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Category Archives: NLCS

2012 NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs San Francisco Giants

St. Louis: 88-74; 2nd in NL Central (2nd Wild Card)
San Francisco: 9468-74; 1st in NL West

Game 1: Oct. 14, 8:00 – (Lance Lynn vs Madison Bumgarner)
Game 2: Oct. 15, 8:00 PM – (TBA vs Ryan Vogelson)
Game 3: Oct. 17, 4:00 PM – (Adam Wainwright vs Matt Cain)
Game 4: Oct. 18, 8:00 PM – (TBA vs TBA)
Game 5*: Oct. 19, 8:00 PM
Game 6*: Oct. 21, 4:30 PM
Game 7*: Oct. 22, 8:00 PM



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The stage is set: Cardinals to face Rangers in World Series

One team has unfinished business to settle.

The other has destiny on it’s side.

On Wednesday, those two teams will meet in the 2011 Fall Classic. The St. Louis Cardinals, who capped off a miraculous September run to steal the Wild Card from the Atlanta Braves. They will host the Texas Rangers, who are playing in their second straight World Series.

St. Louis is the first Wild Card team since the 2006 Detroit Tigers to have home field advantage in the World Series. The 2004 Boston Red Sox are the last Wild Card team to host the World Series and win it. The latter knows a little bit about miracles, especially when the comeback against the New York Yankees in the ALCS and the end of an 86-year curse were complete with a sweeping of the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

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Phils Decline Romero’s Option

Let the make-over begin. The Phillies denied left-handed reliever J.C. Romero’s club option for 2011 worth #4.5 million.

The news doesn’t come to much of a surprise to the Twitter world. Romero has been a walk machine the past two seasons, never getting back to his dominant 2007 and 2008 forms.

In 2010, Romero was 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 60 appearances. He walked 29 batters and struck out 28 in 36 2/3 innings of relief. As a lefty specialist, walk totals like that couldn’t happen.

It was the reason Romero only pitched one inning in two relief stints in the post season, none coming in the NLCS loss to the San Francisco Giants.

Will the Phillies attempt to bring Romero back for cheaper? It will be interesting.

Or did they like what they saw in left-hander Antonio Bastardo? Bastardo got one more appearance than Romero in the post-season but also had a strong end of the regular season.

Either way, the Phillies are already planning to field a different team next season in hopes to win a fifth straight division title and earn their way back to the World Series.

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.


Rally Time 2.0

It’s Rally Time!

The Phillies are continuing on their come back in the NLCS. Down, 3-2, in the series, the Phillies will have Roy Oswalt on the mound tonight to face San Francisco’s left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Game time was moved to 7:30 PM and is still on FOX.

One game at a time, folks!

BREAKING: Doc Pulls Groin in Game 5

Charlie Manuel informed the reporters in his post game press conference that Roy Halladay suffered a mild groin pull in the second inning of game five on Thursday.

Halladay pitched four more innings after the groin pull en route to his second playoff win. But Halladay said it was a similar injury to what he suffered last year but isn’t as serious. Manuel said that he could be available for a game seven relief appearance.

It’s Rally Time!

It’s Rally Time!

The Phillies start their historical path to a third straight World Series berth tonight at 7:30 PM on Fox. Trailing 3-1 in the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, Roy Halladay takes the hill to face Tim Lincecum, who bested Doc in game one.

One game at a time, folks.

The Wonderfully Wizardly Oswalt

The difference in this NLCS is going to be the Phillies’ ability to put runs up on the board. You saw just that Sunday night as the offense erupted in the seventh inning to pull away from San Francisco and win, 6-1, in game two of the NLCS.

Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt points at a pop-up in the eighth inning. Oswalt dominated for eight innings to send the series to San Francisco tied. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The star of the night goes to Roy Oswalt. His gem along with the bats awakening will send the Phils to San Francisco with a tied series. Oswalt went eight innings, allowing a run on three hits and three walks while striking out nine. His only mistake came to non-other than Cody Ross, who hit his third home run of the NLCS in the fifth inning.

The Phillies took the 1-0 lead in the first inning without even recording a hit. A walk to Chase Utley, an error on a Placido Polanco ground ball, and a walk to Ryan Howard loaded the bases. After Jayson Werth struck out, Jimmy Rollins walked in the first run of the game.

Ross’ solo blast into the left field bleachers tied the game at one before the Phils answered in the bottom half. Shane Victorino led-off with a double to left field. Utley and Polanco hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to bring Polanco home, making it a 2-1 game.

The Phillies then erupted for four runs in the seventh inning. Oswalt helped his own cause with a lead-off single. Victorino then bunted Oswalt over and the Giants walked Utley to get to Polanco.

Polly hit an RBI single to score Oswalt, who ran through Sam Perlozzo’s stop sign to make it a 3-1 game. After Howard’s strike out, the Jeremy Affeldt walked Werth to get to Rollins.

After Oswalt’s start, Ryan Madson hit a small scare, giving up a couple base runners before sealing the door shut in the ninth inning.

Short stop Jimmy Rollins came up with the biggest hit of his post-season, a three-run double in the seventh that blew the game wide open. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

With a lot of scrutiny for Rollins’ spot in the line up and if the Phils should go to Wilson Valdez, Rollins answered the call with the bases loaded. J-Roll hit a line drive off the top of the right field wall to empty the bases and make it a 6-1 game.

Victorino, Howard, and Rollins each had two-hit games, making up for the struggles on Saturday. Rollins was especially clutch, driving in four runs on the game and having the type of performance he needed to get himself back in the swing of things.

2B: Howard (2), Victorino (1), Rollins.

WP: Oswalt. LP: Sanchez.


Game Three

The Phillies will head to San Francisco for the next three games, tossing Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, and Roy Halladay. Matt Cain will get the start for the Giants tomorrow with Madison Bumgarner likely going game four and Tim Lincecum in game five.

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

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.


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.

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.

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.

2009 Phillies Moment #1

In Game 4 of the NLCS, the Phillies were down to their final two outs, and it looked like the Dodgers might even up the series at 2 games apiece.  Matt Stairs led the rally with a walk, and then Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch to put the go-ahead run on base.  Greg Dobbs lined to second for the second out, bringing up Jimmy Rollins.  Rollins had been struggling in the series, hitting .167 to that point. 

Rollins ripped Jonathan Broxton’s 99 mile per hour fastball into right center field, scoring pinch runner Eric Bruntlett easy and Carlos Ruiz slid in for the game winner. 

Rollins rounded second and got mobbed at third base by his teammates.  After taking a shaving cream pie to the face, Rollins said:

I’m all right. I had to curl up in the fetal position and throw some punches of my own.

Manager Charlie Manuel added:

He likes the moment. He wants to be there, and he can control his adrenaline and he can handle the moment. The bigger the stage, the better he likes to play.

The Phillies used their momentum earned in Game 4 to win Game 5 easily, 10-4 and advance to the World Series for the second straight year.