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Cody Ross takes Roy Halladay deep — twice! — as the Giants take Game 1

Oct 16, 2010, 11:35 PM EDT

APTOPIX NLCS Giants Phillies Baseball

As is so often the case in life, the anticipation was greater than the reward.

Not that Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum were bad or anything. Just mortal.  Lincecum was off his 14-strikeout form and was hit a bit hard early, but he avoided big trouble. Halladay was nowhere near as sharp as he was against the Reds in the Division Series, obviously, but the falloff seemed stark by comparison, as the Giants beat the Phillies 4-3.

Halladay allowed two home runs to Cody Ross, both on inside fastballs. Did he just have a lapse in concentration when he went back to the same spot he hit when Ross jacked the first one, or could he not throw it where he wanted to?  Whatever the case, in the end, all four Giant runs were charged to Halladay and all three Philly runs went on Lincecum’s ledger. Decent. Maybe even solid from both guys. But not what we had been hoping for all week.

The game remained tight throughout, with no inning ending with one team more than a run ahead of the other. And with a close game like this, you’d expect the little things to make the difference. Two little things that did were (a) the strike zone; and (b) Bruce Bochy’s decision to pinch run for Pat Burrell in the sixth inning.

Home plate umpire Derryl Cousins called a tight zone all night, and one pitch that was called a ball made a big difference. In the top of the sixth inning, Halladay had Pat Burrell 0-2 with two outs and a runner on first base. Halladay threw what he, the crowd and most of us watching at home thought was strike three. But Cousins — as he did a lot of pitchers low in the zone and shaded towards the righthanded batters box — called it a ball. Halladay was obviously miffed, and it may have carried over to the next pitch which Burrell drove to the gap in left scoring Buster Posey. At that point Bruce Bochy pinch ran Nate Schierholtz for Burrell. Many managers with otherwise weak offenses wouldn’t have taken one of their best hitters out of a tight game in the sixth like that, but when Juan Uribe singled in Schierholtz a couple of pitches later, it looked like genius.  It wasn’t genius — that move has hurt the Giants just as much as it has helped this year — but it was good fortune, and Schierholtz’s run ended up being the game winner.

But there would still be three innings before it was ultimately won, and in these three innings came the sort of torture Giants fans have gotten used to late this season. The Giants’ bullpen got six outs in this game, five via strikeout, but it felt much worse than that because Brian Wilson went into deep counts with just about everyone he faced. Bending but not breaking was enough to get the job done tonight, however. What about tomorrow? Good question, as Wilson threw 33 pitches in Game 1, meaning that Jonathan Sanchez probably needs to go deep and the rest of the Giants’ bullpen will need to step up in Game 2.

But it’s a good problem to have if you’re the Giants. Who, as they head to their hotel tonight, can tell themselves: “one ace down, two to go.”

  1. Old Gator - Oct 16, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    Good for the Netsuke, although he’s getting hard to recognize after going native with the beard in Yerba Buena. He got out from under the dead weight of the Scrooge McLoria regime just in time to excel in the playoffs. The Feesh will miss him – not that Scrooge or the Chihuahua will when arbitration time would have rolled around. The Jints got a bargain basement deal on a pretty good ballplayer.

    And Craig, aren’t you up past your bedtime?

  2. Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Go ahead, Craig, call me a whiny, insecure Phils Phan–I really don’t care. But the first we hear of the Phightins-Dwarves game is Craig whooping it up that the Phils failed, even though DJ blogged about the Wankers-Walkers series twice already. Very uncool guys.

    And I guess I’ll take a bit of joy out of telling Craig that he was wrong: Lincecum dicouldn’t have given up four runs if the final was 4-3. Nope. It didn’t help.

    Meh. Oswalt hasn’t had two straight bad outings since he got here, and he’s undefeated at the Bank. Besides, they need to extend it to six games to win it here anyway. Nope. That didn’t help either. Sigh.

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:39 AM

      And now it looks like Freak’s runs tally was either already switched or I am just subconsciously lashing out at Craig for unfounded reasons. If the latter is true, my apologies. Ugh.

    • God Himself Can't Make Me Root for the Yanks, But Fiorentino Might - Oct 17, 2010 at 2:34 AM

      Well, yes, good thing you don’t care, ’cause I will call you whiny and insecure. Craig’s article is nothing if not evenhanded and dispassionate. Look, I’ll chalk this one up to you being grief-addled, ’cause there is absolutely nothing in it that suggests Craig is “whooping it up that the Phils failed.” Get a grip.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 17, 2010 at 8:30 AM

      So by “whooping it up that the Phils failed”” you mean “pointing out a missed call against the Phils, saying the Giants’ closer was shaky and, due to a high pitch count, may be unavailable tonight, accusing the Giants’ manager of making a poor decision that just turned out lucky, and saying that ultimately the Phils have two other aces.”

      Seriously, how do you possibly read that as biased against the Phillies?

      Also, Craig did have the runs allowed wrong for a moment before it was fixed, you aren’t crazy. (Or, at least, not based on that particular bit of evidence.)

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:24 PM

        To Ari Collins and the poster who obviously feels that Fiorentino is more powerful than God (like Chris needs to hear THAT): By “whooping it up,” I was referring to the fact that Craig was eating boogers at 1130ish on a Saturday night, is a big Bravos fan, as well as an obvious Freak fan, so there was bound to be a grin on his face as he posted this. I was referring to the fact that there were two live blogs on the Wankers-Walkers series by DJ Short and nothing on the Phightins-Dwarves game last night. That’s it. Nothing else.

        Anything else read into it is from an apparent anti-Phils bias (which to me should be one of the first tests fo insanity–anybody who isn’t a Phillies Phan is obviously a nut job.) But it’s good to hear that I was not the only one who saw Craig’s apparent mistake.

        Now, it’s on to Oswalt, who hasn’t had two straight poor starts in red pinstripes, and who has yet to lose at the Bank. Suffice it to say that Burrell will not get the same response during the pregame intros tonight–except possibly from my kid. Ugh.

      • Ari Collins - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:52 PM

        Nope, I’m rooting for the Phillies on this one. But anyway, sorry if I misread your post, but my point is that this is clearly not Craig “whooping it up”. He may be happy that the underdogs won a game, but it doesn’t show in this post. Nor is it likely an anti-Phillies bias that led to the Yanks/Rangers being liveblogged. Just as likely an anti-Giants bias, and much more likely that none of them were around to liveblog that game. Too bad, as, unlike the first Yanks/Rangers game, the second one wasn’t that tense. While, of course, the Giants/Phils were.

        P.S. Yes, that auto-refresh deleting your comment is really frickin’ annoying. On the other hand, this second draft of my response is less trolly. : )

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 1:16 PM

        I also don’t like the fact that I couldn’t reply to your latest post, but rather had to go back to the previous one.

        But the day is already looking up, since I don’t have to hear a full day of Joe Schmuck, and the Iggles scored on the first drive.

  3. schmedley69 - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    Halladay is mortal. Despite his numbers this year, there were a lot of big spots where he came up small. Games against the Red Sox and Yankees when the Phils were on the schneid and needed a big win, just to name a few. Hopefully Oswalt comes through, or the Phils are cooked. The bats continue to struggle. Howard and Victorino look like they did against the Yankees last year, which is not good. They are a couple of whif machines. Jimmy Rollins looks like he’s about done. And thanks a lot to the Marlins for dumping Cody Ross and letting a contender have him for nothing. It’s like those guys in your fantasy league who are hopelessly out of it and start waiving players just for the hell of it. The Marlins should be contracted.

    • Old Gator - Oct 17, 2010 at 6:57 AM

      I have a better idea: cryogenically preserve Scrooge McLoria and the Chihuahua – now – and sell the franchise to Mark Cuban. It’d be consistent with the logic whereby MLB put a franchise down here in baseball crazy Cuban Macondo, and then put the stadium in Cuban-rich Little Havana (despite an utter lack of room for parking, bottlenecked highway access and limited public transportation). All the Cubans would come to the games – Mrs. Cuban, Mark Jr., Mark’s uncle Feliz, you name it. Why, you could hardly fit them all in one skybox. Originally, I would have said put Scrooge and his Chihuahua each in their own cylinders but, in the spirit of Scrooge, I think it would be nice to put them in the same one, like Ripley and her cat at the end of Alien. Well, it’d save the Caliph of Cheapskates a few pennies, anyway.

      Incidentally, I don’t hold out much hope of the Jints winning this thing. It’s been a couple of months since the Feelies were able to turn off like a light switch all at once, though such things do happen in a short series. If they’ve been keeping clear of the horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches, there might be enough available circumference to their arteries to keep pumping nutrients to their muscles and leave their dendrites sufficiently clear of plaque to rise to the occasion. All things being equal, they’re an awful lot better than the Jints.

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:33 PM

        So Mark Cuban owning the Havana Norte Pescados…interesting. But, Gator, why does it make any difference whether the stadium is accessible? If nobody can get there, they can fall back on that excuse if nobody does go to the games.

  4. ebraves - Oct 17, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    Waiting for Chris Fiorentino’s post on how the Giants are picking on the Phillies….

  5. apbaguy - Oct 17, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    Well, at least I was right about one thing: it was a 1 run margin. There were 6 more runs in the game than I expected though, and Los Gigantes came out on top, also unexpected. Still, I expect the Phils to come back hard tomorrow, though Sanchez can be incredibly tough when he’s on. Thing is, he’s gotten spooked before. Now maybe he’s grown out of it, but maybe this first trip to the NLCS will be too much.

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 1:25 AM

      Here’s hoping you’re right and Oswalt, Victorino the Hawaiian and Howard bounce back. But I’m thinking Bochy might think hard about starting Rowand, what with the Phightins tough times against former Phils. Damn Burrell.

  6. Reflex - Oct 17, 2010 at 3:52 AM

    I gotta admit I would find it hilarious if it ends up Giants/Rangers in the World Series. I know that is still highly unlikely, but it would be very amusing after all the Yanks/Phils fans acting like this year is thier divine right.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:59 PM

      Plus it would piss off Fox.

  7. kiwicricket - Oct 17, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    I will let others muse over the actual game analysis. I would like to mention the low-rent signage directly behind the dug-out. “Fix your teeth” ???? Is he meaning the 2-time CY Young award winner making 10million a year for the Giants? No idea as to how those two guys acquired those seats, but I would imagine they wouldn’t come cheap. Although mildly amusing, it strikes me as just a touch juvenile for 30yr old guy. Sorry, I can’t remember the inning where it’s shown briefly

    • Old Gator - Oct 17, 2010 at 9:45 AM

      I wonder if weed would do wonders for teeth the way it does for glaucoma.

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:38 PM

        What with the munchies and brownies, I would think the herb would have adverse effects on the Chiclets.

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    “Halladay was obviously miffed, and it may have carried over to the next pitch which Burrell drove to the gap in left scoring Buster Posey. ”

    The ball that Burrell hit SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT by Ibanez. Plain and simple. He misread it, overran it, and it hit off his glove in the middle of his body. It was insane that NOBODY picked up on this and it was two runs that cost Halladay the game. Was Halladay himself? No way. He made two bad pitches to Ross. That’s it though. There were two outs when Burrell hit that shot, and if Ibanez does his job and catches the freaking ball, it remains 2-1 when Werth hits the bomb in the bottom of the 7th. Madson in the 8th and Lidge in the 9th and it’s 1-0 Phillies. No complaints with the umpires…he was brutal both ways and probably even worse with Lincecum. Ibanez NEEDS to make that play. That was the game. Watch the video…it wasn’t a difficult catch. He got there, he just misplayed it.

    All of that being said, Oswalt throws a gem tonight, and the Phillies still win in 6. I’ll never believe they are losing this series until they actually lose a 4th game. The difference between the Phillies and the Giants is that the Phillies have 3 Lincecums and the Giants only have one.

    • ebraves - Oct 17, 2010 at 1:13 PM

      That hit is on Halladay. He gave up the hard hit to the wall. It wasn’t a lazy fly or a high pop up. Ibanez didn’t even get charged with an error…..

      And it was Uribe’s single off HALLADAY to give the Giants the second run.

  9. Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Craig, you people SERIOUSLY need to do something about the damn auto-refresh!!!!!

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 17, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    The lack of the liveblog was on me. I was on duty, for lack of a better term, scheduled to do the post-game writeup. I would have liveblogged it except for the fact that I had to watch first four innings on a DVR delay because of putting the kids to bed, etc.

    Come back tonight. I’ll be liveblogging Game 2. Be careful what you wish for. ;-)

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 17, 2010 at 1:25 PM

      Blah, blah, blah…sure, just blame the kids. Brett Myers did that when his DL stint was extended last season, too. :)

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