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Archive for October, 2010

Oswalt, Rollins Team Up to Tie Series, 1-1

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 18, 2010 12:53 AM Comments: 149

—Citizens Bank Park

If you said you weren’t at least slightly nervous before the Phillies and Giants took the field for Game 2 of the NLCS, you’re a liar. You’re a liar because the Phillies had seldom seen themselves trailing in a series. You’re a liar because you weren’t sure which team would show up. You’re a liar because you, as a fan, are unfamiliar with watching this team lose on their home turf.

Even though Cody Ross abruptly ended a no-hit bid once again, Roy Oswalt, along with Jimmy Rollins, was able to soothe that lingering anxiety by pitching eight fantastic innings in the Phillies 6-1 win. Oswalt was a completely different pitcher than in Game 2 of the NLDS against Cincinnati and it showed with his fastball. Against the Reds, it lacked life and he was smacked around. Tonight, it had pop and it helped him to hold the Giants without a hit into the fifth inning.

Rollins had been MIA for a while now, beginning the series just 1-for-15 before finally making his presence felt. “Rollins” and “presence felt” haven’t joined forces in quite sometime, but in the seventh, they were a match made in heaven.

That huge seventh was put in motion because of the bat of Jimmy Rollins. He didn’t take the swing, however, Roy Oswalt used Rollins’ bat to single to left-center field to begin the inning. Oswalt said he had tried it in BP two days ago and asked J-Roll for help. It worked.

“He (Oswalt) used my bat tonight, and that gave me a lot of confidence tonight actually…See the bat still had hits in it,” Rollins said. “It’s just the person using it.”

Following Oswalt’s leadoff single, Shane Victorino sacrificed him to second base, as Manuel went to the small ball, something seldom seen. Chase Utley was intentionally walked before Placido Polanco singled to center field, setting up a play at the plate that should never have been.

Running on contact from second, Oswalt turned third and blew through Sam Perlozzo’s stop sign, but slide just under the tag of Buster Posey to give the Phils an extra run. “I read it pretty well off the bat,” said the ever-so-speedy starting pitcher. “But as soon as he hit it, I knew it was over the infield. When I got halfway, I saw the stop sign, I said ‘it’s too late now, no turning back.’”

The insurance run gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead, which was added to shortly thereafter. Utley and Polacno would advance on a double-steal and Jayson Werth would reach on an intentional walk. With the bases clogged with Phillies, Jimmy Rollins did his best impression of the 2009 NLCS against the Dodgers by depositing a ball off the wall in right-center field to clear ‘em. It was shades of the Jon Broxton game all over again, and with one swing of the stick, J-Roll mave have gotten his groove back.

The bases-clearing double made it 6-1 and put the Giants away for good.

In the eighth inning, Oswalt believed he had been pulled by Charlie Manuel with two on and two out, but the skipper stuck with the “Other Roy.” “Well, I had my back turned. I saw Jimmy walking toward me. I thought Charlie was coming, so I thought he had already motioned for the bullpen, but I didn’t know for sure.”

Good thing he didn’t, because Oswalt was able to send Aubrey Huff to the dugout after grounding out to Chase Utley to end the threat. Oswalt’s poise throughout the night allowed Manuel to stay with the ace. “He asked me what I felt like,” said Oswalt. “I knew I had a few left. I honestly felt like I could get through one more.”

The only blemish for Oswalt was another monster home run by Ross, his third jack in two days. That home run to left field ended Oswalt’s attempt at a no-hitter with one out in the fifth, but it did little to shake his confidence, or Manuel’s.

Offensively, the team did a good job of staying patient with Jonathan Sanchez, pushing his pitch count to 35 after the first inning. Sanchez struggled with the “effectively wild” mantra all night, walking three while striking out seven. He was able to minimize the damage, getting through six innings with five hits and three runs – two of which were earned. The bullpen wasn’t as lucky.

No need to be nervous anymore. The Phillies and Giants head to San Francisco tied at one apiece, which certainly beats a 0-2 hole to climb out of.

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NLCS Gameday: Giants at Phillies, Game 2

Posted by Michael Baumann, Sun, October 17, 2010 05:54 PM Comments: 276

San Francisco Giants (1-0) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (0-1)
San Francisco Giants

Jonathan Sanchez (0-0, 1.23 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (0-0, 5.40 ERA)

Time: 8:19, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 61
TV: FOX
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Out of all the pitchers on the Phillies’ NLCS roster, Roy Oswalt has thrown the second-most postseason innings, behind only Cole Hamels. With that said, it’s been a while since The Speedwagon’s postseason performance has been anything more than mediocre–about five years, to be exact. His last postseason quality start was in Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS, when he allowed only four baserunners in seven innings en route to a 5-1 Astros win. Is it worth panicking over two bad starts five years apart? Probably not, but on the heels of last night’s 4-3 loss, tonight’s Game 2 takes on added importance.

There were circumstances under which a Game 1 loss would have been palatable. For instance, if Tim Lincecum had continued his NLDS form and outdueled Roy Halladay 1-0 or 2-1. But Lincecum, while not being particularly sharp, managed to hold the Phillies to three runs, and despite numerous opportunities against both Lincecum and the Giants bullpen, the Phillies couldn’t scratch out a tying run. Halladay, for his part, found the strike zone pulled out from under him in a key moment and gave up two cheap home runs to Cody Ross, of all people. It’s not so much that the Phillies lost last night–it’s that they lost a game that was eminently winnable at all stages.

In order to reverse the plot, Oswalt will have to hold his own against 27-year-old lefty Jonathan Sanchez. The Phillies, as I’m sure you’ve heard, have a tough time as a team hitting power lefties in general, and Sanchez in particular. Sanchez is coming off a no-decision in his playoff debut, when he held the Braves to one earned run, two hits, and a walk against 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. For his career, he’s 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in nine appearances, five of them starts, against the Phillies. In order to keep Sanchez from blowing through both of his left-handed power bats in order, Charlie Manuel has flipped Chase Utley and Placido Polanco in the batting order. Utley, for his career, has exactly the same OPS against left-handed pitching and right-handed pitching, while Jimmy Rollins (1-for-15 in the postseason) and Raul Ibanez (90 points lower OPS against LHP than RHP for his career) remain unchanged.

It’s not panic time yet. The Giants, remember, between Brooks Conrad’s Flying Circus in the NLDS and the Phillies’ 14 runners left on last night, have gotten a ton of breaks to win five one-run games in a row. The Phillies, for their part, have managed only to score only 11 earned runs in four playoff games. All that could change in a heartbeat. But in the event that doesn’t happen, here’s a stat for you. Since the advent of the 7-game LCS in 1985, only twice has a team come back from 2-0 down to win: the 2004 Red Sox and the 1985 Cardinals. No team has ever lost the first two games of a best-of-7 LCS at home and gone on to overturn the deficit.

There was a PSA that ran on the old UPN network in the late 1990s that said “Education is Paramount.” That’s not entirely accurate. Winning this game is paramount.

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

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Yuengling Black and Tan

We might need some comfort tonight, so tonight we get a comfort beer: Yuengling Black and Tan. Not only does it stick to your ribs and taste wonderful, but it’s a hometown beer as well. As the weather gets colder, our beers get darker and thicker, and while The Daily Beast rates this one the 22nd-most-fattening beer offered by major American breweries, I’d drink a bottle right now, then think about buying new pants later.

Also, the Giants’ home uniforms are black and tan. So we’ve got that going for us.-by Michael

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Ross Clobbers Halladay, Leads Giants to 1-0 Lead

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, October 17, 2010 12:01 AM Comments: 92

It had been a long, long time since anyone had seen Roy Halladay give up a hit. Like 20 days long. On this night, he gave up eight of them, including two home runs to eighth-place batter Cody Ross in the Phillies 4-3 loss to the Giants in Game 1.

Halladay looked nowhere near his no-hit form of October 6, and perhaps this time, the long layoff coupled with the brisk conditions may have led to his demise. Those, however, are excuses, which Roy Halladay will not make and did not make following his somewhat-lackluster showing. His line: seven innings, eight hits, four earned runs, no walks, and seven strikeouts.

“Well, I made some bad pitches. First pitch to Ross I don’t think was that bad, but the second one I left the ball over the plate,” said Halladay. At least he stuck around for the accountability. Ryan Howard bolted early, missing the media following his 1-for-4, three strikeout-night.

Ross absolutely owns the Phillies in his career. His two bombs to left field were the second and third of this postseason, with the first one a no-hitter-killer in the second inning. To that point, Halladay had a personal 13. 1/3 inning hitless streak -including the regular season finale against the Nationals – snapped on Ross’s first homer. His second home run in the fifth inning gave the Giants a 2-1 lead, which they would add to one frame later. His regular season numbers against the Phillies are staggering during his career, which includes 13 of his 86 career home runs. He only added to his resume with this showing.

In the sixth, Halladay unraveled a bit as he allowed three two-out hits in succession, putting two more on the board for San Francisco. Buster Posey led off with a single, followed by a Pat Burrell double to left field. Raul Ibanez appeared to have a beat on it as he jumped against the wall, but dropped it. Posey scored, make it 3-1 Giants. Burrell was replaced by pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz who touched home on a Juan Uribe first-pitch single to center field.

After Ross’s first jack, Carlos Ruiz got the crowd back into it almost instantly as he led off the bottom of the second with a home run to right. That home run extended Ruiz’s postseason on-base streak to 24 straight games and added to his silly totals during that stretch. In those 24 games, Ruiz is hitting .338 with six doubles, four homers, and 14 RBI to go with a .495 on-base percentage. Tonight, he needed a little help from his friends but didn’t quite get enough.

In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Jayson Werth would finally make his presence felt, going to the opposite field with a big two-run home run to cut the Giants lead to one. But they would get no more as Ruiz and Werth were the only Phillies to show up.

Giants starter Tim Lincecum left went seven innings, giving up six hits while walking three. His two blemishes were the home runs to Ruiz and Werth. “The Freak” wasn’t freakishly good or unhittable as he allowed several hard hit balls, but he seemed to lock it down when necessary.

Lincecum was aided by poor situational hitting from the Phillies. They finished the night 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, which on the surface may not seem like much, but against a pitcher like Lincecum, they are big time opportunities gone by the wayside.

Eighth and ninth inning rallies fell short for the Phillies as they stranded a runner on base in each frame. In the eighth, Jimmy Rollins failed yet again in a bit situation, whiffing at heat from Giants closer Brian Wilson. Rollins surely does not look to be the same guy that took this same situation a year ago and led the Phillies to a win.  You’ll recall in Game 4 of the NLCS, Rollins smoked a gapper off of Jonathan Broxton to send the Phillies to a 3-1 series lead. In this one, he swung right through Wilson’s fastball.

In the ninth, Ross Gload and Shane Victorino each struck out with Carlos Ruiz on first base to end what little threat they had going. As a unit, the Phillies left seven men on base, missing several opportunities to overcome the so-so performance from Halladay.

Tomorrow night, they’ll get right back at it with a very tough matchup. Jonathan Sanchez, the lefty feaster will go up against Roy Oswalt. It’s about as close to a must-win as possible.

Here are some photos from Game 1:

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NLCS Gameday: Giants at Phillies, Game 1

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, October 16, 2010 05:43 PM Comments: 149

San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Time: 7:57, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Cloudy/Windy, 50
TV: FOX

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With this obnoxiously long layoff in between the NLDS and NLCS, we’ve had wayyyy too much time to break this series down. Really, there isn’t much left to say. You know the players, you know the situation, you know that the Phillies are on the cusp of history. Now, it’s time to play the game.

Playing the game for the Phillies is none other than Roy Halladay. All week it’s been Halladay & Lincecum, Lincecum & Halladay, and rightfully so. With three Cy Young’s between them already, and likely a fourth on the way, it all comes down to which one can keep the other team off the scoreboard. Halladay hasn’t given up a hit in the postseason, as you know, and honestly, with the way the Giants offense is built, I wouldn’t expect too many in this game, either.

Tim Lincecum, some said, had the better game in the NLDS. Sure he gave up two hits to Halladay’s one, but a few believed it a little more dominating. You’d be an idiot to believe that, however, Lincecum was about as good as it gets in Game 1 of round one without being perfect. The Phillies have had varying success against “The Freak” in the past, so it’s hard to tell what we’ll get here. You can’t really look back before 2010, because this Phillies team is very much different than past seasons. However, in April, the Phillies rallied against he and Brian Wilson for a 7-6, extra innings victory that proves he can be beaten if patience is used.

Patience. Can the Phillies use a little? Like Axl Rose said, all we need is just a little bit of it and the Phillies will need to heed his advice. Lincecum wants them to chase balls down and out of the zone, working off his low-to-mid 90′s fastball. The question is, can they. I wouldn’t expect too much in the way of offense here on either side. But it’ll come down to who puts together that one inning of a few hits. They’ll be hard to come by.

A few things to think about:

  • The winner of Game 1 of the NLCS has advanced to the World Series 15 of the last 18 years. Only the 2006 Cardinals, 2005 Astros, and 1991 Braves were able to buck the trend.
  • In the playoffs thus far, the Giants and Phillies pitching staffs have combined for a 1.04 ERA. Game 2 starter Roy Oswalt gave up the most earned runs in the opening round with three over five innings.
  • With a series victory, the Phillies would become the first National League team ever to win six NLCS’s. Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati have each won five.
  • Over the last three postseasons, the Phillies are 7-0 in Game 1′s. Their last game one loss was against the Rockies in the 2007 NLDS.
  • Roy Halladay has one three straight and seven of his last eight at home, including the no-hitter against the Reds.
  • Tim Lincecum is 0-1 lifetime at CBP with a 3.66 ERA.
  • Carlos Ruiz is a .345 lifetime hitter in the NLCS and has reached base safely in each of his last 23 postseason games. Chooch is red hot in October.
  • Buster Posey led the NL in hits in round one with six. He, too, is on fire.

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

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Troegs Nugget Nectar

Poured a medium amber color with a thick white head that laces down the glass nicely. The aroma has an initial blast of citrus hops, grapefruit, pineapple, caramel malt, and floral sweetness. It was named one of the top beers in the world by Beer Advocate, whom I trust. It’s also a local beer (kinda) coming from Harrisburg, PA. It should be a nice beer to sip on for tonight’s game while you’re, hopefully, grilling steaks and asparagus on the grill. My mouth is watering for that. And a win. AND A WIN! -by Pat

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Phillies Nation Contributor Predictions, Part 2

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, October 16, 2010 10:05 AM Comments: 10

Here is a look back at our Phillies Nation contributors picks.

Pat Gallen:

Phillies over Reds in 4

Braves over Giants in 5

Rangers over Rays in 5

Twins over Yankees in 4

Phillies over Braves in 5

Twins over Rangers in 6

Twins over Phillies in 7

Nick “The Beerman” Staskin:

Phillies over Reds in 3

Braves over Giants in 5

Rangers over Rays in 5

Yankees over Twins in 4

Phillies over Braves in 5

Rangers over Yankees in 7

Phillies over Rangers in 5

Amanda Orr:

Phillies over Reds in 4

Giants over Braves in 5

Rangers over Rays in 4

Yankees over Twins in 5

Phillies over Giants in 6

Rangers over Twins in 7

Phillies over Rangers in 5

Paul Boye:

Phillies over Reds in 4

Giants over Braves in 3

Rays over Rangers in 3

Twins over Yankees in 5

Giants over Phillies in 7

Twins over Rays in 6

Giants over Twins in 6

Michael Baumann:

Phillies over Reds in 4

Braves over Giants in 5

Rays over Rangers in 3

Twins over Yankees in 5

Phillies over Braves in 5

Twins over Rays in 7

Phillies over Twins in 6

Kieran Carobine:

Phillies over Reds in 4

Giants over Braves in 5

Twins over Yankees in 5

Rays over Rangers in 4

Phillies over Giants in 6

Rays over Twins in 5

Phillies over Twins in 6

Now, some updated picks from the Phillies Nation crew:

Pat Gallen: Since I whiffed on the Braves and Twins I’m going – Phillies in 6/Rangers in 6

Michael Baumann: Phillies in 6/Yankees in 5

Nick Staskin: Phillies in 7/Rangers in 7

Kieran Carobine: Phillies in 6/Yankees in 6

Paul Boye: I called the Giants over the Phils in 7 before the playoffs started, and I’d call it differently now…but accountability is accountability. Giants in 7/Yankees in 6

Amanda Orr: I’m sticking with my original – Phillies in 6/Rangers in 7

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Videos from Phillies Media Day at the NLCS

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 15, 2010 07:00 PM Comments: 7

The Philadelphia Phillies as a team were out in the tent in Lot Q for their media day before the NLCS. I was able to get some great video of a few of the players. Take a look:

Mike Sweeney raves about the fans of Philadelphia and taking Dom Brown under his wing:

Dom Brown chats about how Jayson Werth has been a mentor to him and what a great guy Mike Sweeney is:

Chase Utley, not usually one for the media, talks about how important pitching has been and what it’s like to play D behind Roy Halladay:

Ryan Howard talks about his old teammate Pat Burrell, being on the other side.

[[CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PHILLIES NLCS ROSTER]]

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NLCS Roster Announced

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 15, 2010 05:06 PM Comments: 44

A few moves were made, the Phillies kept Domonic Brown from the NLDS roster, but dropped Greg Dobbs. Kyle Kendrick gets the call as the final bullpen arm for the National League Championship Series. Here is the full roster.

Rotation:

SP Roy Halladay

SP Roy Oswalt

SP Cole Hamels

SP Joe Blanton

Bullpen:

RHP Kyle Kendrick

RHP Chad Durbin

RHP Jose Contreras

RHP Ryan Madson

RHP Brad Lidge

LHP Antonio Bastardo

LHP J.C. Romero

Starters:

C Carlos Ruiz

1B Ryan Howard

2B Chase Utley

SS Jimmy Rollins

3B Placido Polanco

LF Raul Ibanez

CF Shane Victorino

RF Jayson Werth

Bench:

1B Mike Sweeney (R)

1B/OF Ross Gload (L)

OF Ben Francisco (R)

INF Wilson Valdez (R)

OF Domonic Brown (L)

C Brian Schneider (L)

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Interview with Scott Franzke

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 15, 2010 01:28 PM Comments: 3

Just in case you missed the show last night, I had the privilege of interviewing Scott Franzke, the Phillies play-by-play voice on the radio. We talked about the pitching matchups, the offenses, and Jayson Werth and his slumps.

We also talked about the possibility of him moving on to the Texas Rangers after the season, now that they have an opening. Josh Lewin’s contract with the Rangers was not renewed, so he’s out after the year. With Franzke hailing from Dallas, it’s a possibility. But Scott put the kibosh on that.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE!

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NLCS Preview: Pitching

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, October 15, 2010 09:13 AM Comments: 26

Over the past two days, PN has been breaking down the National League Championship Series.  Paul Boye and myself try and shed some light on what could be one of the best pitched NLCS in history.

PHILLIES PITCHING, Paul Boye:

The big three. H2O. The heralded trio of starting pitchers upon which the 2010 Phillies will hope to ride to their second World Series title in three years.

Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt are the headliners of this magical pitching tour – and deservedly so – that hopes to make only a brief stop in San Francisco, before packing up and heading to New York or Texas for a chance at another title.

Just like any good show, however, the performance of supporting actors can make or break the production, and while plenty can go right, missteps could be disastrous. This holds especially true when the opposing pitching staff is as good as the one the Giants will feature, but this segment is all about the red pinstripers and the arms they’ll place atop the pitching rubber for this mosh with the San Francisco Giants.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all become well-acquainted with Harry Leroy Halladay and his 250 innings of 2.44 ERA ball, just as I’m sure you’ve read about Roy Oswalt’s sparkling 1.74 ERA in 13 games with the Phils and Cole Hamels’s resurgent 2.68 ERA since the start of May. None of this should come as a shock: the Phillies have three very, very good starting pitchers atop their rotation.

Again, that’s not news. We’ve been spoiled by great pitching all season long, and for the Phillies to advance to their third consecutive World Series, they’ll need some more.

It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that, for as good as the top of the Philly rotation is, the Giants boast three comparable pitchers, with a fourth who’s no slouch. Tim Lincecum is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who’s coming off a start nearly as good as Doc’s no-hitter. Jonathan Sanchez, while not quite as well-rounded, gives the Phillies lineup fits, and Matt Cain may be one of the most underrated pitchers out there, with a 3.35 ERA over his last four seasons.

Every run prevented will be crucial, now more than ever, and that’s where the aforementioned supporting players will have to come through. Aside from Brad Lidge (0.73 ERA in 24.2 IP since August 1) and Ryan Madson (1.04 ERA, 44 K and 10 BB in 34.2 IP since July 31), the middle relief corps of Jose Contreras and Chad Durbin may be needed in a big spot, and specialists like J.C. Romero and Antonio Bastardo may be called upon to retire Aubrey Huff in key situations in the 6th, maybe in the 7th. If anywhere on their staff, this is where the Phillies can look weak.

I guess it stands to reason, though, that if the bullpen is active before the 7th, things are probably not totally going the Phillies’ way.

[CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE NLCS DEFENSIVE PREVIEW]

GIANTS PITCHING, Kieran Carobine:

The headlines say ‘Giants equipped to match up with Phillies’ trio’, ‘Score to be settled on mound’, and ‘NLCS set to begin with duel for ages’.

So now the media has Giants’ fans thinking; OK, we will see your H2O and raise you Lincecum, Sanchez and Cain.  Not so fast.  But to be fair, after the Phillies rotation of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt, the Giants front three could be the best rotation left in the playoffs.

Let’s break down the numbers.  For the regular season San Francisco’s starters led the league with a 3.54 ERA followed by, guess who, the Phillies (3.55).  As a whole, the Giants led the NL in strikeouts (1331), batting average against (.236), and saves (57).  They were second in the league, behind the Padres, as the hardest pitching staff to score on allowing only 583 runs.

For the NLCS, Giants manager Bruce Bochy went with a four man rotation adding 21 year old Madison Bumgarner into the mix.  With Charlie Manuel saying he will throw Joe Blanton in Game 4, I can see Bochy being comfortable countering with Bumgarner again.  The only way we could see Lincecum for that game would be if it’s a clinching game for Philly, IMO.

So who do the Giants have?  You may have heard of one or two of them.

Game 1: Tim Lincecum RHP (16-10, 3.43)

The Freak is, well, a freak.  One of the most oddly perfected wind-ups in baseball has baffled hitters year in and year out since Timmy entered the league.  He has been your strikeout leader the past three seasons in a row and has won the coveted NL Cy Young the past two.  His bid for a third straight Cy Young has most likely been grounded by his Game 1 counterpart, Roy Halladay.  Lincecum was masterful in Game 1 of the NLDS pitching a complete game shutout and striking out 14 Atlanta Braves.  They are saying he developed a blister on his throwing hand in that game but has been getting extensive treatment on it.  I wouldn’t look too much into this until it shows itself as a problem.

The kid is good.  The sample size against Phillies hitters is small, with Chase Utley having the most official at bats at 20.  Of the Philly hitters, Ryan Howard has had some success against the young rightey hitting three homers in 19 at bats.  Utley, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino have also homered off Lincecum in their careers.

Game 2: Jonathan Sanchez LHP (13-9, 3.07)

Sanchez is coming off a career year with career bests in wins (13), ERA (3.07), innings (193.1) and strikeouts (205).  While Sanchez started Game 3 of the NLDS against the Braves, Bochy has decided to flip flop him with Matt Cain for this series.  Why?  Bochy kept his reasoning simple saying “We really think breaking up the righties and lefties is a better way to go.”

Also, Sanchez has had success against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.  In August he took a one hit shutout into the ninth inning and the Giants eventually won 5-2.  For the season, Sanchez won both of his starts against Philadelphia striking out 13 in 13 innings.  He has an ERA of 1.38 in those two starts this year.

Sanchez is still coming into his own, having only been a starter the past two seasons.  He can still be wild at times and prone to the long ball.  He has put a lot of work in to ensure more swings and misses and challenges hitters with balls in the dirt.  If the Phillies’ hitters can sit back and be patient they can be successful against Sanchez.

Game 3: Matt Cain (13-11, 3.14)

Don’t let this Game 3 start or the NLDS Game 2 start fool you.  Just like the Phillies, the Giants have another guy who could be the number one starter for any other team.  Besides the Phillies of course.  Matt Cain has top of the rotation, overpowering stuff.  He had a career year in innings pitched (led the team, yeah!), but also tied a career high in home runs allowed (boo!).  Until the formation of Halladay/Hamels the duo of Lincecum/Cain was maybe the most dominant duo in the league.

Cain has pitched slightly better at home than Sanchez, another reason Bochy may have decided to flop their starts.  At AT&T Park, Cain was 8-4 with an ERA of 2.93.  Opposing hitters only hit .208 against the righty at home.  As for the Phillies, Utley has had a lot of success against Cain.  In 12 at bats, the Philly second baseman has three homers and six RBIs.

Bullpen:

The bullpen for the Giants this season has been very good.  They led the league with 57 saves, 48 of which from closer Brian Wilson and his newly acquired beard.  However, this post season they have been a bit shakey.  Wilson has had issues closing out games, although in the end he did get the job done.  And that is all that matters right?  Through the first three games of the NLDS, the bullpen posted a 6.00 ERA coming mostly from 2/3 of a inning by setup man Sergio Romo where he allowed three runs.  The bullpen did come back in Game 4.  Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Wilson all got big outs in the final three innings to clinch the NLDS.

EDGE: PHILLIES

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE PHILLIES NATION OFFENSIVE PREVIEWS]

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Listen to Pat Gallen on 97.3 ESPN FM

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 14, 2010 06:35 PM Comments: 14

Phillies fans! Tune in tonight as I host “Red October” on 97.3 ESPN FM in South Jersey. Joining me will be Scott Franzke, the radio voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. We’ll talk about the great pitching matchups, the two struggling offenses, and whether or not Scott stays in Philly with the Texas Rangers TV play-by-play opening.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW ON 97.3 ESPN FM!

If you want to listen to my spot on “Just a Bit Outside” earlier today on 97.3 ESPN FM, click here.

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