After the Phillies’ 4-2 victory in the Fifth Game of the NLCS, Charlie Manuel matter-of-factly mentioned that Roy Halladay pitched from the second inning on with a mild groin strain suffered while “humping up” on a pitch to Buster Posey.
That may not explain Halladay’s initial motionless on the bunt in the third inning, but it certainly explains his slight limp as he walked back to the dugout at the end of that bizarre trade. He pitched with a groin strain on a wet mound. Not surprising, just amazing.
Incidentally, I do not want to hear from Giants’ fans complaining that the game was decided by the bad fair/foul call on Halladay’s third-inning bunt. It was, in fact, decided on Pablo Sandoval’s bad footwork on the same play. If he had been able to find third base, that game-changing sacrifice bunt would’ve been a game-changing double-play and there would be no complaining.
One last note to a very specific audience: for ardent fans of MLB Network in HD in New York City, you noticed as I did that the damn thing disappeared off the Time-Warner HD tier some time on Tuesday. Turns out it has simply been relocated to the sports tier, Channel 489. If it happened somewhere else, I suggest you go to the network’s website.
This will not be as exhaustive a preview as was the one for Yankees-Rangers because I see this one more in terms of momentum, and expectations not met and others exceeded.
The Braves were in such desperate straits that they had to stick a career pinch-hitter at second base because he was less worse there than at third. Their closer’s career came to an end in the middle of an inning. Their rookie relievers barely held it together. Their outfield was made up of Jason Hayward and a variety of American League and Pittsburgh Pirate refugees. And they still rallied twice on the Giants’ bullpen and each of the four games of their NLDS was a one-run affair.
The re-loaded Giants couldn’t average even three runs a game off the gutsy, wobbly, fill-in Bravos, and now they’re supposed to go up against Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, and a not-too-shabby Joe Blanton (6-1, 3.48 after the All-Star Break) and produce something closer to four or five a night to have any chance.
I just don’t see it.
Tim Lincecum’s starts might be classics, and Halladay and/or Hamels might repeat their dubious performances from the regular season against the Giants. But I doubt it. And more over, I doubt that a team that survived the season in which the odds caught up with them and put 17 different of their guys on the disabled list is going to be knocked off by anybody but the best – and the Giants are not the best.
The series might be brief.