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San Francisco Giants remain confident heading to Philadelphia for NLCS

PHILADELPHIA — The Giants couldn't have been more disappointed to fail to clinch the NL pennant at home Thursday.

But manager Bruce Bochy insisted after their Friday night arrival that they couldn't be more confident of still getting it done.

"We've been tested all year," Bochy said. "You go back to early August. We've been playing big games. We were 6 ½-7 games back. Went down to the wire playing Atlanta and now we're here in Philly, playing a tremendous team that's been to the Series the last two years. No question, that's a test. …

"But I like the way my team has handled everything thrown at them, and they'll go out there and give it their all. And that's all you can ask."

Especially, he said, because of how they play.

"If you look at our club, it hasn't been one guy that carries this team," Bochy said. "We've had our struggles and even during the course of a game when things go awry, it seems like somebody different steps into the breach and finds a way to help us win the ball game. … It's a group of guys that play to win, and that's what you want."

History appears to be on their side. Teams leading 3-2 in best-of-seven series have a losing record in Game 6 (38-49) but have won the series 60 of the 87 times. In LCS play, the team up 3-2 is 15-14 in Game 6 and 20-9 overall.

TIMES, THEY ARE A-CHANGING: The Phillies and Giants didn't know whether they would play at 3:57 or 8:07 today until after Friday night's Yankees-Rangers game. While the uncertainty, caused by the TV folks wanting to make sure there was a prime-time game, would seem like a hassle, the players and managers shrugged it off as a slight inconvenience.

The Phillies flew back overnight, arriving shortly after 6 a.m., and took the day off. The Giants spent the night at home and arrived in Philadelphia shortly before 7 p.m., their departure delayed slightly because President Barack Obama and Air Force One had takeoff priority. Bochy canceled a planned light workout.

PITCHING IN: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said RHP Roy Halladay, who pitched through a groin pull Thursday, is planning to be able to start if they advance to the World Series.

Less likely is whether Halladay would be available to pitch in relief if there is a Game 7 on Sunday. "I think we'll have to wait and see a little bit, see where he's at and how he feels," Manuel said.

Manuel said he'd be unlikely to use Game 7 starter Cole Hamels in relief today. Bochy said he'd use LHP Madison Bumgarner in relief today but probably not RHP Tim Lincecum, who pitched Thursday.

PRIVATE RYAN: Phillies 1B Ryan Howard is having a miserable series thus far, going 5-for-17 with no home runs or RBIs, and nine strikeouts.

"When we get guys on base, I think he's definitely trying too hard," Manuel said. "I think if you notice sometimes when there's no one on base, he'll get some hits and he'll hit the ball. I think when he gets somebody on, I think that he realizes that he wants to be a part of it and he has to knock runs in. I think that he needs to slow down and, there again, just hit a couple of balls good and things will happen for him."

MISCELLANY: The Giants have gone three consecutive games without a home run for the first time since early August. … Phillies batters have been hit by pitches six times, but Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez didn't make much of it: "They're just too close to the plate, I guess."

San Francisco Giants remain confident heading to Philadelphia for NLCS 10/22/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 23, 2010 12:13am]

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