Inside the Game: Order shifted for 2, restored for others

You could tell in the days leading up to this National League

Championship Series that Roy Oswalt could not wait to pitch again

after a rough five-inning outing that still had a happy ending

against the Cincinnati Reds.

Who knew the

Phillies’ prized in-season addition

was eager to hit and run the bases, too?

The veteran righthander did all of the above as the primary

difference maker Sunday night in the

Phillies’ 6-1 victory over the San

Francisco Giants that evened the best-of-seven series at one game

apiece.

Here are some of the key decisions and plays from Game 2 at

Citizens Bank Park:

Looking good

For most of Game 1, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins did not look

good, striking out a combined six times in eight at-bats. But the

ability of those two men to look at a variety of Jonathan Sanchez

pitches in the first inning accounted for the

Phillies’ first run.

Howard fouled off a two-strike slider and a two-strike fastball

before working a walk that loaded the bases with one out, and

Rollins drew a five-pitch walk to force in the run.

Howard ended up having two more good at-bats against the

lefthander Sanchez, lining a two-out double in the third and a

two-out single in the fifth.

Rollins got a fortunate infield hit in the fourth when the

Giants let a pop-up fall in front of the pitcher’s mound, and then

the shortstop came through with a bases-loaded double in the

seventh after working a 2-0 count off righthanded reliever Santiago

Casilla.

That’s why manager Charlie Manuel keeps putting Rollins’ name in

the lineup.

Movement matters

The velocity on Oswalt’s fastball was not any different in this

Game 2 start than it was in his Game 2 start of the division series

against Cincinnati. What was different was the movement.

Against the Reds, Oswalt threw his two-seam sinking fastball 23

times, and the batters swung and missed just twice.

Against the Giants, Oswalt used his sinker 45 times and got nine

swinging strikes and 33 strikes total.

Chin music for Ross

Thirty years ago, Dickie Noles threw a high inside fastball in

Game 4 of the World Series that decked Hall of Famer George Brett

and triggered an umpire warning to both benches.

The story is that Noles’ purpose pitch turned the World Series

momentum back in the

Phillies’ direction. Brett was

hitting .545 (6 for 11) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run

at that point of the series.

He struck out in that at-bat and batted .231 (3 for 13) with

three singles the remainder of the series as the

Phillies won the first title in

franchise history.

This comes up now because Oswalt threw a similar purpose pitch

in the second inning. After watching undersized Cody Ross launch

two Roy Halladay fastballs for home runs in Game 1, Oswalt’s third

pitch – a 93-m.p.h. fastball – sent the Giants’ rightfielder

ducking for cover.

Ross responded by drawing a five-pitch walk in that plate

appearance, then hit an Oswalt fastball for his third home run of

the series to tie the game in the fifth inning.

Oswalt finally retired Ross in the seventh, but it was a long,

loud out that settled in centerfielder Shane Victorino’s glove as

he stood on the warning track in the deepest part of the

ballpark.

The lineup shuffle

Manuel made one minor change to his lineup for Game 2, and it

proved to be a productive one.

It was a lineup switch that the manager also had implemented

eight times, with mixed results, during the regular season when the

Phillies went against a lefthanded

starter.

Third baseman Placido Polanco moved down one spot to third in

the batting order, and second baseman Chase Utley moved up one spot

to second. The

Phillies were 4-4 during the regular

season when Manuel shuffled the two infielders. One of those wins

was against the Giants, but the lefthander that evening was Barry

Zito, who was left off San Francisco’s playoff roster.

The

Phillies lost twice to Sanchez

during the regular season, but Polanco and Utley batted in their

customary positions in each game.

When the

Phillies scored in the first Sunday

night, Utley and Polanco were in the middle of the action without

getting a hit.

Utley worked a five-pitch walk without swinging, then stole

second base. Polanco fouled off two tough breaking pitches from

Sanchez before grounding the ball at third baseman Mike Fontenot.

An errant throw across the diamond resulted in an error that

allowed Utley to move to third, triggering a chain of events that

led to a laborious 35-pitch inning for Sanchez.

The combination of Utley and Polanco produced again without a

hit in the fifth.

After Victorino led off with a double down the third-base line,

Manuel initially ordered a sacrifice bunt from Utley. After he

failed to connect with Sanchez’s first pitch, the sacrifice was

waved off, and Utley lined out to right field, getting the desired

result by moving Victorino to third.

Polanco followed by hitting a first-pitch fastball into center

field for a sacrifice fly that gave the

Phillies a 2-1 lead.

Oswalt helped himself in the seventh with a leadoff single that

chased Sanchez from the game, and eventually Utley and Polanco were

involved again. Utley drew an intentional walk after a sacrifice

bunt by Victorino, and Polanco delivered an RBI single.

Owned Part I

Giants leadoff man Andres Torres did not have good numbers

against Oswalt going into the game, and they only got worse. Torres

was 2 for 10 with four strikeouts in his career before Sunday

night.

He is now 2 for 14 with eight strikeouts.

Owned Part II

Sanchez is to Jayson Werth what Oswalt is to Torres. Werth went

into the game 0 for 12 with six strikeouts in his career against

Sanchez. He is now 0 for 15 with eight strikeouts.

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or

bbrookover@phillynews.com.