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NLCS Game 6: Giants at Phillies

Oct 23, 2010, 6:00 PM EST

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Giants try to clinch the pennant at Citizens Bank Park; the Phillies try to force Game 7.

The Rangers have punched their ticket to the World Series. Now, can the Giants punch theirs and have three days to rest up and prepare to host Texas in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, or are the Phillies going to fend off elimination again and set up a do-or-die Game 7 tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park?

Just as was the case in the ALCS last night, tonight's game features a rematch of Game 2, with Roy Oswalt facing Jonathan Sanchez. Oswalt pitched brilliantly in the first meeting and got the best of his young counterpart, so that might give reason to believe the Phillies have the upper hand in this one. But Oswalt, remember, came back to pitch the ninth inning in Game 4 and wound up taking the loss. Thus, the Giants have some level of confidence facing him again three days later.

Then again, Philly has to feel plenty confident about its chances playing at home, having gone 15-4 at Citizens Bank Park the last three postseasons. And until someone puts the final dagger through their hearts, they're still the two-time defending NL champs.

I'm out of town this weekend and won't have access to my computer leading up to gametime, so I'm posting this early, sans lineups. Hoping to watch a good portion of the game, though, but as always I'll count on you guys to keep the conversation going in my absence…

Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 57 degrees

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey

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  1. Donald - Oct 23, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Hey, before the game starts, do you happen to know if Bryce Harper is starting again today? Any word on how he's doing?

  2. dmichalopoulos - Oct 23, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    1-2 with a single right now and is batting next inning. Norris also has a homerun this game.

  3. jd - Oct 23, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    1 for 3 with a single and a strike out through 6.

  4. dj in Fl. - Oct 23, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    I thought your guys were going to pull off the upset today Mark. You all will just have to drown your sorrows in a deep dish. That sure sounds good just saying it.

  5. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    Underway with a leadoff single by Torres, but that's all. Phillies coming up.

  6. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Rollins ss Back in the leadoff. Leg must be OK.Polanco leftUtley secondHoward firstWerth rightVicoriino centerIbanez leftRuiz catchingOswalt pitchingGiants in a bit…

  7. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 12:17 AM

    Torres 8F. Sanchez 4Huff 3Posey 2Burrell 7Ross 9Uribe 5Renteria 6J. Sanchez 1 — who's looking a bit overamped. Got Jimmy Rollins on a ground ball to third, but walked Polanco, wildpitched him to second, and Utley just doubled to right.1-0, Phillies.

  8. sjm105 - Oct 24, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    I have looked everywhere on the Nats web site and cannot find Sec3My sofa anywhere in the park. Are the sightlines any good? Would like to think about moving up to nicer seats. Phillies lead 2-0 on Sac. Fly by Werth

  9. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    The Giants had better hope Jonathan Sanchez is just overamped. Can't seem to locate anything yet.Howard singles (no RBI yet, though), and Werth put Pat Burrell right back to the track for a (mere) sac fly. Victorino singled hard on the ground up the middle, but Ibanez popped out to end the inning. 2-0 Phils.

  10. Anonymous - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    Wow, what a top of the third. Jonathan Sanchez led off with a single, and Torres "mortalized" a deep fly to straightaway center, which Victorino got to it just a step before the wall with an over-the-shoulder basket catch on the run, but he just trapped it against his body, and it dribbled out when he hit the padding on the wall–a really, really long single, with the runner holding for the possible catch. Would have been a top webgem if he holds onto that one.Freddie Sanchez bunted them both up. Aubrey Huff singled over the second base bag … more

  11. still on the sofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:02 AM

    with one one and no outs, Sanchez hit Utley right on the numbers. Utley picked up the ball on the way to first and tossed it to Sanchez, who didn't appreciate something about that. Both benches emptied now.

  12. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    Boche is choosing to remove Sanchez. Affeldt in to pitch to Howard, 2 on, no outs, 2-2 game.

  13. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    How it got tied, continued…Second and third, one out, Huff singled up the middle. Sanchez scored easily, but Torres was out by fifteen feet on a good throw by Victorino. Huff to second on the throw home. Buster Posey dribbles a Baltimore Chop toward third, but Polanco's throw (from third, not left *ahem*) hit Posey as he ran maybe just the teensiest bit inside the line, and Huff scored to make it 2-2.(Aside to Mark–dang, the game never moves this fast when I'm not writing about it!)

  14. Anonymous - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:15 AM

    Affeldt goes K-F9-3u. 2-2, after 3.

  15. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Hey guys, I'm back at my hotel watching the game now, turned it on just in time to see the Sanchez/Utley non-fracas. To Sec3MySofa and others: Thanks for posting all the updates. (And I know what you mean about the games feeling like they go faster when you're writing about it live.)Had another fantastic day here in Chicago, aside from a very frustrating Northwestern loss to Michigan State. Flying home tomorrow afternoon/early evening, so if there is a Game 7 of this NLCS, I should be home in time to watch.

  16. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    Did I mention Jonathan Sanchez seemed a little too "up" for this game? As Utley was jogging up to first after being hit right in the back, the ball was apparently still bouncing up the first base line somehow, and Utley grabbed it and casually flipped it toward Sanchez. Not sure why he wouldn't just throw it out of play, there, which is the only thing I can think of that would have upset Sanchez, but he did start barking at Utley, who seemed deeply unimpressed, but both benches emptied. Umpires restored things quickly enough, but Bruce Boche probably figured he didn't like where this was pointing, and pulled Sanchez. Nice sliding catch by Werth on a foul popup.Giants out in the fourth.

  17. still on the sofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    Glad to see you back, Mark! You have the bridge…

  18. still me - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:30 AM

    "I may have to put you on the payroll as my official backup when I need a night off!"Wait, I thought you were on our payroll??I'm confused again…

  19. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    SJM — I can see the blades of grass from here, if the camera is pointing at them, in HD. Great seat, and the beer is WAY cheaper! And I never get foul balls at the park anyway, so that's no loss.

  20. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:14 AM

    Mark–Assuming the Nats don't re-sign Dunn, Huff seems like the kind of guy they might go after instead–good glove, no 40-100 guy but not a bad hitter, and hey, he can sing the National Anthem on short notice. Thoughts?

  21. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:28 AM

    Sec3MySofa: Huff may be a guy the Nats look at, but he's by no means a good glove man at first base. Maybe not as bad as Dunn, but still below average in the field. Solid hitter, though, and he'd be cheaper than Dunn.

  22. sm13 - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:57 AM

    On another matter….I see Bryce Harper went 2 for 4 today. Why play him at DH, though — doesn't he need time in the outfield?

  23. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    sm13–so do some other guys. Remember this is a mixed team of prospects from several teams.

  24. Sec3MySofa - Oct 24, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    Well, for a guy that's below average, Huff's having a pretty good series. Nice save there on Sanchez's throw from Gload's ground ball.

  25. Natsochist - Oct 24, 2010 at 3:40 AM

    My god, this is the situation you dream about as a little kid — Bottom 9, full count, tying & winning run on base….And Howard tries to take a walk. He's gonna replay that pitch the rest of his career.

  26. Sec3MyHummBaby - Oct 24, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    Natsochist, I suspect there are DVDs already in the mail from Phillies fans.

  27. BQ - Oct 24, 2010 at 4:18 AM

    OMG This couldn't have been written better than this. What a win! Thank you for the coverage Mark. Looking forward to some exciting pitching matchups in the world series.

  28. dale - Oct 24, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    How much I loved the views of the Phillies fans in the ninth praying, hoping, believing, and then crushed by a called strike three. I will savor that memory come next season.On a different note, I thoroughly enjoyed the TBS and Fox broadcast teams who knew when not to fill all the air time with blather. They let the scenes of the game speak for itself which is courageous for broadcasters to do. My biggest problem with Carpenter as an announcer has been his chattiness–his inability to say the most appropriate remark with the simple essence required. When teamed with Dibble it was a combination of a too chatty stats reciter with an arrogant chanter of "mano to mano" diatribes. At least Ray Knight has a much broader vein of knowledge to mine than Dibble ever did.

  29. Richard from Bethany Beach - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    why in the world did'nt we claim Cody Ross? I'm sure we could have.

  30. Anonymous - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    I dislike the Phillies more than any other NL team . . . but, does anyone else think that last pitch was low?

  31. JayB - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Yup I hear you on Phils and pitch location…..what a shame that they did not be the benefit of doubt for once…Zim or any Nat for that matter would have been rung up 9 out of 10 times to end that game on that pitch…..real shame those nice fans have to go home losers.This is the beginning of the end for this group. They had a great run and their fans have been spoiled and act like it….it will be fun to watch them turn on each other as they spiral down over the next 2 years.Age and Injuries are not going to be kind and those fans will get ugly fast….what a shame.

  32. JayB - Oct 24, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    At the time he was due $1 Million in salary and to keep him for 2011 would cost over $5 Million…..does that sound like Lerner ownership stepping up to improve the team at any cost. They do not plan to spend that kind of money for Ross like numbers…..too bad.

  33. CapPeterson - Oct 24, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Re last pitch to Howard, what about the pitch two pitches previously that caught the corner but was called a ball by ump?

  34. Feel Wood - Oct 24, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Let's not make a big deal over the Nats not claiming Cody Ross when the Marlins cut him. No one really wanted him then, not even the Giants. They only claimed him to keep the Padres from having a chance at him.

  35. Sec3MyHummBaby - Oct 24, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    If GMs knew at the time what everyone else will know six months or a year later, nobody would ever make trades that don't work out, sign guys who are going to get hurt, or pitch to Jack Clark.

  36. natsfan1a - Oct 25, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    A belated wooohoooo! Was actually in the Bay Area last week to visit family and thus was able to see the televised West Coast games at a decent hour for a change. Also, I don't recall that I've ever seen so many people sporting Giants gear around Silicon Valley. The bandwagon is filling up, evidently. Go, Giants!!

  37. natsfan1a - Oct 25, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    sec3, Utley and Sanchez have a bit of a history, dating from a game at SFO in July of 2009. Also, imho, Utley gets a pretty daggone huffy about being plunked for a guy who crowds the plate so much. Not that I'm biased or anything. ;-)Interesting tidbit from a game story in the Chronicle: Affeldt was the only Giant not to join in the "brawl." He was about to head down, but the bullpen coach told him to stay put and keep warming up so as to get locked in and stay focused. Meanwhile, Phillies Phans "called him every feminine epithet in the books" for not joining his teammates in the "fracas." The taunts didn't seem to rattle him, though, as he stranded the two runners and subsequently pitched a perfect frame.The Chron had another interesting tidbit: Miss America (a former Nat Packer, you may recall), performed the anthem. She told a Chron writer that she was rooting for the Phillies, and she wore a Phillies jersey. hmmm…





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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