Posts Tagged ‘Buster Posey’

Dr. Strangeglove: On Mainlining Maalox

Posted by Michael Baumann, Fri, September 16, 2011 11:05 AM Comments: 15

Now that the Phillies are officially in the playoffs, we can start discussing what might happen when they get there. I’m a big fan of typologies, particularly ones with arbitrary boundaries, so let’s have one here. There are four types of teams, broadly speaking, that win the World Series:

  • Teams with great offenses and enough pitching to get by. The 2008 Phillies were one of those teams, but the exemplar of this philosophy, for me, is the 1993 Blue Jays. Jack Morris and Dave Stewart were just hanging on by then, and no one would confuse Juan Guzman, Duane Ward, Todd Stottlemyre and Pat Hentgen with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Mark Wohlers. However, they had three Hall of Fame position players, plus John Olerud (.363/.473/.599), Tony Fernandez, Devon White, Joe Carter…lots of good hitters.
  • Teams with great pitching and enough offense to get by. Consider, for instance, the Hank Bauer/Earl Weaver Orioles that ran roughshod over the American League in the late 1960s and early 1970s, or the National League teams they ran into, the Koufax/Drysdale Dodgers and the Seaver/Koosman Mets.
  • Teams with both great pitching and great pitching. The 1998 Yankees and a few others. These teams just sort of sleepwalk to the title (the 2004 Red Sox excepted), because it’s really hard to score more runs off Cone, Wells, Pettitte, and Rivera than their lineup of Derek Jeter and a million other guys who always get on base will score off you.
  • The 2010 San Francisco Giants, who had great pitching and the combined karmic magnetism of a million plucky underdogs. The 2010 Giants had four very good starting pitchers, Buster Posey, and a bunch of guys who either hadn’t been any good in five years or had never really been good to begin with. To quote Ryan Sommers of Crashburn Alley, “But hey, sometimes the batless fleck of roster garbage stumbles upon success. That’s baseball. Charlie Manuel can’t defend against that.” Batless fleck of roster garbage, indeed. And yes, I’m still bitter. Lucky bastards.

I think you’ve figured out where this is going by now. We’ve seen a Phillies team with a great offense and decent pitching win a title, and we’re about to see a Phillies team with great pitching and a decent offense try to do the same. I like the chances of La Furia Roja, insofar as it’s possible to like a team’s playoff chances, what with the postseason being a total crapshoot and all. But let’s say the Phillies make a run–how would 2011 be different than 2008 from a fan’s perspective? Here’s a hint: it’s going to be awesome, but we’ll all be lucky to live through it.

Continue reading Dr. Strangeglove: On Mainlining Maalox


The Giants’ Offense Is Worse Than You Think

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, July 26, 2011 02:37 PM Comments: 17

The defending World Champions roll into town Tuesday, bringing with them electric arms, weak bats and painful memories.

It was this (mostly) same San Francisco Giants squad that defeated the Phillies in six games last October, preventing the Phils from being the first NL team in 60+ years to reach the World Series in three consecutive years. Those Giants were an orgy of overachievers who proved once and for all that the major league baseball playoffs are as much a crapshoot as any pro draft. We tend to think that baseball rewards the most talented, consistent teams – the sport plays twice as many games as basketball and hockey and ten times more than football – but in reality, the law of large samples only affects the regular season.

Dinks and dunks, bloopers and bleeders with a big-time blast every now and again led the light-hitting Giants past the Phillies in 2010. San Francisco will need similar luck and execution to repeat, because this year’s team is somehow worse offensively than last. It’s not close, either.

The 2010 Giants scored 459 runs through the first 102 contests for an average of 4.5/game. This year’s team has scored exactly 90 fewer runs for an average of 3.6/game. That team had a run differential of +85. This one is at a mediocre +19.

Buster Posey‘s season-ending injury obviously crippled the Giants. Posey, as young as he is, is more important to his team than even Chase Utley is to the Phillies, when you factor in team context and positional value. The less publicized issues have been the struggles of Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff. Torres has been hurt and ineffective in 2011, posting a meager .692 OPS that is below average in even a watered down offensive environment. On this day last year, Torres was batting 38 points higher, getting on base 5% more and slugging an additional 126 points.

After experiencing a resurgence in 2010, Huff looks like he’s cooked in ’11. .240/.295/.363 from a slow-footed player in a premium offensive position? Yuck. Huff has 9 home runs, but three of them came in one game in St. Louis earlier this year.

Each night, the Giants are getting nothing offensively from two positions – catcher and shortstop – and are receiving very little from two outfielders. Shortstop particularly has been a disaster, as both Miguel Tejada and Brandon Crawford have struggled to hit their weight. Collectively, Giants shortstops have hit .217, worst in the National League and second only in the bigs to Tampa.

Giants second basemen haven’t been too thrilling either, driving in the second fewest runs in the NL. This is a lineup with multiple holes every single night and not much internal hope on the horizon. A few weeks back, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow (who are seriously brilliant and a joy to listen to) attempted to convince fans that help was on the way … for Mike Fontenot would soon be returning.

As always, pitching has made up for San Fran’s offensive woes. Lincecum, Cain, Romo and Wilson are still around, and Ryan Vogelsong has been a revelation.

But the triumphant return of Mike Fontenot tells you all you need to know about this team’s offense.


Offseason Icebreakers, Vol. 2: The Unbeatable Team

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, December 21, 2010 02:50 PM Comments: 20

In order to alleviate the boredom of the offseason–the NFL and regular season ice hockey being inadequate as diversions–I’ll be posting icebreaker questions periodically. They’ll always be at least tangentially related to the Phillies, and, as always, feel free to leave your own answers in the comment section.

This icebreaker comes courtesy of my younger brother, who killed about 3 hours on a bus somewhere in Eastern Europe with this question. You are hired as the general manager of a baseball team and given the task of assembling a team that will win each of the next 10 World Series. If you fail, you’ll be executed.

The Rules:

You can choose any 25 people on the planet, regardless of contract status or if they’re in the major leagues. Money is no object–any player can be had and paid. You can also choose any assortment of players–if you want to go with 8 position players and 17 pitchers, or vice versa, knock yourself out.

However, once you choose your 25-man roster, no changes can be made for 10 years. Also, while money is no object, injuries and aging are, so if you pick Roy Halladay as your ace, don’t expect him to perform at his current level until he’s 44. And while you’re at it, you also have to hire a manager and a coaching staff. A big tip of the hat to FanGraphs and Baseball Reference, two sites that, as always, have been my primary sources for research.

My Unbeatable Team is after the jump. If you feel so inclined, make up one of your own and leave it in the comments section. Warning: this post is 5,001 words long, so if you’re one of those people who refuses to read anything longer than a comic strip, you might want to take a pass.

Continue reading Offseason Icebreakers, Vol. 2: The Unbeatable Team


Year in Review: Brian Schneider

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, November 07, 2010 11:00 AM Comments: 10

“Schneider is barely worth owning in NL-only Fantasy Leagues.”

That was a quote from CBSsports’s profile page for the Phillies back up back stop.  To say this sums up Schneider’s season with Philadelphia this year isn’t fair, but it isn’t too far off either.

Schneider started 38 games this season playing second fiddle to fan favorite Carlos Ruiz.  Having played his whole career inside the NL East, Schneider was signed December of ’09 for his third division team.  Fourth if you count Montreal and Washington separately.

Now I have never played professional baseball so I have no clue what it takes to come off the bench every fifth or sixth day and catch a baseball game.  I can’t imagine it is the easiest thing to do and then (to quote Ted Williams) attempt to hit a round ball with a round bat; squarely.

Schneider’s season was mediocre at best.  Defensively he did perform very well.  He boasted a .993 fielding percentage committing only two errors in 276 chances.  Unfortunately his offensive stat line of .240/.345/.384 had him sitting well below the average of the league.  He added four homers and 15 RBIs to his stat sheet.

To be fair we can’t really compare Schneider to everyday players.  Like I said before, it is hard to come in once a week and be asked to perform at a top level.  And looking at every back up catcher would push me way over my word count comfort level.  So for your sake I have chosen three teams to look at; the other three playoff teams from the National League.

Inside the Phillies division, the Braves had David Ross backing up All Star Brian McCann.  Ross had a decent year starting 33 games, hitting .289 and knocking in 28 runs.  Defensively he had a few more chances than Schneider and committed only two additional errors (4).

The World Champion Giants (too soon?) couldn’t even get by with starting Buster Posey everyday.  So when he wasn’t starting, and going through puberty, Eli Whiteside was earning valuable experience catching their pitching staff.  Whiteside, like Ross, started less games than Schneider but put up similar numbers.  He hit .238 and had four homers.

The Reds starting catcher Ramon Hernandez only started 87 games so Ryan Hanigan, his backup, was able to start 58 games in his own right.  Hanigan, having the most opportunities definitely made the best of his chances.  He hit .300 and had 40 RBIs.  His defense was very similar to Schneider’s with a .991 fielding percentage.

So after all this, Brian Schneider was your Philadelphia Phillies back up catcher.  And even with not comparing him to everyday players, I still didn’t grade him favorably.


NICK’S GRADE: 6.5/10 Schneider gave the Phillies a valid backup at catcher. Big hitting catchers don’t grow on trees, and Schneider’s numbers as a starter were quite serviceable for a catcher: .265/.366/.425.


Year in Review: Domonic Brown

Posted by Paul Boye, Fri, November 05, 2010 10:30 AM Comments: 38

On a team composed of veterans quickly approaching or comfortably nestled into their 30s, Domonic Brown provided a jolt of youth after his call-up in late July. Unfortunately, due to inconsistent playing time and sparse use off the bench, Dom didn’t contribute much at the Major League level.

But, seeing as this is a Year in Review for a player who will still be considered a rookie in 2011, it’s only fair that we take his whole season into account, and boy, what a season it was!

Entering spring training as one of the best prospects in baseball – in a field that still included the likes of Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Stephen Strasburg, among others – was an excellent start. Buoyed by a strong .318/.391/.602 line at Double-A Reading and the promotions of those ranked above him, Brown quickly found his way to the peak of some midseason prospect lists. All he did for an encore, then, was hit .346/.390/.561 in 28 games for the IronPigs in Triple-A, making him an easy choice for promotion when Shane Victorino hit the DL back on July 28.

Dom’s .210/.257/.355 line in his 70 Major League PAs seems out character, considering his minor league success. He struck out frequently – 24 times in those 70 PA – and is still considered a “work in progress” for 2011. Hey, that’s fine. He’s just 22, has tools and talent that are lauded across the scouting spectrum and, in all likelihood, a seat in right field and the starting lineup that’s being kept warm for him. Those 70 PA aren’t nearly enough to be discouraging, as Brown still has loads of potential. Oh, and did I mention that he’s got a hose? Or, that while his defense is still a bit rough overall, he’s got some legitimate athleticism? I have now, anyway.

Someday, Domonic Brown will be a star for the Phillies. It could be as soon as 2011 or 2012, but there’s little denying the man’s future is bright enough to require Ray-Bans (waiting on the check). So what if 2010 wasn’t a rousing success in very limited time at the Major League level? Dom’s destruction of the Eastern and International Leagues, vaulting to the top tier of prospects and softening the blow of Jayson Werth‘s potential (and likely) departure are plenty enough to merit high marks.

PAUL’S GRADE: 8.9/10

PAT’S GRADE: 7.6/10 – It’s hard to say what his true grade should be. On one hand, he vaulted from Double-A to the majors quickly after tearing up minor league pitching. On the other hand, he didn’t do much once he got here, although he wasn’t given much of a chance because of the outfield logjam. The future is still bright.

NICK’S GRADE: 8/10 This is a year in review piece, and Brown destroyed minor league baseball. While his time with the Phillies was more or less a learning experience, you can’t not grade his season without including his time in the minors this year.


Arizona Fall League a Hot Spot for Future Talent

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, October 29, 2010 07:48 AM Comments: 2

This is the latest post from our minor league writer, Jay Floyd of PhoulBallz.com

The Arizona Fall League is a place for aspiring Major Leaguers to go to work on their baseball skills in the Autumn months. As the weather begins to cool elsewhere, the diamond stays hot and for many of baseball’s most promising young talents in Arizona.

Rosters in the AFL are a mixture of different organizations’ prospects, with each Major League club sending 7 players that combine to fill up the 35-man rosters of the league’s six teams.

With many of the sport’s top prospects playing in the league annually, the AFL has become a virtual launching pad to the big leagues. Several players from last year’s AFL rosters made their MLB debuts in 2010. The likes of Ike Reese, Mike Leake, Domonic Brown, Starlin Castro, Stephen Strasburg and Buster Posey all made their names known in their respective organization’s cities and around MLB this year.

Certainly not all of this year’s AFL players are gearing up to be playing on their sport’s biggest stage within the next 6-11 months, but it’s a lock that some of them are.
This year, the Phillies’ players are merged with individuals from the Mets, Angels, Pirates and Cubs to complete the Mesa Solar Sox roster.

Mark Parent, a man who has quickly become well liked throughout the Philadelphia organization is the Solar Sox hitting coach. Parent, who in his first season managing affiliated ball, led the Phillies Class A team the Lakewood BlueClaws to a second consecutive South Atlantic League championship in 2010. The former big leaguer has some people close to the organization thinking he is on the fast track upward in the Phils’ system as a coach. Early in the season, Phillies brass mentioned the coaching assignments in the AFL to Parent, who stuck by something he stated when he was hired for the Lakewood job. Upon joining the Phillies organization, Parent told general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that he would do whatever the Phillies asked, and Parent excitedly took the AFL assignment.

“It’s cool. It’s certainly a job I haven’t had. The more jobs you have, and building a resume of some sort, it’s a good thing,” Parent said in an exclusive interview recently.

So, not only is the AFL a place for players to sharpen and develop their skills, it also works as a platform for coaching personnel to do the same.

Catcher Tim Kennelly, first baseman Matt Rizzotti and outfielder John Mayberry Jr. are the offensive Philadelphia properties that Parent is working with closely out in Mesa.

Also on the team are pitchers BJ Rosenberg, Tyson Brummett, Justin De Fratus and Chris Kissock.

Mayberry Jr. saw some action at the Major League level in each of the past two season with the Phillies, but which of the other six Fightins hopefuls would be likely to make a splash with the big club sooner than later? With Matt Rizzotti’s .500 OBP through 7 AFL games, his .343 avg. and .985 OPS in 125 minor league games during the 2010 regular season and a roadblock at his position named Ryan Howard making Rizzotti resemble a delicious trading chip, the best candidate to make his debut in red pin stripes next year is righty reliever Justin De Fratus.

De Fratus, who turned 23-years-old last week, posted a 3-0 record, 21 saves and a 1.94 ERA with 71 strike outs and 16 walks in 65 innings combined at High-A Cleawater and Double A Reading in 2010. De Fratus, who sports a fastball that registers around the 93 MPH mark, was assigned the honor of having best control in the Phillies’ system last off-season by Baseball America. De Fratus, a California native, was an 11th round draft selection in 2007 and is primed to be the hurler that makes big moves in 2011.

Check back for updates and exclusive interviews from the Arizona Fall League in the coming weeks.


Halladay Overcomes Groin Pull to Bring Phils Home

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 22, 2010 12:44 AM Comments: 69

They’re bringin’ it back…back. To Philly…Philly. The Phillies staved off elimination behind a gritty performance from Roy Halladay, beating the Giants, 4-2. If you noticed Halladay laboring throughout, there was good reason; he suffered a minor groin pull in the second inning.

The details are obviously sketchy, as Manuel said he hurt the groin in an at-bat against Buster Posey. However, the Giants catcher batted in the first inning. Halladay reiterated postgame that he indeed injured it in the second. In any case, on the bad-ass meter, thats about an 11. To go out there and beat the Giants who have been red hot with one healthy leg is quite impressive. It was quite noticeable, however, that something was amiss.

Halladay threw (by my unofficial count) just 12 fastballs on the night (excluding cutters). The Doc relied heavily on his offspeed stuff and somehow, someway, it worked. He pushed his way through six innings – throwing 108 pitches, 74 for strikes – allowing two runs on six hits and two walks.

Run support was still lacking for Halladay as the Phillies crossed home four times, three in a huge third inning. In the big third frame, Raul Ibanez got the ball rolling with a single to right field, followed by Carlos Ruiz being pegged on the right arm. With two on and nobody out, things got a little crazy around home plate.

Halladay bunted the ball off home plate, and it was hard to tell if the ball was fair or foul. Buster Posey quickly jumped on it and threw to third, but Pablo Sandoval missed the base and Ibanez was called safe. Halladay, however, did not run after thinking the ball was foul. Sandoval rolled around on the ground for a few seconds but still had plenty of time to throw out Halladay.

Aubrey Huff then allowed the Phils to grab the lead as Shane Victorino ripped one that caromed off the first baseman and into shallow right field, allowing Ibanez and Ruiz to score. Victorino was able to move to second on the error – he then scored on a Placido Polanco single to left field to push the Phils advantage to two.

San Francisco, as pesky as ever, grabbed a run in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Pat Burrell and Cody Ross.

Backtracking to the first inning, an interesting situation occurred with Burrell and Halladay. Doc appeared to stare in at home plate umpire Jeff Nelson after a few questionable calls. Burrell took exception to it and yelled a few obscenities back at Roy, and the stares continued.

Back to Ross; he continues to pillage in the playoffs, knocking in his fifth run of the series. Luckily, those were the only two extra-base for the Giants on the night.

After Halladay came impressive performances from Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge. Andres Torres singled off Contreras in the seventh and was the only Giants runner to reach base over the final three innings. Madson was torture on  meat of the order, striking out Posey, Burrell, and Ross in succession.

Before Brad Lidge could come on to close it out, Jayson Werth gave him a bit of breathing room with an incredible opposite field home run. That made it 4-2, which was plenty for Lidge, who put the Giants down in order to send the series back home.

We’ll keep you abreast of the Halladay situation, which is not a hindrance at this point with Roy Oswalt going Saturday and Cole Hamels on Sunday, if necessary.

But I know what you’re thinking; Sunday will be necessary.


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?


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.


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.

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