Tim Lincecum holds Philadelphia’s sporting hopes in his blistered right hand. He can either feed Philly with energy and hope with a lackluster performance, or he can turn everyone’s attention to the Eagles. It’s all up to him, in his third postseason start. The first two have gone fairly well, and tonight’s crowd will be so loud, they could probably power a nuclear reactor.
How is Philadelphia handling this? Traditionally a somewhat negative group, are they panicking down 3-1? Do they still think the Giants are an inferior team? Have they given up completely on Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins? Do they have a pit in their stomachs larger than that wad of chew that’s always in Raul Ibanez’s cheek?
Before you check out the links and decide, don’t forget if you haven’t already that tonight’s Lincecum start gives you a chance to win a Beard Head. Predict the number of Phillies Lincecum strikes out correctly, and we’ll ship you one of these $30 beard heads. Not bad, huh? Any guess between 7 and 12 K’s has been taken. 1-6 K’s and 13+ are available, you have about 4 hours…
Now onto the phreakouts (Sorry, I can’t stop myself from doing that with words that start with “f.” I blame Mike Singletary.):
— “Buster Posey simply took what was given to him and sent the final pitch he saw from Oswalt into right field. An opposite field hit, a novel concept. It’s a fundamental trait often overlooked, and last night, was so by the Phillies.” This post was followed by a fun little rant in the comments section (pictured to the right). (Phillies Nation)
— “The 2007 Red Sox are probably our closest comparable here. They were, arguably, the best wire-to-wire team in baseball that season. Like the Phillies, they fell behind an excellent Cleveland Indians ballclub three games to one, and sent their ace, Josh Beckett, against the Indians’ ace and 2007 Cy Young Award winner, C.C. Sabathia, in a Game Five in Cleveland. If they won, the Red Sox would take the series back to Boston. Sabathia was less than sharp, allowing four runs and ten hits in six innings, while Josh Beckett struck out 11 and allowed one run in eight innings to add another line to his formidable postseason resume. In Boston, the reinvigorated Red Sox clobbered the Indians by scores of 12-2 and 11-2, en route to their second AL Pennant and then World Championship of the decade.
“Tonight in San Francisco it’s another battle of the aces as Roy Halladay takes on defending Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.Â And while Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain are probably a good bit better than the Indians’ Game Six and Seven starters Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook, the return home could boost the Phillies’ chances, especially against fly-ball pitcher Matt Cain.” (The Good Phight)
— “The Giants look like they’ve done this 1,000 times: big hits, hits to the opposite field, all night long … Chase Utley has head-hanging down to a science.” (Beerleaguer)
— “My theory is that Utley’s thumb is still a problem, sapping his power. Left-handed pitchers pitch Utley low and outside. Right-handers do as well, but pitch inside on a more frequent basis. Hitting inside pitches puts more pressure on the wrist and thumb given the direction in which the bat makes contact with the ball. Additionally, hitting softer pitches requires good bat control which is related to hand strength and dexterity. A thumb injury such as Utley’s will sap both attributes, which is why he has seen such a precipitous decline in his power hitting.” (Crashburn Alley)
— Some people still can’t even watch what’s going on, even if they wanted to: “Subscribers of Cablevision who are Philadelphia Phillies fans have missed all four games of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants.” (Examiner)
— “Before this series began, you would have had a difficult time finding anyone outside Haight-Ashbury’s smoke-filled medical marijuana dispensaries who believed the upstart Giants would actually get past the Phils. But somehow, the not-quite Fightin’s are down three games to one. If they’re going to stage a mini-Red Sox rally and reach the World Series, if they’re going to silence the media and the fans and the rest of the doubters, they might want to hurry up and get started.” (Philly Inquirer)
— “Can they find a way to win? Having Doc on the bump tonight is a good start. Doesn’t matter that he’s facing The Freak – Doc can hoist this team on his very capable shoulders. This we know. It’s up to his teammates to put him in a position to do so. Right now, to me, that’s an unlikely proposition.” (Phils-ville)