Phillies or Giants: Which rotation would you rather have if you were starting a new organization?

Philadelphia Phillies all-star pitcher Roy Oswalt delivers a pitch during first inning San Francisco Giants-Philadelphia Phillies NLCS Championship game two at Citizens Bank Park October 17, 2010. . UPI/John Anderson

So you’re the general manager of the new Las Vegas Craps team and baseball commissioner Bud Selig comes to you with the offer of all offers.

He says, since the Craps are going to struggle this year offensively with a lineup comprised of over-the-hill veterans and unproven rookies, you get your pick of stealing either the Phillies or the Giants’ starting rotation.

“Sweet mother of all that is holy,” you say to Selig. “Those are the best starting rotations in the game!”

“Yes they are, Craps owner,” Selig says. “But you have to choose one right now.”

So which rotation would you rather have? Let’s take a look at the deets first.

Philadelphia Phillies

Roy Halladay
Age: 33
Salary: $20 million in 2011; $20 million in 2012; $20 million in 2013; $20 million option in 2014.
Career Stats: 169-86, 1,714 Ks, 3.32 ERA, 58 complete games, 19 shutouts
Accolades: Two-time Cy Young winner, two-time wins champion, seven-time All-Star.

Cliff Lee
Age: 32
Salary: $11 million 2011; $21.5 million in 2012; $25 million from 2013-2015.
Career Stats: 102-61, 3.85 ERA, 1,085 Ks
Accolades: Cy Young winner, two-time All-Star, 7-2 postseason record, 2.13 postseason ERA.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Phillies capitalize on Giants’ mistakes, push a Game 6 in NLCS

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay in the 2nd inning during the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, on October 21, 2010. UPI/ Bob Larson Photo via Newscom

For much of this year’s NLCS, it’s been the Phillies that have made costly fielding errors, timely mistakes, and have not created their own breaks. And it’s been the Giants who have capitalized on those errors and those mistakes to build a lead in the best-of-seven series.

But on Thursday night, it was the Phillies who capitalized on Giants’ miscues in the third inning in order to take Game 5 by a score of 4-2 and stave off elimination.

The game was hardly the pitching match for the ages that most people expected it would be. Roy Halladay (who pitched through a mild groin pull) and Tim Lincecum weren’t their dominant selves and instead of coming down to pitching, the game was won by the team that made the fewest mistakes.

In that pivotal third inning, Raul Ibanez reached base on a weak single off Lincecum, who then hit Carlos Ruiz after building a 0-2 count. Roy Halladay then bunted a ball that was clearly foul, but home plate umpire Jeff Nelson must have forgotten his contacts because he ruled it fair. Buster Posey’s throw to Pablo Sandoval at third was a little off the mark and Sandoval, who isn’t the fleetest of foot at defensive tackle-like size, missed the bag as Ibanez slid in safely. Ruiz went to second on the play and Halladay, who knew the ball was foul and didn’t even run, was thrown out at first.

Shane Victorino then hit a hard ground ball to first baseman Aubrey Huff, who had it ricochet off him into centerfield as if his entire body and glove were made of rubber, and both runners scored. Placido Polanco then singled to center to score Victorino and all of a sudden the Giants’ 1-0 lead (a lead they earned in the first inning) evaporated into a 3-1 deficit.

The Phillies never trailed after that. Cody Ross (the greatest postseason player alive, apparently) hit a double to right to score Pat Burrell in the fourth, but that was all the fight the Giants had in them. Jayson Werth homered to right in the top of the ninth to give the Phillies breathing room and then San Fran quietly went down in order in the bottom half of the inning as Brad Lidge earned the save.

Now the series shifts back to Philadelphia for Game 6 on Saturday and probably a Game 7 on Sunday. I say “probably” because if anyone thinks the Phillies are done then you haven’t been paying attention the past couple of years. Their Game 5 victory has given them new life and while they still trail 3-2 in the series, they’re traveling back home to that Little League Park they call a stadium where a routine fly ball can travel over the wall. They’ll also have Roy Oswalt (Game 2’s winner) and Cole Hamels set to start.

The Giants missed a huge opportunity to let a sleeping dog lie. Now they have to earn a victory in hostile environment against a veteran squad that’s used to winning in October. Strap it up – I can feel a Game 7 coming on.

The legend of Buster Posey grows as the Giants build a 3-1 lead in NLCS

San Francisco Giants Buster Posey (R) tags out Philadelphia Phillies Carlos Ruiz at home in the fifth inning of game four of the NLCS at AT&T Park in San Francisco Park on October 20, 2010.  UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom

It was Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly that scored Aubrey Huff in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Giants a 6-5 win over the Phillies in Game 4 of the NCLS, as well as a commanding 3-1 series lead.

But while Uribe may have played the role of hero Wednesday night, rookie Buster Posey was the true star.

Posey went 27 at-bats before getting the first postseason RBI of his young career. But he picked up two ribbies in Game 4 while going 4-for-5 at the plate and becoming the fifth rookie in baseball history to record at least four hits and two RBI in a playoff game. His single down the right field line in the bottom of the ninth moved Huff (who had singled to start the inning) over to third to set up Uribe’s sac fly. Without that hit (which came after Posey fell behind Roy Oswalt 0-2 in the count), who knows how that game would have ended.

Perhaps what’s most remarkable is that Posey’s hits came off of a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup, which speaks to his maturity as a hitter. He also made a sensational play at the plate to haul in a short-hop by Aaron Rowand and tag out a sliding Carlos Ruiz to save a run in the 4th inning. The Phillies went on to score four runs that inning anyway, but considering the Giants won by one, that could be viewed as the play of the game.

He’s only 23, but Posey already carries himself like a seasoned veteran. He always stays within himself and he never loses his composure, which must be hard given that he’s the Giants’ best offensive player (not to mention the fact that he also calls balls and strikes for one of the best pitching staffs in baseball).

Thanks to Posey, Uribe, Huff, Pablo Sandoval (who had a huge two-run double in the sixth to give the Giants a 5-4 lead after they had trailed 4-3 heading into the inning) and about nine tons of resiliency, San Fran is now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2002.

Of course, securing that final victory won’t be an easy task. I texted our college football writer Paul Costanzo following the game and asked, “How focused do you think Roy Halladay is going to be tomorrow night? Dear, Lord…”

His response: “He may not throw a ball.”

The Giants will counter with ace Tim Lincecum, but there’s no question that they’re going to see the absolute best that Halladay has to offer. They’ve beaten him twice this year (once in the regular season and once in Game 1 of this series), but to the Giants’ hitters, it may look like he’s throwing marbles out there.

I don’t know how you can call yourself a baseball fan if you don’t tune into Halladay vs. Lincecum Thursday night. This is what October baseball is all about.

Related Posts