After last night’s disappointing loss to the Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS, it was a huge relief to see the offense return for the Phillies in Game 2 tonight. The Phillies have done very badly against pitcher Jonathan Sanchez in the past. But now they can put those performances exactly there…in the past.
While it was not a major explosion at first, the Phils took advantage of Sanchez’s wildness in the first inning where he loaded the bases and Jimmy Rollins took a walk for an RBI. They scratched out 2 more runs off Sanchez, although one was unearned. But with a little patience, they drew 3 walks, forced his pitch count up and chased Sanchez out of the game early in the 7th inning.
When the Giants bullpen took over in the 7th, so did the Phillies. Pitcher Roy Oswalt singled off Sanchez which is what brought on the pen. Another single from Placido Polanco plus a double steal from Polanco and Chase Utley kept things moving. Jayson Werth was intentionally walked and then Jimmy Rollins had another chance to get back in the swing of things. J-Roll whacked a bases clearing double! Finally, Rollins looks like the light has turned on in his head.
Oswalt was brilliant on the mound, as well as at the plate. In fact, through 8 innings, the only run he allowed was from the Phillies new nemesis, Cody “The Devil” Ross. Ross has no idea that this is his new nickname as I have not-so-anonymously assigned it to him. But I think it fits. In 2 games, Ross has seen 3 fastball sent middle-in to him; all 3 times, he sent the ball out of the yard. Two homers were off Roy Halladay yesterday and one off Oswalt today. So it is official…he is the devil.
But as we all know, the Devil does not always win. And tonight, it was Oswalt and the Phillies offense that came out on top. Rollins collected 4 RBI and his first 2 hits of the series. Polanco had 2 RBI, Ryan Howard had 2 hits and Utley walked twice. The only batters who looked totally lost at the plate today were Raul Ibanez and Werth who both struck out twice.
Ryan Madson pitched the 9th inning and kept the 6-1 score intact. So the series is tied at 1 game each and both teams will travel to San Francisco for the next 3 games. Monday is an off-day with the series resuming on Tuesday. Cole Hamels will pitch against Matt Cain; game time is 4:00pm.
Rollins photo by Jenn Zambri Photography