Believe it or not, the Phillies could actually have the upper hand in their latest quest to be crowned champions of the National League.
After falling behind to the San Francisco Giants three games to one, the Phillies pulled out a very close win in Game 5 by a score of 4-2. But even though they got the win, it wasn't pretty. Roy Halladay was off his game, the Phillies' offense continued to look incompetent, and the Giants' home crowd was at a roar for most of the game.
But thanks to some great pitching out of the bullpen by Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge (who closed out the game), the Phillies are down one game to the Giants and must win the remaining two games if they want to make it to their third straight World Series.
So how, exactly, does that give them the upper hand?
For starters, they still have the remaining two of the Big Three. Halladay, even though he wasn't his usual dominant self, did enough to get the job done. Now, the Phillies will turn to Roy Oswalt in Game 6 and, hopefully, Cole Hamels for Game 7.
Of course, none of that matters if the offense continues its funk. The numbers have been tossed around enough and, quite honestly, are difficult to repeat. But anyone who has paid attention knows how awful the bats have been not only in this series, but throughout the postseason.
Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez have been especially disappointing as of late. They are counted on to be run-producers, and so far they haven't played their roles.
But at least Ibanez and Howard (for the most part) haven't been liabilities in the field. Utley, on the other hand, has been messing up every time the ball heads his direction.
Most recently, in Game 5, Utley could have ended the first inning on a very easy double-play ball, but he didn't scoop the ball into his glove before attempting to make a tag and allowed a run to cross because of it.
Had the Phils dropped this game by one run, the mostly-popular Utley likely would have needed extra security to go anywhere in Philadelphia.
But, fortunately for him, the offense was able to muster one big inning and an insurance home run by Jayson Werth in the top of the ninth.
Alright, enough of the digression into a rant about the offense. We're talking about why the Phillies could be in good position to pull the comeback. We've already discussed the starters they have lined up, so what else could be in their favor?
They're coming home. The final two games—both of which are must-win for the Phils—will be played at Citizen's Bank Park.
Hopefully being at home will make the offense more comfortable and the entire team can feed off the crowd as they always seem to do. The fact that CBP is a hitter's park also doesn't hurt a team that relies mostly on the long ball to put runs on the board.
Having to win the final two games to cap an incredible comeback is certainly not an ideal situation, but if it's a situation a team finds themselves in, they would definitely want to have two aces lined up to pitch at home.
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