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NLCS Game 4: Phillies at Giants

Oct 21, 2010, 12:00 AM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Phillies try to knot the NLCS up at 2-2 this evening at AT&T Park.

In previewing this series last week, I suggested tonight's Game 4 could be the pivotal juncture. My reasoning? As good as the Phillies' top three starters are, Joe Blanton doesn't measure up. The Giants, meanwhile, have the potentially electric Madison Bumgarner on the hill. Thus, if the rookie lefty wins this matchup tonight, San Francisco goes up 3-1 in the NLCS and is in great shape to advance to the World Series.

But if Blanton can come through — he has had postseason success in the past, particularly in 2008 — the Phillies will knot the series back up at 2-2 and feel confident knowing Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels will be starting the next three games, needing to win only two of them.

Lineup changes for both teams. Juan Uribe still can't go for the Giants, so Edgar Renteria remains at shortstop while Pablo Sandoval makes his first start of the series at third base. For the Phillies, Raul Ibanez (0-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series) has been benched in favor of Ben Francisco…

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES — GAME 4
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 61 degrees

PHILLIES
CF Shane Victorino
2B Chase Utley
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard

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  1. Sec3MySofa - Oct 21, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    As a Giants fan, I gotta say, that sure looked like a balk to me.

  2. Sec3MySofa - Oct 21, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    Did Boche just overmanage his team out of a lead?

  3. Andrew - Oct 21, 2010 at 4:02 AM

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/y2009/index.jsp?gid=2010_10_20_msswin_scowin_1Big ground rule double by Bryce Harper for 2 RBIs. Just missed a Grand Slam!

  4. Doc - Oct 21, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    Hey sportsfans, our man in Scottsdale, Harper by name just hit a ground rule double, driving in 2 runs in his 4th AB–with apologies to the Giants celebration.

  5. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Mark -Like you, I was very surprised to see Oswalt out there in the late innings last night.Have you heard how this is going to affect him & the Phillies for his next scheduled start?Mark in Arlington

  6. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    P.S. Posey looks like a teenager, but he had the demeanor of a 15 year veteran in his post-game interviewMark in Arlington (again)

  7. Sec3MySofa - Oct 21, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    "Have you heard how this is going to affect him & the Phillies for his next scheduled start?Mark in Arlington"You mean, will the Philly fans hang him in effigy inside the park, or outside?Seriously, some questionalble pitch selection, there, from Roy. Posey slapped about four outside pitches down the right field line, and they kept throwing it there until he got one fair. Dibble would have been chewing his own leg off yelling for one up and in.Which Oswalt then did, but to Sandoval, and then threw an off-speed pitch low to a guy hitting with basically one hand, rather than staying high and hard.Humm baby!

  8. FOTB - Oct 21, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Have to agree with the Markmeister that putting Oswalt in and not Lidge seemed odd, in a situation that Lidge is totally familiar with, while Oswalt isn't. Reminded me a little of the 2001 World Series (not sure if Markmeister remembers that one) when Randy Johnson pitched in relief of Curt Schilling, after having pitched the night before. But that was Game 7, there was no tomorrow, and Johnson had not thrown that many pitches the night before, because the D'backs blew out the Yankees early. This was not Game 7, and Oswalt is supposed to start in two days. Does this stay in his head? Does it give the Giants more confidence now that they can get to him? I don't presume to know more about managing than a guy with a Ring and plenty of wins, but this was a strange call.

  9. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 21, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    FOTB: Actually, Randy Johnson wasn't the guy who immediately followed Curt Schilling in Game 7 of the epic '01 series. One other man pitched 1/3 of an inning between the two, none other than … Miss Iowa! Yes, Miguel Batista (who also started Game 5 at Yankee Stadium and would have gotten the win if not for Byung-Hyun Kim) entered to replace Schilling in the eighth. He faced only one batter (the almighty Derek Jeter) and retired him on a groundball before handing things over to the Big Unit.As a lifelong Yankee fan, I'd have figured you'd remember that. Or had you already turned your TV off at that point, just assuming the pinstripers were going to win?

  10. FOTB - Oct 21, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Good catch, Mark. And a cool bit of Nationals trivia. As a lifelong Yankees fan, I immediately blocked the ending of that game from my mind for many years. Only now, bits and pieces float in. My TV was still on at that point. I had not popped the champagne yet, and of course never did, until last fall, when the Yankees were "back on top." (Thank you for that call, Joe Buck.)

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