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NLCS Game 5 Recap: Phillies edge Giants to stay alive, but Halladay suffers groin injury


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Philadelphia Phillies logo: http://www.wondergy.com/art/logos/phillies_logo.gif








The Phillies live to die another day, but will their best pitcher do the same?

Roy Halladay was anything but sharp, and now we might know why. Halladay suffered a mild groin pull in the second inning. Halladay still gutted it out for four more innings, and it was good enough for the Phillies to beat Tim Lincecum and pull out a 4-2 victory. The win sends the Phillies' to Citizens Bank Park for Game 6 on Saturday. Let's not get too cocky, the team has to win two more games if they are to pull this out. Moreover, the team did not hit well and continues to struggle with runners in scoring position. There were no drunken Superman sightings in this game, and the Phils won as well. We'll take it, for now. 

Alright, let's break it down.

Roy Halladay

Halladay was clearly not himself again. He fell behind seven of the first eight batters he faced. The ONLY time he walked the leadoff batter to start a game ALL season was in the first inning to Andres Torres, who might be the worst player in the history of the NLCS to start a game. In his post-game interview, Halladay didn't exactly offer an encouraging sign when he told Fox Sports'  Ken Rosenthal that "He would do whatever the team asked him to."  It was revealed after the game by Manuel what was wrong with Halladay.

Mike Schmidt was right: Philadelphia IS the only city where you can experience the thrill of victory, and the agony of reading about it the next day...............

Ryan Howard

The Phillies' cleanup hitter does not have a single RBI this post-season. Need I say more? Howard is becoming so predictable at the plate he is giving Juan Samuel (circa 1988) a run for his money. For the soon-to-be $25 million dollar man, can't he hit a deep fly ball? This is kind of insulting as a fan to watch this. His failure to drive home Chase Utley and Placido Polanco was absolutely crucial. Morover, Howard's defense has suffered as well. The Phillies once again gave the Giants four outs in the top of the fifth inning on Howard's error. Luckily, the Giants did not capitalize.

Chase Utley

He had a hit tonight, but Utley's hitting and defensive woes are a microcosm for the Phillies this series. Moreover, his throwing is increasingly worrisome and he's flat-out inaccurate. As usual, something may come out in a few weeks how hurt he might be. One thing is almost certain: Robinson Cano has possibly supplanted Utley as the game's premiere second baseman. 

Jayson Werth

Werth made the key defensive play of the game by nailing Cody Ross at third base after he drove in Pat Burrell with the Giants second run. Oh yeah, he also arguably delivered the Phillies' biggest hit of the season with his 9th inning home run. If Werth continues with performances of this caliber, he is going to get a very nice contract this off-season.

Phillies' Bullpen:

Three innings pitched, one hit, five strikeouts. Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson (who threw 32 pitches the night before) and Brad Lidge were outstanding, and really helped out Halladay in a tough spot. This is an encouraging sign.

And now for the Giants

Pat Burrell

For some reason, Burrell thought that Halladay was staring him down after he struck him out in the bottom of the first inning and the F-bombs started flying. Home Plate Umpire Jeff Nelson, who isn't AS bad as Wally Bell behind the plate in Game 4, wasn't giving Halladay anything. Burrell later doubled off Halladay, which was followed by an RBI double by Babe Ruth.

Cody "Babe Ruth" Ross

Every time Burrell reaches base, it seems that Ross drives him in. Never in my life did I think I would say this, but Ross is the RBI man Howard wishes he could be in this series. He has stuck it to the Phillies hard-core, and is a prime candidate for NLCS MVP. Ross is slowly but surely putting himself in the company of such unlikely post season heroes  as Ron Swoboda, Al Weiss, Dane Iorg, and Brian Doyle. NONE of the Phillies can even shine his shoes right now. Unreal.

Bottom Line: Despite leading the series 3-2, there now might be some pressure on the Giants. It will be interesting to see how they respond. Keep in mind that the Phillies have to win the next two games and the Giants are still in the drivers seat. As previously mentioned, the Giants aren't intimidated by the fans at Citizens Bank Park.

Roy Oswalt did not throw that many pitches in his Game 4 relief appearance, but it remains to be seen how this will or won't effect his pitching performance. The Phillies didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball against lefty Jonathan Sanchez  in Game 2, but he only pitched six innings. Once again, the Phils will need to be patient and make Sanchez throw pitches. As far as Halladay goes, I can't help but think of Andy Pettitte and the extensive amount of time he missed with his groin injury. That is the least of our problems right now. The Phillies still need to win two more games.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com