Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ben Francisco the unlikely hero in Game 3

To win a World Series you need to get big hits from some unlikely sources.  Ben Francisco was that unlikely source for the Phillies tonight, driving in all 3 of the Phillies runs with one swing of the bat.  Here are my thoughts on the Phils huge Game 3 win:

-Is there any more improbable of a hero than Ben Francisco?  After a pretty terrible regular season, Francisco instantly made himself a Philly legend with his 3-run homer in the 7th inning.  It was just his second hit in his postseason career and his first home run since late May but Francisco now joins the likes of Matt Stairs in the Phillies postseason pinch hit Hall of Fame.

-Although the Cardinals really made him work, Cole Hamels certainly pitched like an ace tonight.  It would have been nice if he could have gone more than 6 innings before having to turn it over to the bullpen but you can't argue with 8 strikeouts and no earned runs.

-The Phillies bullpen is still something to worry about.  When the starting pitchers are forced to throw a lot of pitches early on the bullpen is going to be a factor and Ryan Madson is the only reliever that can be counted on at the moment.  Madson can't pitch multiple innings every night, though, so someone is going to have step up sooner or later.

-Man that double play in the 8th inning was huge.  It also saved Madson from having to throw too many pitches and allowed him to stay fresh for the 9th.

-Jaime Garcia was everything we feared he would be.  The Phillies just can't hit strike-throwing, soft-tossing lefties.  The Phils failed to work deep counts on Garcia as he cruised through the first 6 innings.  We all know what happened in the 7th, of course.  Wonder if Garcia regrets walking Carlos Ruiz to get to Francisco...

-How annoying is Ryan Theriot?  He is just a mediocre journeyman middle infielder but there he is, going 4 for 5 in Game 3 and raising his batting average to .667 in the postseason.  Thank goodness he didn't get a hit in that final at bat.  I would call him the 2011 Cody Ross but Theriot has zero power and his team isn't winning.

With the two Roy's pitching the next two games and Cliff Lee possibly available out of the pen, the Phillies are exactly where they want to be.  All the pressure is on the Cardinals to beat two of the Phllies aces in a row.  Good luck with that.

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