No panic in Phils
PHILADELPHIA - There was no signs of panic prior to Game 2 of the National League Championship Series last night at Citizen's Bank Park.
Despite dropping Game 1 to Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants the night before, the Philadelphia Phillies didn't look nervous despite being down in the series.
"I think it's going to help us a lot," said centerfield Shane Victorino. "You know, they came out ready to play last night. You can't take anything away from them. I think that we just have to regain our focus. It is one game. it is a seven-game series."
Regain their focus is just what they did as Jimmy Rollins broke the game open and they rode the fine pitching of Roy Oswalt for a 6-1
triumph to tie the series at 1-1.
A leadoff hitter most of his career, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel likes something about having his bat sixth in the order and leadoff with Shane Victorino.
"I put him there because he's a switch hitter mostly and he hasn't been playing and he's trying to find his swing," said Manuel. "By being a switch hitter, that offsets our lefty/righty situation. I like the two right hand hitters against the lefty, and then Raul (Ibanez) sandwiched in between Ruiz. And I kind of looked to see how much balance I can find in the lineup."
Rollins made Charlie look pretty good as he drew a bases loaded walk to force in Chase Utley to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the first inning, singled in the third inning and hit a three-run double in the seventh to break the game wide open.
Manuel thought that the bases-loaded walk in the first helped Rollins.
"I thought it was a good at bat for him, but he started seeing the ball better in that at bat and the rest of the night," he said. "The hit he got was a big hit, of course, and cleared the bases for us. But he got jammed, the ball that Renteria caught running out to left center, and actually the ball got in on him, but at least, like, he didn't go too fast at it. He stayed on the ball and he was letting it travel a little bit.
"That was a good sign to me. It was a good sign he was staying on the ball."
Victorino is also hoping that the double he hit will get him rolling at the top of the order.
"When a guy gets on base battling leadoff, that's what he's there to do," said Victorino. "Unfortunately in Game 1, I wasn't able to get on base.
"Personally, I don't care where I hit. I said it all along, doesn't matter if I'm hitting first or seventh. Charlie writes the lineup and he has that certain mindset and tries to get things going."
Heading into Game 3, Manuel said he has plenty of confidence in Cole Hamels.
"I've got a lot of confidence in Cole Hamels," he said. "I think that he's going to pitch a good game for us in San Diego I mean San Francisco. Last time out in Cincinnati, of course, he was real good.
" I feel like he's actually really he's getting better. He's coming into his own. The more he pitches right now this year it seems like the better he's getting."
As far as a Game 4 starter goes, Manuel said that he hadn't talked to Rich Dubee about it yet, but it looks like it'll be Joe Blanton.
"We were planning on starting Blanton," said Manuel. "We said that the other day. That's still our plan. But we'll just take it day to day and see what happens. I mean, our plans are Blanton.
"Our team has experience, and our team has showed in the past it can be down and come back. I mean, we were seven and a half games behind the Braves with a month to go and we caught them. We ended like something 30 some games, 32 games over .500. And after Houston beat us in here, we were, like, what 13 over or something? Something like that. We ended it with about 35 games to go, we won like 27 or something, 28 of them, 27 or something.
"It's all up to us. I mean, we can control where we're going and what we're going to do."
And with the series tied going to the West coast down two games to none, the confidence is back in the "City of Brotherly Love".