NLCS Game 2: Five Things the Phillies Need To Do To Get a Win
As Game 1 comes and goes, so does the Giants' magic number of winning this series, and that stands at 3. The team that has one Game 1 of the LCS has won the past three straight seasons, and 15 out of the last 17 series.
As a Phillies fan, that is definitely a concerning statistic. However, it's definitely possible with as good as the ball club is.
We have to fix and change some things up in my opinion for Game 2, and that includes quite a change in the lineup, which is where we will start the '5 things the Phillies need to do to get a win in Game 2'.
Flip-Flop Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz in the Lineup
Jimmy Rollins offense hasn't been up to speed since 2008. I don't know if it's the injuries, this time his hamstring, if it's just him having the lack of at bats at the end of the season and he's still trying to find his timing, or what it is.
But it's clear that he's not getting it going offensively, and it doesn't look like it's going to any time soon. He seems completely off balance on his swings, he's swinging at bad balls out of the strike zone, he's letting strikes right down the middle get called and swinging over them as well. He clearly isn't producing the way you want your No. 6 hitter to produce.
Right now, Rollins is 1-14 in the postseason, that just isn't cutting it. My thought process, however, is to have Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins flip-flop in the lineup. This way, you have a player that gets on base at a .400+ clip, batting in front of Raul, and you also put Rollins the 8th hole, which could be nice to have the speed at the end of the lineup.
You need to get runners on base, and while Ruiz is, Rollins isn't. There isn't any time to play the waiting game, you have to make a change, and I think this is the change that you have to make, especially in tomorrow's game against Jonathan Sanchez.
Playing Small Ball
When you're facing a tough pitcher like Jonathan Sanchez, playing small ball is a must. Even before playing the game, you know he will most likely not surrender many runs, so you're going to have to produce them in ways that doesn't involve hitting the long ball (of course, you can do that as well, but you can't be waiting around for that to happen).
The Phillies had a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position in the earlier innings in Game 1 to jump out to a nice early lead, but failed at bringing them home and capitalizing on those opportunities.
Tomorrow, the Phillies can't fail on those opportunities, because there wont be many of them. They need to sacrifice, whether that's bunting or hitting a fly ball, hitting the ball the opposite way, running the bases efficiently. It has to happen though, and it has to happen and start tomorrow.
RUN FORREST RUN!
The Phillies have had the highest stolen base percentage the past three seasons...largely in part to Davey Lopes (Shout out to him, doesn't get enough praise in this league, easily the best first-base coach there is).
Part of the problem is not getting Victorino and Rollins on base, but the other part...I don't know. Jayson Werth and Chase Utley are both capable of stealing a base, and they just seem very hesitant to take off.
Jonathan Sanchez can be wild, so this could help the running game tomorrow. Buster Posey is nothing above average at throwing runners out, and he won't get a great ball to throw runners out as Sanchez will be down, outside, inside, up in the zone at all times. Generally pitchers that are wild hurt the catchers chances at throwing out runners.
The Phillies also want to dance on the base pads and just put that thought of the possibility that the steal could be coming in Sanchez's head.
Who knows, maybe Sanchez will throw a meat ball down the plate. If that happens, we could be looking at a ball soaring into the stands.
Patience is the Key
As good as Jonathan Sanchez has been, the book on him has been, and still is, that he can be very wild. The Phillies have a lot of hitters that take pitches.
Jayson Werth is almost among the top 5 in pitches seen per at bat the past 3 seasons with the club, Carlos Ruiz walks a ton as his .400 obp would suggest,
Chase Utley has walked as much as he's struck out, which is almost unheard of (He also sports a very nice .387 obp). Howard, Polanco, Rollins, Ibanez, and especially Victorino need to do the same as well.
Victorino is the key to this. A leadoff hitter is supposed to work the count, take some pitches, make the pitcher work. Victorino is not your prototypical leadoff hitter, as he doesn't do these things, but he also adds that extra pop to that spot that most leadoff hitters don't possess.
If Victorino and Rollins can get on, then they will have the ability to steal some bases, get into scoring position, and give the big bats behind them some chances to bring them home.
Roy Oswalt Needs to Get Back to His August/September Form
Roy Oswalt was completely dominant in August and September. He posted a 1.32 ERA, which is absolutely incredible and borderline 'Lights out.'
He needs to get back to that form tomorrow against the Giants. Oswalt didn't pitch badly in his first game against the Giants, where he surrendered 4 runs over 6 innings against the Reds, but he definitely didn't pitch great, and he definitely wasn't on top of his game.
For us to win this game, Oswalt is going to have to pitch about 7-8 innings of allowing 0-2 runs.
He's going to have to try to keep the ball down in the zone, and not get the ball up, which is what he did in Game 1. He needs to get command of the strike zone from Pitch 1.
The Giants lineup isn't necessarily built for power, but they have been hitting the long ball as of late, and back-legging many balls, most notably Cody Ross and Pat Burrell as of late.