Spin Forward: For Phils, near must-win
Brewers have momentum against a club that's not hitting
MILWAUKEE -- Suddenly the Phillies are looking down the gullet at a possible tie in their National League Division Series that began to shift toward the Brewers on Saturday night at a lively and raucous Miller Park.The Brewers, down 2-1 now in the best-of-five series, began to stir offensively in Game 3, scoring more runs (four to three) and amassing more hits (11 to seven) than they did in losing the first two games this week at Philadelphia. If that trend continues, Milwaukee could very well win Game 4 on Sunday, sending the series back to a climactic fifth game Tuesday night in Citizens Bank Park.
In contrast, the Phillies now have scored in just three of the 25 innings, and for the second consecutive postseason, the big bats in the middle of their lineup have gone silent."Sometimes when we talk about hitting, that's where it goes at times," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said after the Brewers clipped the Phillies, 4-1, in Game 3. "I don't know what you do about it. Actually we haven't hit really, what I'll call hitting for our team." No kidding. In the last two games, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell have combined to go 3-for-21 with a single RBI, coming on Saturday night when Howard knocked in the Phils' only run with a sixth-inning grounder to third. It's more of the same from last postseason, when the Phils were swept by the Rockies in the first round. Last October, the deadly 3-4-5 batters hit .206 (3-for-34) with two homers, a pair of RBIs and seven strikeouts in the Colorado series. This year, they've already whiffed eight times in the three games, but not once on Saturday night, when they went 3-for-11.
GOTTA HAVE HEART
|How the Phillies' 3-4-5 hitters have performed in the National League Division Series|
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.