I sense a lot of second-guessing around town whether or not to pitch Roy Halladay tonight on 3 days rest. And it really makes little sense to me. First of all, the problem so far has been hitting, not pitching. They will probably need to score at least 3 or 4 runs today no matter who is pitching, which seems like Herculean task lately with this team.
Second of all, unless Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels can go on 3 days rest in Games 5 and 6, and Halladay again in Game 7, then Joe Blanton would have to pitch Game 5 vs Lincecum, which is probably conceding that game. And when you are down 2-1, you can't concede any game.
Thirdly, Halladay had a subpar outing (for him anyway) in Game 1. I'd bet against 2 subpar outings in a row for Doc. But with their flaccid offense, Halladay could pitch well and still lose 2-1 kind of game against Madison Bumgarner. And then you'd have Blanton vs Lincecum in Game 5 or everyone on 3 days rest the remainder of the series facing elimination. By the way, Bumgarner isn't chopped liver either (3.00 regular season ERA and pitched well against the Braves in Game 4 of NLDS). I see him as sort of their JA Happ. I'm a big believer in not changing up your planned series rotation until you are facing elimination. And if they don't start scoring at least 3 or 4 runs per game, it won't matter who is pitching for them anyway.
How ugly has the Phillies offense been so far this postseason? This ugly:
– They've scored a total of 22 runs in 6 games and 11 of them were a direct or indirect result of defensive miscues.
– In those 6 games, they are batting 7 for 44 (.159) with RISP.
– In the NLCS vs the Giants they are batting 2 for 19 (.105) with RISP.
– They have hit only 3 HRs so far. Combine that with their anemic batting average with RISP and it's no secret why they haven't scored much.
– Raul Ibanez is 3 for 23 (.130) in the postseason, including 0 for 11 in this series.
– Ryan Howard has the same number of RBIs as I have so far in this postseason.
– Howard's 0 RBIs are partially explained by Victorino, Utley, and Polanco being a combined 5 for 32 (.156) in the series. And the top 3 spots in the batting order combined to go 7 for 36 (.194) vs the Reds in the NLDS. He has only really had a few RBI opportunities.
Hopefully, you still haven't jumped off a nearby bridge after reading that. As for Game 4 tonight, I believe Blanton will come through and give them a chance to win the game if the offense does what it needs to do. What else do you have to hang your hat on as a Phils fan? But if they aren't hitting it won't make much a difference. Blanton came up pretty big in a similar spot last year vs the Yankees in the WS. He didn't pitch great, but he battled and kept them in the game and left trailing 4-3 after 6 innings, I believe. And that was against CC Sabathia, in a hitters' ballpark against a much better lineup than he will face today. Bumgarner is definitely no CC, although the way the Phils are swinging the bats lately, he might as well be.