Devastating. Excruciating. Mind-blowing. Baffling.
Those are just some of the words that come to mind after the Giants put a stranglehold on the 2010 National League Championship.
With the swing of the bat, Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly put the Phillies back against the wall, giving San Francisco a 6-5 win in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Let the second guessing of Charlie Manuel begin. Joe Blanton was pulled from Wednesday’s night game after going 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and throwing just 63 pitches. While Blanton didn’t have his best stuff, he did what he normally does: kept the Phillies in the game. However, Manuel’s decision to pull the rotund righty opened Pandora’s Box.
If the leash was so short on Blanton, then why not just pitch Roy Halladay on short rest? A decision that became even more perplexing when it was Roy Oswalt who came out of the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the ninth. While many will answer that it won’t affect his potential Game Six start, what would have happened if Oswalt would have gotten out of the inning? How many innings could he have gone? I guess we’ll never know.
The Halladay/Oswalt/Blanton decision wasn’t the only head-scratcher. Some had big influences on the game, others not so much…but some food for thought:
-Why was it Domonic Brown who was called on to pinch hit in the fifth inning? Brown faced one pitch and ended the inning on a soft ground ball. With a lack of speed on the bench, Brown was really put on this lineup for pinch running opportunities. Brown faced one pitch and ended the inning on a soft ground ball. Twice now, he was used as the first bat off the bench.
-When Chad Durbin obviously didn’t have it tonight, why was he not pulled when facing Sandoval with men on 2nd and 3rd and no outs? Sandoval couldn’t hit lefties all season and Antonio Bastardo was warming. First base was even open…a two-RBI double later and the Phillies found themselves down 5-4.
-Why was Bastardo left in the game to face Buster Posey who killed the Phillies all game long when Ryan Madson came in one batter later? Wouldn’t you rather have one of the most dominating RH relievers in baseball face the rookie? Didn’t come back to burn you, but still makes you think.
-After Jayson Werth doubled home Ryan Howard, the Phillies once again failed to move a runner from second base with no outs. Bunting isn’t exactly my favorite move in baseball, but the way the Phillies lineup has been going it’s tough to argue with the fact that it might have given the Phils their best chance to retake the lead. Once again, probably wouldn’t have changed anything as Romo blew away Francisco and Ruiz on back-to-back at bats to end the inning.
For the past few years, fans have had a “Charlie Can Do No Wrong” mantra. The questionable decisions aren’t new, but they haven’t stuck out in the past like they are now. In a city where the fans second-guess every move the chubby red-headed coach across the street makes on Sundays, it makes you wonder just how long until the fan base really starts to question the moves of Manuel.
After all that, the Phillies now lean on their ace, Halladay to bring the series back to Philadelphia. Opposing Doc is Tim Lincecum. Nobody said this series was going to be easy, but coming back from 3-1 has been done before. Let’s hope it happens again.