The Phils have lost game three of the NLCS, shut down by Matt Cain in a game where they looked old, hurt and a little helpless. Only the Phillies know how hurt they are, but they’re not that old and they’re sure not helpless. The team seems to be wound up about as tight as a team can be, like they come into every at-bat intent to demonstrate once and for all that they haven’t lost a thing since 2008. That’s not going to work because it’s not true, but it’s also unnecessary. They are going to be fine if they can just be as good as they are right now.
Hamels pitched well yesterday, but if you know of any pitchers who can get your team a win when they don’t score any runs you need to get in touch with the Phillies as soon as possible. Cody Ross got the scoring started again as his two-out single in the fourth scored Renteria to put the Giants up 1-0. Aubrey Huff followed that with another single that plated Burrell and extended the lead to 2-0. Aaron Rowand led off the fifth with a double and scored with two outs when Freddy Sanchez hit a ball to second that Utley should have handled, making it 3-0. That was all the San Francisco pitchers needed. Matt Cain was awesome, holding the Phils to two singles and three walks over seven innings. Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson backed him up with scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth.
I’m trying hard not to like Cody Ross, but I just can’t do it. That guy is having quite a series.
The Phils trail the Giants two games to one in the NLCS after losing 3-0 yesterday.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out eight.
He faced a Giants lineup that went (1) Edgar Renteria (SS/R) (2) Freddy Sanchez (2B/R) (3) Buster Posey (C/R) (4) Pat Burrell (LF/R) (5) Cody Ross (RF/R) (6) Aubrey Huff (1B/L) (7) Uribe (3B/R) (8) Rowand (CF/R). Fontenot and Torres to the bench. Renteria at short and leads off with Uribe back in the lineup after missing game two, but now at third. Rowand makes his first start of the series in center with Torres on the bench. Posey moves up to third, with Huff dropped to fifth and Burrell moved up to the cleanup spot.
The Giants had six players on the bench to start the game. Lefties Travis Ishikawa, Mike Fontenot and Nate Schierholtz, switch-hitters Andre Torres and Pablo Sandoval and righty Eli Whiteside.
He threw a 1-2-3 first, getting Renteria to fly to center for the first out, Sanchez on a ground ball to short for the second and Posey on a ground ball to third for the third.
Burrell struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out in the second. Ross grounded to short with the count full for the second. Huff flew to Werth on an 0-1 pitch for the third.
Uribe swung at his first pitch of the third and grounded to short. Rowand struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. The pitcher Cain struck out swinging 2-2 as well to end the inning.
Hamels got ahead of Renteria to start the fourth, but Renteria lined a 1-2 pitch over the head of Utley and into right for a single. Sanchez bunted Renteria to second with the first out. Posey went down swinging at a 3-2 fastball for the second out. Burrell got a close call on a 2-1 pitch that must have been off the corner, and then walked on the 3-1 offering. It put men on first and second for Ross and Ross did it again, lining a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Renteria scored easily and Burrell took third with the Giants up 1-0. Huff was next and he hit a ball that went off the tip of the glove of a diving Utley and into right for a single. Burrell scored to make it 2-0 with Ross moving to third. Uribe popped to Utley in short right field to leave the runners stranded.
Rowand led off the fifth and ripped a double into the left field corner. Cain tried to bunt him to third, but struck off bunting a 1-2 pitch foul for the first out. Renteria flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second. Sanchez was next and hit a soft liner on a 1-2 pitch right in front of Utley. Utley tried to short hop the ball, but it went off his right arm and rolled away from him. Rowand scored to make it 3-0. The play was originally called an error, but was changed to a hit, giving Sanchez a single and an RBI. Posey struck out swinging at a high 2-2 pitch for the third out.
That’s an error on Utley. Not an easy play, but it would have been a nice one to have. Rowand was running with two outs, but if Utley had even kept the ball in front of him he probably would have had a chance to keep Rowand from scoring.
Hamels struck out Burrell and Ross to start the sixth. Huff popped up to the mound for the third out.
Contreras pitched the seventh after the Giants hit for Hamels in the top of the inning. He got Uribe on a popup in front of the plate that Ruiz handled for the first out and then struck Rowand out swinging 1-2 for the second. The switch-hitter Torres hit for Cain, who had thrown 119 pitches in the game, and grounded back to the mound for the third out.
Contreras was back for the eighth. He got Renteria to pop to short, Sanchez to fly to center and Posey on a pop to Utley taken in shallow right.
Two perfect innings for Contreras, who threw 24 pitches in the game. He has now thrown three perfect innings in the series. I do think it’s a minor victory of sorts that Manuel didn’t use Madson in the game.
The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Cain went (1) Victorino (2) Utley (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. That’s the same lineup they used in game two against the lefty Sanchez. Rollins stays in the six-hole after the big game two. Utley continues to hit ahead of Polanco with Polanco the unlikely three-hitter.
The Phillies bench had six offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Domonic Brown and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.
Victorino led off the game and lined to short on a 3-1 pitch. Utley flew to center 2-2 and Polanco struck out looking at a 1-2 fastball.
Howard hit the first pitch of the second inning hard, but Rowand took it on the warning track for the first out. Werth struck out looking 3-2 after he thought he had drawn a walk for the second. Rollins got behind 0-2 and then popped to third 2-2 to set the Phils down.
Ibanez struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out of the third. Ruiz lined a 2-1 pitch into center for the Phils first hit of the game. Hamels took strike one, then bunted foul before striking out swinging 1-2. Victorino was hit by a 1-0 pitch, putting runners on first and second for Utley. Utley got behind 1-2 and grounded to short to end the frame.
The Phils didn’t get a lot of chances to hit with men on in the game, but Utley got one there. Hamels was unable to move Ruiz to second after the one-out single.
Polanco grounded back to the pitcher to start the fourth. Howard blooped a single into left and Werth walked behind him, bringing Rollins to the plate with one out and men on first and second. Rollins flew to left for the second out and Ibanez struck out swinging 0-2 for the third.
Next to last real opportunity for the Phils to do some damage with runners on base. I think there’s a good chance we’ll see Francisco get a start in left tonight with Ibanez 0-for-11 in the series and looking awful.
The Phillies were trailing 2-0 when they hit in the fifth. Ruiz flew to left for the first out and Hamels hit a 2-0 pitch well, but Huff handled it at first for the second. Victorino drew a four pitch walk and stole second as Utley took ball one to make the count 1-1. Utley grounded the next pitch to second for the third out.
Again Utley with a man in scoring position. Not sure what it was about the Phils and hitting ground balls to second in the game, but if you’re reading this you might want to get used to it. The Phils didn’t ground to second at all in the first four innings, but had six ground outs to second and a popup to Sanchez at second in the last five frames.
Polanco and Howard both grounded to second for the first two outs in the sixth with the Phils now down 3-0. Werth flew to Ross in right on an 0-1 pitch for the third out.
Burrell was taken out of the game after striking out in the sixth. Ross moved to left and Schierholtz came in to play right. Cain got Rollins to ground to second for the first out. Ibanez lined to first on a 1-0 pitch for the second. Ruiz was hit on the arm with a 1-2 breaking ball, putting a man on for Hamels. Gload hit for Hamels and drew a walk. It put two men on for Victorino, but Victorino grounded to second on a 3-2 pitch to turn the Phillies away.
Ibanez hit the ball hard that time, just into bad luck.
Lefty Javier Lopez was on the mound for the Giants when the Phillies hit in the eighth. He got Utley to pop to Sanchez, the righty Polanco to ground to third and Howard swinging 1-2.
That’s the second time in the series that Lopez went through Howard and Utley without a peep. In game one he got Utley on a ground ball to second and struck Howard out to start the eighth with the Giants holding on to a 4-3 lead.
Wilson pitched the ninth. Werth struck out swinging 2-2. Rollins blasted a 1-1 pitch off the wall in right for a long single, but Ibanez grounded into a double-play to end the game.
Wilson threw ten pitches in the game and Lopez nine.
Victorino was 0-for-2 in the game with a walk and a stolen base. He’s 2-for-11 in the series.
Utley was 0-for-4, left three men on base and made a critical misplay at second that wasn’t called an error. 1-for-10 in the series with three walks.
Polanco 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-11 in the series.
Howard 1-for-4 with a strikeout. 4-for-11 with two doubles.
Werth 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. 2-for-9 with three walks and a home run in the series. 0-for-6 in games two and three of the series after going 2-for-3 with a home run in game one.
Rollins 1-for-4. 3-for-11 with a double in the series.
Ibanez was 0-for-4 in the game and struck out twice. 0-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts in the series. We’ll see what the Phillies do today against the lefty.
Ruiz 1-for-2 with a hit by pitch. 2-for-9 with a home run in the series.
Werth, Howard and Ruiz have solid offensive numbers through the first three games. The other five starters all have an OPS under .700 for the series with Polanco, Utley and Ibanez all under .500. The numbers are pretty miserable for the Giants, too. Ross is 4-for-9 with three home runs and four RBI. By OPS, among the players with more than three plate appearances, their next best player has been Burrell and Burrell has gone 2-for-9 with a double and a walk.
Joe Blanton (9-6, 4.82) faces lefty Madison Bumgarner (7-6, 3.00) tonight in game four. Bumgarner turned 21 in August and was the tenth pick in the 2007 draft. He threw to a 1.18 ERA with a 1.13 ratio over his last starts in the regular season. He made one start against the Braves in the NLDS, allowing two runs in six innings and getting the win at San Francisco topped Atlanta 3-2 in game four. He struggled at home for the season, going 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA at home and 6-3 with a 1.91 ERA on the road. He has never faced the Phillies and no current Phillie has faced him. Blanton will be making his first start since September 29 when he was fantastic, holding the Nats to an unearned run on three hits and three walks over seven innings. He made one start against the Giants this year, which came on August 18. The Phils won that game 8-2 as Blanton allowed a pair of runs over 6 1/3 innings. Both of the runs the Giants scored in the game came on solo homers, one by Torres and one by Burrell. It was Burrell’s third career home run off of Blanton — he’s 3-for-12 with three home runs. Huff 4-for-20 with two doubles. Uribe 1-for-11. Ross 3-for-11 with a double and a home run. Sanchez 2-for-7 with two doubles. Fontenot 2-for-9. Rowand 2-for-4 with two doubles. Torres 1-for-3 with a home run. Posey 1-for-3. Renteria 0-for-3. Sandoval 0-for-6.