2010 MLB PLAYOFFS;NLCS NOTEBOOK;Ross rolling in October;Waiver add making Giant contributions

PHILADELPHIA – There was a time, however brief, when Cody Ross
thought he might get traded to the Red
Sox.

It was July, and the
Sox were seeking an outfielder to
help fill in for injured Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron. They had
expressed interest in Kansas City’s David DeJesus before he
suffered a season-ending ligament tear in his right thumb, and Ross
– then a member of the Florida Marlins – was aware of rumors that
they were looking at him, too.

”I heard Boston was a big possibility that could’ve went
down,” Ross recalled Friday. ”But then, a couple days later, I
never heard anything else. It was bizarre.”

Ultimately, Ross wasn’t traded. Instead, the San Francisco
Giants scooped him off waivers in August, in part to block him from
going to the San Diego Padres. And last night, in Game 1 of the NL
Championship Series, he launched two home runs against Philadelphia
Phillies ace Roy Halladay and lifted the Giants to a 4-3 victory at
Citizens Bank Park. ”It’s been a dream come true,” said Ross, who
went 4-for-14 with a homer and three RBI in the Division Series.
”It’s been an unbelievable experience for me.”

The matchup of Halladay against Giants ace Tim Lincecum hardly
lived up to the hype. Halladay gave up four runs on eight hits in
seven innings, while Lincecum yielded three runs in seven
innings.

Not bad, but hardly legendary.

Instead, the unheralded Ross – who admitted he wanted to be a
circus clown when he was growing up in New Mexico – stole the
show.

”I mean, (Halladay), he’s obviously one of the best in the
game,” Ross said. ”He’s got the potential to go out there and
(throw a no-hitter) every time he pitches. But fortunately, we got
to him a little early and Timmy threw outstanding. Just a big win
for us. Coming in here, first game, against their horse, and taking
the first one, it’s a good feeling for us.”

Lopez pitches in

Except for closer Brian Wilson, who struck out three around a
hit batsman in the ninth inning and recorded a four-out save,
Javier Lopez may be the most essential Giants reliever. The ex-Red
Sox sidearmer is the lone lefty in
the Giants bullpen and will be trusted to face lefty-hitting
sluggers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Last night, he delivered, getting Utley to ground out and Howard
to strike out in the eighth inning to preserve a one-run lead. . .
.

Think it’s easy to be a full-time designated hitter like David
Ortiz? Giants left fielder Pat Burrell can attest that isn’t the
case.

Burrell never adjusted to the DH role the past two years with
the Tampa Bay Rays and was released in May. The problem, he said,
was keeping himself occupied between at-bats. He hit in the cage,
rode a stationary bike and even tried to mimic playing the
outfield. Nothing worked.

”I pretty much covered the spectrum,” said Burrell, whose RBI
double helped beat the Phillies, with whom he spent nine seasons.
”I couldn’t find anything that made me feel like I was in the
game.”

A vote for Millsy

Right-hander Roy Oswalt, traded to the Phillies from the Houston
Astros on July 29, believes his old team is in good hands with
manager Brad Mills.

Mills was the longtime bench coach of the Red
Sox and remains a close friend of
their manager, Terry Francona. In his first season with Houston,
Mills steered the Astros to a 76-86 record despite opening the
season with eight straight losses and being 40-59 on July 26.

But the Astros finished 36-27 and extended Mills’ contract
through 2012 with a club option for 2013.

”Brad’s great at what he does,” Oswalt said. ”He has a great
pitching coach with (Brad) Arnsberg, and I think they’ll end up
turning the organization back around.” . . .

The Phillies’ streak of consecutive Game 1 victories ended at
seven.

The last time they lost a Game 1 prior was the 2007 NL Division
Series against Colorado, which ended with a Rockies sweep. . . .
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is 1-for-15 in the postseason. . .
. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, attended
the game. Although they’re both longtime Phillies fans, they
received a some boos upon being shown on the video screen.