NLCS Report Card: Phillies Missing That Phight

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IOctober 21, 2010

NLCS Report Card: Phillies Missing That Phight

0 of 9

    CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 10: Manager Charlie Manuel #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches as his team takes on the Cincinnati Reds during game 3 of the NLDS at Great American Ball Park on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Phillies defeated the Reds
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    After four game into the NCLS, we have ourselves quite a matchup, but with contrasting results.

    The Phillies have looked consevative, out of sync, and at times, without that fight that has made them who they are.

    The Giants, on the other hand, have looked cool, crisp, and methodical which are the very tratis that helped them win the West.

    Last night's game was a little indicative of the aforementioned.

    While it's hard to put a grade on a game that was really based around well hit and placed balls, there are some specifics that could've made a difference.

    Let's take a look.= at last night's report card.

1B, Ryan Howard

1 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after scoring in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, Ca
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Howard has pretty much been consistent through the entire series, but his power is MIA, and last night we saw the SO bug make a short appearance.

    The big man will have to make better contact starting tonight, if he is to help the Phillies bring the series back home.

    Final Grade C plus

2B, Chase Utley

2 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies dives for the ball on a groundout hit by Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning of Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on Oc
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Utley has been marginally average through the series as well, and last night was no different. One run and one hit in five at bats will not cut it in the NLCS, so again, if he too wants to help the Phillies bring this thing back home, he will have to step up in a big way.

    Final Grade C plus

SS Jimmy Rollins

3 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies stands at second base after being tagged out during Game Four of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francis
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    I guess some will inevitably argue that Rollins was safe due to an apparent balk, but you can't argue a quiet bat and two bad plays that could've gone for outs.

    He did, however, have some good plays defensively, but inconsistency really played an ugly rol in Rollins' night.

    Final Grade D plus

3B, Placido Polanco

4 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Placido Polanco #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws out Edgar Renteria #16 of the San Francisco Giants after misplaying the ball in the fifth inning of Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on Oct
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Polanco wound up being the one guy who had a really good night; a running theme in this series. He hit well, putting the ball inplay at crucial times and drove in some important runs.

    He he can stay hot he'll be huge in tonight's Game five.

    Final Grade A minus

The Outfield

5 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  A fan holds a sign as Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks in to the dugout after striking out in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    The outfield in a whole came alive last night—finally—but also struck out four time in total.

    They had some great defensive plays such as Werth's sliding grab to block the ball from getting to the wall, and preventing the runner from advancing, but Francisco had a horrible play on a fly ball.

    Victorino was his usual self defensively, and hit better than he has this whole series.

    Werth B minus, Victorino B minus, Francisco C minus

    The Outfield Final Grade C plus

SP, Joe Blanton

6 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Joe Blanton #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts in the fifth inning of Game Four of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Ph
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Blanton had trouble tonight from the first pitch to the last, which is a bit unexpected and unacceptable for a guy who has rested for nearly a month.

    It's not that Blanton gave up a ton of hits and runs, just that he gave up the ones that he really shouldn't have, but he also had some issues with the defense so it's not all on his shoulder.

    Final Grade C plus

The Bullpen

7 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Ryan Madson #46 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning of Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, Califo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Durbin blew a chance for the phillies and looked terrible.

    Madson had great movement on his changeup, but couldn't consistently find the zone.

    Oswalt just simply made things worse.

    Between these three guys three walks were issued, and Oswalt gave up the crucial hits that basically backdoored the Giants back into this game.

    I don't know if they just pitched poorly, or if they underestimated this Giants hitting squad, but this won't even do in the regular season.

    Final Grade F

C, Carlos Ruiz

8 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Andres Torres #56 of the San Francisco Giants slides safely under the legs of Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies to score a run in the in the fifth inning off a Aubrey Huff #17 RBI single in Game Four of the NLCS dur
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Ruiz had his first quiet night, and struck out three times, but h did have a nice throwout at second. This is the first reall bad performance from Ruiz, and Phillies fans can only hope this will be the last.

    Final Grade D minus

The Final

9 of 9

    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 20:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates in the dugout after scoring in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in
    Harry How/Getty Images

    In so many ways, this title is fitting. Whether its a simple slide to offer the "final grade" or a slide talking about the final attempt to beat those pesky Giants.

    But for these Phightin Phils, the "phight" seems to be missing. The play appears conservative, The team looks shaken.

    The Phillies must realize that they are simply not playing in sync, not running the bases—something they excel at—and they aren't sending the ball into orbit.

    All they really have to do is correct these issues if they want to get back into this thing...well that and stop underestimating the Giants, and stop pitching the ball over the plate like a brick.

    The Phillies have more than enough talent to come back and still take this series, but the question is, do they have enough 'Phight" left in them?