Playoff Series: Game 4 of 6

San Francisco won 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 16
San Francisco4Final
Game 2: Sunday, October 17
San Francisco1Final
Game 3: Tuesday, October 19
San Francisco3
Game 4: Wednesday, October 20
San Francisco6
Game 5: Thursday, October 21
San Francisco2
Game 6: Saturday, October 23
San Francisco3Final

    7:57 PM ET, October 20, 2010

    AT&T Park, San Francisco, California 

    123456789 R H E
    PHI 000040010 5 9 1
    SF 101012001 6 11 0

    W: B. Wilson (1-0)

    L: R. Oswalt (1-1)

    Phillies send Blanton in attempt to tie Giants in NLCS


    Up a game in the NL Championship Series, the San Francisco Giants will not have to face Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay in Game 4. However, trying to get the best of the Phillies' Joe Blanton might not be any easier.

    The Giants look to move within one win of their first NL pennant in eight years when they host the Phillies on Wednesday.

    Prior to Tuesday's Game 3, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said he might pitch Halladay and Roy Oswalt on short rest for Games 4 and 5 if his club fell behind in the series.

    "If you're behind, basically I think, first thing that enters somebody's mind, what if a 1 and 2 (starter)?" Manuel said. "My general philosophy is the fact that it's going to affect everybody. That's what it's going to do."

    After the Phillies lost 3-0 on Tuesday, falling behind 2-1 in the NLCS, Manuel said Blanton would start Wednesday after all. He apparently did not revisit the idea of going with Halladay, who gave up four runs in seven innings of a 4-3 loss in Game 1 on Saturday.

    "I didn't see any use in discussion," Manuel said.

    Blanton may prove to be not much of a drop-off from the staff ace. He went 6-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his last 13 regular-season starts. The right-hander has yet to appear in this postseason, but is 2-0 with a 4.03 ERA in five career playoff starts.

    "He's very capable of pitching real (well)," Manuel said. "He hasn't pitched for quite a while, that's the only thing. If we can get anywhere from five or six innings out of him, that's pretty good. Six innings would be real good."

    Blanton, who allowed two homers and struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings of an 8-2 home win over the Giants on Aug. 18, is focused on helping the two-time reigning NL champions even the series.

    "There's not going to be any change," Blanton said. "If you're down 2-1 it's almost like a must win."

    One of Blanton's tasks will be to contain San Francisco outfielder Cody Ross, who hit three homers in the first two games of the series and singled home the first run Tuesday. A lifetime .265 hitter acquired off waivers from Florida in August, Ross is 8 for 23 with four home runs and seven RBIs in the playoffs.

    "It's been an unbelievable experience for me so far," said Ross, 3 for 11 with a homer against Blanton. "A month and a half, two months, ago, I didn't dream I'd be in this situation. The Giants were awesome to bring me over here. It's just been a great ride."

    Ross' three homers in this series equal the Phillies' total for the entire postseason. Philadelphia is batting .203 in the playoffs, and is 2 for 19 with runners in scoring position in the NLCS.

    "The pitching might have something to do with (it)," Manuel said. "Our guys are trying. They might be trying too hard."

    Philadelphia managed three hits Tuesday in its first postseason shutout loss since a 5-0 defeat to Baltimore in the clinching game of the 1983 World Series.

    "We just need to be aggressive," said center fielder Shane Victorino, 2 for 11 in the NLCS. "I don't know what we're doing, why we're not hitting. We're not going to sit here and worry about why we're not hitting. We're going to worry about when we're going to hit."

    Raul Ibanez is 0 for 15 with six strikeouts in his last four postseason games.

    The Phillies will get their first look at scheduled Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, who allowed two runs in six innings of a 3-2 NL division series-clinching win at Atlanta in Game 4 on Oct. 11.

    The 21-year-old rookie left-hander has managed to stay calm under the postseason spotlight.

    "I feel like I try to just keep telling myself to relax and to step back and take deep breaths and don't let the game speed up and get away from you," Bumgarner said. "I'm just going to go out there and try to throw quality pitches each time, see how it goes."

    Though Bumgarner went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts this season, he was 1/3 with a 4.60 ERA in eight at home.

    That mark doesn't seem to matter to Giants manager Bruce Bochy or his confident ballclub, which is trying to reach the World Series for the first time since losing in seven games to the Angels in 2002.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

     PhiladelphiaSan Francisco
    Current StreakL1W1
    Last 106-47-3

    Pitching Matchup

    PhiladelphiaSan Francisco
    J. Blanton
    0-0, 5.79 ERA

    Last Game:
    10/20 at SF
    4.2 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = ND
    M. Bumgarner
    0-0, 0.00 ERA

    Last Game:
    10/31 at TEX
    8.0 IP, 0 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.PhiladelphiaSan Francisco
    1. S. Victorino, CF E. Renteria, SS
    2. C. Utley, 2B F. Sanchez, 2B
    3. P. Polanco, 3B A. Huff, 1B
    4. R. Howard, 1B B. Posey, C
    5. J. Werth, RF P. Burrell, LF
    6. J. Rollins, SS C. Ross, LF
    7. B. Francisco, LF P. Sandoval, 3B
    8. C. Ruiz, C A. Rowand, CF
    9. J. Blanton, P M. Bumgarner, P

    Research Notes

    Madison Bumgarner had his best fastball of the season in his NLDS start against Atlanta, setting season-high marks in strike percentage, miss percentage, and chase percentage with the miss. Much of his success can be attributed to his fastball velocity, which has been rising all season long.
    San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner will take the mound in Game 4 of the 2010 NLCS on Wednesday night looking to give the Giants a commanding lead in the series. However, Bumgarner has not fared well at AT&T Park this season.
    The Yankees and Phillies, both 2009 World Series participants, breezed through the 2010 Division Series sweeping their opponents in 3 games. The LCS has been a much tougher task. So far, after shutout losses in Game 3, both team find themselves trailing in the series.

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