The "if necessaries" have evolved and have become absolutely necessary; they couldn't be more necessary if you deliberately tried to make them be so much.
It was absolutely imperative on Thursday night that the San Francisco Giants finished off the Philadelphia Phillies. Silently, a loss in Game 5 seems harmless. The urgency hides behind, "Oh, it's OK, just get back out there and get the win in Game 6."
It can happen, yes. But here is what has been surrendered by the San Francisco loss on Thursday night:
They've Lost Home Field Advantage
Not that this really mattered too-too much, as they used the first two San Francisco games as efficiently as possible. But a loss last night forces them to finish this series in the rowdy Citizens Bank Park. No doubt the ball park will be at an all-time high of loudness and emotional fans.
I'd put my money, if I were a betting man, on another incident or two that the media will blow up (as if this stuff happens NOWHERE else).
They've Left the Window Open
A general, well-known proverb of life is: "If you play with fire, you will get burned."
The Philadelphia Phillies aren't called the "Fightin's" for no reason. They're called the "Fightin's" because playing with their backs against the wall is when they are at their best.
If you give the Phillies anything to work with, it almost always will come back to haunt you. Now, with home field advantage back, you've restored their poise and shook the top of the mountain, allowing some snow to begin sliding.
What the Giants need to focus on in Game 6 is jumping on the Phillies early because that bit of snow trickling down the top of the mountain is bound to escalate into an avalanche if you allow them to continue this momentum.
They've Put Themselves in a Mini-Must-Win Situation
The only way the Giants would get full credit for handling the Phillies is if they were in the situation they were in Thursday morning.
Turning a 3-1 advantage into a 3-2 advantage resurfaces any slight doubt that may exist. Lord only knows the havoc this would wreak should the Giants lose Game 6, forcing a Game 7 in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park.
Philly.com's Sam Donnellon indirectly highlights the Phillies innate ability to not squander the opportunities:
Break No. 1.
Carlos Ruiz, who reached base when he was hit by an inside pitch, followed to second on the sacrifice. Shane Victorino then ripped a shot to the right side that careened off first baseman Aubrey Huff's glove/leg and into no-man's land in right- center field. Both runners scored and Victorino raced to second as three infielders chased after the ball.
Break No. 2.
"We did a lot of little things," Halladay said.
Placido Polanco drove in Victorino with a single to left-center. Utley followed with a hit, but Giants starter Tim Lincecum struck out Ryan Howard and Werth flew out to left.
Lincecum retired the Phillies in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, although Victorino put a scare in the crowd of 43,713 in the fifth with a towering fly that pushed Ross to the base of the right field wall. But the Giants' two-time Cy Young winner had thrown 67 pitches by the end of the fourth, and was up to 89 pitches after the sixth.
He left after seven innings, 104 pitches. If an argument can be made that Halladay outpitched Lincecum in losing Game 1, the same could be said about last night in reverse.
"It won't go down as it, but this may have been the most impressive outing he's had," Brad Lidge, who pitched a perfect ninth for the save, said of Halladay. "He gutted it out with a lot less than 100 percent out there."
Halladay struck out Juan Uribe with two runners on to end the sixth. Jose Contreras and J.C. Romero worked a scoreless seventh. Ryan Madson struck out the heart of the Giants' order in the eighth, as impressive a performance in power pitching as Halladay was with his guile.
Halladay has now thrown 272 2/3innings this season, and that's a ton for even him.
'I was able to keep pitching and it didn't get worse," he said. "I've got some time to rest, so, hopefully . . . '
How's that for size? Lincecum out duels Halladay Game 1, but gets out dueled against a Roy Halladay with a groin injury. Who knows what this all means?
What we do know is that there is another game to be played and it's on Saturday in Philadelphia a 3:57 PM EDT.
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