Four home runs, with two of them by Jayson Werth, help rocket the Phils past the Dodgers, 10-4, to win the 2009 National League Championship Series, 4 games to 1, to become the first National League squad, since the 1995-96 Atlanta Braves, to win back-to-back National League pennants. The Phillies will now try to become the first NL team, since the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, to win back-to-back World Series (1975-76).
The Dodgers took the early lead in the first as, with two men out, Andre Ethier hits a solo home run, his first home run iof the series, to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The Phils then struck back in their half of the first as, with two men on base, and with two men out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run bomb into the right field seats, his second home run of the series, knocking in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who had both been walked, to give the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Dodgers got a run back in the second as James Loney hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the series, cutting the Phils’ lead to 3-2. The Phillies would get that run back in their half of the second as Pedro Feliz hits the first pitch into right field for a solo home run of his own, his first of both the series and of the post-season, to give the Phils a 4-2 lead. The Phillies then increased their lead in the fourth as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Werth, who had just singled, giving the Phils a 5-2 lead. Five batters later, with the bases loaded, thanks to a Carlos Ruiz walk, then Phils’ starter Cole Hamels moving both Ibanez and Ruiz up a base with a sacrifice bunt, and Jimmy Rollins then being hit by the pitch, and with two men out, Shane Victorino brought in another run as he in turn was hit by the pitch, forcing in Ibanez, making it a 6-2 Phils’ lead, as both Ruiz and Rollins moved up a base. The Dodgers got a run back in the fifth as, with one man out, pinch hitter Orlando Hudson hits a pinch hit solo home run, his first of the series, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 6-3. The Phils then added to their lead in the sixth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Victorino hits a two-run shot into left field, his second home run of the series, knocking in Rollins, who had earlier been hit by the pitch for the second straight time, to make it an 8-3 Phils’ lead. The Phils increased their lead in the seventh as, with one man out, Werth hits a solo home run, his second home run of the game, his third home run of the series and his fifth of the post-season, to give the Phils a 9-3 lead. The Dodgers then made one last attempt in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via singles to Ronnie Belliard and Ethier, who sent Belliard to third with his single, and a walk to Manny Ramirez, and with nobody out, Matt Kemp hits an RBI single, scoring Belliard, and moving both Either and Ramirez up a base, making it a 9-4 Phils’ lead, with the bases still loaded. But the Phils then got out of the inning, as Ryan Madson then got Loney to foul out to the third baseman, then struck out Russell Martin, swinging, then got Casey Blake to hit into a force out, 6-4, wiping out Kemp at second. The Phils then got that run back in their half of the eighth as, with runners on second and third, thanks to a single by Rollins and a ground-rule double, thanks to Fan Interference, by Victorino, and with two men out, with Utley batting, Rollins would score on a wild pitch by Dodgers’ reliever Ronald Belisario, giving the Phils a 10-4 lead, while sending Victorino over to third. The Phils then send out Brad Lidge to end the game. He first struck out pinch hitter Mark Loretta swinging for the first out. He then got Rafael Furcal to foul out to the catcher for the second out. He then got Belliard to fly out to center to end the game, and give the Phils their second straight NL pennant, and the seventh NL pennant in the francishe’s long history.
Cole Hamels received a no-decision as he lasted only four and a third innings, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. J.A. Happ pitched a third of an inning, giving up a walk. Chad Durbin got the win as he pitched one and a third scoreless innings, as he struck out a batter. His series record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning plus two batters, giving up a run on two hits, as he struck out a batter. Ryan Madson pitched an inning, giving up a hit. Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Vicente Padilla took the lost as he lasted four innings plus two batters, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks, as he struck out three. His series record is now 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA. Ramon Troncoso pitched two-thirds of an inning, walking a batter and hitting a batter. George Sherrill pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run, as he hit a batter, as he struck out one. Clayton Kershaw pitched two innings, giving up two runs on a hit, a walk and a hit batter, while he struck out three. Hong-Chih Kuo pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out three batters. Ronald Belisario pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a wild pitch.
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Jayson Werth leading the team with three hits, including two home runs, as he knocked in four runs. Shane Victorino followed with two hits, a two-run double and a ground-rule double, knocking in three runs. Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz followed with one hit each, with Ibanez’s hit being an RBI double and Feliz’s hit being a solo home run. The Phils had six extra-base hits in the game, two doubles and four home runs, as the offense, once again, got the hits when they needed them.
The Phillies (4-1) now wait to find out who their American League opponent will be in the 2009 World Series, as the 2009 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim continues tonight in Anaheim.
Yesterday afternoon, the Phillies faced the Tampa Bay Rays in their final spring training game. Despite their best efforts, they lost the game to the Rays, 9-7.
The Phils’ ace, Cole Hamels, started the game for the World Champs. In five innings of work, he gets rocked by the 2008 American League Champs, giving up six runs on six hits, including two home runs, a solo shot in the first inning to former teammate Pat Burrell and a three-run home run to Carlos Pena, also in the first, and a walk while striking out seven. Gary Majewski followed him, pitching a scoreless inning, giving up only a hit. J.C. Romero then took the mound for an inning, being hit for two runs on three hits and a walk. Cedrick Bowers followed Romero, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Koplove took the mound in the ninth, giving up a run on one hit and three walks while striking out a batter. Hamels took the lost, with his spring record now at 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA. In spite of the bad outing, the fact that Hamels was striking out a large number of batters in the ballgame should be an indication that he will be tough to face during the regular season.
Among the batters, the Phils had eleven hits against Rays’ pitching. Matt Stairs led the way with three hits, two singles and a double, as he knocked in a run and scored a run, ending the spring with a .288 batting average. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez both followed with two hits each, with Ibanez hitting a home run, a two-run shot in the fourth, along with a double, while Howard had two singles and scored a run. Howard ended the spring with a .333 batting average while Ibanez ended his with a .310 batting average. Hopefully, Howard will be able to translate his hot spring hitting into the regular season. If so, opposing pitchers are in for a long season while facing him. Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs and Jason Donald had the other four Phillies’ hits, with Dobbs’ hit being a two-run home run in the fourth, while Donald’s was a solo shot in the sixth. Werth’s hit, a double, help knocked in a run. Werth ended the spring with a .333 average, after a slow start thanks to injury problems. Rollins ended his spring with a .351 batting average, after coming back from being hot while playing for Team USA in the WBC. Prospect Jason Donald will be headed for Triple-A Lehigh Valley with a .310 batting average.
The defending 2008 World Champions are now ready to begin their title defense, ready to become the first National League team to repeat as World Series Champs since the Pete Rose-Johnny Bench-Joe Morgan-led Big Red Machine of 1975-76.
The Phillies will play the first game of their title defense tonight at home against the Atlanta Braves, the first game of a three-game series with the Braves. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park, with the game starting at 8:00 pm Eastern time. The game will be televisied nationally on ESPN. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers while the Braves will counter with Derek Lowe. Both starters’ records will be 0-0 with a -.– ERA.
PLAY BALL!!! and GO PHILLIES!!!!!