Now that the Giants have wrapped up their NLDS series with the Braves, we’ve had a few hours to digest everything that has gone down in the first round of the playoffs. Here is some of the good, some of the bad, and some of the ugly from the NLDS.
-Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay: Two of the greatest games every thrown in playoff history were done so on back-to-back nights. Halladay’s no-hitter took place Wednesday, October 6. Lincecum’s was the following night, a two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts. And guess what? The two will meet up in Game 1 of the NLCS. A match made in baseball heaven.
-Cole Hamels and Jonathan Sanchez: The two lefties were also insanely good in round one. Hamels tossed a complete game shutout as well, and Sanchez blew away 11 Braves hitters in his Game 3 no-decision. We may see them pair up in Round 2, another exciting pitching matchup in the NLCS.
-Chase Utley was really the only position player who did any damage with the bat for the Phillies. He compiled four RBI in the three games, including his Game 3 home run. He also made one of the more heads up plays of the series when he was “hit” by an Aroldis Chapman fastball, which led to a huge inning in Game 2. Now, as for his defense…
-Carlos Ruiz. He called two huge games (see: Halladay and Hamels) and also hit the fastest pitch recorded in the last three years, a 103+ m.p.h. fastball from Chapman. As always, fine job Chooch.
-For the Giants, it was all Buster Posey. The rookie catcher went 6 for 16 in round one. Cody Ross wasn’t half bad against the Braves, doing big damage in Game 4, while hitting .286 for the series.
-Jayson Werth was just 2 for 12 in the Reds series with five strikeouts. He has hit a lull at exactly the wrong time.
-Roy Oswalt was about as unspectacular as it gets and his sub-par performance sticks out like a sore thumb even more in between Halladay and Hamels. You can bet your ass he’ll be trying to keep up with those two in the NLCS, come hell or high water. He won’t be outdone.
-The city of Cincinnati. First, the Bengals get beaten by the Buccaneers at home, then, across the street a few hours later, Cole Hamels lays the smack down on the Reds. I’m sure the town was thrilled that the Reds made it to the playoffs, but once they got there, it landed in the “Bad” category.
-The normally pesky Andres Torres was anything but. He wen’t just 2 for 16 in the NLDS. Let’s hope that carries over to Philadelphia. Freddy Sanchez also went 2 for 14 in the series.
-Brooks Conrad, sorry. He had a nightmarish series against the Giants, committing three errors in Game 3 and compiling four errors total. He is a main reason the Braves are going home instead of giving Bobby Cox another shot at an NL Pennant. Conrad was so distraught he wanted to crawl into a hole after that historically bad performance. By all accounts, he’s a good dude. But there is no excuse for that sort of defense.
-Chase Utley’s defense in Game 2 belongs here, too. What the hell happened? For a few moments, Utley brought it back to the days of Steve Sax, Chuck Knoblauch, and yes, Chase Utley from last year. Seems like he’s over it, but for a minute, it was a bit scary.
-Jimmy Rollins has to be put here. He (again) swung at countless first or second pitches and made it easy for Reds pitchers to get him out. J-Roll finished the series 1 for 11 with two walks. Need more.
-Scott Rolen, and basically the middle of the Cincinnati order. Rolen looked old, committing two errors in the series. Very unlike him. At the plate, Rolen went just 1 for 11. Perhaps the long season caught up to him.
-The Cincinnati defense as a whole gets the call here. The best defense in the NL during the regular season booted the ball seven times in three games. This could have been a tighter series, as it appeared the Reds were in control in Game 2, however, their usually stellar D gave way. And gave the Phils an easy path to the NLCS.