Knuckleballs

Unpredictable, rare, and occasionally effective…but always entertaining.

Live Blog: Giants-Phillies V

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Well, it was fun to do the first time and the response was fairly positive, so I thought I’d try it again.  The Giants will try to close out the Phillies to go to their first World Series in eight years, and, oh yeah, it’s Halladay-Lincecum.  Let’s get to it:

4:56 PM PST:  I’ll say this for San Francisco fans: there is no worse feeling than losing a Game 5 at home with your ace on the mound.  It seems like there are three chances to close this out, but if the Phillies win, they go back home only needing two wins with Oswalt and Hamels pitching.  It no longer seems so daunting.  I’m writing this as a someone who had this happen to him three years ago.  The Indians never had a lead in Game 5, and Josh Beckett beat CC Sabathia for the second time in the series.  The Indians never led again in the series (down 10-1 after 3 in Game 6 and Jake Westbrook gave up a run in each of the first three innings in Game 7) and the 2007 ALCS reached the level of the 1995 World Series in the Hennessey household.

4:59 PM:  Big Time Timmy Jim starts off with Victorino with four fastballs and gets a weak pop-up to first.  The fastballs are a good sign; he got the Braves out in the Division Series by throwing a bunch of crap and watching them swing.  The Phillies won’t help him out that much, and I think not adjusting his game plan hurt him a little in Game 1 of the NLCS.

5:01 PM:  All fastballs to Polanco as well, who hits a fliner to Torres in center.  I like that Bochy has gone back to Torres for Game 5.  If he’s your guy, you have to run him out there unless he’s actually hurt.  If he just sucks lately, well, there is a reason he’s played more than Roward this year.

5:03 PM:  First changeup to Utley gets a weak groundball to second.  12 pitches, 11 fastballs, 3 outs: excellent start for Lincecum.

5:06 PM:  Watching Halladay’s first three pitches to Torres, seems like the strike zone is shifting with the count.  Both 2-0 pitches to the leadoff hitters looked a little low, but were given to the pitcher; both also happened after the second pitch looked like a strike.

5:07 PM:  Torres walks and that’s a nice bonus for the Giants.  Not too many gifts from Halladay usually.

5:08 PM:  Torres goes on a 1-0 pitch and Sanchez lines the ball back up the middle; 1st and 3rd, no one out.  This should be multiple runs, I don’t care who is pitching.  No matter what Manuel and Bochy say, playing for one run (for the game) in the top of the first inning is stupid.

5:11 PM:  Huff lines one to first and that’s just bad luck.  Nice play by Howard diving to his right.

5:12 PM:  That’s about as strange of a 4-3 fielder’s choice as I’ve ever seen.  Posey hits a dribbler to Utley who was going to try to tag Sanchez and still get Posey at first; instead, the ball bounces off Utley’s glove and he has to just flip it (non-chalantly I might add) to second (Sanchez stopped running to avoid being tagged).  Another good break for the Giants, and it’s 1-0.  Game over for Bochy, he can stop managing now.

5:13 PM:  Halladay strikes out Burrell and escapes.  Unfortunately, Bochy decided he only needed one run to win and called off the dogs.

5:16 PM:  After an inning of fastballs, first pitch curve to Ryan Howard.  Scouting report on Howard: loves fastballs and the Meatball Marinara footlong, hates offspeed pitches and anything you put vegetables on.  And strikeout.  Scene.

5:21 PM:  Hey, the outside corner does exist!  Lincecum gets a Werth looking on a pitch that couldn’t have been more perfect; not sure what Werth would have done with that besides hit a dribbler to second.

5:23 PM:  And Lincecum is perfect through two on just 26 pitches (16 strikes).  If he keeps it up, he could probably trade in Big Time Timmy Jim for the Freaky Franchise.

5:27 PM:  Halladay just got away with one against Cody Ross on a 1-2 pitch; it was the same location of the pitches that Ross has been terrorizing.    Doesn’t matter, he gets Ross swinging on the next pitch.  PS Also doesn’t matter: it’s still Cody-tober…am I right?

5:31 PM:  After an extensive discussion about Pablo Sandoval’s conditioning, he grounds out to shortstop.  That’s one of those situations where I wish they’d show Buck and McCarver in the booth so that Buck could put his hands in the air like, “I don’t know what he’s saying either!”

5:35 PM:  Halladay is through two, but after 43 pitches.  All three Giants in the second had good at-bats against him, and Sandoval and Uribe hit the ball pretty hard.  Something to keep an eye as we get into the middle of the game.

5:37 PM:  Raul Ibanez hits a bleeder into right-center as he almost falls over swinging, and the Phillies have a little something going with the bottom of the order.  After Ben Francisco’s Game 4 performance, I’ll be surprised to see The Franchise get too many more at-bats in this series (also, after that hit, Lincecum is back to Big Time Timmy Jim).

5:39 PM:  A slider gets away from Lincecum and hits Ruiz on the arm; with Halladay coming up, a bunt is the easy call.

5:40 PM:  Well, that was weird.  Halladay bunts the ball onto the plate, Posey grabs it in foul territory and fires to third, Sandoval misses the base trying to get back to it (he was playing in for the bunt), and Halladay never moved because he thought it was foul so Sandoval had plenty of time to throw Halladay out at first.  Uh, I guess the Phillies got what they wanted, but Ibanez was almost out at third (on a bunt that was foul) and Halladay could have been on first if he had run as soon as he bunted the ball.  Either way, score it: Sacrifice Bunt 2-5-3.

5:41 PM:  Back to the top of the order, Victorino.  He hits a two-hopper to Huff on a fairly easy hop and it bounces off the heel of Huff’s glove and into shallow centerfield.  Both runs score and Victorino ends up at second.  Unfortunately, Bochy has to wake up to try to help his team score more runs.

5:44 PM:  Polanco singles to left and Victorino scores.  What a mess of an inning for the Giants.  Still only one out.

5:49 PM:  After a long at-bat, Utley singles up the middle and Polanco, running on the pitch, moves to third.  “And at some point, Ryan Howard is going to have to chip-in with an RBI,” says Joe Buck.  Yeah, he’s hitting 0.357 in the series.  His bad.

5:52 PM:  Howard strikes out on a 1-2 changeup, but Utley steals second.  2nd and 3rd, 2 outs.

5:53 PM:  Just thinking out loud: this would be an excellent time for Werth to make himself a lot of money.

5:53 PM:  Werth is already to going to make a lot of money this winter; adding “clutch” to the packet that Scott Boras will be sending everyone will help.

5:54 PM:  A harmless fly to left and the inning is over.  All of a sudden, Halladay has a two-run lead; guy just knows how to win games.  Lincecum with 27 pitches in that inning after just 26 in the first two combined.

6:02 PM:  An infield single by Torres in the bottom of the third, but otherwise a quick inning.  Only 12 pitches for Halladay, now at 55 for the game.

6:09 PM:  A Rollins strikeout, Ibanez line out to third (shattered bat), and Ruiz ground to short make up the top of the fourth.  14 pitches.  The bat that shattered ending up sticking straight out of the ground…seems very safe.

6:13 PM:  Posey leads off the bottom of the fourth with a groundout to Rollins.  Halladay looking more like Halladay for the last four hitters; he’s retired seven in a row.

6:13 PM:  JINX! Burrell smokes an inside fastball into the left field corner and hustles into second.  Watching Pat Burrell run hurts.  And look who’s coming to bat…

6:13 PM:  I realized what I just wrote is insanity…every Cody Ross at-bat is an event now and expectations are out of control.

6:15 PM:  I’m the greatest!  Ross doubles down the right field line and it’s a one-run game.

6:17 PM:  Sandoval flies out to Werth, who throws a BB to third to nail Ross trying to advance.  Because apparently there were things Cody Ross could do with from third with two outs that he couldn’t do from second.  Also now apparent: Cody Ross is fallible.  We’re through four, 3-2 Phillies.  Halladay 66 pitches (45 strikes), Lincecum 71 pitches (47 strikes).

6:23 PM:  1-2-3 for Lincecum (with a little help from Uribe) in the fifth as he sets aside Halladay, Victorino, and Polanco on nine pitches.

6:28 PM:  With two outs in the fifth, Ryan Howard has a ball hit off the heel of his glove and the ball rolls toward Utley, but Torres reaches first.  Let’s see if the Giants can make the Phillies pay.  My guess: no.

6:30 PM:  Well, Sanchez did his part.  A single to left off the end of the bat on a tough off-speed pitch puts runners at first and third for Aubrey Huff.  The rain is visible on the television now; I was never sure who this bothered more.  Hitters have to see the ball and grip the bat.  Pitchers have to grip the ball and go through their motion.  I side with advantage: pitchers.

6:33 PM:  Huff hits a ball 25 feet and Ruiz makes a nice play to throw him out at first.  Definitely a missed opportunity there.

6:40 PM:  Lincecum retires the heart of the Phillie order.  89 pitches.

6:41 PM:  6 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts, no walks.  Lincecum has pitched really well except that he gave up all three hits in the third inning (and let’s not forget Sandoval missing third and Huff’s error).

6:44 PM:  Buster Posey leads off the bottom the sixth against Halladay.  Apparently, Buster Posey reminds some people of Derek Jeter; I had no idea he hated A-Rod also.

6:46 PM:  He draws a walk laying off two knee-high pitches.  Might seem stupid to say, but he’s really good.  Just things like only swinging at strikes make him a really good player.  UPDATE: Maybe he should have struck out. He’s still good.

6:50 PM:  After Burrell popped out to shortstop, Cody Ruth (Babe Ross?  Nope, got it: George Herman Ross.)  strikes out.

6:53 PM:  Sandoval rips a ball through the hole on the right side of the infield and Posey stops at second.

6:56 PM:  Situation: 1st and 2nd, two out, down one, bottom 6th.  Mike Fontenot has stepped on-deck to hit for Buster Posey.  My question is: is it worth walking Uribe to get Lincecum out of the game?  Probably not, because Uribe will get himself out a lot.  Also because Lincecum probably only has one more inning.  And because the Giants bullpen is good.  But if not for all of those reasons, I’d think twice about it.

6:57 PM:  Uribe gets himself out swinging at ball four, and Halladay is through 6 innings.  108 pitches, 6 hits, 2 walks, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts.  One more inning?  I say yes.

7:02 PM:  After a Jimmy Rollins single, Lincecum gets Ibanez on a change up check swinging.  He had no idea what the last two pitches were.

7:04 PM:  Rollins steals second.  He hasn’t been very good since the last two seasons, particularly considering the peak of his powers during his 2007 MVP season, but he always seems to help out somehow.  Maybe I just really like that Dick’s commercial that he’s in.

7:06 PM:  Rollins steals third.  He’s (now) the greatest.  The two stolen bases added almost half a run to the expected run total this inning for the Phillies.  I know runs don’t count until they score (and that math is hard), but that matters.

7:07 PM: Ruiz walks, and Buck and McCarver speculate that Bochy might go to Javier Lopez.  Don’t do it, Boch.

7:09 PM:  And sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.  Pinch-hitter Ross Gload smokes a ball into Aubrey Huff’s glove, and he steps on first to double-up Ruiz.  Lincecum: 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs (2 earned…debatable), 7 strikeouts, 104 pitches.

7:11 PM:  I would like a hat with the entire city of San Francisco on it also.

7:16 PM: Contreras is in for Philadelphia, and thinking back on it, Halladay did look kind of gassed.  It’s seemingly just so easy for him to throw 125 pitches.  Now Fontenot pinch hits, and he whiffs on four pitches.

7:19 PM:  Torres dribbles one up the middle, and the Giants have something going with the heart of the order coming up.  But Freddy Sanchez has to hit first.  Those are the rules.

7:21 PM:  Sanchez lines out to third, and that’s it for Jose Contreras.  J.C. Romero coming in.

7:21 PM:  I still think the Taco Bell commercial with Girardi and Rivera is funny.  Finish your chalupa, son.

7:25 PM:  Huff gets jammed, hit a dying quail toward second, and Utley could not have caught the ball with any less of his glove.  It stayed in though and it’s 3-2 as we go to the 8th.

7:29 PM:  Romo in for the Giants, and he gets Victorino to bounce to first.  His beard looks like the fake ones people have been wearing in honor of Brian Wilson’s.  Either way, they are both gross.

7:35 PM:  Romo walks Polanco, prompting Bochy to bring in Lopez to face Utley and Howard.  Giants can’t afford to give up any more runs given how difficult it is for them to score.

7:38 PM:  Lopez strikes out Utley looking; Utley now 0 for 9 against Lopez in their careers.

7:40 PM:  And Howard hits a lazy flyball right at Burrell.  Posey-Burrell-Ross coming up for the Giants.

7:48 PM:  Madson in for the Phillies and strikes out Posey and Burrell, both swinging.

7:48 PM:  Glad we’re done with those two because G. H. Ross is up!

7:51 PM:  Madson strikes out the side, getting out two of the greatest ten hitters in Giants history.  The list in a very particular order: Jeff Kent, Buster Posey, Willie McCovey, J.T. Snow, Ryan Garko, Mel Ott, Barry Bonds, Cody Ross, Willie Mays, and Duane Kuiper.

7:53 PM:  Jayson Werth homers down the right field line off Ramon Ramirez.  The vibe I’ve gotten from his pending free agency is that the Phillies are just going to let him go because of Dominic Brown; I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s my perception, and it seems crazy to me.  4-2 Phillies.

8:00 PM:  A Rollins flyout, an Ibanez single, and a Ruiz flyout occur.  The last five minutes have bored me.

8:01 PM:  Luckily Charlie Manuel saves me; he puts in The Franchise to pinch hit.  A dribbler on a half-swing to third and Sandoval makes an errant throw to first.  First and second with 2 out and Bochy is bringing in Affeldt to face Victorino.

8:05 PM:  Victorino strikes out, leading to my favorite ten minutes in sports: Brad Lidge Time.  I think Uribe should go up to bat wearing an Albert Pujols mask.  If he taped “Pujols” over “Uribe” on the back of his jersey and just showed it to Lidge, would that be enough?  I say yes.

8:07 PM:  That home run always makes me forget Brad Lidge is a really good pitcher who gave up one really long home run at a bad time.

8:08 PM:  Just looked it up: that ball Pujols hit off Lidge is currently orbiting Saturn.

8:09 PM:  Paraphrasing but “the best thing that happened last inning was Werth’s home run” and “the Giants can’t tie the game without someone getting on base.”  Two pieces of analysis from Mitch Williams in ten seconds.  Changed my life.  I wish there were more ways to use math to analyze baseball.

8:10 PM:  Two guys coming up who will try to tie the game with one swing.  Oh wait, they need a guy on base first.  My fault.

8:10 PM:  I promise, Juan Uribe will not get cheated when he takes his hacks.

8:11 PM:  Sandoval pops out to right leading off the 9th and Uribe follows by grounding out to shortstop.

8:13 PM:  Ishikawa strikes out in the pitcher’s slot and that looked easy for Lidge.  Back to Philadelphia for Game 6 on Saturday night.  All of a sudden, it feels like the Phillies…well, let’s let them play more games first.  Momentum, thy name is Roy Oswalt.

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Written by Dan Hennessey

October 21, 2010 at 8:05 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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