I saw many predictions of the Phils in 5 or 6.
I will admit this. I predicted the Phils to win (the H20, Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt). I thought, the way the Phils finished at something like 51-25 and swept the Reds, that they would be Series-bound. Home-field advantage vs. the Giants. Better offense. I did know it would be tough. Much tougher than most thought. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Wilson aren’t easy pickings.
Tonight, I thought Charlie Manuel really cost the Phils. He made some ballsy moves that backfired.
Give the Giants credit. Lincecum over Halladay in Game 1, and all Halladay did this year is to throw a perfect game and a no-no. He was one walk away from TWO perfect games.
The Phils were in a situation very similar to what the Yankees faced. Down 2-1. While the Yanks were at home with Burnett, the Phils were on the road with Blanton. Neither team was hitting well.
Manuel will be questioned. After falling behind 2-0, the Phils scored 4 in the top of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Blanton gives one back. In comes Contreras with a man on first, two out. He strikes out Posey.
Contreras is the third man up in the top of the sixth. With two out, Manuel rolls the dice and pinch-hits rookie Domonic Brown for Contreras. He grounds out.
Remember what I always say about not changing the rhythm of a game? Contreras got his man. A tough man. With a K. I know he is due to bat. I know Brown is a touted rookie who hasn’t done much all year after being called up. He’s young. But Contreras gets pulled after one man.
So what happens. Durbin replaces Contreras. He gives up a two-run double to Sandoval. We can only guess what would have happened had Contreras stayed in. Contreras is a former starter. It’s not like he couldn’t give you 2 1/3. Charlie rolled the dice with a rookie, Brown, when there was no one on and two out. In that case, I just let Contreras hit.
Philly ties it and we go to the 9th. Manuel wants to save Lidge for a save.
It reminds me of Torre wanting to “save” Mo for a save in game 4 of the 2003 WS. We know what happened. Jeff Weaver gave up a walk-off.
My opinion? You are on the road. You don’t play for the win. You play to PRESERVE THE TIE. For if you don’t PRESERVE THE TIE, you don’t get another chance. The opponent walks off.
He is saving Lidge (and yes, I know Lidge’s rep, and of all the heart attacks he gives Phillie fans when he enters a game).
But still…not going to him in the 9th. Or Kendrick, or Romero.
Manuel goes to Oswalt. Wow. Ballsy.
I don’t know how many pitches Oswalt threw in game 2. He was brilliant then, 8 IP, 1 R and 3 H.
But you are bringing him in here with just 2 days of rest.
Oswalt gives up two one-out hits. 1st and 3rd. Uribe hits a SF and the game is over.
Quick pull of Contreras for the PH. Oswalt, not a reliever (Maybe Manuel thought it was going to go extras for a while and wanted some length) in the 9th. The quick hook of Contreras meant Durbin (and his 2 R), Bastardo and Madson. But no Romero, Kendrick or Lidge there. Instead, Oswalt on 2 days rest, and it burned him.
SF up 3 to 1. Halladay vs. Lincecum in game 5 Friday night.
Should the “Freak” win, the questions over the quick hook of Contreras and the use of Oswalt could haunt Philly all offseason.