Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tomorrow Begins Today for Phils

To quote from the ill-fated 2008 campaign of John Edwards, tomorrow indeed begins today for the Phils. Two wins and we return to the World Series for a 3rd straight year (where Cliff Lee, amazingly enough, is waiting). For now, all attention must be on tonight's match-up. Roy Oswalt will need to be on his game. He'll need those extra couple MPH on his fastball that the crowd should help him get. He'll need to hit the corners and stay away from BBs.

The Phils offense will face Jonathan Sanchez, a tough lefty. The key, I believe, is Ryan Howard, who did OK with him in Game 2. I think Howard needs to be aggressive early in the count. When he gets down 2 strikes to guys like this, he inevitably strikes out on an off-speed pitch. I say come to the plate ready to swing. And he absolutely needs to go the other way, something he did effectively last time he faced Sanchez.

Bill Conlin wrote a piece today in the Daily News arguing that Howard should be benched tonight for Mike Sweeney. I do not agree. Howard hasn't been a run producer this postseason, but given his success against Sanchez in Game 2, I think that'd be an extreme move. He is still a guy who can change a game with one big swing. We may need that tonight and/or tomorrow.

Ideally, the crowd will rattle Sanchez early, forcing him to give up a few runs and raise his pitch count. If the Phils can get a lead and force him out of the game early, they can tire the Giants bullpen before a decisive Game 7...

For all of those attending the game, follow the advice of Jimmy Rollins: “Be out there, let ‘em have it. LET THEM HAVE IT. All of ‘em. For real."

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