NLCS Gameday: Phillies vs. Giants, Game 5

Philadelphia Phillies (1-3) at San Francisco Giants (3-1)
San Francisco Giants

Roy Halladay (1-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Tim Lincecum (2-0, 1.69)

Time: 7:57, AT&T Park
Weather: 58, Partly Cloudy
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I did some math Tuesday afternoon, following the Phillies’ Game 3 loss to San Francisco, to nail down my plans for the rest of the series. For instance, I discovered that the Phillies were 3-0, going into last night’s game, in postseason play when I wrote the gameday post, so I volunteered. I also chose my spot to watch the game based on past performance: Jersey’s American Pub in Lindenwold–the Phillies were 6-1 all-time in postseason play when I watched the game there, the best record of any site at which I’d seen 4 or more playoff games (the Flyers, incidentally, were something like 8-2 during last year’s playoffs when I was there, too. The place just radiates good karma). Ordinarily, I’d have picked a shirt and hat based on track record, but I couldn’t pin any juju, good or bad, on a particular article of clothing.

Of course, I’m well aware that there is absolutely nothing I can do to influence the Phillies’ performance one way or another. But I needed to feel involved, with so much on the line, superstition was all I had left. I am, after all, the guy who made his grandmother sit in the exact same spot on the sofa for the entirety of Game 1 of the 2001 NBA finals. I’m the guy who  And despite going to my lucky bar, writing my lucky post, the wheels came off. And that’s how we all started taking comfort in the 2003 Marlins, the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox, and the 2010 Flyers. Down 3-1, there’s nothing left we can do for the Phillies–it’s all in Doc’s hands now. And all we can do is hope.

By this point, we know all about the Giants–who’s good, who’s bad, who’s not, who’s not. With Tim Lincecum on the mound, and Brian Wilson, most likely, good for at least an inning at the end of the game, the Phillies’ best chance at extending the series is to get to the soft underbelly of the Giants’ pitching staff–Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla, and Jeremy Affeldt, the middle relief. Otherwise, it’s a matter of Halladay being sharper and luckier than Lincecum. If we’ve learned anything from the first few games of this series, it’s that the difference between the Giants’ and Phillies’ starters on any given night is a matter of luck. With righty Lincecum on the mound today, we’ll see the Phillies’ base lineup: Raul Ibanez is back on the field, and Chase Utley and Placido Polanco have been returned to their original spots.

Game 5 Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Halladay P

Victory Lager

Your gameday beer: Sierra Nevada Porter

In memory of better times, I give you the Gameday beer from Game 4 of last year’s NLCS: Sierra Nevada Porter. For those of you who don’t remember immediately, that was the game that ended in Jimmy Rollins’ walk-off hit against Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton. Pat Gallen described it last year as having “a smoky flavor with  hints of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. It is remarkably smooth and an overall great tasting genuine porter.” Here’s hoping this potent porter portends more good NLCS memories.

Michael Baumann

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