It’s “What If?” week here at SB Nation and, as part of the network’s ongoing look at different “What If...?” moments in sports history, today we examine “What if the Phillies had beaten the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NLCS?”
As you’ll recall the Giants beat the Phillies in six games, and I still don’t know how they did it.
Well, sure I do. Cody Freaking Ross blew up Game 1 for Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels got out dueled by Matt Cain in Game 3, Game 4 featured future Hall of Famer Madison Bumgarner against Joe Blanton (mismatch) and a blown 4-2 lead, and the Phils’ offense screwed the pooch against the Giants’ bullpen in Game 6 at home.
There’s not one seminal moment in the Giants’ series, other than the Ross home runs, that you can point to and say, “Reverse that, and we win the series.” It was a confluence of events against a Giants team that had pixie dust for pine tar. But let’s imagine...
First of all, we would have been treated to a Game 1 match-up of Roy Halladay against the left-hander who was controversially traded by the Phils to the Seattle Mariners that off-season, just one year after he had played second half and postseason savior for the Phillies, Cliff Lee. One can only imagine what would have happened if Lee out dueled Halladay in any of their head-to-head match-ups.
On Episode 383 of Hittin’ Season, TGP site manager Ethan Witte joined me to talk about a simulation he did with OOTP (Out Of The Park Baseball), a computer simulation game that allows you to match-up historical teams and simulate what would have happened. It’s not a perfect simulation, but, in this theoretical head-to-head match-up, the Phillies would have beaten the Rangers 7 out of 10 times.
“What if...” the Phillies had started their rebuild right after the catastrophic end to the 2011 season?
Knowing what we know now, of course, that’s easy to argue. But hindsight is 20/20, foresight is not. Also on the podcast, I speculated what would happen if the Phils had forced a Game 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays and how Game 3 of the 1977 NLCS against the Dodgers (Black Friday) would have been different if Greg Luzinski was not in left field for the fateful 9th inning.
Make sure to check out the podcast for answers on all those “What If...” scenarios, and leave your comments below to let me know what you think would have happened!