Oct 202010
Phillies LF Raul Ibanez

Phillies LF Raul Ibanez

October 20:

Phillies news and stories from around the web…

Hamels’ frustration shows in defeat

October 20 Camden Courier-Post:

“The pitch was perfect. At least that’s what Cole Hamels thought.

So when Cody Ross got his bat on the 94-mph fastball low in the zone and lifted it over third baseman Placido Polanco’s head, Hamels couldn’t help but show his frustration.

Ross, after all, has been frustrating his share of pitchers in the postseason.

“He’s been battling and hitting pitches that most normal people can’t hit at this time,” Hamels said of the Giants’ right fielder.

Ross homered twice in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, smacked a third homer in Game 2, then his single off Hamels in the fourth inning Tuesday drove in San Francisco’s first run of the game.

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Phils unable to solve Giants starter

October 20 Camden Courier-Post

“There were times Tuesday when Raul Ibanez looked absolutely lost.

He wasn’t alone. The Phillies mustered just three hits in the game. But among a litany of bad swings, Ibanez’s work stood out. After an 0-for-4 night, the Phillies’ left fielder remains hitless in the National League Championship Series.

So the question was invariably asked of Charlie Manuel when it was over: With a lefty on the mound, would Ibanez be replaced in the lineup for tonight’s game?

Manuel mulled his options for a moment before responding.

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Giants have some say in outcome, after all

October 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Hagen:

“In real life, it’s said that familiarity breeds contempt. In sports, it’s usually the opposite.

The more you see of certain players, the more they grow on you. You begin to discover (or maybe imagine) hidden attributes. An appreciation grows. Nobody is immune. Reporters tend to vote for players on the team they cover for the postseason awards. Teams routinely overvalue their own players.

So it’s probably not surprising that, back in Philadelphia, there was a strong consensus before the National League Championship Series opened that the hometown team would make short work of the San Francisco Giants and advance to the World Series for the third straight time.

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Hamels is good with bad luck

October 20 Philadelphia Daily News:

“In Cole Hamels’ blessed and wonderful world, home-plate umpire Ted Barrett was “phenomenal.”

Opposing starter Matt Cain, “phenomenal, phenomenal.”

Unfortunately for Hamels, Giant sprite Cody Ross, the deadly oxymoron, is abnormal, according to Hamels, and former teammate Pat Burrell is a great guesser.

Hamels, himself?

Pretty darned good; just a little unfortunate.

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Phillies can’t connect with runners in scoring position

October 20 Philadelphia Daily News:

“Wanted: One ball in play, preferably produced by solid contact. Must love open spaces and come with men on base. Timeframe: ASAP.

Three games into this best-of-seven National League Championship Series, the Phillies have mustered just two hits with runners in scoring position. Both of those hits came in the seventh inning of Game 2, when Jimmy Rollins cleared the bases with a double and Placido Polanco drove in Roy Oswalt with a single.

In the few opportunities that Giants righties Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have allowed, the Phillies have failed to take advantage.

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Phillies should start Halladay in Game 4

October 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Sam Donnellon:

“I’ll admit it. I tend to panic.

Especially when trying to prevent something.

I’m the guy who makes my kid take out his earphones when skateboarding.

I print out directions in addition to using the navigator.

I set two alarms and arrange a wake-up call when I have an early flight.

I think Roy Halladay should start tonight’s Game 4 instead of Joe Blanton, acknowledging all of Rich Dubee’s good reasons not to.

“Don’t slight this guy,” the Phillies’ pitching coach said of Blanton, and I don’t mean to. Read my stuff over the last few years and you will find in it a fan of Joe: of his fight, his determination, his willingness to take any role given without complaint.

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Feeble hitting puts Phillies in hole vs. Giants

October 20 Philadelphia Daily News:

“Maybe it was the ballpark. Maybe it was the pitcher on the mound. Maybe it was the sunlight. Whatever the reasons for the Phillies’ offensive futility yesterday afternoon, the only thing that really matters is the ramifications.

After a 3-0 loss to Matt Cain and the Giants at AT & T Park in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, the Phillies find themselves in perhaps their most precarious pre-World Series position of the past three seasons.

Down two-games-to-one in this best-of-seven series, they need to win three of the remaining four games, at least one of them coming in a stadium in which they have struggled to hit.

All of it sets the stage for a direly important Game 4 tonight, when righthander Joe Blanton will square off against rookie lefthander Madison Bumgarner in hopes of evening the series. In their past two NLCS series victories against the Dodgers, the Phillies took a stranglehold in Game 4, first riding eighth-inning home runs by Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs to a win in 2008, then getting a two-run, walkoff double by Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the ninth in 2009. In both cases, the Dodgers were unable to regroup for Game 5, the Phillies outscoring them in the two clinchers, 15-5

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Advice to Phillies: Give Ibanez night off, move Rollins back to leadoff

October 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann:

“The hard decision really wasn’t that hard for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Despite days of public coyness, he appears to have made it a while ago and correctly has not wavered. Starting Joe Blanton in Game 4 of this teetering National League Championship Series makes sense. Throwing your entire starting staff out of whack in order to get Roy Halladay on the field tonight on 3 days’ rest does not make sense.

That really was the easy one, though. Knowing Manuel, the question of his starting lineup is likely to be the one that kept him awake last night.

Manuel is not a change-for-the-sake-of-change kind of manager. It is not what he does. He is all about using proven people in predictable situations. He is all about loyalty, and projecting an image of calm amid the crosscurrents.

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Phils stick with Blanton for Game 4

October 20 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Roy Halladay let it be known he would start Game 4 of the NL Championship Series on short rest. He said as much to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee.

“I told both of them that I would pitch whenever, so I think they know that,” Halladay said. “It’s kind of their call after that.”

Their call is to start Joe Blanton in Game 4 on Wednesday and not Halladay. Various factors are involved, but the most important one appears to be a reluctance to use starters on short rest for the remainder of the series.

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Utley frustrated in Game 3 loss to Giants

October 20 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Cole Hamels thought he pitched as well as he could pitch.

Matt Cain and the San Francisco bullpen pitched better, blanking the Phillies on three hits in a 3-0 victory at AT&T Park that gave the Giants a two-games-to-one advantage in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

Second baseman Chase Utley was among the most frustrated Phillies, going 0 for 4, including two inning-ending at-bats with runners in scoring position.

The Giants improved to 25-14 against the Phillies at AT&T Park and can move to within one win of a trip to the World Series with a victory Wednesday night against Joe Blanton.

Here are some of the things that went wrong for the Phillies in their Game 3 loss:

Killing him softly

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Phils won’t go further without their bats

October 20 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan:

“Cole Hamels made very good pitches. Matt Cain made very good pitches.

The Giants, whose lineup is cobbled together from spare parts, found a way to score three runs against the hard-luck Hamels on Tuesday. The Phillies, with their lineup of all-stars and MVPs, flailed away as if Nolan Ryan were out there dealing.

Simple game, this baseball. And the simple truth is that the Phillies suddenly are in very real peril of being roadkill on the San Francisco Giants’ journey to the World Series. The two-time National League champions have unleashed their Big Three – Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hamels – and have one win and two losses to show for it.

This was not the way the script read.

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Female fans turned on by the Phils

October 19 Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Part of the draw, no doubt, is the team itself. These Phillies are a bunch of really nice, good-looking guys of all stripes who come from behind, pitch perfect games, talk about things like courage and friendship, run through coaches’ stop signs, and seem to genuinely like one another.

“They seem so sincere,” said Joan Malseed, 54, of Fishtown. “They’re not hotshots. I think that is why we’re all drawn to them. There’s no scandals.”

Whether handed down in close-quarter rowhouses in sports-drenched city neighborhoods, embraced as a regular college ritual, or gravitated to with age, Phillies officials and ballpark regulars can attest: the serious female baseball fan has entered the mainstream in this town.

“I fight with the guys at work all the time,” said Lauren Sheridan, 26, of Magnolia, sitting at the edge of the open trunk of her Jetta, in the thick of the tailgating Saturday with pal Jennifer Carlin, 28.

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