SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Phillies-Giants, Game 5

What a weird night in gloomy SF weather, 62 degrees, 15 mph winds, drizzle, rain. . . Eric Karros of Fox was very sure that Tim Lincecum of the Giants would dominate, while Phillies' alum and Fox commentator Mitch Williams was equally sure that the series (and not just the Phillies) would be returning to Philadelphia.

The umps continued to make Rookie League mistakes, there was a fair bunt that wasn't, a botched throw, an otherwise outstanding pitcher who has trouble holding runners, a star pitcher pitching through both a tweaked groin and a tweaked strike zone (the former was his alone to bear, the latter a burden for both teams' hurlers), some at-their-prime stars stepping up, a few steals here, a key home run hit a long way late, and a bullpen that honored its team's regular season by being, well, lights out.

4-2, Phillies, thanks to, among others, a goofball call by the plate ump, a gritty effort by the tweaked Roy Halladay, some key hitting by previously out-of-sync Phillies, great pitching by Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge to end the game, and voila, the series is now 3-2, Giants, heading back to Citizens Bank Park for Game 6 on Saturday night. (I have tickets to Game 7 and hope to use them).

Still, you'd rather be the Giants, up 3 games to 2, as the odds favor that your team will go to the World Series while the Phillies will go hunting, golfing, racing alternative terrain vehicles or get some sun in the Bahamas, well, at least before your team will. Game 6 will feature Roy Oswalt gainst Jonathan Sanchez, and Game 7, if there is one, will be a rematch of Game 3, where Matt Cain was awesome and outpitched Cole Hamels.

What will happen? Well, the Phillies looked dead after Game 4 and dead at the beginning of Game 5, when the Giants took a 1-0 lead. But, they roared back, and now the pressure is on the Phillies to win three in a row and the Giants not to let the series get to Game 7, where anything can happen.

Good night for the Phillies last night, as they honored their regular-season efforts in a series where, quite frankly, they had been a different team from the one that led the Majors in regular-season victories, with 97. All the pieces came together, and they looked, well, like the Phillies of September, and not the Phillies, heretofore, of mid-October.

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