Sunday, July 13, 2014
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Pre-Game 2 Notes: Polanco, Rollins, Arroyo and more

A few quick pre-game notes:

Pre-Game 2 Notes: Polanco, Rollins, Arroyo and more

Third baseman Placido Polanco returns to the starting lineup for game 2. ( Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )
Third baseman Placido Polanco returns to the starting lineup for game 2. ( Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )

A few quick pre-game notes:

1) Placido Polanco is back in the line-up after missing Game 1 with back soreness.

Charlie Manuel said the trainers cleared Polanco to play.

"I took it as he's just going to play the way he always has," Manuel said.

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Polanco's return prompted Manuel to return to the Jimmy Rollins-Raul Ibanez No.6/No.7 combination that he used two times during the regular season. Shane Victorino is leading off. Rollins his leadoff in 72 of his 86 starts during the regular season, compiling a .241 batting average and .322 on base percentage in that role.

In his 14 starts outside the leadoff spot, he hit No. 3 seven times (.172/.250), No. 5 three times (4/10, HR, 5 RBI) and No. 6 four times (5/14, 2B, BB, 2 SO).

Rollins hit leadoff in Game 1, with Shane Victorino taking Polanco's usual spot at No. 2.

Manuel used today's line-up on Sept. 8 in a 10-6 win over the Marlins (Rollins strained his hamstring that day, causing him to miss close to three weeks). He also used it in a 4-1 loss to the Cubs on May 19 at Citizens Bank Park.


2) Roy Oswalt, who gets the start tonight against Bronson Arroyo is 23-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 34 games, 32 starts in his career against the Reds. But he has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last four starts and at least four earned runs in three of four.

1. July 24, 2010 (7-0, Reds): 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R/ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR
2. April 29, 2010 (4-2, Reds): 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R/ER, 4 BB, 7 SO, 1 HR
3. Sept. 15, 2010 (5-4, Reds): 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R/ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR
4. May 26, 2009 (6-4, Reds): 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR
5. April 27, 2009 (4-1, Astros): 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
6. April 17, 2009 (2-1, Reds): 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR

Key Match-ups

Brandon Phillips vs. Oswalt: 12/38, 5 2B, 2 BB, 2 SO
Joey Votto vs. Oswalt: 10/30, 2 2B, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 SO
Jay Bruce vs. Oswalt: 7/29, 2 2B, 1 BB, 1 SO
Laynce Nix vs. Oswalt: 9/18, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 1 BB, 2 SO
Ramon Hernandez vs. Oswalt: 5/11, 1 HR, 2 BB, 0 SO
Miguel Cairo vs. Oswalt: 5/17, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 SO
Scott Rolen vs. Oswalt: 9/32, 4 2B, 2 BB, 7 SO

3) In Arroyo's last two starts against the Phillies -- both in 2008 -- he allowed 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings and 5 runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Here are the Phillies' career numbers against Arroyo:

1. Shane Victorino: 2/6, 1 SO
2. Placido Polanco: 6/17, 3B
3. Chase Utley: 4/9, HR
4. Ryan Howard: 2/6, 2 2B, 4 SO
5. Jayson Werth: Has not faced
6. Raul Ibanez: 1/3
7. Jimmy Rollins: 4/12, 2B, BB
8. Carlos Ruiz: 0/2
9. Ross Gload: 3/7, 2B, HR
10. Ben Francisco: 1/5, 2B, BB, 2 SO
11. Brian Schneider: 1/12, RBI, SO
12. Mike Sweeney: 0/0, 2 BB

4) Roy Halladay met with the media today.

Here is a transcript:

Q. In 24 hours your performance has gone from debated as the best of all time to the best of this postseason. Is this the year of the pitcher?
ROY HALLADAY: Yeah, yeah, evidently. It's been fun to watch. I've seen -- coming over to this league, obviously, some young guys and guys that I haven't seen in the past, Josh Johnson, Lincecum, you know, Cain, there's a lot of good, young pitchers coming up. A lot of power pitchers. So I definitely think that I've seen more this year than I probably have or can remember seeing in a long time, especially young guys.
Then the veteran guys, the Tim Hudson's and stuff that are coming back. I think it's a big combination of both.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about how running is a part of your preparation routine, and how much you think it helps you?
ROY HALLADAY: Yeah. I mean, it's definitely a big part of it early. I think later on I try and taper a little bit, just monitoring how I feel. You know, I spend more time on the bike and do a little bit to keep active in between. But for me it's always been a big conditioning part. It's something that I feel like kind of helps you move the blood, get things going, and helps you -- you know, to me there's no better way to stay in shape.
I think the longer I played, the more I realized that you do have to listen to how you feel, make adjustments, do different things to keep your body fresh and interested.
So it's always been a big part for me, but something that I've learned to kind of vary as I've gotten later into a season.

Q. After Wednesday you have a lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things. I guess David Letterman was interested in using you, some other national media outlets, is that something you just weren't interested in doing because of the time of the year it is, or something that you wouldn't want to do anyway?
ROY HALLADAY: Yeah, I mean, I think in season is tough. But I think especially right now I would like to keep the focus as much on the team as possible. I think anything -- I don't want to stray too far from my routine also.
I want to avoid making this a distraction and becoming too much of a story. I think that us being in the postseason is enough excitement, and obviously needs to be the focus. I'm trying to do the best I can to keep it that way.

Q. How disappointed were you when you heard the Jays teammates say that it was a more relaxed atmosphere without you in their clubhouse and have you changed at all since you came here?
ROY HALLADAY: No, I haven't changed. No, I wasn't disappointed. I think different guys look at different things different ways.
I've tried to do things the way I thought was best, not only to help myself prepare, but to help the team prepare. I've seen a great combination of that over here. There's obviously a relaxed atmosphere here, but there is an intensity that kicks in. It doesn't always have to be from the time you get to the field, but it's definitely there. You can tell. You get an hour or two before the game, and it's a different atmosphere. I think that's something that you pick up on.
I've kind of had that from the time I got to the field I've always tried to keep in my routine, keep in my program. You're trying to stay focused on what you're doing that day. But here it's been a tremendous compromise. They're relaxed, guys are doing their thing, talking. But there is definitely a switch that flicks and you can feel that.

Q. Did you do anything special or anything to celebrate or was it just another night, another day for you after the game?
ROY HALLADAY: Yeah. I mean, as much as possible I'm trying to keep it that way right now. I really am. I think like I said, it's the team is the priority right now. I think that there's definitely a part where you enjoy the moment, you enjoy what's going on, but you always have to keep in mind the bigger picture, and that's moving farther ahead in the postseason.
I definitely enjoyed it. You know, I enjoyed it that night. I enjoyed every bit of it. It was very special for me. But I'm very conscious of making sure that I keep my nose to the grindstone.

Q. Ruiz said you could throw any pitch at any time in that game. He made that clear. But does he call a game differently? Can you point to any ways he calls a game differently than other catchers you've had?
ROY HALLADAY: I've been fortunate, I've had some good catchers. You know, he's -- any time you have a guy that cares as much as he does, it definitely benefits a pitcher. He takes a lot of pride in the games that are called. He doesn't want you to shake, he wants you to make the right call all the time.
I think there are times where his pride is in the games that he calls. So to have a guy like that is tremendous. He's very good at in-game adjustments and feeling his way through the game. I've been fortunate to have some good catchers.
But I think as far as a guy that takes pride in calling every pitch, I think he's probably the highest on that list. There are other guys where you shake and they're okay with it. He takes pride in it. There are times where he doesn't want you to shake.

Q. Does he ever surprise you though?
ROY HALLADAY: In what pitches he calls or how good he is?

Q. No, no, the pitches he calls.
ROY HALLADAY: No, I think I wouldn't say surprise. There are times when he calls a pitch and you think, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. There is definitely a rhyme or reason. It's not just random things he's putting down. I feel like there's always been a reason behind what he's done. So when you start to see that, you see the adjustments he's making, the things that he's doing as the game kind of plays out you're very aware. He's not going to surprise you. You just know that he's thinking back there.

Q. Were you able to see any of Lincecum's performance last night out in San Francisco?
ROY HALLADAY: Parts of it, yeah.

Q. What do you think of what he was able to do in his first outing?
ROY HALLADAY: Very good. It's what you expect him to do. You know, he's obviously winning back-to-back Cy Young's. They said how much he was struggling this year, and he had a 3 ERA or something, so that tells you right there when they're saying a guy's struggling, he ends up winning 15, 16 games, and having a 3 or under ERA, he's a pretty good pitcher. So I think he did what -- obviously, he did a great job, but you come to expect that out of guys like that.

Q. Have you seen more pitchers kind of coming into that upper tier of guys like you and Lincecum and Oswalt and Hamels? They call this the year of the pitcher. Have you seen more guys entering that upper echelon this season compared to the past?
ROY HALLADAY: I've definitely seen more young pitchers that are dominating than I can remember in a while. And I'm sure that's the same way in both leagues. I mean, even in Toronto last year we had a couple guys that came up, the Ricky Romero's and Marcum when they came up, there's been a lot of young pitchers that have come up. You don't see the timid, you know, way they approach the game. They come up and come after you, and that's something that I haven't seen as much in the past.

Q. Chooch mentioned that you only shook him off once all night, and it happened to be the one pitch to Phillips with two outs in the ninth inning. He said he called for a fastball, you wanted a cutter. Can you just run us through your mind why you decided to shake him off at that point?
ROY HALLADAY: Well, he called it -- he wanted fastball up and in. You know, elevating is something I'll do on occasion, but it was just something at that point I wasn't comfortable doing. I felt like I'd rather stay something hard, something away. It was a pitch we hadn't thrown much that night, so to throw the first one or two of them at that point I wasn't as comfortable with it.
You know, I'm sure it wasn't so much the pitch as my comfortableness that I had of throwing it right there. I just felt there were one or two other pitches I'd rather throw first.

Q. You talked a minute ago about the good young pitchers you've seen this year. In the first six postseason games this year there have been three low hit shutouts. Is that a reflection of this year being the year of the pitcher? Or is there something inherent about playoff, postseason baseball itself that promotes pitching domination?
ROY HALLADAY: Well, I'm sure it's probably a combination of both. Obviously there are good pitchers. But I'm sure for a hitter coming into postseason games it's a different atmosphere, everything's kind of cranked up a little bit, and I'm sure it makes it tougher on guys hitting. If I had to guess, I would think it's a little bit of both.
Definitely very good pitching, but when places get loud like that and things start going and happening quick, definitely, I think favors the pitcher. You kind of have the adrenaline. As hard as the hitter, you're trying to slow things down, so I think that kind of favors the pitchers in some respects.

Q. Charlie mentioned that early in spring training he felt like you and Carlos were getting along very well right from the start. What was it about him right away that you felt comfortable with and how did it happen? Was there a specific conversation, maybe a car ride, a dinner?
ROY HALLADAY: Yeah. I thought definitely for us it was a car ride. We drove to Tampa to pitch in the minor league game and we rode together. Just got to talk a little bit, and that's where I first kind of realized how much pride he took in catching. He made a couple comments to me that he wants to take control of the game and be responsible for the game. That he feels bad when he feels like he's not calling the right pitches or guys don't trust what he's doing. That stuck out to me.
To have a guy that wants to be responsible, that wants to be making the decisions is a lot. That's taking on a lot. So just kind of having that conversation, that drive, spending the time together, definitely kind of helped us break the ice and get to know each other a little bit and trust in each other. I think he trusts what I'm trying to do and I obviously trust what he's doing also.

Q. Would it have been more personally satisfying to lead a team into the postseason for the first time rather than accompanying one that's there for the fourth straight time?
ROY HALLADAY: I mean, there is definitely something to be said if you're able to do it in a place you came up, yeah, that's definitely a part of it. But I think for me there's definitely part of you that the longer you play, the more you realize this is something I need to press.
Yeah, it would be special. It would be special to do it somewhere you came up. Somewhere it's going for the first time. But I think once you realize how much goes into the season, how hard it is. We're looking in the middle of the year, seven games back. Yes, we have a good team, but we have four or five guys hurt, you realize what a challenge it is.
I think you start to respect how they did get there that many times in a row. That there is something a little bit different. So that's been cool for me to see that difference in the attitude that some guys have. I think that's been a highlight for me.
But, yeah, I mean, it definitely goes both ways. You'd love to do it somewhere you came up, but I wouldn't pass up the opportunity I've had this year for anything.

Q. Who drove the car that day on the trip to the minor league game?
ROY HALLADAY: Chooch (laughing). Chooch, he didn't get lost either, so I was impressed.
 

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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