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A Giant Hole- Giants Take 3-1 NLCS Lead

A Giant Hole- Giants Take 3-1 NLCS Lead

With three games to go in the regular season, the San Francisco Giants held a two game lead in the NL West over the San Diego Padres.  Coincidentally, these two teams would square off in the final three game set of the year.  The Giants held the series at home, needing just one win to clinch the division.  They played out the drama clinching on the last day of the regular season.

This same situation faces San Francisco now in the 2010 NLCS; they hold a 3-1 series lead after the 6-5 win last night.  They need just one win to clinch their first pennant since 2002.

Game 4′s in a best of seven series are always fascinating.  When you get to a Game 4, normally you see the staff’s number four starter.  Obviously, these guys are usually your fourth best pitcher on the staff.  You’re playing with house money if your starter goes five innings allowing two runs or less. 

All facets of both teams were showcased in this particular Game 4; the ENTIRE bullpen, small ball, defense, managerial decisions, clutch hitting and basestealing .  I mean, this game had it all. Well, all besides a home run.

I know from a Philadelphia perspective the two main things people will be talking about is why Halladay didn’t start, or why Oswalt pitched the 9th.  I don’t want to go in depth on that, because Philadelphia had chances to win this ballgame and couldn’t come through.

That eighth inning just jumps out right away.  Howard leads off with a double, then Werth brings him home with a double.  With a man on 2nd and less than two outs, Werth did not score.  Jimmy Rollins couldn’t get him over to third, and both Francisco and Ruiz struck out.

This Philadelphia offense scores in bunches, it’s their motto.  Just look at the top of the fifth, they put up four.  Yes, Jimmy Rollins should’ve gotten Werth to third, but this is something the Phillies have always struggled in.  Their offense doesn’t manufacture as many runs as they should.

There were so many great baseball plays made tonight.  The Rowand assist from center to Posey was huge.  That was a rope from Rowand, and Posey made a fantastic play.  Posey in one motion took Rowand’s throw on a short hop and tagged Ruiz.

(Posey applies the tag on Ruiz)

Ruiz showcased his arm in the bottom of the eighth with a dart to second to nab the attempted base-stealer Torres.

As for the bullpens, the Giants bullpen pitched much better.  The starting pitchers, Blanton (Phi) and Bumgarner (SF), both went 4 2/3 innings.  Blanton left with a 4-3 lead.  In the final four innings (6-9), the Giants outscored Philly 3-1. 

(Blanton goes 4 2/3)

The only San Francisco reliever that looked shaky last night was Casilla.  He relieved Bumgarner in the fifth.  He got hurt with that hanging slider to Polanco.  Polanco laced it into the left field gap for a double that scored two.

Chad Durbin struggled for the Phillies in the bottom of the sixth.  He had trouble with his  control, walking two.  Sandoval got the big hit in the inning, doubling to put the Giants back on top 5-4. 

As I referenced earlier, Sergio Romo came on for the Giants in the eighth and came up huge.  He threw six consecutive, tight, spinning sliders to Francisco and Ruiz to strike them out.

Brian Wilson made short work of the Phillies in the ninth.  

In the bottom of the ninth, the Giants established their small ball superiority over Philadelphia with Uribe’s game winning sac-fly in the ninth.

(Huff scores the game winning run)

As a fan, I don’t really know what to make of this series.  The Giants have won the two, one-run contests in Game One and now Four.  The Phillies won Game Two decisively, while San Francisco did the same in Game Three. 

The one positive that I did see from this game was that the Phillies bats swung the stick better.  Can they continue their success tomorrow against Lincecum?      

Just to throw in something, the Giants and Phillies played six times during the regular season. (of course three games in each city) On the final game of the three game regular season series in San Francisco, the Phillies faced Tim Lincecum in the third game.  This was the game which Lincecum threw eight dominant innings.  Brian Wilson then went on and blew the save.  The Phillies picked up the win after losing the previous two to San Francisco in that series.  As for the three game set in Philly, the home team (this time Philadelphia) decimated the Giants the first two games.  San Francisco would go on to win the third game of the set.  

All in all, you can’t discount the Phillies.  They’re the Phightin Phils for a reason.  As for this series, I’m not sure what to think.  If the Phillies can get the game tomorrow, the series shifts back to Philadelphia. 

 It’s really an interesting dynamic to have the 2-3-2 series that MLB has.  The NHL and NBA have 2-2-1-1-1 series besides the NBA Finals, which is a 2-3-2.  Philadelphia capitalized in the middle three home games, sweeping on both instances, to capture the 2008 World Series and the 2009 NLCS.  San Francsico now has a chance to dispatch Philadelphia  by sweeping the middle, three game home set.

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I currently work for the Sports Network. It's the best job ever! I am a 2010 graduate of Temple University where I majored in broadcast journalism, I LOVE SPORTS! That's why I am here. I have a vast knowledge and want to share my athletic intelligence with the world. Some people like to spend their time shooting down aliens in Halo; I like to spend my time watching sports, current and old. It's my passion! I got asked one time how I can watch a game over again when I already know the outcome. 5 minutes later, he's watching Happy Gilmore reciting all of the lines from the movie. Hypocrite! As for my favorite sports teams, I've been a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan. My favorite athlete is Allen Iverson. He didn't like practice that much, but when it came to gametime, no one let it all out on the floor like Iverson. He is absolutely beloved in the city of Brotherly Love. For college athletics, obviously I pay close attention to Temple. (Yes, football too) Even before I stepped foot on Temple's campus for the 1st time in 2005, I was a fan. Oh the good old days of John Chaney! Some other tidbits about myself, I love cheesesteaks, I hydrate myself with Welch's Grape Juice and Snapple. I love the HBO show Entourage. Also, when is Kenny Powers making his much anticipated return in Eastbound and Down!

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In response to “A Giant Hole- Giants Take 3-1 NLCS Lead”

  1. Joseph Davis Oct 21 20104:30 am


    Adrian, I know you can’t see every Giant game like I can/have, so I’m going to offer two friendly corrections:

    1. We are NOT superior to Philly in small ball. Not even close. This team led the world in stranding men in scoring position who got there with less than two outs. We make very unproductive outs and find ways to not score leadoff triples. I think it was Victorino who doubled in Game 2 and was promptly brought in by successive sac flies. I was literally JEALOUS. Your Phils just had an off night.

    2. Casilla is not the only shaky reliever. Romo has given up quite a few big hits himself this postseason, namely the first two games vs. Atlanta and now tonight.

    The blown save you mention for Wilson was our most painful loss of 2010. It wasn’t really his fault—Werth blooped it literally ON the right field line and 3 men scored (only 1 of which was Wilson’s if memory serves.

    I like your NLCS logo and photos. I think I’ll use the logo in my next article.

    1. Adrian Fedkiw Oct 21 20101:16 pm


      The point I was trying to make in the small ball part was that Philadelphia doesn’t really have a small ball philosophy. They score in bunches, they put crooked numbers up. That eighth inning epitomized what this Phillies offense does. It was one of those back to back doubles and then stall innings.

      As for the Giants, I can see what you’re saying. They seem like they strike out a lot, and everyone on that team is slow.

      Casilla was the only shaky reliever LAST night, at least that’s what I was trying to imply. I know what you’re saying about Romo. I know what he did in the NLDS.

      As for that loss earlier in the year, I think Lincecum should have stayed in that game. I remember watching it and wanting Wilson to come in. Werth did bloop it, but they got three runners on base for a reason.

      I don’t think this series is over just yet, I don’t feel like the Phillies are playing their best baseball yet.

      1. Adrian Fedkiw Oct 21 20101:27 pm


        Again about the small ball thing, it’s really a lost art for most teams in this era of baseball.

  2. Christopher Rowe Oct 21 20104:58 am


    Now the Phillies have to do what the 2004 Boston Red Sox did and actually come back from a 3-1 deficit if they want to get back to the World Series. Also of note the 2009-2010 Philadelphia Flyers who were down 3-0 in their playoff series with Boston and down 3-0 in the game and they stormed back for just the third time in NHL history. What’s been especially engaging in the Phillies-Giants LCS is that both teams have proven that they can win and both teams have proven that they can overpower the other team. Starting pitching has been unbelievable – besides Game 4. Defense has been both very good and very bad. However, I believe that Philadelphia has another gear left which San Francisco does not have. Offensively this team is streaky but when they get hot they are unstoppable. Phillies had 3 games this season in which they exceeded 20 runs and more comeback victories than any team in baseball.

    Giants can beat the Phillies but Phillies really should beat the Giants. This is indeed why they play the games!

    1. Adrian Fedkiw Oct 21 20101:25 pm


      They have not played their best baseball in this series. I will never count out the Phils. I didn’t back in July, I won’t do it now. This team is just too resilient.

      Even though we lost, I saw some signs with the offense. We finally started hitting the ball hard. I didn’t even see this in the Cincinnati series. You’re absolutely correct about the streaky part.

      That at bat by Howard in the 8th was a great sign. He worked a count and then laced that double the opposite way.

      I feel like if we can just get this game tonight, we got a good shot. All I can ask for right now is to get this back to Philadelphia. It won’t be easy.

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