PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—The downfall of the 2010 Phillies is very simple to explain, and it shouldn’t be a mystery to Phillies’ fans since it went on all season: Their lack of hitting over prolonged periods, and their inability to produce the clutch hit in key moments with runners in scoring position with two outs.
It’s something Phillies’ fans knew before they woke up Sunday morning scratching their heads in bewilderment after the Phils were surprisingly ousted in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series by a 3-2 Giants’ victory. The Phillies scored runs in just five innings over the last four games of the NLCS.
“Let them have it. Let. Them. Have. It. All of them.”
The mantra didn’t exactly work now, did it?
Consider the following: The Phillies were 8-for-45 with runners in scoring position against the Giants in the NLCS for a deflating .177 average and only two Phillies, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco, were able to provide two-out RBIs.
The Phillies’ Big Three of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth were a combined .241 (15-for-62) and drove in a total of three runs throughout the series. Howard’s .318 (7-for-22, which includes striking out 12 times and the caught-looking strikeout to end the series) made him the only Phillie regular that hit over .300. Howard finished the last month of the season, including the playoffs, without hitting a home run.
“You don’t hit, you don’t win,” said a sullen Shane Victorino, who hit .150 (3-for-20) out of the lead-off sport. “I can’t explain it. It’s something we can’t go back and change, but we really did think after we won Game 5 that we could come back here [to Citizens Bank Park] and win the last two games.”
Clutch hitting is what decided the series. The Giants received two-out RBIs from Buster Posey (2), Aubrey Huff (2), Freddy Sanchez, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, and Juan Uribe (2), whose opposite-field homer off the Ryan Madson in the eighth inning of Game 6 proved to be the dagger through the Phillies.
“I think that’s what was a big key in this series for us, hitting with runners in scoring position, coming through with the big hits when we needed them,” said Huff, wiping away a splash of victory Champaign from his eyes. “I don’t think coming into this series our pitching got enough credit in holding what is a very good Phillies’ lineup over there. All we heard coming in was [Roy] Halladay, [Roy] Oswalt and [Cole] Hamels. We have some pretty good guys on this side, too.”
Then Huff took a breath …
“Everyone underestimated us, and I mean everyone, except for the guys in this clubhouse and the people involved with this organization,” he said. “This is a pretty special team and everyone, maybe even the Phillies themselves, thought that we were going to get rolled over.”
That didn’t happen.
In the seven postseason games the Giants won, six were won by one run. In stark contrast, the Phillies were 0-3 in one-run games. The Phillies’ offense was left to produce more so from what opposing teams did than anything the Phillies themselves were producing. Six of Philadelphia’s last seven runs in the divisional series sweep of Cincinnati were unearned, and against the Giants, the Phils received a few more breaks from shoddy fielding, producing two unearned runs in both of their victories.
Though the Giants didn’t do much better than the Phils when it came to driving in runners in scoring position, hitting .219 (9-for-41) in the series, the harsh fact is that San Francisco produced in crucial moments and the Phillies didn’t. It’s not ironic the last of San Francisco’s nine two-out RBIs in the series was Uribe’s NLCS-winning solo homer, while with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6, Howard got caught looking at a Brian Wilson called third strike.
“We hit when we had to and they didn’t,” summed up Giants’ second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who went 3-for-4 in the series-clinching Game 6.
Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito