More Thoughts on NLCS Game One - Giants at Phillies

"Sorry, Boch. 'Human Element.'" (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

In bullet points because you're all so cute/handsome:

  • Those two pitches that Cody Ross crushed (and he did crush them) were just awful.  Truly terrible.  Whether Roy Halladay missed his spots, or if Carlos Ruiz called a couple of turds, that's what it was.
  • The Phillies really did hit some balls hard of Tim Lincecum, apart from the Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz home runs.  However, both offenses got fairly lucky on balls in play.
  • The strike zone was as brutal as advertised:

Zoneplot

via www.brooksbaseball.net

Looks like Timmy wasn't getting the high strike, but got the edges, and no one got the low strikes.  Both teams were getting squeezed.

  • That Pat Burrell double off the abdomen of Raul Ibanez was the negative backwash of the Ruben Amaro, Jr. Years distilled into one play.  Your adequate but slow left fielder, who you got rid of because he couldn't field, hits a ball to your new left fielder who ostensibly can field but really can't, after your hypercompetitive ace gets flustered and serves up a pitch to smash.  If only Placido Polanco were somehow involved.
  • Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz are and remain this team's best October hitters.  If you believe in that sort of thing.
  • What makes this loss particularly frustrating was that they actually did get to Tim Lincecum, and on a "normal" night this would have been plenty for Doc.  All but for Cody Ross, the Elfin One.
  • Ryan Madson is legit.  The best.  This team would be wise to figure out a way to eat some salary and move Brad Lidge after his apparent resurrection in 2010, and install Madson as Closer.  Some dumb team that needs a closer could bite.  Madson can pitch the ninth, seriously.  On the other hand, maybe it's better to have him in this flexible set-up role, where Charlie will be more apt to use him in high-leverage situations.
  • This team won't get very far if Shane Victorino can't have better at-bats.  Jimmy Rollins, too.  Hopefully they'll have better nights tonight against the lefty Jonathan Sanchez.  lulz
  • (Two bonus bullets from dajafi, who had a similar idea before coming onto the site and seeing that WC already marked this territory. In a characteristic act of generosity/efficiency, he's let me piggyback at the end of this piece.) The razor-thin margin between defeat and victory in last night's game is probably more evident to all of us today because over the last two-plus post-seasons, the bounces almost always have gone our way. From the first inning of Game One of the 2008 NLCS, when Manny Ramirez's deep fly ball hit the top of the outfield wall for a run-scoring double instead of a two-run homer in a game the Phils ultimately won 3-2; to a Chase Utley infield single in the top of the ninth of NLDS Game Three against the Rockies last year that moved the eventual winning run to third; to all the crazy stuff that happened as the Reds melted down in the seventh inning of 2010 NLDS Game Two nine days ago, the Phillies have gotten those breaks and bounces. 
  • Last night, in a kind of reverse dayenu, we didn't: Derryl Cousins screwed Halladay on the 0-2 pitch to Burrell, then Ibanez mis-timed his jump on a very catchable ball at the wall, then an uncharacteristically shaken Doc made a bad pitch to Jose Juan Uribe, then Victorino made a bad throw to the plate as the eventual game-winner scored. I guess you can call it fate or intestinal fortitude if you really want to; I think it's bad timing. If you must ascribe something to "character," see how they come out tonight--in what's close to a "must-win," given the quality of pitching they'll see the rest of the series and the Giants' generally better play in their home ballpark, and facing a pitcher who's pwned them in the past. It's not easy, but I can't think of a team I'd have more confidence in as they make the attempt. 
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