Sunday, October 17, 2010

NLCS Game 2: Giants at Phillies

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Phillies try to even the series back up tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Rarely during the last three postseasons have the Phillies found themselves trailing their opposition. In fact, they won seven consecutive Game 1s from the 2008 NLDS through this year's NLDS. But after losing Game 1 of the NLCS last night, the two-time defending NL champs now are looking up at the Giants and hoping not to fall too far behind before it's too late.

So the pressure's on the home team tonight at Citizens Bank Park, with Roy Oswalt set to toe the rubber. Oswalt, of course, has postseason experience; he's made nine previous appearances (the first eight with Houston) and owns a 4-0 record and 3.83 ERA.

The Giants, though, have had success against Oswalt, beating him in three of four head-to-head meetings this season. And San Francisco starter, lefty Jonathan Sanchez, went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Phillies this year.

One change to San Francisco's lineup: Juan Uribe was scratched with a left wrist injury sustained last night while sliding into second base. So veteran Edgar Renteria (hero of the 1997 World Series for the Marlins) gets the start, with Cody Ross (who homered twice last night off Roy Halladay) getting bumped up from the 8-hole to the 6-hole...

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 8:19 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
3B Mike Fontenot
SS Edgar Renteria
P Jonathan Sanchez

CF Shane Victorino
2B Chase Utley
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
P Roy Oswalt
8:45 p.m. -- Well, that proved to be quite an eventful first inning, at least the bottom half. Jonathan Sanchez was all over the place, issuing three walks (one to Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded, though ball four sure liked like a strike at the knees to this TV observer). An error on Mike Fontenot earlier didn't help causes. Yet at the end of all that, the Phillies managed only one run because Sanchez was able to strike out Raul Ibanez with the bases still loaded. It took 35 pitches, but Sanchez escaped the first with the Giants trailing only 1-0.

9:08 p.m. -- Two and a half innings in, and neither team has a hit yet. Interesting...

9:19 p.m. -- Ryan Howard collects the evening's first hit, an opposite-field double in the bottom of the third. Sanchez, though, battled back to strike out Jayson Werth for the second time tonight and keep the deficit at 1-0. Sanchez is quite the unusual pitcher. He has all kinds of trouble finding the strike zone, his fastball barely reaches 90 mph but he's really tough to hit. Just has great movement and changing of speeds to keep hitters off-balance.

9:22 p.m. -- The Phillies, by the way, are 0 for their last 16 with runners in scoring position, a streak that goes all the way back to Game 2 of the NLDS against the Reds.

9:38 p.m. -- Really ragged performance so far from the Giants, between some terrible infield defense, Sanchez's wildness and the lack of offense against Oswalt. They're quite fortunate to only be trailing 1-0 after four innings. Could be much worse.

9:45 p.m. -- I have to admit, I had no idea Barry Bonds had come out of retirement to play for the Giants again. Oh wait, that's not Barry Bonds. That's Cody Ross! What a beast. Homered off Oswalt to break up the no-hitter with one out in the fifth, tie the game 1-1 and deliver his third homer of this series and fourth homer in his last three games.

9:58 p.m. -- The Phillies still don't have a hit with a man in scoring position, but they did manage to push the go-ahead run across. After Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, he advanced to third on Chase Utley's flyout to right and then scored on Ryan Howard's sac fly to center. Philadelphia back on top 2-1 thanks to a couple of productive outs.

10:20 p.m. -- Quite the pitchers' duel we've got here tonight. Oswalt has allowed only two hits through seven, striking out eight. Sanchez has allowed only four hits through six, striking out seven. This is no real surprise, of course. The bigger surprise would be if anyone scores five runs in any game in this series. The Giants are looking at their sixth consecutive one-run postseason game.

10:32 p.m. -- Well that was an odd way for the Phillies to score an insurance run: On a single by Oswalt, then a sac bunt, then a Polanco single to center, with Oswalt running through Sam Perlozzo's stop sign and still scoring. Weird. Phillies now lead 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

10:45 p.m. -- Yeah, so much for nobody being able to score five runs in any game in this series. Jimmy Rollins almost produced that much offense on one swing just now. Three-run double off the right-field wall, only a foot or two short of a grand slam, has blown this game wide open. Philly leads 6-1, and it looks like this series will head west tied at a game a piece.

11:22 p.m. -- That's a rap. Phillies win 6-1 behind a sterling pitching performance from Oswalt. Sanchez wasn't at all bad, especially after that first inning, but he takes the loss. Travel day tomorrow, followed by Game 3 Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. Eastern.


Sec3MySofa said...

Will this be another post-season of notoriously bad umpiring? I've watched a full inning, and I still don't know where the strike zone is tonight, and neither do the Phillies, apparently. They're just watching everything.
Except Ibanez, who just waved at strike 3.
1-0, Phillies.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love how consistently awful those Phils Phans are... did you hear them CHEERING when Oswalt brushed back Cody Ross high and tight to the head? I think they would've wet themselves with glee if Ross' skull had been smashed.

Michael J. Hayde said...

And now Ross says, "Brush THIS back, Roy!"

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to watch these playoff games and realize how far the Nats really are out of the playoffs. We're not one or two years out...we're ten or 15 years out. There is no way our guys are ready to play at this level. Soon Dunn will be gone. When Strasburg hits his prime, Zimm will be gone. When Harper hits his prime, Strasburg will be gone. We are generations behind the Phillies, Braves, Reds, Giants. It is hard to watch these good teams, knowing how bad we really, truly are.

sjm105 said...

As much as I want Dunn to sign, he has NEVER played on a winning team so he is not the key piece. Hate to respond to an anonymous poster but if you followed baseball you would know that teams can jump into the playoffs quickly and it is all about how we handle free agency along with our prospects developing. The key for us is Pitching and Defense and we are not 10 years away but maybe two or three if things fall into place. Why will Zimm be gone? He has family in the area, has never said he wants to leave and is the face of the franchise. Strasburg and Harper will play together in two years or less. This years draft was strong and some of those pitchers will also be here sooner than later. ANON can live in negativity and anonymity but I chose to think we are close. I do want to admit that my head is not in the sand. We did not field well last year and that has to improve, as well as our baserunning but I think we are close.

Of course this is from someone who watched and rooted for Eddie Yost, Micky Vernon, Gil Coan and Bob Porterfield and that did not get me into any sort of post season games.

Sec3MySofa said...

Well, in Dunn's defense, nobody plays on a winning team, until they do, and Jason Marquis was on playoff teams for the last several years, until 2010. So I don't put much stock in that particular stat.

And the Nationals are about eight players away from 80+ wins, Dunn or someone else like him being one, and maybe Espinoza is another. But they need two starting outfielders, three bench guys, at least one and probably two front-line starters, and since bullpens are notoriously crumbly, probably one more unspecified guy who may be in the system now, but not on the last 25-man. And that's not to compete with the Phillies, that's to get to .500.

sjm105 said...

I think to reach .500 they are set at 3rd, short(assuming Desmond cuts his errors down) 2nd, and catcher. They definitely need an overhaul in the outfield and need starting pitching badly. Agree that bullpens are always iffy but we look to be ok right now. Would love to have Dunn at 1st and can't wait to see what Rizzo does concerning starting pitching and the outfield. Also agree our bench was not good. How did Mench stay up with us for so long? As much as I love Willie, he just had a horrible year. I don't think for a minute Nyjer has the mental ability to come off the bench but he would be my choice (again, his attitude cancels this idea). It seems to me we have to be able to get 3 people who can hit .250 or better, get on base and catch the ball. the only ones who came close were Kennedy and Gonzales and I think we keep Gonzales and say good-bye to Mench, Harris,Maxwell and Kennedy.

Question to posters - If we improve 10 games next year is that enough or do we have to be above .500? To me the difference between 79 and 81/82 wins is actually pretty big.

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