How quickly things change in the game of baseball.
Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez kicked off the top of the third inning with a bloop single to right-center field, Carlos Ruiz got hit by a pitch, then a bunt by Roy Halladay that should have been called foul was, for some reason, ruled fair.
An error in the next at-bat by Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff gave Shane Victorino second base and allowed both Ibanez and Ruiz to score. Huff should have had the routine groundball, but it bounced off his glove and traveled into shallow center field. 2-1, Phillies.
The odd half-inning was not over. Placido Polanco nearly got beaned by a high-and-tight fastball from Tim Lincecum, stared Lincecum down for a moment, then roped a single to left-center that gave Victorino an easy path toward home. 3-1, Phillies.
Halladay will take the mound in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run lead and the Giants don’t exactly have an explosive offense. Maybe the Phils can survive this NLCS Game 5 and push the seven-game series back to Philadelphia, just as the Yankees did Wednesday in the ALCS. Or, as so often happens, this matchup that has been billed as a “great pitcher’s duel” could turn into an all-out slugfest.
Lineups come out every day and I look at them every day and I give very little thought to them as long as they include the sorts of players who are appropriate to the game.
On Opening Day everyone important should be playing. Between then and the last day of the season it can be almost anyone depending on health and how much rest they need. In the playoffs it should be the best possible players once again, adjusted for platoon stuff. Usually it all washes by. Managers, our criticisms of them notwithstanding, tend to be pretty good at their jobs.
The Dodgers lineup for Game 6 of the NLCS caught my eye, though, because I can’t remember ever seeing a lineup in which the players were listed, basically, in defensive order. Really, with the exception of the catcher not batting first, have you ever seen a lineup with the defensive positions arranged like this? I haven’t. It’s fun, though!
1. David Freese (R) 1B
2. Max Muncy (L) 2B
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
6. Chris Taylor (R) LF
7. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
8. Austin Barnes (R) C
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (R) P
For the Brewers, things are a bit more conventional. Kudos to Craig Counsell for not putting an askterisk or a question mark next to Wade Miley, though, which I presume means he’ll last for more than one batter:
1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
2. Christian Yelich (L) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 2B
5. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Wade Miley (L) P
Is it the last Brewers lineup of the season? Tune in tonight to find out.