Saturday, October 23, 2010

NLCS Game 6: Giants at Phillies

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Giants try to clinch the pennant at Citizens Bank Park; the Phillies try to force Game 7.
The Rangers have punched their ticket to the World Series. Now, can the Giants punch theirs and have three days to rest up and prepare to host Texas in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, or are the Phillies going to fend off elimination again and set up a do-or-die Game 7 tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park?

Just as was the case in the ALCS last night, tonight's game features a rematch of Game 2, with Roy Oswalt facing Jonathan Sanchez. Oswalt pitched brilliantly in the first meeting and got the best of his young counterpart, so that might give reason to believe the Phillies have the upper hand in this one. But Oswalt, remember, came back to pitch the ninth inning in Game 4 and wound up taking the loss. Thus, the Giants have some level of confidence facing him again three days later.

Then again, Philly has to feel plenty confident about its chances playing at home, having gone 15-4 at Citizens Bank Park the last three postseasons. And until someone puts the final dagger through their hearts, they're still the two-time defending NL champs.

I'm out of town this weekend and won't have access to my computer leading up to gametime, so I'm posting this early, sans lineups. Hoping to watch a good portion of the game, though, but as always I'll count on you guys to keep the conversation going in my absence...

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 57 degrees
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
3B Juan Uribe
SS Edgar Renteria
P Jonathan Sanchez

SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
CF Shane Victorino
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
P Roy Oswalt
9:02 p.m. -- Just got back to the hotel and turned this one on finally ... just in time to see Chase Utley get hit with a pitch in the back and wind up with the ball, which he then flipped back to Jonathan Sanchez. The two started exchanging words, and all of a sudden both benches emptied. No punches were thrown and nothing really happened, though the Giants are taking Sanchez out of the game, and probably for good reason. He was already all over the place, and now his head can't be in the right place. It's only the third inning of a 2-2 game, and already this is turning into a wild one.

9:05 p.m. -- Oh, and a big thank you to Sec3MySofa for providing updates in my absence. I may have to put you on the payroll as my official backup when I need a night off!

9:33 p.m. -- So who would have guessed Jeremy Affeldt would record as many outs tonight (six) as Jonathan Sanchez? And more amazingly, that the score would only be 2-2 at the end of all that? Nice job by the lefty long man for San Francisco. They're now in the top of the fifth, game still tied.

9:47 p.m. -- Roy Oswalt may not be in absolute top form tonight -- he's allowed eight hits through five -- but he's coming through when he really needs to. Just struck out Buster Posey with two on and two out in the top of the fifth after Posey had fouled off several two-strike pitches. Oswalt's a bulldog, and he's showing it tonight.

9:58 p.m. -- The Giants are pulling out all the stops tonight, which is kind of necessary since their starter didn't even make it out of the third inning. So Game 4 starter Madison Bumgarner just pitched the bottom of the fifth, and though he nearly gave the Phillies the lead, he managed to escape the jam by intentionally walking Jayson Werth and then getting Shane Victorino to tap a comebacker for the third. Long way to go in this one, and Bruce Bochy is going to need several more relievers to get through it. Still 2-2 as they go to the sixth.

10:24 p.m. -- Bumgarner pitches out of another jam in the sixth. Despite a leadoff double, the rookie left-hander came up huge by striking out Ben Francisco on a beautiful curveball, then got Jimmy Rollins to fly out. They head to the seventh, still 2-2, with Oswalt now out of the game in favor of Ryan Madson. Something's got to give eventually.

10:49 p.m. -- Opportunities have been abundant for both teams all night. Runs have not. Pitchers keep coming up big, as Madson did in the top of the seventh stranding two men on. Javier Lopez was his usual self in the bottom of the inning, retiring Utley and Howard yet again and sending this game to the eighth still tied.

10:55 p.m. -- No worries about coming through with men on base when you can just hit one out of the park. Juan Uribe comes through with the opposite-field solo blast off Madson, putting the Giants up 3-2 and putting them six outs from the World Series. And get this: Tim Lincecum is warming in the San Francisco bullpen. Wow.

11:11 p.m. -- Well that was quite an epic bottom of the eighth. After Lincecum entered for only the second relief appearance of his career and allowed two hits, Brian Wilson entered to face Carlos Ruiz with two on and one out. And managed to get Ruiz to line into a 3-6, inning-ending double play. Huge moment, and now the Giants are three outs from the World Series. I have to say I wasn't really liking Bochy's move to use Lincecum there. Just don't like putting a guy into a situation he's never been in, especially when you've got a bullpen full of relievers who have been in that spot before. Things worked out, but had Lincecum blown it, Bochy would have had a LOT of questions to answer.

11:22 p.m. -- Here we go: Bottom of the ninth, Giants leading 3-2, Wilson on the mound, the pitcher's spot, Rollins and Polanco due up for the Phillies. If anyone gets on, it'll be Utley and then Howard. This is postseason drama at it's very best.

11:39 p.m. -- The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.) What a ballgame. What a finish. Up one run, two outs, two on, 3-2 count with Ryan Howard at the plate, the runners on the move and Brian Wilson struck him out with a 90 mph slider at the knees. Fantastic stuff. The 106th World Series begins Wednesday night at AT&T Park, with Tim Lincecum and the Giants slated to face Cliff Lee and the Rangers. Can't wait.


Donald said...

Hey, before the game starts, do you happen to know if Bryce Harper is starting again today? Any word on how he's doing?

The Herndon Kid said...

1-2 with a single right now and is batting next inning. Norris also has a homerun this game.

jd said...

1 for 3 with a single and a strike out through 6.

dj in Fl. said...

I thought your guys were going to pull off the upset today Mark. You all will just have to drown your sorrows in a deep dish. That sure sounds good just saying it.

Sec3MySofa said...

Underway with a leadoff single by Torres, but that's all. Phillies coming up.

Sec3MySofa said...

Rollins ss Back in the leadoff. Leg must be OK.
Polanco left
Utley second
Howard first
Werth right
Vicoriino center
Ibanez left
Ruiz catching
Oswalt pitching

Giants in a bit...

Sec3MySofa said...

Torres 8
F. Sanchez 4
Huff 3
Posey 2
Burrell 7
Ross 9
Uribe 5
Renteria 6
J. Sanchez 1 -- who's looking a bit overamped. Got Jimmy Rollins on a ground ball to third, but walked Polanco, wildpitched him to second, and Utley just doubled to right.
1-0, Phillies.

sjm105 said...

I have looked everywhere on the Nats web site and cannot find Sec3My sofa anywhere in the park. Are the sightlines any good? Would like to think about moving up to nicer seats. Phillies lead 2-0 on Sac. Fly by Werth

Sec3MySofa said...

The Giants had better hope Jonathan Sanchez is just overamped. Can't seem to locate anything yet.
Howard singles (no RBI yet, though), and Werth put Pat Burrell right back to the track for a (mere) sac fly. Victorino singled hard on the ground up the middle, but Ibanez popped out to end the inning.
2-0 Phils.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a top of the third.

Jonathan Sanchez led off with a single, and Torres "mortalized" a deep fly to straightaway center, which Victorino got to it just a step before the wall with an over-the-shoulder basket catch on the run, but he just trapped it against his body, and it dribbled out when he hit the padding on the wall--a really, really long single, with the runner holding for the possible catch. Would have been a top webgem if he holds onto that one.
Freddie Sanchez bunted them both up. Aubrey Huff singled over the second base bag ... more

still on the sofa said...

with one one and no outs, Sanchez hit Utley right on the numbers. Utley picked up the ball on the way to first and tossed it to Sanchez, who didn't appreciate something about that. Both benches emptied now.

Sec3MySofa said...

Boche is choosing to remove Sanchez. Affeldt in to pitch to Howard, 2 on, no outs, 2-2 game.

Sec3MySofa said...

How it got tied, continued...
Second and third, one out, Huff singled up the middle. Sanchez scored easily, but Torres was out by fifteen feet on a good throw by Victorino. Huff to second on the throw home. Buster Posey dribbles a Baltimore Chop toward third, but Polanco's throw (from third, not left *ahem*) hit Posey as he ran maybe just the teensiest bit inside the line, and Huff scored to make it 2-2.

(Aside to Mark--dang, the game never moves this fast when I'm not writing about it!)

Anonymous said...

Affeldt goes K-F9-3u. 2-2, after 3.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Hey guys, I'm back at my hotel watching the game now, turned it on just in time to see the Sanchez/Utley non-fracas. To Sec3MySofa and others: Thanks for posting all the updates. (And I know what you mean about the games feeling like they go faster when you're writing about it live.)

Had another fantastic day here in Chicago, aside from a very frustrating Northwestern loss to Michigan State. Flying home tomorrow afternoon/early evening, so if there is a Game 7 of this NLCS, I should be home in time to watch.

Sec3MySofa said...

Did I mention Jonathan Sanchez seemed a little too "up" for this game? As Utley was jogging up to first after being hit right in the back, the ball was apparently still bouncing up the first base line somehow, and Utley grabbed it and casually flipped it toward Sanchez. Not sure why he wouldn't just throw it out of play, there, which is the only thing I can think of that would have upset Sanchez, but he did start barking at Utley, who seemed deeply unimpressed, but both benches emptied. Umpires restored things quickly enough, but Bruce Boche probably figured he didn't like where this was pointing, and pulled Sanchez.
Nice sliding catch by Werth on a foul popup.
Giants out in the fourth.

still on the sofa said...

Glad to see you back, Mark!
You have the bridge...

still me said...

"I may have to put you on the payroll as my official backup when I need a night off!"
Wait, I thought you were on our payroll??
I'm confused again...

Sec3MySofa said...

SJM -- I can see the blades of grass from here, if the camera is pointing at them, in HD. Great seat, and the beer is WAY cheaper! And I never get foul balls at the park anyway, so that's no loss.

Sec3MySofa said...

Mark--Assuming the Nats don't re-sign Dunn, Huff seems like the kind of guy they might go after instead--good glove, no 40-100 guy but not a bad hitter, and hey, he can sing the National Anthem on short notice. Thoughts?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Sec3MySofa: Huff may be a guy the Nats look at, but he's by no means a good glove man at first base. Maybe not as bad as Dunn, but still below average in the field. Solid hitter, though, and he'd be cheaper than Dunn.

sm13 said...

On another matter....I see Bryce Harper went 2 for 4 today. Why play him at DH, though -- doesn't he need time in the outfield?

Sec3MySofa said...

sm13--so do some other guys. Remember this is a mixed team of prospects from several teams.

Sec3MySofa said...

Well, for a guy that's below average, Huff's having a pretty good series. Nice save there on Sanchez's throw from Gload's ground ball.

Natsochist said...

My god, this is the situation you dream about as a little kid -- Bottom 9, full count, tying & winning run on base.

...And Howard tries to take a walk. He's gonna replay that pitch the rest of his career.

Sec3MyHummBaby said...

Natsochist, I suspect there are DVDs already in the mail from Phillies fans.

Faraz Shaikh said...

OMG This couldn't have been written better than this. What a win!

Thank you for the coverage Mark. Looking forward to some exciting pitching matchups in the world series.

dale said...

How much I loved the views of the Phillies fans in the ninth praying, hoping, believing, and then crushed by a called strike three. I will savor that memory come next season.

On a different note, I thoroughly enjoyed the TBS and Fox broadcast teams who knew when not to fill all the air time with blather. They let the scenes of the game speak for itself which is courageous for broadcasters to do. My biggest problem with Carpenter as an announcer has been his chattiness--his inability to say the most appropriate remark with the simple essence required. When teamed with Dibble it was a combination of a too chatty stats reciter with an arrogant chanter of "mano to mano" diatribes. At least Ray Knight has a much broader vein of knowledge to mine than Dibble ever did.

Richard from Bethany Beach said...

why in the world did'nt we claim Cody Ross? I'm sure we could have.

Anonymous said...

I dislike the Phillies more than any other NL team . . . but, does anyone else think that last pitch was low?

JayB said...

Yup I hear you on Phils and pitch location.....what a shame that they did not be the benefit of doubt for once...Zim or any Nat for that matter would have been rung up 9 out of 10 times to end that game on that pitch.....real shame those nice fans have to go home losers.

This is the beginning of the end for this group. They had a great run and their fans have been spoiled and act like will be fun to watch them turn on each other as they spiral down over the next 2 years.

Age and Injuries are not going to be kind and those fans will get ugly fast....what a shame.

JayB said...

At the time he was due $1 Million in salary and to keep him for 2011 would cost over $5 Million.....does that sound like Lerner ownership stepping up to improve the team at any cost. They do not plan to spend that kind of money for Ross like numbers.....too bad.

CapPeterson said...

Re last pitch to Howard, what about the pitch two pitches previously that caught the corner but was called a ball by ump?

Feel Wood said...

Let's not make a big deal over the Nats not claiming Cody Ross when the Marlins cut him. No one really wanted him then, not even the Giants. They only claimed him to keep the Padres from having a chance at him.

Sec3MyHummBaby said...

If GMs knew at the time what everyone else will know six months or a year later, nobody would ever make trades that don't work out, sign guys who are going to get hurt, or pitch to Jack Clark.

natsfan1a said...

A belated wooohoooo! Was actually in the Bay Area last week to visit family and thus was able to see the televised West Coast games at a decent hour for a change. Also, I don't recall that I've ever seen so many people sporting Giants gear around Silicon Valley. The bandwagon is filling up, evidently. Go, Giants!!

natsfan1a said...

sec3, Utley and Sanchez have a bit of a history, dating from a game at SFO in July of 2009. Also, imho, Utley gets a pretty daggone huffy about being plunked for a guy who crowds the plate so much. Not that I'm biased or anything. ;-)

Interesting tidbit from a game story in the Chronicle: Affeldt was the only Giant not to join in the "brawl." He was about to head down, but the bullpen coach told him to stay put and keep warming up so as to get locked in and stay focused. Meanwhile, Phillies Phans "called him every feminine epithet in the books" for not joining his teammates in the "fracas." The taunts didn't seem to rattle him, though, as he stranded the two runners and subsequently pitched a perfect frame.

The Chron had another interesting tidbit: Miss America (a former Nat Packer, you may recall), performed the anthem. She told a Chron writer that she was rooting for the Phillies, and she wore a Phillies jersey. hmmm...

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