2010 NLCS: 5 Keys for the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3

Michael WallCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2010

2010 NLCS: 5 Keys for the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3

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    Due to timely hitting and a dominating pitching performance by Roy Oswalt, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-1 in Game 2 of the 2010 NLCS.  

    Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies now need to focus on how to defeat the Giants in San Francisco in Game 3.   

    Matt Cain will get the start for the home team, as he will try and lead the Giants to a 2-1 series lead. 

    With the series tied 1-1, Game 3 may determine the winner of the series.  The losing team will face some daunting questions.  

    If the Phillies lose, will Roy Halladay get the start in Game 4?  If the Giants lose, will Tim Lincecum get the start in Game 4? 

    If the San Francisco Giants can defeat another member of "H2O", the series may take a turn for the worst for the Phillies.  

    Here are five keys for victory for the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of the NLCS.  

Shut Down Cody Ross

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    Without question, Cody Ross' performance has been the biggest surprise of the 2010 NLCS.  Ross has provided nearly all of the San Francisco Giants' offense.  

    In Game 1, Ross hit two home runs against Roy Halladay.  In Game 2, he hit one more against Roy Oswalt. 

    Cody Ross has not just been hot against the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, Ross had three RBI, including a home run in Game 4, the clincher for the Giants.

    He now has a total of six RBI in the 2010 Postseason. The question now is whether or not Cole Hamels can shut him down. 

    In his career against Hamels (mostly with the Florida Marlins), Ross is 9-for-30 with four home runs.  

    Not exactly what Philadelphia fans were hoping for.   

    In order to win Game 3, the Philadelphia Phillies must limit Cody Ross' production.  Then again, if he is only guy hurting the Phillies, Charlie Manuel is happy.    

Jimmy Rollins Must Start Hitting

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    In Game 2, Philadelphia fans were relieved to see Jimmy Rollins finally get a clutch hit.  In the seventh inning, Rollins hit a bases-clearing double to secure the win for the Phillies.  

    The Philadelphia Phillies now need the shortstop to carry over the momentum from Game 2 into Game 3. 

    History favors Rollins in the matchup against Matt Cain. 

    In his career, J-Roll is 6-for-10 against Cain, including one home run and three triples

    That one home run came on August 18th this season and knocked in two base runners to take a 5-1 lead.

    It is unknown where Rollins will bat in the Phillies lineup, but we should assume that Charlie Manuel will leave him at sixth.  

    Expect Jimmy Rollins to provide a necessary spark for Philadelphia. 

The Philadelphia Phillies Need To Continue Success Against Matt Cain

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    The Philadelphia Phillies faced Matt Cain only once this season.  Philadelphia defeated San Francisco 8-2, but Cain did run into some bad luck. 

    The Giants' pitcher only lasted six innings, giving up five runs.  However, only two of those runs were earned. 

    In five appearances against the Phillies, Matt Cain is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA.   On the other hand, Cain has been great recently, posting a low 2.20 ERA in his last five starts. 

    It is important for the Philadelphia to knock Cain out of the game early and wear down the San Francisco bullpen. 

    If the Phillies can get to Matt Cain early, the Giants may have a tired bullpen for Games 4 and 5.  

Cole Hamels Must Stay Hot

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    Cole Hamels was brilliant in the Philadelphia Phillies' Game 3 clinching-win against the Cincinnati Reds. 

    Once again, Hamels will be starting on the road, but he has not had much success against the San Francisco Giants. 

    Hamels was 0-1 in two starts against the Giants this season.  He only managed to pitch a combined 11 innings, while giving up nine earned runs.  

    However, Cole Hamels has been on fire in his last eight starts.  The lefty is 6-1 with a 1.22 ERA. 

    The Giants lineup is full of right-handers, including Cody Ross, which means Hamels could run into some trouble.

    Although if he pitches like he has been lately, especially in a big, San Francisco ballpark, the Philadelphia Phillies should take a 2-1 series lead.  

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley Need To Produce

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    The left-handed batters in the Philadelphia Phillies' lineup must deliver some power against the right-handed Matt Cain.   

    Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have not knocked in any runs in the first two games of the NLCS.   

    The two players have combined to bat 4-13 in the first to games, but they need to provide some timely extra-base hits. 

    Look for Utley to play a big factor in Game 3, as he has ridiculous numbers against Matt Cain.  

    He is 7-for-15, with a double and three home runs against Cain.    

    Cain may try to pitch around one of them, but it will be difficult to avoid both power-hitters. 

    Expect Howard and/or Utley to send a ball or two into McCovey Cove.