Fantasy Football:

Mark Townsend

NLCS: Five important questions heading into tonight's Game 6

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The San Francisco Giants are 27 outs from meeting the Texas Rangers in a World Series match up that a few liars can say they predicted eight months ago.

Across the field, the Philadelphia Phillies are relieved to be back playing in front of the home fans, even if their backs remain firmly against the wall.

That means everything is just fine, right? Both teams are happy with the position they're in?

Perhaps, but there are still a few questions to address as the hours and minutes tick down to first pitch.

Will Roy Oswalt(notes) be affected by his Game 4 relief appearance? When asked that question by reporters yesterday, Oswalt responded with a simple "No." And that was that.

I wouldn't think his short and ineffective outing in Wednesday's ninth inning will have any carry over. I don't know that for sure, but you can bet if Oswalt gets off to a rough start, Charlie Manuel will be left to answer some tough questions in his post game press conference.

Who's on third for San Francisco? It's the question that won't go away. Andrew Baggerly speculates it will be Juan Uribe(notes) at the hot corner with Edgar Renteria(notes) back at short and Pablo Sandoval(notes) back on the bench.

If it were my call I would be rolling with Kung Fu Panda. Too much offensive upside to leave on the bench against a Phillies offense that could explode in any given inning. Aside from that, Juan Uribe looked really good at shortstop defensively in Game 5. Despite the result, I think I would leave well enough alone there.

(For the record, Mike Fontenot(notes) should never enter any minds as a consideration.)

Will Cody Ross(notes) crash back to earth? Ross is a very solid baseball player. No question about that. But he's not usually the series-changing talent we've seen the past 10 days.

When a player plays over his head for extended stretch, his confidence is clearly soaring. But sometimes all it takes is one negative moment — like his critical base running mistake in Game 6 — to shake that confidence. I'm not saying that has happened to Ross, but he did finish the evening with a pair of strikeouts at the plate. A mere mortal after all.

As Cody Ross possibly steps back, will Ryan Howard(notes) finally step up for Philadelphia? Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News doesn't think so. He goes as far as to question if Howard even belongs on the lineup card.

Uh, yeah, I'm not going there. In fact, I believe the stars have aligned for a Howard breakout tonight. The match up with Jonathan Sanchez(notes) was favorable in Game 2 (single, double and walk), and the home run from Jayson Werth(notes) on Thursday could also increase his chances of seeing pitches he can handle.

If the big man (among big men) can't get it done, well, chances are pretty decent his next meaningful at bat won't come for another 5 1/2 months.

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Who's got glove? As we've seen so often in these playoffs (and this series), you cannot win against this level of competition if you can't pick up the baseball and throw runners out. Just about every error or misplay has resulted in something positive for an offense or led to a turning point.

Will we actually see a clean baseball game? Or will another lead glove lead to heartbreak and disappointment?

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