SAN FRANCISCO -- No loss in the National League Championship Series last October was more frustrating than Game 6, and not just because it ended the season. What's remembered is Juan Uribe's opposite-field home run and Ryan Howard taking a called strike three to end it.
But the benches cleared in the third inning and one of the men responsible was Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez started that game and pitched only two innings, but the Phillies failed to capitalize on a bounty of chances handed to them by the shaky pitcher. He's back on the mound Friday to face the Phillies for the first time since then.
In that game, Sanchez plunked Chase Utley and Utley tossed the ball back to Sanchez, which the pitcher didn't exactly appreciate. The two exchanged words and then the benches emptied. Utley and Sanchez have a history, of course. In 2009, Sanchez buzzed Utley with a tight pitch. Utley then homered off him.
It's no surprise that given the choice to sit against either Madison Bumgarner or Sanchez, Utley chose the first.
Sanchez, 29, has been just as erratic as before. He is walking 5.9 batters per nine innings. So patience is usually rewarded.
With a lefty pitching for the second night in a row, Ryan Howard finds himself on the bench. Howard's numbers against lefties remain a concern. His slash line is .235/.294/.341 and he has just one home run off a southpaw, hit in Denver earlier this week.
So John Mayberry Jr. is rewarded with another start, this time at first.
1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Shane Victorino 8
4. Chase Utley 4
5. Hunter Pence 9
6. Raul Ibanez 7
7. John Mayberry Jr. 3
8. Brian Schneider 2
9. Vance Worley 1
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.
Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for easy access to all of our Phillies coverage, plus app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.