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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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?