More than two decades ago in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series, “The Wheez Kids” were held scoreless by the Baltimore Orioles. Now, for the second time in team history, the Philadelphia Phillies have been shut-out in a postseason game, losing Game 3 of the 2010 NLCS to Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants 3-0.
The Phillies were the National League’s fifth-best hitting team (.260) during the regular season. But ever since the calendar turned to October and the games started to mean a little more, Philadelphia has been desperately searching for hits. They have a total of 18 hits in their three games against Giants pitching in the NLCS.
Philadelphia’s home run king (31) and top run producer (108 RBI) this year, first baseman Ryan Howard, leads the team with four hits in the NLCS, but he has not gone deep or even driven in a run in the series. The slugger’s seven hits are best on the team in the 2010 postseason, but no Howard hit has left the park since September 25th.
Howard has struck-out 10 times in six games, half of those in the NLCS. As a team, the Phillies have whiffed 29 times in the 27 innings of the championship series. Outfielders Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez each have struck out five times against San Francisco.
Philly is hitting a dismal .194 in the NLCS, far worse than the .212 they managed against Cincinnati in the NLDS. They have left 21 runners on base in their three games of the NLCS, 12 of those in scoring position where the Phillies are hitting just 2-for-19.
In Game 3, the Giants scored all of their runs (3) with two outs, and they are hitting 4-for-14 (.285) with runners in scoring position in the series. San Francisco is batting only .189 in the NLCS, but the biggest difference between the two teams is the ability to drive in runs when given the opportunity.
Both the Phillies and Giants pitchers have been tremendous, as expected. Arguably the best staffs in all of baseball, their arms have combined for 58 strike outs and only 36 base hits allowed.
Their ERAs are identical at 2.77, but San Fran’s pitchers have the slightly better WHIP with a .092 compared to Philadelphia’s 1.12. You can’t emphasize it any better than in this series that good pitching beats good hitting.
Game 4’s pitching match-up features the team’s lesser-known arms. For the home team, the Giants will go with left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who pitched the fourth and deciding game of the NLDS against Atlanta for San Francisco.
Philadelphia counters with Joe Blanton, the nine-game winner hasn’t lost since July 21st. The big right-hander has made five previous career starts in the postseason, but this will be his first one this year.
It’s not quite panic time for Manager Charlie Manuel and the Fightins’, but things are starting to look a little grim for the two-time defending NL champs. With the Giants up 2-1, the Phillies can ill-afford any more let-downs. If they can get past Bumgarner, they can relax a little knowing their three big guns are waiting in the wings.