You could argue that Charlie Manuel should go back to Roy Halladay in Game 4. You could say Raul Ibanez should be benched in favor of Ben Francisco. It all comes down to one question: Patience or panic?
Five reasons for patience: 1). The Phillies seemingly have the advantage in the Game 4 pitching matchup. Veteran Joe Blanton, who has a 3.89 ERA in eight career postseason games, is taking on 21-year-old rookie Madison Bumgarner, who has one playoff start to his name. 2). The 2-3-2 series format is a big edge for the team with home-field advantage. 3). The Giants’ hitters are not setting the world on fire. Their team batting average in the playoffs is .206 and one player, Cody Ross, has 50 percent of their RBIs. 4). The Phillies have proven in this series that they can score against Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez (albeit modestly) and they have proven in the past that they can score against Matt Cain. Furthermore, the Phils got to the Giants’ bullpen in Game 2, so there shouldn’t be a shortage of confidence from their end. 5). Championship pedigree.
Five reasons for panic: 1). The Phillies, through all their postseason success, have not come from behind to win a playoff series in recent years. The only two series in which the Phils trailed at any point – the 2007 NLDS and the 2009 World Series – wound up with the Phillies on the losing end. 2). The Phillies haven’t scored runs consistently all season and their offensive problems are resurfacing at the worst possible time. They are hitting only .203 in the playoffs, have scored just 11 runs in their last four games. 3). Of the regulars, only Ryan Howard (7-for-22, .318) is hitting above .235. The rest have been woefully inept. 4). Neither Roy Halladay nor Cole Hamels has had his A-stuff in this series. 5). While Blanton has been solid for the Phillies, both down the stretch this season and in previous playoff runs, he could easily be rusty on Wednesday. Blanton has not thrown a pitch in a major league game since Oct. 3 and has not started since Sept. 29.
Link: Another Wild Game 4 in Store for Phillies? [Read]
- Written for Beerleaguer by Drew Silverman