On Thursday night, the Giants were confident that they could win their 4th pennant after beating the National Championship Phillies three games out of the first four in the National League Championship Series. Not so fast.
I am going to do something different with my blog and make a rather bold statement here. I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but the San Francisco Giants' season will be over come Sunday night. It will not be over because they defeated the Phillies in one of these two games in the East Coast, but it will be over because the Giants will get shelled by the Phillies in each of the two games and lose the series after being up 3-1.
Why such a bold statement you ask? It's simply because they don't have what it takes. To win in Philly, you have to be able to lift the ball in the air with at least a little authority in that ban box. The Giants have struggled to do this in the post-season. Time and time again, they have rolled over on off-speed pitches outside of the zone, and the Philadelphia pitchers have been smart to pick up on this. Yesterday, Roy Halladay, even not at his best, realized this tendency and stuck with his off-speed pitches away, and the Giants just were off-balance and rolled over on them. The Phillies, on the other hand, are more than capable of elevating Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain, which is a reason why the score will be lopsided early in favor of the Phillies.
Another reason why the Giants are done is because they cannot play defense. I have never seen a Giants' third basemen struggle so much to make a throw from first to third. Last year, Pablo Sandoval was almost like a wizard at the position, but this year he has made too many bonehead plays. For example, in the third inning of yesterday's game, you got to be on the bag to take Posey's throw on the bunt (with runners at first and second with 0 outs). Although the ball was foul and the umpire blew the call, you got to be ready. Instead, Sandoval was not, saw the ball as foul, and relaxed as he took the throw off the bag and could not get his foot there on time. Fortunately, he was able to record the out at first because Halladay did not run, but that was a free double play that cannot be botched. If you give extra outs to the Phillies, you will pay. As a result, the Phillies scored three runs in that inning that did the Giants in. Imagine how big that was in a 4-2 loss.
Also, Jonathan Sanchez has none chance in Philly. You got a pitcher who his hard to hit yes, but he walks too many people. He led the league in walks. If you want to beat the Phillies, you cannot give them gifts because they know how to pounce on them (see the above paragraph). If you walk them, someone is going to be ready to hit a three-run jack and before you know it, the Giants are behind. The walks, combined with the Giants' errors, did Sanchez in on Saturday night, and I see the same thing happening this Saturday in Philadelphia.
Finally, the Giants will lose this weekend because they do not have the momentum. If the Giants won the first game, dropped the second one, and won the third one at home, then the Giants would have the momentum to get something started in Philly. Now, all they have to think about in their off day is the crushing loss at home that should have been won with better defense. The Phillies, on the other hand, have every reason to be fired up, and I have no doubt they will "swing hard in case you hit it," as F.P. Santangelo would say. Momentum is everything in baseball, and unfortunately, the wrong team has it.
I am not saying it is impossible to win in Philly, but I am saying it will be very unlikely. In order for the Giants to win the pennant, they have to get lucky. Their rolled over grounders must find holes, and the Phillies need to make mistakes on the field, which is not going to happen with that vacuum cleaner defense. Lastly, someone other than Cody Ross will have to get the job done. Solo homers can only get you so far, but I don't think a team with a horrible on-base percentage will have too many 3-run jacks. I am sorry Giants fans as much as I would like to see them win, it is simply not going to happen. Maybe with a better offense and a more athletic defense (and throw in some speed), the Giants might be able to bring the pennant home next year, but this year, be ready to hit the bars after Sunday's crushing defeat.
One more thing, check out my friend's blog. I promised I would link it, and it has some good insight. http://lasportsminute.blogspot.com/2010/
Oh, for all you people who want to believe, Listen to this song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyVdbfyvwso . Unfortunately, I don't have the "faith and hope" he has. Not happening this year at least, but next year can be a different story.