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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Brian Wilson

Doc is masterful in ASG outing

Milwaukee's Prince Fielder hits a three-run homer in the 4th inning. The NL won, 5-1. (Getty Images)

Five Phillies were selected to represent the National League in the All-Star Game but only two were available to play.

NL Starting pitcher Roy Halladay and Phils starter Cliff Lee pitched the first four innings for the NL, who beat the American League for the second straight year thanks to pitching, 5-1.

Halladay was perfect through two innings, throwing 19 pitches and striking out one. He was absolutely fantastic – and efficient as well – allowing Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee to not stress over his most valuable possession pitching in an exhibition game.

Lee pitched the next 1 2/3 innings. He was perfect through the first five batters but allowed the game’s first run, a solo home run to Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez. He was then yanked in favor of Washington’s Tyler Clippard after surrendering two more hits.

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FACE OFF: Pressure!

Question: Who is under more pressure in the ninth inning with two outs in a clutch situation: the batter or the pitcher?

In our inaugural Face Off on Team to Beat, John Russo and Christian Hetrick will battle it out with this tough question. Here are their sides:

John: The Batter

Game 6 of the NLCS will be burned into the brains of Philadelphia fans every where. Ryan Howard staring at strike three as Brian Wilson helped the Giants clinch a berth in the World Series while the Phillies went home to reflect on a disappointing end to their season.

The Phillies Ryan Howard pouts after looking at strike three to end the 2010 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants last October.

Did he mis-read Wilson’s pitch? Was he too afraid to swing at junk that he didn’t swing the bat at all? Howard caved under the pressure, choking away the Phils World Series hopes.

How crappy do you think Eric Hinske feels from the Rays? He couldn’t touch Brad Lidge’s slider to end the 2008 World Series. Just like his career has gone, he’s bouncing around the league looking for a job.

Look at the reward batter’s get if they do come through. Luis Gonzalez in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series and Joe Carter in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. How about Jimmy Rollins in the 2009 NLCS off the Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton?

The reason the batter is under more pressure is because the reward of getting that game-winning hit is so much more. A hitter has to keep the inning alive. A hitter has to get his team the win.

Batters are under the most pressure in these situations. They don’t have eight guys behind them to make a play if the batter puts the ball in play. They don’t have three open bases to work with if they fail to get an out. They don’t get chances.

A hitter gets one chance at glory. If they fail, they’re the goat. They’re a choke artist. They are Ryan Howard.

Christian: The Pitcher

Let’s set the stage.

Elimination game, bottom of the ninth, two outs, and one runner in scoring position with the winning run coming to the plate.

Who is under more pressure, the pitcher or the batter? Both players are obviously under a lot of pressure, but who has more to lose? If the batter gets out he will get heckled by the fans, and ripped by the fans. In the end though, people will forget.

I think it is safe to say Rays’ fans aren’t cursing Eric Hinske’s name for striking out to end the 2008 World Series. In fact, most Rays’ fans probably don’t know who Eric Hinske is. Yes, Ryan Howard got ripped by Phillies’ fans and media alike for striking out to end last year’s NLCS, but is Howard’s strikeout always going to be replayed like Mitch Williams’ loft to Joe Carter? I doubt it.

A dejected Mitch Williams was ran out of Philly after giving up the three-run blast to Joe Carter that ended the 1993 World Series.

Oh you forgot about the Wild Thing? Unlike Howard, Phillies’ fans pretty much ran his ass out of town for messing up in a game six. It seems when in that situation it’s a lose-lose situation for pitchers.

If the pitcher gets the batter out, it is no big deal. After all, that is what he is supposed to do because he is the closer.

However, if he gives up the long ball, “he is a choker,” “a fraud,” “a disappointment,” and a bad memory forever.

On the other hand, if the batter grounds out, “he gave it his all,” “it wasn’t meant to be,” “he will get him next year,” and we forget after he hits a homer the next season.
That sounds better, right? What sounds even better is if he does get the walk-off hit and becomes “a hero.”

If Brad Lidge strikes out Albert Pujols in game five of the NLCS, the replay is never repeated over and over on Sports Center’s top 10, probably because there is no “Top 10 Strikeouts to End a Series” because they all look the same.

However, since Pujols’ home run ball off Lidge still hasn’t landed yet, the moment will be replayed on televisions forever.

So just remember, both the hitter and the pitcher are under a lot of pressure. Nobody wants to disappoint their team. The only difference is if the batter gets out, he has to live with it for the whole off season.

If the pitcher gives up the home run, he has to live with it for the rest of his life.


Howard had a ‘sick feeling’ last October

First baseman tosses the ball during drills on Feb. 17. He's looking to erase the "sick feeling" in his stomach after being called out on strikes to end the Phillies season in the NLCS (Photo courtesy of The Zo Zone).

The count was full to Ryan Howard. He had runners on first and second with two outs and the Phillies trailed the Giants, 3-2, in Game 6 of the NLCS.

Brian Wilson’s slider crossed the plate. Howard’s bat never flinched. Home plate umpire Todd Hallian pulled the trigger, sending the Giants to the World Series.

Howard just stood there as he half-argued the call, knowing he should have swung at anything close.

“I guess when you make the last out you probably would be pretty disappointed,” Howard told reporters yesterday. “It took me a little while to let it go. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I was really excited and raring to go to get back here this year to get started.”

Howard doesn’t watch tape. He doesn’t care to. He wouldn’t even tell the reporters if he thought it was still a ball or not.

Howard also told reporters he didn’t work with Barry Bonds like he did last offseason, instead “layed low for the most part. I was up in Philly for a while. Just pretty much between Philly and here, and St. Louis for the holidays.”

Howard also spoke about his ankle, which he said was a “98 percent.

“Ankle is good. Ankle is really good,” Howard said. “I’m pretty much like 98 percent. There’s a little bit of tightness, a lit bit of soreness every once in a while. But it’s good to go…

“I’m doing everything (I normally do). My offseason training, I was able to do everything. Everything is pretty much good with my ankle. It’s probably just a little bit of tightness here and there.”

You can read the highlights of the press conference yesterday on Todd Zolecki’s blog. Howard also talked about Albert Pujols, his swing, his fielding and the offense.

Christmas Buying Guide for MLB Players

Oh I am in a Christmassy mood. It must be because feeling kinda Christmassy or it must be that time of year again. If you could buy your favorite Major League Baseball players something for Christmas, what would you buy? After a lot of careful scientifical research and some loose thoughts running wild, here is a list as to what I would buy selected MLB players for the holidays.

Roy Halladay (Philadelphia Phillies Ace 1): A small nation in the South Pacific, Eastern Bloc, or South Atlantic

I would buy Roy Halladay a country. That’s right, a country. Why a country? Halladay already owns everything except a World Series ring. And you can’t buy a World Series ring…. wait never mind, the Yankees proved you could. But I digress. So I would buy the reigning NL Cy Young winner a country. He already leads a team, in the Phillies, and commands a nation (the Phillies Nation). So what better gift than a small country. I’m thinking something in the Eastern Bloc, like Crimea or maybe Latvia or Estonia. Hell, maybe not even a small country, I might just go for broke and buy him Russia; seeing as his eyesight is so good he can see Russia from his house….in FLORIDA.

Kyle Kendrick (bag of baseballs the Phillies run out every fifth day): Pitching for Dummies and MLB 10: The Show for PS3

For those of you don’t know one of my favorite players is Kyle Kendrick. Don’t ask, long story that I am saving for another time. Since he has some “issues” with pitching “consistently” I would buy him Pitching for Dummies (if they actually make that book). He could learn a thing from it: consistency. Consistency of the paper, that is. As a stocking stuffer, I’d buy him MLB 10: The Show for PlayStation 3. Why? That way he can see how much virtual KK is better than real life KK.

Joe Blanton (Pitcher for the Phillies) and CC Sabathia (Ace for the Yankees): A restaurant/fast food chain/IHOP and maybe weight watchers

“Oh wow Bmac, fat jokes, really? Come on you’re better than that!” Yeah but I only speak the truth! That is what I get both Blanton and Sabathia; some form of food empire to manage/eat at. Both are big guys, so both have mighty appetites. So why not buy them both a food empire to eat at/manage. And as a stocking stuff I’d give CC a five-year membership to Weight Watchers. 310 pounds at 6’7” CC? Damn son. Blanton not so much, I think he is more just a big guy. But CC? Oh definitely the Weight Watchers.

Danys Baez (Overpaid reliever for the Phillies): One way ticket back to Cuba.

He can take his almost 5+ Career ERA and almost 2+ Career WHIP with him. He can go back and dominate Cuban ball, but his days of dominating MLB hitters (if he even did that) has past him. I mean come on Danys, you can’t win when you get two outs and then allow 4 runs to cross before you get lifted or get the third out! That may* work in Cuba, but not here in the States.

*Sidenote: yes… okay that MAY work when your leading by six. But I’m just saying.

Jayson Werth (Outfielder for the Nationals): A box of tissues for his issues

I buy Jayson Werth, the newest National, a box of tissues. No not because I’m cheap, well okay yes I am, but because of all the crying he will be doing when Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, and maybe Kendrick strike his ass out. Not only that, the tissues will come in handy for when he is also crying his eyes out at home; which is where his butt will be come every October of his seven year, eleventh billion dollar contract. There’s no crying in baseball, unless Roy Halladay is pitching and you’re a Met or Yankee… or Jayson Werth.

Brian Wilson (Closer for the San Fran Giants): An electric or straight razor

I don’t fear that beard. Hell, I’m more afraid of him blowing a bomb up than him dropping a slider on 3-2 with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 of the NLCS. That beard is hideous and it makes him look like terrorist. Rumor has it that he has been through the new TSA pat down several times because of the beard and suspiciousness of it. Rumor also has it that he liked it, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I’d buy him a razor. Dude, you have to shave the beard, if you do, I may buy you a beer (probably not). I’m sorry, Brian Wilson… but Roy Halladay’s beard is better than yours. Also, Roy Halladay doesn’t fear Brian Wilson’s beard. Brian Wilson’s Beard fears Roy Halladay.

Logan Morrison (Marlins OF and somehow a Philly fan favorite): A “Facebroke” shirt from the ZooWithRoy T-Shirt shop

Logan Morrison, the Malrins left fielder and somehow a Philly fan favorite. How that is, I don’t know. But I do know that I would buy him a “Facebroke” shirt. Why? Because he will face broken by the end of the season from facing Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels (maybe Kendrick too, doubt though). It is said that for a person to be canonized for sainthood by the Catholic church, proof of at least one miracle needs to be established. Of all the miracles recognized, it can be said that no saint has ever gotten as much as a foul-tip off of a Roy Halladay pitch – and it may never be achieved. Now imagine trying to do that against the other three (and Kendrick). Yeah… thought so. LoMo will be using Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as his walk up music because it is actually a song to give hope to all those who face Roy Halladay. Needless to say, the song is lying.

David Wright (New York Mets Third Baseman): shorter fences and some legal “Testosterone”

Since no one can hit a homer in Bailout Bank… I mean CITI Field. I would buy David Wright some shorter fences or some legal Testosterone because he can’t hit a homer in this park. I mean, if I can hit one [A home run] in MLB 10: The Show, what makes you think it’s possible to it in real life. Unless you’re Chase Utley and hit it into his corner out in right center. Either that or I’d buy him some legal “stuff” to help him hit something, cause he hits like a pu…. I mean woman.

Johan Santana (Mets Ace and resident sad-sack): A better offense/better team

And finally we come to our final MLB player on my list: Mets Ace and resident sad-sack, Johan Santana. I’d buy Johan some offense…. CORRECTION a BETTER offense than what he has now. I kind of feel sorry for the guy. He has a lousy offense and plays for a lousy New York team (not the Bronx team either). I mean I thought if Pittsburgh was baseball Hell then Washington and the New York (Mets) must be baseball Purgatory. With a better team he could pitch like the ace he is without worrying about run support. Then again… I do like to laugh at the Mets.

Uribe Leads Giants to World Series

It’s always a tough pill to swallow. Brad Lidge knows it and now Ryan Madson knows it.

This is the swing that ended the Phillies season. Juan Uribe's solo homer in the eighth inning gave the Giants the 3-2 lead and eventual win in game six, sending them to the World Series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Juan Uribe took Madson deep with two outs in the eighth inning to make it a 3-2 game. Then San Francisco’s bull pen held the lead to give the Giants their first trip to the Fall Classic since 2002 when they lost to the then Anaheim Angels in seven games.

It was the end to a weird season for the Phillies, who battled injuries and an ugly offensive slump and rode a ridiculous September to earn a fourth straight NL East title and the best record in baseball.

The Giants went to game one and five starter, Tim Lincecum, as the set-up man for closer Brian Wilson. But after striking out Werth, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back singles to chase Lincecum and force Wilson to have to make a five-out save.

After two pitches to Carlos Ruiz, Wilson got him to line out to Aubrey Huff, who flipped to second to get Victorino to end the scoring threat.

Ross Gload led-off the top of the ninth with a ground out. Rollins then worked a full count walk to bring up Placido Polanco with one out. Polanco then hit a grounder to Uribe who flipped to second but couldn’t get the double play turned.

It all came down to Chase Utley. Wilson pitched around him to get to Ryan Howard, who had not driven in a run the entire post season after having 17 last year.

With the count full, Howard looked at a pitch at the knees for strike three to end the Phillies season.

Roy Oswalt pitched an admirable game, allowing two runs, one earned, on nine hits and five strike outs in six innings of work.

The Phillies chased Jonathan Sanchez after two-plus innings. Sanchez was rattled early, giving up two runs in the first and putting batters on again in the third.

In the first, the Phils got runs from a Utley RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Werth to give them an early 2-0 lead. But the Giants got those runs back in the top of third thanks to some small hits and a Polanco error.

After walking Polanco to lead off the third, Sanchez hit Utley with a pitch. As Utley was jogging down the first base line, he picked up the ball and flipped it back to Sanchez. Sanchez didn’t like it, starting yelling at Utley and both teams’ benches cleared.

The Giants pulled Sanchez after that and let their bull pen pitch six scoreless innings to earn them the win as they represent the NL in the World Series.

2B: Utley (1), Ibanez (1).

WP: J. Lopez. LP: Madson. S: Wilson.

Boxscore.

Cain’t Handle the Giants

Matt Cain settled in and Cole Hamels did not.

That was the difference maker in game three as the Phillies lost to San Francisco, 3-0, as the Giants took a 2-1 series lead.

Cain was spectacular through seven, allowing only two hits but got a little wild with three walks and a hit batter. Cain did strike out five and didn’t allow a hard-hit ball in his outing.

Hamels’ day was done after the sixth. The left-hander was perfect through the first three innings before Edgar Renteria’s lead-off single. He went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out eight. Hamels was dominant but the lack of any support offensively did the Phils in.

The Giants got on the board first with an RBI single by Cody Ross in the fourth. Ross is now 4-for-9 with three homers and four RBIs. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Cody Ross got to the Phils again with an RBI single in the fourth with two outs to get San Fran on the board. Aubrey Huff then followed up with an RBI single to make it 2-0.

The Giants added another run in the fifth when Aaron Rowand hit a lead-off double. A couple batters later, Freddy Sanchez drove in Rowand to make it a 3-0 game.

Philadelphia finally got to Cain the seventh after he settled down but failed to capitalize. After Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch with two outs and Ross Gload forced a pinch-hit walk, Cain got Shane Victorino to ground out with a full count to end the threat.

The Giants went to the pen with Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson for the final two innings. After Lopez breezed through the eighth, Wilson closed out the ninth inning, getting Raul Ibanez to ground into a game-ending double play.

Ibanez has turned into the goat of the line up, batting .158 (3-for-19) in six playoff games. Against the left-handed Madison Bumgarner tomorrow, Charlie Manuel needs to bat Ben Francisco in game four.

WP: Cain. LP: Hamels. S: Wilson.

Boxscore.

Lincecum Just A Little Better

The pitching duel had a third party involved: home plate umpire Derryl Cousins.

Cousins was erratic as Tim Lincecum was able to best Roy Halladay as the Giants took game one of the best-of-seven series, 4-3, Saturday night.

Squeezing both pitchers and hurting batters AB’s on both sides of the plate Cousins made it difficult for both teams, and ultimately cost the Phillies the game.

With San Francisco leading 2-1 in the sixth, Halladay faced Pat Burrell with two outs and a man on second. With an 0-2 count, Cousins called Halladay’s fastball low. The next pitch, Burrell ripped an RBI double off the left field wall to give San Fran a 3-1 lead. The Giants added one more in the inning to make it 4-1.

Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth hits a two-run homer off Tim Lincecum in the sixth. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Jayson Werth’s two-run home run in the bottom of the inning made it a 4-3 game but the Phills could not get any more off of Lincecum and the Giants bull pen. Brian Wilson pitched the last four outs, allowing only a hit and hitting Carlos Ruiz while striking out four.

Halladay was sharp minus the mini meltdown after the blown call. He went seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Lincecum gave up three runs, a solo homer by Ruiz in the third and Werth’s two-run shot, in seven innings of work. He also struck out eight while allowing six hits and three walks.

Ryan Howard struck out three times in the game. In 15 postseason at-bats, Howard has struck out eight times. Jimmy Rollins is also now 1-for-16 in the playoffs. It may not be a bad idea to give Wilson Valdez a start if Rollins’ struggles persist.

It was another poor offensive performance tonight for the Phils, who despite hitting two home runs and four extra base hits, struck out 13 times.

They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. That’s a huge spot to go 0-for but the bigger problem was a lack of getting guys in scoring position rather than not doing anything with them there.

2B: Howard, Polanco. HR: Ruiz, Werth.

WP: Lincecum. LP: Halladay. S: B. Wilson.

Boxscore.

GAME 2

The Phillies will put Roy Oswalt on the mound tomorrow against the Giants. For San Francisco, Jonathan Sanchez will take the hill. Game time is 8:00 PM tomorrow on FOX. Yes, folks, four more hours of listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

NLCS Preview: Phillies vs. Giants

Phillies 97-65; 1st in NL East                      Giants: 92-70; 1st in NL West

Pitching Probables – (Likely to change).
Game 1: Tim Lincecum (16-10, 3.43) @ Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44)
Game 2: Jonathan Sanchez (13-9, 3.07) @ Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76)
Game 3: Cole Hamels (12-11, 3.06) @ Matt Cain (13-11, 3.14)
Game 4: TBA
Game 5*: TBA
Game 6*: TBA
Game 7*: TBA

Broadcast
Game 1: Oct. 16, FOX – 7:30 PM
Game 2: Oct. 17, FOX – 8:00 PM
Game 3: Oct. 19, FOX – 4:00 PM
Game 4: Oct. 20, FOX – 7:30 PM
Game 5*: Oct. 21, FOX – 7:30 PM
Game 6*: Oct. 23, FOX – 3:30 PM
Game 7*: Oct. 24, FOX – 7:30 PM

Three Phillies to Watch

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard waits during batting practice, Tuesday. Howard hit just .273 in the NLDS while striking out five times. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Roy Halladay: Once again, he will be the Phillies game one starter, going up against the Giants’ ace, Lincecum. With one career post season start under his belt, a no-hitter last Wednesday, Halladay will look to continue to be the dominate, big-game pitcher the Phils acquired him to be. The Giants offense isn’t very potent and Halladay should have no problem dominating again.

Jayson Werth: Werth was a part of their biggest problem last series, going 2-for-12 in the three-game series with five K’s. As one of Philadelphia’s best hitters, for both power and average, Werth needs to have the typical post season he enjoyed the last two seasons.

Ryan Howard: Howard is another hitter who should be dominating in this time of the season. But like Werth, Howard didn’t do too much in the NLDS, going 3-for-11 and striking out five times. Jonathan Sanchez is a tough on left-handers and with the possibility of seeing Madison Bumgarner as well, Howard could have a tough time against the Giants if he doesn’t figure out Lincecum and Cain either.

Three Giants to Watch
Tim Lincecum: He’s the Freak. He’s the best young pitcher in baseball. Arguably pitching the best performance of the NLDS (yes even better than Halladay’s no-no) with a two-hit, 14-strike out effort in game one, Lincecum can decimate any offense. But against the Phillies in Philadelphia, he has been solid at best in his career.

-June 3, 2007 — 6.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (ND)
-May 4, 2008 — 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (ND)
-September 3, 2009 — 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 B, 11 K (L)

It will be interesting to see how he does in his first career postseason. The Phillies offense is not anything that resembles the Braves.

Matt Cain: Cain is the jelly to Lincecum’s peanut butter (and you know how much stoners love PB&J). Cain had a very similar season to his Cy Young-candidate performance last season, posting a 13-11 year with a 3.14 ERA while striking out 177 batters. Cain is a very tough pitcher who is hard on both lefties and righties (opponents batted .211 right-handed and .225 left-handed this season against Cain).

Giants catcher Buster Posey celebrates with Giants closer Brad Wilson after beating the Padres to get into the playoffs. (MSN FOX)

Buster Posey: Posey should be the NL Rookie of the Year. He batted .305 with 18 homers and drove in 67 RBIs. The catcher, who is drawing comparison’s to Joe Mauer, is considered San Francisco’s best offensive weapon, which is honestly not saying much. He’s the only one really producing at a high level but his numbers alone cannot support a weak-hitting line up. The Phils could pitch around him, or even through him, and get away with it.

Starters

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley circles the bases after hitting a solo homer in the fifth inning of game three, Sunday night. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

Phillies: Mike Sweeney, Halladay, and Wilson Valdez have the three highest post season batting averages so far. That says a lot on how much the Phillies bats struggled in the NLDS. San Francisco poses much better pitching than Cincy (arguably the best staff in the majors) and could easily shut down the Phils offense if the dry spell continues.

The Phillies 3-4-5 of Chase Utley, Howard, and Werth went a combined 8-for-34 (.235 average) in the NLDS, striking out 12 times. Utley drove in four of the trio’s five runs and hit the team’s lone home run of the series.

No batter in the starting eight had more than three hits while the offense as a whole scored 13 runs but six of those runs came off of Reds errors. Another power outage like that could force the Phils into a pitcher’s duel with the Giants and that could be a very scary scenario.

Giants: The Giants offense struggled in the NLDS too. Twice they were challenged by the Braves to come back and they did so, taking games three and four in Atlanta to close out the series.

Posey is the best offensive threat this team has and that’s just about it. Pat Burrell will be the Scott Rolen of this series. He did really well in the regular season back in Philadelphia, mashing a pair of homers. If the crowd cheers him at all, they’re nuts.

The rest of their line up is filled with misfits and castaways from other teams such as Aubry Huff, Cody Ross, Juan Uribe, and Freddy Sanchez. Pablo Sandoval has had a terrible year this season but can still pose a threat.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum is the future of the Giants success.

Rotation
Phillies: What the Giants have in talent, the Phillies matched in experience. Halladay is still considered the best pitcher in baseball by many. Hamels is pitching the best season of his career, even better than his NLCS/WS MVP 2008 season. Roy Oswalt’s acquisition put this rotation over the top, giving the Phils that extra push needed to be a World Series favorite. Joe Blanton has been either great or bad for the Phils. Game 4 could swing heavily in SF’s favor because of this.

Giants: With Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants absolutely silenced the Braves offense. Lincecum is arguably the best young pitcher in the game and is pitching the best he has in 2010. Cain and Sanchez are also high up in the talks for young pitchers. If San Francisco can keep this trio intact long-term, Bobby Cox’s trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz in the 1990′s could be challenged for the greatest rotation of the last 25 years.

Bullpen
Phillies: The pen only pitched four innings this postseason so far thanks to complete games by Halladay and Hamels. Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero are their right-handed and left-handed specialists respectively. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge form a lights-out 8th/9th inning tandem.

Giants: Brian Wilson has a silly mohawk/terrorist beard combo going. But don’t let the silly get-up fool you as he’s been very good thus far in the post season closing out games. He did blow a save though but hadn’t allowed an earned run in four innings of work. The pen also has Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla, who also enjoyed great seasons pitching in the Giants pen.

Hamels Struggles Early

The stage was set for another good Cole Hamels outing with no run support.  Once again he didn’t receive any run support.  But Hamels also had a very rough outing.  Hamels was rocked for three runs in the first inning on the way to a 5-2 loss at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.

Hamels has been pitching spectactular as of late.  He unfortunately hit a bump in the road tonight.  Hamels gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.  In the first inning, he gave up RBI hits to Buster Posey, Jose Guillen, and Juan Uribe.  Hamels struggled from the very beginning, but it was his first rocky outing in quite some time.

Hamels received little offensive support once again.  The Phillies were shut down by lefty Jonathan Sanchez who at one point retired 15 consecutive batters.  They only could muster four hits in the entire ballgame with two of those coming in the ninth inning.  Shane Victorino started off the inning with a single and Chase Utley hit a one out single.  Mike Sweeney knocked in both runners with an RBI double to left.  The Phillies started to put a rally together but the Giants brought in Brian Wilson to close out the game.  Wilson got Raul Ibanez to fly out to end the game.

The Phillies took two out of three games from the San Francisco Giants.  They currently hold a one game lead in the National League Wild Card.  The Atlanta Braves lost to the Washington Nationals today which keeps the Phillies two and a half games back in the National League East.  The Phillies will send Roy Halladay to the mound to begin a weekend series against the Nationals.  A sweep would be huge for the Phillies but they need to just keep playing their game and put this bad loss behind them.

2B: Sweeney (1)

WP: Sanchez (9-8) LP: Hamels (7-10)  S: Wilson (34).

Boxscore

Late Inning Rally Sparks Win

  Wilson Valdez #21 Of The Philadelphia Phillies Hits

SS Wilson Valdez hits the go-ahead single in the 11th. Photo by Jeb Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Jayson Werth had a lot at stake during his two-out, bases-loaded, ninth-inning at-bat. The Phillies were trailing 4-1. Werth was 0-3 and in danger of ending his 20-game streak of reaching safely was in jeopardy and the Phillies were on the verge of getting swept by the Giants and dropping four straight games.

Werth came through with the big three-run double to tie the game up. After a couple wacky innings in the 10th and 11th, the Phillies held on to win 7-6 Wednesday afternoon, snapping their losing streak and preventing the sweep.

The offense needed to wake up and boy did it ever in the final moments of this game. Tim Lincecum was absolutely spectacular but once Giants manager Bruce Bochy yanked him with one out in the ninth, the Phillies had their chance.

Lincecum (4-0, 1.27) went 8.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, one walk, and striking out 11. Hamels (2-2, 5.28) was great too until the sixth inning. He lasted six, allowing four runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out 10.

Ryan Howard finally busted out of his mini slump in a big way. Facing Lincecum in the fifth, Howard homered to left for the first time in 65 AB’s. He finished 2-for-4 with a homer and double.

The Phillies got the late rally going. With runners on second and third and two outs, Howard stepped up to the plate. Brian Wilson walked Big Brown to lead the bases for Werth. Werth hit a three-run double that just squeezed in foul to tie the game up at four.

The Phillies then added a run in the top of the 10th when Brian Schneider scored on a wild pitch by Jeremy Affeldt. But San Fran answered in the bottom of the tenth as Ryan Madson blew his second save on the season, allowing an RBI single to Andres Torres.

The Phillies then tacked on two in the 11th. Raul Ibanez led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ben Francisco. Wilson Valdez then hit an RBI double to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead. They added another run when Eugenio Velez dropped a fly ball to score Valdez, making it 7-5.

But it wasn’t going to be an easy win for the Phillies. Nelson Figueroa got out of a huge jam, surrendering only one run to hold down the fort for the Phillies, earning his first career save.

Doubles: Howard (6), Werth (11), Valdez (1). HR: Howard (4).

WP: Madson (1-0). LP: Romo (0-2). S: Figueroa (1).

Boxscore.

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