It wasn't easy, but on the strength of their bullpen, and the bat and right arm of Jayson Werth, the Phillies are brining it home to Philadelphia thanks to a 4-2 victory Thursday night. (Getty Images)
Beerleaguer: Jayson Werth, who muscled a key insurance run over the right-field wall for his second home run this series, has essentially been the Phillies most reliable big-run power source of the last two postseasons. His hard hacks have been most refreshing as we continue to watch the rest of the lineup gape at crushable pitches as they travel down the chute. Werth’s defense has also been a revelation, including his throw, and the way he’s expertly navigated a very tricky AT&T Park outfield. ... Taking a look at the pitching, the back of the bullpen has emerged as a key strength again. Ryan Madson, who scratched through 1 2-3 innings the night before and was thought to be unavailable, pitched perhaps the best inning of the series by simply staying away from the 4-5-6 hitters’ power, a novel concept. He got the entire side to go fishing. Meanwhile, Jose Contreras had his splitter working again and has been on roll this postseason, dutifully filling the middle-inning gaps. We'll get to Brad Lidge in a minute.
Halladay injured: From the very first pitch, Roy Halladay didn’t look up to it. Now we know why. According to reports, he suffered a groin injury on a pitch in the second inning and was essentially pitching on one leg. Halladay, who found himself constantly behind in the count and played catch-up with pitches that showed little life, somehow managed to last six and surrendered only the two runs. Watching Ross Gload move into the on-deck circle in the seventh never felt like such a relief. (Talk about a hard-luck on Gload's liner to first).
Here’s what others had to say after the game.
Officiating: “This series has seen some of the worst umpiring ever. Balls and strikes has been an embarrassment. Pablo Sandoval hit the chalk down the line that was called foul, and the Halladay bunt was called fair. Gload beat the throw leading off the ninth inning in Game 4 but was called out, completely changing the complexion of that inning and the game.” – George S.
Exploiting Sandoval: “With Sandoval at third, I cannot believe that neither Victorino nor Rollins have tried to lay down a bunt. Sandoval is a poor fielder, with no range and a scattergun arm. Especially with men on base, and even with two out, a bunt toward third would seem like a good percentage play.” – George S.
Fastballs: “The Phillies do not seem able to hit fastballs any more (when they decide to swing at them). The Giants pitchers have left quite a few high and in the zone and they are not getting punished for it. Brian Wilson has really gotten away with some meatballs, and I hope somebody in that Philly lineup makes him pay. These are not 98 mph lasers on the black, but 88-90 mph pitches in the zone and often on hitters' counts. The Phils are making the Giants pitchers look a lot better than they really are.” – George S.
Lidge deserves respect: “Why Lidge continues to get some much second-guessing in the national media baffles me. Guess who has the better ERA since August 1 - Lidge or Wilson? That's right Lidge. He simply has shown the ability to throw that slider at the knee with great consistency with the exception of Game 1 in this series.” – MG
Manuel outmaneuvered Bochy: “Cholly made a blunder by putting Utley/Howard back-to-back, which loomed later in the game, but Bochy's blunder (pitching Ramirez) loomed even larger tonight. You don't put in a guy who is getting hit like Ramirez in a spot where you desperately need a scoreless inning. Also got away with bringing in Affeldt to turn around Vic.” - MG