The chance to pull off the most amazing feat in baseball is upon us: The repeat! Can the Phillies become the new Big Red Machine? We will see.
The 10-4 win over the Dodgers tonight had a multitude of highlights. Here are just a few:
– Jayson Werth smashed not one, but two home runs! Those homers accounted for 4 RBI. Oh, and he hit a single too, just for good measure.
– Shane Victorino, who has been sick with a nasty cold all week, had 3 RBI in the game including a 2-run homer and a double.
– The Phillies bullpen which has been through the ringer this year, came through again this post-season with 4 2/3 innings of 1-run ball. Chad Durbin was spectacular! Chan Ho Park had 1 good inning but got into trouble in the next inning; Ryan Madson bailed him out. And Brad Lidge pitched the 9th; it was a non-save situation but he got the job done.
– The Phillies batters finally figured out Vincente Padilla; 6 runs were charged to Padilla on 4 hits and 2 walks.
– With this win, the Phillies have scored 55 runs in 9 post-season games. Nice.
– Even better, the Phillies are now the first National League team ever to record 16 wins in 20 post-season games. The only AL team to do it is the Yankees and it is likely that the Phils will face the Yankees in the World Series; they are up 3 games to 1 over the Angels so far.
The not so great news from this clinching game was Cole Hamels, who still cannot seem to remember how to pitch. Hamels lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing 3 solo home runs to the Dodgers. Two of those homers came after Hamels had 2 strikes on the batter which is the really disturbing part. With 2 strikes, why is tossing cookies right down the middle of the plate? Hamels clearly cannot be counted on this year; it will be very interesting to see what Charlie Manuel does with the rotation for the World Series.
But I do not feel like thinking about that right now…it is time to celebrate! Put on your party hat and have a drink! The Phillies are going back to the World Series!!!
Fireworks photo by Jenn
The Phillies hopped on board the Chooch Train last night and rode it to a win over the Dodgers; Carlos Ruiz smashed a 3-run homer in the 5th inning to give the Phillies a lead that they would never relinquish. Raul Ibanez hit a 3-run shot of his own in the 8th to pad that lead. That Ibanez guy is not too shabby either.
It was not all sunshine and roses though for the Phillies. Cole Hamels looked like the pitcher of old for 4 innings but then, after Chooch’s 3-run shot and Ryan Howard’s 2 RBI in the 5th blasted the Phillies to that big 5-1 lead, Hamels began to unravel. The Cardinal Sin in baseball – to give the other team a boost after you just put a hurting on them.
Hamels allowed a lead-off double, a single and then appeared to have a double play ball hit to Jimmy Rollins. The ball got stuck in his glove so the feed to Chase Utley was late and Utley overthrew to first in his haste. But Hamels still had a 3 run lead and 2 outs. Instead of focusing on that, he showed up his teammate by throwing his hands up in disgust at Utley, putting his hands on his hips and shaking his head. Cardinal Sin #2 – showing up your teammate. Hamels could not concentrate after that and gave away a 2-run homer to Manny Ramirez.
The Phillies got the win, but the gestures and attitude of Hamels is disgusting. How many times have his teammates bailed him out of bad situations? And this is the thanks they get? No double play is ever a sure thing. Besides, if Hamels had not put two men on base, he would not have been in that situation to begin with. Utley was not pitching, as near as one can tell; Hamels was. Hamels should be ashamed for the lack of respect he showed his team.
Ok, let us not dwell…we did win the game :O) The most pleasant surprise of the night was Chan Ho Park, who in his first relief appearance since 9/16/09 after an injury, came back looking sharp as ever. He pitched a scoreless, hitless inning and had a lot of movement on his pitches. Welcome back Chan Ho!
Six relievers were used in all and everyone did their job, except Ryan Madson who had a 4 hit, 2 run 8th inning. Madson has not looked good this post-season at all and it is beginning to be a real concern. Luckily, he had a 4 run lead and Brad Lidge was able to close out the game in the 9th with the 2 run lead he was left with. Lidge seems to have his confidence back, which is good to see, but Madson appears to be going to opposite direction. He did get Ramirez out to end the 8th, but how reliable is Madson going to be from now forward?
And how about that bad umpiring…again. The Dodgers decided to pinch run for Jim Thome in the 6th inning, but Randy Wolf was not ready; he did not have his spikes on. The umpire actually let the Dodgers get away with a delay of several minutes while Wolf changed his shoes in the clubhouse! JA Happ stood on the mound pacing, waiting for the game to resume. Sorry ump – BAD call. You cannot let the other team’s pitcher stiffen up while you wait for someone to change shoes. If they are not ready to go, too bad for them. Game on.
Game 2 will kick off this afternoon at 4:07pm with former Dodger, Pedro Martinez facing former Phillie, Vincente Padilla. This should be another good one! Go Phillies!!!!
Photo by Jenn
It is finally Thursday! Just a few short hours until the Phillies and Dodgers begin the battle for the NLCS title! The final roster decisions have been made and few were interesting; Chan Ho Park did indeed make the roster and Kyle Kendrick did not, as I thought would happen. But in a surprise move, Brett Myers was also left off and Eric Bruntlett added. So, 11 pitchers instead of 12 and 1 more bench player.
Myers was very unhappy with the news, but maybe not entirely shocked. His one outing in Game 2 of the NLDS did not go well; he walked two batters and hit another. After to injuries this year, it appears Myers is not able to find his control yet.
As for the starters, it will be Cole Hamels tonight and Pedro Martinez tomorrow…maybe. Martinez told reporters he has not gotten enough work in and that his BP session was “erratic.” Either he does not feel ready, or this is some mental game he is playing with the Dodgers. Whatever the case, it makes you a bit nervous, doesn’t it?
Some other fun notes about this series:
– The Phillies will be facing lots of old Phillies! Larry Bowa, former player and manager, is the Dodgers 3rd base coach. Pitchers Randy Wolf and Vincente Padilla are both former Phils as well as slugger, Jim Thome.
– Manny Ramirez used to play for Charlie Manuel in Cleveland and Manuel says he is “like a son” to him.
– Chan Ho Park, Pedro Martinez, Paul Bako and Jayson Werth are all former Dodgers.
– Both teams each have 8 players who were born in 1975 or earlier. LOTS of experience :O)
– This is the fifth time the Phillies and Dodgers have met in the NLCS; they are split 2-2 lifetime.
– At 21 years old, pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the youngest player on either roster and will start the game for the Dodgers tonight.
Photo by Jenn