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October 19 San Francisco Chronicle:
“Matt Cain has had plenty of time to rest, to watch, to think. He has had 10 days off since his last start.
“I’m sure he’ll be the same old Matt,” catcher Buster Posey said. “Aggressive in the zone, filling it up, letting the defense work.”
Cain, the Giants’ Game 3 starter, said he has been preparing as usual despite the long layoff, and his plan hasn’t changed, either, though the Phillies switched their approach against Game 2 starter Jonathan Sanchez, showing more patience.
October 19 Camden Courier-Post:
“Sunday, Charlie Manuel said his plan was still to give Joe Blanton the ball in Wednesday’s Game 4 of the NLCS. One day later, he provided a little more wiggle room for his decision.
“We’ll play the game (today),” Manuel said of Game 3. “Does it impact (Game 4)? I don’t know exactly. We’ll just wait and see.”
Manuel’s other option would be pitching Roy Halladay on short rest then likely doing the same with Roy Oswalt in Game 5. Those two pitchers are a combined 10-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 15 career starts on short rest.
The biggest wild card for the Phillies would be tonight’s Game 3 starter, Cole Hamels, who could theoretically take the mound on short rest for a potential Game 6, should Manuel decide to alter his rotation and skip Blanton entirely.
October 19 Camden Courier-Post columnist Kevin Callahan:
“Sunday night, once again, Charlie Manuel stuck with his player.
And, once again, the player delivered.
Talk at Citizens Bank Park focused on struggling Jimmy Rollins, whom many thought should be benched. After all, he wasn’t even hitting his weight.
Instead, Manuel stuck with his shortstop.
And, in the seventh inning, with the bases loaded, Rollins responded.
He blasted one off the right-center field wall to clear the bases and rip open Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
It was just the latest example of Manuel standing by his player.
October 19 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Yesterday afternoon, beneath a milky-blue Northern California sky, Jayson Werth and Domonic Brown took a walk around one of the most unusual rightfields a player will encounter. In the shadow of the 24-foot brick wall that rises above the warning track, the veteran talked shop with the rookie, pointing out the various idiosyncrasies of an outfield that can make even the most accomplished of fielders feel as if he is chasing a pinball.
“I think at one point I said this is probably one of the toughest rightfields to play,” Werth recalled later, “just because of the angles, the way the ball flies – the ball travels kind of weird out there.”
When Werth and his teammates take the field at AT & T Park for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series this afternoon, they will have to contend with a Giants homefield advantage that has weighed heavily against them over the past few seasons. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Phillies have lost seven of 10 games against the Giants in San Francisco, while beating them in seven of 11 games at Citizens Bank Park.
Giants could use Rowand in lineup against former team
October 19 Philadelphia Daily News:
“It’s not yet official, but as of early last night, all signs pointed to former Phillies centerfielder Aaron Rowand figuring prominently in a shakeup Giants manager Bruce Bochy hopes will revive his team’s offense in advance of Game 3.
Although short on specifics, Bochy acknowledged that the Giants’ inability to get much going offensively necessitated some changes. The Giants are hitting .194 in the NLCS and .206 in the playoffs.
Bochy said he’s not ready to push the panic button, but isn’t going to stand by idly, either.
“There are times when you have to tweak it,” Bochy said. “You go with the hot hand and move things around just to shake it up. We did it during the regular season and we’ll do it in the playoffs.”
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October 19 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Over the past few postseasons, the Phillies have had to contend with some of the top offensive players in the game.
Alex Rodriguez. Manny Ramirez. Carl Crawford. Prince Fielder. Ryan Braun. Carlos Gonzalez.
And . . . Cody Ross?
What he lacks in star power, the scrappy Giants outfielder has more than made up for in isolated power in the first two games of the National League Championship Series. In the Giants’ 4-3 win in Game 1, he snapped Roy Halladay’s hitless-innings streak at 12 with a home run in the fourth. Later, he took Halladay deep for a second solo shot.
On Sunday night, Roy Oswalt had held the Giants hitless through four innings when Ross launched a solo homer with one out in the fifth, his third of the NLCS and fourth in the postseason.
October 19 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Hagen:
“Welcome to Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, between your Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants. Pitching for the defending NL champions this afternoon at AT & T Park will be lefthander Cole Hamels, who . . .
Oh, yeah, all right. Technically, this isn’t the first game. It’s the third. But after the teams split at The Bank, the slate has been effectively wiped clean. Hit the reset button and start all over again as a best-of-five series for the right to advance to the World Series.
Hamels has said he didn’t mind being slotted as the No. 3 starter behind Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt going into the postseason. Maybe he even meant it. But you don’t get to be be an All-Star or an NLCS and World Series MVP without having some ego.
October 19 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann:
“Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. Phillies lead, 6-1. Two on, two out, bottom of the eighth inning. Starter Roy Oswalt still on the mound but near the end. A baseball moment.
In the Phillies’ dugout, manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee speak a few hurried words to each other, one of an on-again, off-again, never-ending series of talks that will take place over nine innings. They have been together for 6 years now. While they are not like an old married couple that finishes each other’s sentences – mostly because nobody finishes Manuel’s sentences when he gets going on a topic, not even Manuel himself – there is an obvious level of comfort there.
When Manuel popped out of the dugout and walked to the mound, most people watching figured the manager was going to make a pitching change. He did not, though.
The visit had been orchestrated with Dubee beforehand.
October 19 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan:
“Jimmy Rollins grew up just across the bay, a bridge and a world away from the glitz of San Francisco. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Phillies shortstop is coming home for the second act of the National League Championship Series.
Rollins may be from here, but he’s a Philadelphia guy now. As much as any of our adopted athletic heroes, Rollins belongs to the place where he plays rather than the place where he was born.
Thanks to these Phillies, an entire region believes its beloved baseball team can step out on the field and win and win and win. With one championship delivered, one just missed and another in their sights, these Phillies have transformed the way a city thinks of its baseball franchise and just maybe of itself.
The transformation is so thorough, so complete, it has become too easy to forget where it began: in the daring imagination and fearless voice of one James C. Rollins. It was the little shortstop with the big ideas who first declared the Phillies “the team to beat” in the National League East, who predicted a World Series title and meant it.
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