While it’s not time to panic, Game Three of the NLDS series highlighted my concerns.
By not unpacking their bats, the Philadelphia Phillies allowed the Milwaukee Brewers to stay alive. For a chance at a World Series title, the sleeping giant needs to wake up.
It’s no secret that Philadelphia has a potent lineup. It’s also no secret that if that lineup doesn’t hit the way they are capable of hitting, the noted potency of that lineup is all bark and no bite.
Five innings with the lead hitter on? C’mon, these are the opportunities that the Phils need to take advantage of.
Someone needs to wake up the heart of the lineup. Chase Utley? Ryan Howard? Pat Burrell? Fans are still waiting for them to show up.
The most productive hitter is Shane Victorino and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel moved him back down to hit sixth. Let’s get the spark back in the beginning of the order so we can witness the speed combination of Jimmy Rollins and Victorino—the combination that fans have grown to love.
Jamie Moyer, the elder statesman of the Phillies, was tapped for two runs in the first inning. The uncharacteristic inaccuracy of the 45-year-old may have rattled the nerves of the rest of the team, as they could not recover. That first inning was all the Brewers needed to win Game Three.
While disappointing, there is no reason to doubt the Fightin’ Phillies. They still lead the series 2-1. For the Brew Crew to move on, they will need to win two straight games—a daunting task. The last time the Phils were in Milwaukee, they lost the first game of the two-game series, but won the next game—which is what I see happening this weekend.
The last game the Phillies played in Milwaukee was on April 24 with the Brewers’ Jeff Suppan pitching. Suppan earned a no-decision in that game and the Phils ended up winning 3-1. The last time the Phillies saw him was on Sept. 14—the game that completed the four-game sweep of the Brewers.
Ironically enough, Suppan is slated to take the mound for the Brewers in Game Four. Look for an outcome similar to his other starts versus Philadelphia.
Just like the Phils, always making things interesting. It’s so typical. They clinch the NL East with just one game left in the season, Brad Lidge’s tendency to allow a hit in the ninth, their offense and pitching taking turns being unproductive—all examples of the team’s penchant for inducing stress. Game Four is no different.
Sticking with my prediction, I see the Phillies winning the series tomorrow, three games to one.
Two wins down, nine to go.
Non-Baseball Baseball Notes
High-Socks Watch: Brewers’ Dave Bush, Phillies’ Jamie Moyer and Carlos Ruiz. I wish there was more love for the traditional look.
Milwaukee Fans: Congrats on witnessing your home team play their first postseason game in decades. Living in an area with a small-market baseball team (Oakland), I can relate to their struggles and I’m happy to see them host a playoff game.