NOTE: Because Blogger lost my first two posts, I've combined these into one to at least have a record of it.
The hopes of the hereuntofore mentioned Phillies Nation (not affiliated with Red Sox Nation or the United Nations) rests upon the arm and girth of "Kentucky" Joe Blanton for today's matchup in game 4 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. He must heft the team upon his whirling dervish of a fastball and barely sweat-soaked brim and give all sides of the team the inspiration they need.
The first inning will be telling. More so, than in other games of the series. Blanton has allowed 20 runs in 28 starts in the first inning this year. Charlie Manuel should also be aware to get the bullpen ready by the 6th inning because this is when Blanton continually tires. He's allowed 18 runs in 25 starts in which he's reached the 6th inning.
The offense was in a stupor yesterday, baffled and befuddled by the explosive outside fastball and kneebuckling curve of Matt Cain. The feebleness of their performance should be a motivator for this match. Extra work and being aggressive will not be enough. They are facing an unknown entity in rookie Madison Bumgarner, who is not used to being unsuccessful during his short big league career. He is a control pitcher and tends to be around the lower half of the plate. They must sit on his fastball and avoid the change-up. They have to get him out of the game before the 6th to take advantage of the pre-Romo and Wilson bullpen arms.
Essentially, it's an essential win to prevent the dreaded 3-1...where comebacks are few (last was 2007 in the ALCS) and the backs maintain good posture from being against the wall.
GAME 4 Post-Mortem
I was lucky enough to attend this game. I sat over third base...when I say over, I mean it, in the 2nd to last row of the stadium. There was an incredible view of the sunset over the bay and all the boats waiting for a home run ball that would never come.
It was an intense game. It;s hard being at a game where if you start screaming, you might get somthing negative happen to you. In reality, where I was sitting was a very calm section compared to the rest of the crowd. The crowd, in general, was boisterous and supported the home team well. Here's a distillation of moments in no particular order.
Most deflating moment: Huff scoring the winning run on the sacrifice fly. I was so upset I left my Phillies hoodie at my seat.
Most teeth gnashing moment: 8th inning, Werth on 2nd no outs, and Jimmy Rollins pops up. It was worse in person.
Most curse spewing moment: Chad Durbin, inside fastball to Cody Ross followed by the pitches to Pablo Sandoval.
Loudest ovation moment: When the big screen showed Dusty Baker
Worst mid-inning entertainment I've ever seen: The "Fist Pump" cam, featuring the cast of Jersey Shore. I never want to hear that song again.
Song I Can't Get out of my Head, but Want to: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" Steve Perry was there to reclaim it from the Dodgers....apparently.
Most "Who?, Sit Up in the Seat" Moment: When the announcer said in the 9th inning, now pitching for the Phillies, Roy Oswalt.
Most Disgraceful Moment: When Lou Seal did a routine in which he suplexed a fake Philly Phanatic. This means war. No one disses the Phanatic, especially not some wannabe with no personality like Lou Seal. On top of that, the animal most identified with San Francisco at pier 39 is the sea lion; that is not a seal. Poser! I say. Poser!
Post-Game 5 Thoughts: It was fortuitous the Phillies pulled this out. For once, they capitalized on Giants errors and had some moments to build on (if the building moments concept exists). Rollins stealing 2nd and 3rd in the 7th was really cool as was Werth hitting a home run. This has been a theme all series, but if any of the lineup wakes up from the .208 slumber, the game will be on for games 6 and 7. Am I confident about their chances? Not so much, but I am hopeful, and ready to look out for a winner-take-all game 7. One baseball, one game, one funny bounce, that's all it takes. I love playoff baseball.