Two games in the books for the 2010 NLCS and so far, the world has seen some good baseball being played. The Giants did all they could to go to San Francisco with a split.
After a big performance from Cody Ross in game one, the Giants took a 1-0 lead on the defending National League champs. More importantly, it was their ace Tim Lincecum, who beat the Phillies ace Roy Halladay.
While game one may not have lived up to the expectations, game two on Sunday did. Roy Oswalt took over on the mound for Philadelphia and dazzled the Giants. The Kosciusko, MS native tossed eight solid innings, allowing just one run on three hits, while fanning nine. His solid effort and base-running, kept the Phillies from going to San Francisco down 0-2.
Perhaps the biggest thing to take away from the series so far, however, is the fact that it looks like Jimmy Rollins is back. Rollins, who let’s be honest, has had his struggles, came up huge in last night’s Phillies 6-1 win over the Giants. A former Reading Phillies shortstop, Rollins went 2-3 with four RBIs, and led the Phillies to the much-needed victory.
Rollins, who won the 2007 NL MVP, has had his share of injuries and struggles since. His offensive numbers have dropped, his games played have dropped, and Rollins, himself, has been dropped from the leadoff spot.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Rollins was hitting just .067 (1-15) in the postseason, but he was still out there giving his all when game two started. Batting sixth behind sluggers Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth, Rollins ignited the Phillies offense, which is hitting just .179 with runners in scoring position. The California native, who has been used to igniting the offense from the top of the lineup, did it from lower in the lineup, and came up as the hero in the end.
“Sometimes you just put a good swing on the ball, find some gap and
everything looks like it’s fantastic,” Rollins said. “Hopefully I can
take what I did today and just keep it going.”
If Rollins, who hit .243 in 350 at-bats this season, can keep hitting in the postseason, the Phillies may have found their secret weapon. Once relied upon as the table-setter of the offense, Rollins has not been that force for awhile now. If the Phillies can get the Rollins of old back into the lineup on a daily basis, the edge will once again be given to Philadelphia.
One more thing — Phillies manager Charlie Manuel deserves a lot of credit. Never once did Manuel decide to pull Rollins in the playoffs. He stuck with his former MVP, and in the end, it paid dividends. Much like he stuck with Brad Lidge in the bad times, he has done the same with Rollins.
The Phillies and Giants will face each other on Saturday in game one of the NLCS. Roy Halladay will face Tim Lincecum in perhaps one of the finest pitching matchups the playoffs have ever seen.
As we move forward, and get ready for NLCS baseball, I thought it would be good to take a look at some of the Phillies top NLCS performers. Oh, and by the way, can we play some baseball already! It’s unbelievable that the Phils have not played since Sunday, what a long week!
The Pitchers (NLCS)
Joe Blanton — 0-0, 4.15 ERA — 3 G, 2 GS (13 IP, 13 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 8 BB, 8 SO)
Cole Hamels — 3-0, 3.80 ERA — 4 G, 4 GS (23.2 IP, 24 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 7 BB, 20 SO)
Brad Lidge — 2-1, 1.80 ERA — 15 G (20 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 7 BB, 30 SO)
Ryan Madson — 1-0, 2.16 ERA — 8 G (8.1 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO)
Roy Oswalt — 2-0, 3.27 ERA — 4 G, 3 GS (22 IP, 19 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 8 BB, 14 SO)
The Hitters (NLCS)
Greg Dobbs — .429-0-0 — (5 G, 3 H, 2B, BB)
Ryan Howard — .314-1-8 — (10 G, 11 H, 9 R, 2 2B, 3B, 6 BB)
Placido Polanco — .455-0-2 — (8 G, 10 H, 2 R, 2B, 4 BB
Carlos Ruiz — .345-1-5 — (10 G, 10, 7 R, 2 2B, 6 BB, SB)
Chase Utley — .278-1-4 — (10 G, 10 H, 7 R, 2 2B, 10 BB)
Shane Victorino — .297-3-12 — (10 G, 11 H, 6 R, 2B, 2 3B, 4 BB, SB)
Jayson Werth — .205-3-6 — (10G, 8 H, 7 R, 2B, 3 BB)