With a raucous crowd at Citizens Bank Park and house parties taking place throughout the Philadelphia area, it could have been a night to celebrate a victory and prepare for a decisive Game 7. But, the light from the full moon didn’t bring out the beast in the Phillies tonight. The San Francisco Giants won the National League Pennant, beating the Phils 3-2 in Game 6 of the NLCS, ending their two-year reign as National League Champions.
A called third-strike, thrown to Ryan Howard by â€œBlackbeardâ€ Brian Wilson, sunk the heart of every fan cheering for another World Series birth. Wilson Valdez and Chase Utley left stranded on the bases, epitomized the cause of this team’s demise. The lineup could not come through in the clutch again.
Ryan Madson took the loss after surrendering a short home run to Juan Uribe in the eighth inning, but pitching was not the Phillies problem in this series. A shaky offense left a demoralizing eleven men on base in this final game. Some misplays in the field during these six games did not help either. Possibly, the injuries some of the positional players battled through during the season created those results.
Roy Oswalt pitched well enough to give his team a chance to win, allowing one earned run in six innings. Giant’s starter, Jonathan Sanchez, pitched poorly and seemingly deserved to lose. His reaction to the Philadelphia crowd was not exactly like Burt Hooton’s in 1977, but he clearly lost focus during the game. The Giants did come from behind to win by one run tonight, just as the Dodgers did long ago.
Sanchez failed to record an out in the third inning. Bruce Bochy may have left him in the ballgame after he had hit Utley in the back with a ball. But, after the benches cleared, Bochy must have felt that Sanchez wasn’t going to be effective, or regain his composure, so he brought in a series of lefty relievers before using Tim Lincecum and Wilson, who picked up the save. That specific managerial decision paved the way for the superb effort of the Giant’s bullpen and helped them win the pennant. Throwing seven innings of shutout baseball in a deciding game of a league championship series, against a two-time defending league championship team, deserves major respect.
NLCS MVP Cody Ross, was not consistent throughout the entire series, but had enough strong performances to help the Giants best the Phillies in a few games. Those victories proved to be too much to overcome.
Bottom Line: The only way to successfully complete any season is with a championship. The 2008 season was perfect. Last year, even though they did not play at their best, they did return to the World Series. This season ends disappointingly and raises questions. Three stud pitchers and they don’t even make it to the World Series? If Jayson Werth leaves and Domonic Brown replaces him, how is a lineup that has problems against left-handed pitching going to be better? How long can the core players remain healthy and productive now that so many are over 30 years old?
I had hoped to write a game recap that detailed a Phillies win, after having picked them to finish the Giants in six games. But, there was no magical return of the 2008 Phillies offense during tonight’s 2010’s pennant clincher. No ball was hit into history to win the pennant for the Phillies. The only things that went deep into the Philadelphia night were the fans, as they left the ballpark.
Phillies withdrawal now begins. No more great times at the stadium, or watch-parties at homes, taverns, and restaurants until next year. This current team has clearly equaled the 1976-1983 era Phillies. But, are they better then them? That is a question worth debating with our families and friends all winter long.
After college, Sean O’Brien worked in the front office for the Phillies former Triple-A team in Scranton. He went on to write professionally during the next few decades and is currently a teacher in the great state of Pennsylvania. He can often be seen, with a variety of family and friends, in one of Philadelphia’s great sports stadiums.
You can contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org