The NLCS Game 6 could put the Giants in the World Series. But if they lose the NLCS Game 6, they may become big underdogs for a Game 7 tomorrow night. On the flipside, if the Phillies lose tonight, their reign as National League champions will end in a very disappointing fashion. Yet with a win, they can dream about a return to the World Series again, and prove that they really are a dynasty in the making. Truly, Game 6 will be a defining moment for this season, and perhaps for the World Series itself.
The Giants had a real chance to stomp the Phillies out at their home, with Tim Lincecum on the mound. Instead, they must win it in Philadelphia, and in very hostile territory. San Francisco won Game 1 in Philadelphia to take command of the series, yet these are different circumstances.
Game 6 offers a curious rematch of pitchers. Jonathan Sanchez had dominated the Phillies in the past, but got too wild against them in Game 2. Roy Oswalt dominated that night, but because of his failed relief effort in Game 4, no one knows if he will be that dominant again.
Sanchez and Oswalt will be the stories of the night, since the offense likely won’t be. Despite both the Phillies and Giants actually scoring some runs Wednesday night, their bats returned to mediocrity on Thursday. Once again, the first to two or three runs could be the winner, so any offensive spurt might be decisive.
The Giants have struggled to score runs, yet they lead the series because of the hitting of Cody Ross and Buster Posey. If they have one or two more big hits in the NLCS Game 6, it might be enough to secure the pennant. However, if the Phillies finally get big blasts from Ryan Howard and the others, it could make all the difference, especially in Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia rarely scores or wins in San Francisco, even at their best, so just getting out of the Bay Area may be a relief onto itself. Returning to their friendly confines gives them an edge, especially in the postseason. Yet they have to be perfect there, or else their season will end this weekend.
The NLCS Game 6 offers both teams a chance to overcome some bad postseason history. 17 years ago today, the Phillies had a chance to even the World Series at 3-3, before Joe Carter’s famous blast. Last year, they failed badly to even things against the Yankees as well. But in both cases, they were on the road.
Meanwhile, the last time the Giants had a 3-2 lead was the 2002 World Series in Anaheim. They had two chances to win it all on the road, and failed – especially in Game 6. They haven’t been back to the World Series since, although that could change in a few hours.
No matter what, Game 6 will not be the Giants’ last ballgame – yet their next one will either be Game 7 tomorrow night in Philadelphia, or Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night at home. Obviously, there is a big difference.
ESPN- “NLCS Game 6 Preview: Giants at Phillies”