Some key talking points from Daily News baseball writer Paul Hagen, who breaks down last night's Game 4 loss to the Giants.
Looking for a hat trick. Last night’s 6-5 loss means the Phillies are down, three games to one in the best-of-seven NLCS and have no margin for error remaining if they hope to advance to the World Series for the third straight year. In case you were wondering, the Phillies had winning streaks of 3 or more games 14 times this year.
Whatever it takes. The Phillies didn’t bring Roy Halladay back on short rest last night in part because they didn’t want to look like they were panicking. But when it was all on the line in the ninth inning last night, it became clear how much importance they placed on not falling behind three games to one. With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, starter Roy Oswalt came out of the bullpen. He was used in that unfamiliar role even though he had thrown on the side before the game as a tune-up for a possible Game 6 start on Saturday and even though Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero and Kyle Kendrick were still available in the bullpen. It didn’t work. The Giants scored and Oswalt took the loss.
The rematch: Remember all the hype about probable 2010 Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay facing 2008 and 2009 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum in Game 1? Two of the National League’s best starters will go at it again tonight, and the stakes will be even higher.
Will Doc be on? In his last start against the Giants, Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, Roy Halladay allowed 4 earned runs and the Phillies lost. They obviously need their ace to be better than that in Game 5 tonight. And if his track record this season is any indication, he probably will be. Halladay allowed 4 or more earned runs in a game 8 times during the regular season. Six times he pitched at least 8 innings in his next start. Once he gave up 4 runs. Twice he allowed 3. Once he gave up one ... and 4 times he shut out the opponent, including his perfect game against the Marlins. His earned run average in those starts: 1.53.
Home cooking. The Giants have won 4 straight and 9 of their last 10 NLCS games at home.