opportunities.  Brown faced one pitch and ended the inning on a soft ground ball. Twice now, he was used as the first bat off the bench.

-When Chad Durbin obviously didn’t have it tonight, why was he not pulled when facing Sandoval with men on 2nd and 3rd and no outs? Sandoval couldn’t hit lefties all season and Antonio Bastardo was warming. First base was even open…a two-RBI double later and the Phillies found themselves down 5-4.

-Why was Bastardo left in the game to face Buster Posey who killed the Phillies all game long when Ryan Madson came in one batter later? Wouldn’t you rather have one of the most dominating RH relievers in baseball face the rookie? Didn’t come back to burn you, but still makes you think.

-After Jayson Werth doubled home Ryan Howard, the Phillies once again failed to move a runner from second base with no outs. Bunting isn’t exactly my favorite move in baseball, but the way the Phillies lineup has been going it’s tough to argue with the fact that it might have given the Phils their best chance to retake the lead. Once again, probably wouldn’t have changed anything as Romo blew away Francisco and Ruiz on back-to-back at bats to end the inning.

For the past few years, fans have had a “Charlie Can Do No Wrong” mantra. The questionable decisions aren’t new, but they haven’t stuck out in the past like they are now. In a city where the fans second-guess every move the chubby red-headed coach across the street makes on Sundays, it makes you wonder just how long until the fan base really starts to question the moves of Manuel.

After all that, the Phillies now lean on their ace, Halladay to bring the series back to Philadelphia. Opposing Doc is Tim Lincecum. Nobody said this series was going to be easy, but coming back from 3-1 has been done before. Let’s hope it happens again.


NLCS Gameday: Phillies vs. Giants, Game 4

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, October 20, 2010 05:19 PM Comments: 757

Philadelphia Phillies (1-2) at San Francisco Giants (2-1)
San Francisco Giants

Joe Blanton (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 3.00)

Time: 7:57, AT&T Park
Weather: Sunny, 62
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As demoralizing as yesterday afternoon’s loss was, a 2-1 deficit is hardly the end of the world. After all, this was exactly the position in which the Phillies found themselves through three games in the 1993 NLCS, against a far superior Braves team–and we all know how that ended. Tonight, the Phils take another crack at San Francisco, and the national audience gets its first chance to see Joe Blanton.

Blanton, for his part, recovered in a big way after a rocky start to the season. In the Big Easy’s last 20 starts, he’s 8-1 with a 3.81 ERA. For his postseason career, Blanton’s 2-0 with a 3.89 ERA in eight appearances. What’s more, he’s been a Cody Ross killer (who’d'a thought that would become important?). According to ESPN’s Stats & Info blog, Ross is 3-for-11 in his career against the former Kentucky Wildcat, but has struck out in each of his last four plate appearances.

Opposing Blanton will be Madison Bumgarner, a 21-year-old lefty out of Hickory, N.C. Bumgarner, a former top-10 pick, had the dubious distinction of being about the fifth-most-hyped rookie to make his debut in the NL at age 20 this season. If you’ve got a name like Madison Bumgarner, you either get stuffed in a locker every day of your life or you grow up to be a total badass. That Bumgarner started and won a postseason clincher on the road against Derek Lowe, 10 weeks after turning 21, suggests the latter. Still, he’s only pitched 121 major league innings, so he’s far from a known quantity.

In other interesting news, Raul Ibanez has been relieved of his place in the starting lineup. After leading the Phillies in most offensive categories in the NLDS, Ibanez has gone 0-for-11 against San Francisco. With Madison Bumgarner, a lefty who relies on power breaking stuff, on the hill, Uncle Cholly has seen fit to remove his aging left fielder and replace him with righthanded-hitting Ben Francisco. The former Cleveland Indian had a .284/.344/.557 slash line against lefties this season and was hit in the head in his only plate appearance thus far this postseason.

Game 2 Lineup: Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Rollins SS, Francisco LF, Ruiz C, Blanton P

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

Seems to me like this postseason’s narrative has been the performance of various lefthanded pitchers. All due respect to Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, we’ve been hearing a lot about the continued domiance of Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and the emergence of Jonathan Sanchez, C.J. Wilson (today’s shellacking notwithstanding), and Bumgarner (God willing, ditto). With that in mind, today’s offering comes form Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado. This is a solid, medium-bodied American ale that took home bronze in its category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival. You won’t stop going to bars that won’t stock it, but if you try it, I dare you not to like it.

- PG


An Ugly NLCS by the Numbers

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 20, 2010 09:46 AM Comments: 136

You’re looking for a shakeup, but Charlie Manuel doesn’t work that way. After watching the Phillies lineup plunge back into the depths of their oft-seen slumps this year, there needs to be a mix-up, right? Don’t bet on it.

Going into Game 4 tonight, you’ll be lucky to see a switch like Ben Francisco in for the struggling Raul Ibanez. Manuel already spoke his peace following last night’s game saying it’s too late for any moved to be made. You go with what got you here, Charlie says. That faith in his players has served him, and them, quite well for several seasons now. I expect to see that same lineup trot out there again this evening.

However, it’s not just Ibanez having a down postseason. As a unit, 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position is on the lot of them. All players in the lineup are guilty of flopping at an inopportune time. Take a look:

Shane Victorino: 2-for-11 in the series with one extra base hit and one steal. Not exactly what you want to see from your leadoff hitter.

Chase Utley: A error that wasn’t in Game 3, plus a few really bad at-bats that resulted in weakly grounded balls. Utley 1-for-10, although he does have three walks and two steals. HIs presence has been felt on the basepaths, but that’s about it.

Placido Polanco: 2-for-11 with no walks. The patience that made him so valuable is missing.

Ryan Howard: He’s 4-for-11 with two doubles. The problem is, he hasn’t knocked in a run, meaning there is little power. This from a guy who six home runs over the past two postseasons. Unacceptable in that regard, although he’s really the only Phillies player somewhat-consistently getting on base.

Jayson Werth: Although he does have five strikeouts and has looked lost at times at the plate (including throwing his bat like he had walked on a ball right down the middle) his three walks almost make up for that. Werth’s 2-for-9 at the dish is sad, but who’s numbers aren’t right now?

Jimmy Rollins: He had the hardest hit ball in Game 3, smashing one off the wall in the ninth off Brian Wilson. But he still doesn’t look right. All of J-Roll’s damage was done in Game 2 when he knocked in four runs. Do you move him to the leadoff spot if he’s the only guy who has done anything with runners in scoring position this series? Tough call.

Raul Ibanez: He’s mired in an 0-for-14 slump, including 0-for-11 in this series. There have been calls made to put Ben Francisco in the lineup as a shot of life, but that’s a pipe dream. Charlie will stick by his guy, even though his bat looks considerably slower. Ibanez has just one walk and five strikeouts. Would a move to eighth spark him?

Carlos Ruiz: Hard to find much to bitch about with Chooch. He’s been handling the pitching staff the way he normally does, which gives him an edge over most of the guys. He and Werth are the only two with home runs in this series, but he also has been aboard just twice. Top to bottom it’s ugly.

You should be used to this, right? It’s what we’ve seen all year. Perhaps they just peaked too early – at the end of the regular season as they were locking up the National League East? That momentum hasn’t really carried into the playoffs offensively, even though they found a way to score 13 runs against Cincinnati. That final tally was more a mirage than anything; it was clearly the Reds defense that aided them in scoring all of those runs.

So, the options are basically limited. At some point, one or two of these guys has to pick up the slack. But in case they don’t, you’re already prepared for it.


Cain Kills Phils Hopes of 2-1 Lead

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 19, 2010 08:20 PM Comments: 72

When you don’t hit, you can’t win. The Phillies found that out the hard way today in San Francisco as Matt Cain shut them down completely over seven innings in the Giants 3-0 win. Cole Hamels wasn’t even all that bad, even though he was tagged with the loss.

As for Cain, he rendered the Phillies offense useless, allowing just two hits and three walks with five K’s over 119 pitches. In actuality, he wasn’t as sharp as the numbers indicate, as he threw only 69 strikes to 50 balls. It was the Phillies lineup that made him look as such. There were several zeroes throughout the order; Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz were responsible for the three hits, while Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, and Ross Gload reach via walk. But that was the extent of the offense.

Once again it was their inability to pull through with runners in scoring position that did them in. Seven men were left on base, with the team finishing 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Phillies ran their RISP average down to .105 in the three games, or 2-for-19. That just won’t do.

Cole Hamels was the hard luck loser. He really only struggled in one inning and that unfortunately did him in. Through six innings, he allowed five hits and three runs on some tough base hits by the Giants.

In the fourth, Edgar Renteria led off the inning with a single, the first hit to that point given up by Hamels. Freddy Sanchez then pushed Renteria along with a sac bunt, which would have been a close play at second base had Howard looked that direction. He did not, and Renteria moved to scoring position. A Buster Posey strikeout was followed by a Pat Burrell walk. Cody Ross then struck again.

Ross singled from his shoes to left field, bringing home Renteria, and adding to his 2010 postseason lure. It wasn’t a bad pitch from Hamels to Ross – a low, 4-seam fastball above the middle part of the plate – but was something too close to his wheelhouse. He converted once again, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.

Aubrey Huff then singled off the glove of a diving Chase Utley into right field, which scored Burrell who had moved to third on Ross’s hit.

Then in the fifth, Aaron Rowand doubled on the first pitch from Utley into the left field corner. He would later score on a Freddy Sanchez single that took a wicked hop and ate up Utley at second. It was originally called an error but changed to a base hit later. Utley appeared to have a play on the spinning ball but it skipped to his right, ricocheting off his arm and into shallow center field. Just that sort of day.

That would conclude the scoring for San Fran, but it would also be more than enough for the Giants to take a 2-1 lead with two games remaining at AT&T Park.

Charlie Manuel has stated that Joe Blanton will start in Game 4 against Madison Bumgarner. The skipper is pinning his hopes on a guy who hasn’t pitched a full game since September 29.

Although this is uncharted territory for this team, we all know they can’t be counted out of any series. And while the lineup is sinking like a brick, they’ll get a chance to turn their fortunes around against the Giants fourth starter.


NLCS Gameday: Phillies vs. Giants, Game 3

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 19, 2010 02:29 PM Comments: 206

Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) at San Francisco Giants (1-1)
San Francisco Giants

Cole Hamels (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Matt Cain (0-0, 0.00)

Time: 4:19, AT&T Park
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 67
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Charlie Manuel called this a “swing game” yesterday. Does the momentum shift from neutral to red after today? It’ll be up to Cole Hamels to do so. You know how good he’s been this season and into the playoffs, but this road challenge will be slightly different than Cincinnati. Bigger stage, bigger consequences should he come up with a sub-par outing. But if he doesn’t – if Cole Hamels is rock solid like he has been – the Phillies will be looking mighty fine heading into Game 3.

The good news is, the Phillies are 6-2 in Hamels’ eight starts against the Giants in his career. Here is what Hamels said yesterday:

“Postseason is where it’s at. It’s the ultimate time to really show what kind of player you are, what kind of pitcher you are,” Hamels said. “These are the types of games and types of moments when you set foot in spring training it’s the ultimate goal for the whole team to go out and enjoy.”

Our Cole Hamels said this, a complete turn around from a year ago when he just wanted it all to end after a terrible 2009. He’s poised and ready to go.

Matt Cain has had terrible results against the Phillies during his career, posting an 0-3 record with an ERA above six. Some people will say you can’t point to previous numbers, that this is a different “season.” I say bull. Cain will see a Phillies squad that has stayed relatively the same over the past four seasons.

Step up, Raul. It’s your turn to flip the switch and come up with a big time hit. Raul’s bat has slowed considerably as the season has progressed, but he’ll have to find a little pocket of energy to get through this slump. Ibanez is 0 for his last 11 and hasn’t had a hit since Game 2 of the Reds series on October 8. It’s been a long time coming. Step up, Raul.

Game 2 Lineup: Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Hamels P

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Anchor Steam Old Foghorn Ale

Old Foghorn is based on traditional English barley wines. Because of the high original gravity, the yeast is unable to ferment all of the sugars. As a result, barley wine is high in alcohol, and is slightly sweet, due to the residual sugars. Old Foghorn also has a pleasant hop bitterness, due to the large quantity of hops used during brewing. I always enjoy that slight, slight bitterness with ales like that. And although I’m not a huge barleywine fan, Anchor Steam rarely produces a beer that sucks. Enjoy this San Franciscan treat while the Phils pummel the boys of the city

- PG


Keys for the Phillies in Game 3

Posted by Paul Boye, Tue, October 19, 2010 10:30 AM Comments: 8

As a second encore to the efforts of Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt in Philadelphia, Cole Hamels will take the ball Tuesday in San Francisco to kick off a pivotal NLCS Game 3. Having salvaged a home split, The Phils will now try to take two of three – or better – in San Francisco to regain control of the Championship Series.

Let’s take a closer look at some minutiae that could help the Phillies grab their first lead of the series. Pretty graphs! Cool analysis! Candy! I promise at least two of these things after the jump.

Continue reading Keys for the Phillies in Game 3


MLB Postseason is a Postcard From Cliff Lee

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 18, 2010 11:37 PM Comments: 50

San Francisco Giants To Whom It May Concern,

Hey guys, how’s Philly? Miss me?

I won’t lie, I miss you guys. I miss Philadelphia with all my heart. I miss that brotherly love. You made me feel like part of the city even though I’d only been there for like, two months. You’re all good people, passionate people. I like that you like baseball. But Seattle is my new home. I mean Texas. Well, I’m renting a condo in Dallas actually, sorry. It’s been really great here, too.

But not like Philly. I’ll always remember the times that we had. But what’s funny is, we might actually spend some more time together. The World Series begins soon and after last night’s big-time victory I had over the Yanks (8 innings, 13 strikeouts by the way. Heh, I never struck out that many in a game with the Phillies.) I’m just two wins from getting back there. So I might see all of my old friends again. I’m excited, are you?

Now I know Roy Oswalt has done a fantastic job. He’s a really good pitcher, really good. But I think it’s kind of cool that you all miss me a little bit still. Imagine this. Imagine if I had stayed. It would have been me and Roy and Cole. That could have been cool. Hell, if you think about it, it could have been me, Roy, Roy, and Cole if they really wanted.

Oh well, I’m with Texas now and enjoying my stay here. I don’t know where the wins will take me a year from now. That was a typo, I meant winds, get it (I make jokes sometimes).

I wanted to ask you guys, do you think there is any way I might be able to come back next year? Let’s try and devise a plan where the Phillies open up some payroll and make it me, Roy, Roy, and Cole. I think I would have a really good time pitching with three other guys like that.

It might not happen, but it’s worth a shot to ask. Anyway, if I don’t see you guys in a few weeks I’ll send another postcard from San Francisco. But I hope to meet up with you all again in the near future. You’ve all been big supporters.

Yours truly,

Cliff Lee

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