Seven strong innings from Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Rays, 3-2, to take the first game of the World Series. The Phils would jump into the lead in the top of the first, when, with a runner on first and one man out, Chase Utley would hit a two-run home run into the right field seats, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phillies would threaten to increase their lead in the second, when, with the bases loaded via a single (Shane Victorino) and two walks (Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz) and with one man out, Victorino would try to score on a shallow fly ball to left center field by Jimmy Rollins that was caught by Rays’ centerfielder B.J. Upton for the inning’s second out. Victornio, who would later admit that he ran home on a miscommunication with third base coach Steve Smith, who was telling him not to go home, would be tagged out at home plate by Rays’ catcher Dioner Navarro for the inning’s final out. In the top of the third, the Phillies would threaten to score again after Werth would reach third base via a lead-off double and a Utley ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out. But Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir would get out of the inning by getting first Ryan Howard and then Pat Burrell to strike out swinging. The Rays would then mount a threat of their own in their half of the third as they would load up the bases with only one out via two singles (Ben Zobrist and Akinori Iwamura) and a walk (Jason Bartlett). But Cole Hamels would end the threat by getting Upton to ground into a 5-4-3 double play on a sharp grounder hit to Feliz. The Phillies would finally add another run in the fourth as, with runners on second and third and one man out, Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move to second on Feliz’s single, and who would both move up a base on Chris Coste’s ground out to first, would cross the plate on Ruiz’s ground out, 6-3, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The Rays would finally get on the scoreboard as, with two outs, Carl Crawford would hit a solo home run on a Hamels’ curveball, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 3-1. The Rays would then cut the Phils’ lead down further in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two men out, Iwamura would hit a RBI double, scoring Bartlett, who has earlier walked and then stole second, to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by getting Upton to foul out to Howard, who would make a spectular catch just inside the stands behind the first base foul line. The Rays would try to threaten again in the sixth as Howard would boot Carlos Pena’s ground ball for a fielding error. But, when Pena tried to steal second, he would be picked off by Hamels, who would throw over to Howard, who would then throw to Rollins, would would just barely tag out Pena for the inning’s first out, although the Rays’ bench would claim that Hamels had actually balked, a claim that first base umpire Kerwin Danley would ignore. Hamels would then proceed to strike out Evan Longoria and then get Crawford to ground out, 4-3, to end the inning. The Phillies would make another threat to score an extra run in the seventh, as, with runners on third (Utley (single, stolen base and wild pitch (J.P. Howell)) and first (Burrell (walk), who was then replaced by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett) and two outs, Rays’ reliever Grant Balfour, the second Rays’ reliever for the inning, would end the inning by striking out Victornio. Hamels’ seventh would be an easy eleven-pitch 1-2-3 inning. After the Phillies would go down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Ryan Madson would come out in relief of Hamels and proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 inning of his own. In the Phillies’ ninth, the Phils would make one final attempt to get an insurance run as they would get runners on second (Werth (ground-rule double) and first (Utley (intentional walk)) and one out. But, the Rays would get out of the inning as first Howard would strike out looking and then Bruntlett would pop out to the second baseman. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to close it. Lidge would proceed to strike out Pena and Longoria on seven pitches before ending the game by getting Crawford to foul out to Feliz for the final out, recording the save.
Cole Hamels would get the win as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 4-0 record in the post-season. Ryan Madson would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Brad Lidge would also pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two, as he would record his fifth save in the post-season and his forty-sixth save in forty-six tries. Scott Kazmir would receive the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.50. J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour, Trever Miller and Dan Wheeler would combine for three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Howell and Balfour one hit apiece) and two walks (Howell and Balfour would each give up a walk), while striking out five (Howell and Balfour two each and Miller one).
The Phillies would win last night’s game thanks to the bullpen shutting down the Rays’ offense in the last two innings, while Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine to get the last eleven Ray batters out, after Hamels had picked off Carlos Pena trying to steal second in the sixth inning. Speaking of the pick off, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and the Rays’ bench all thought that Hamels had balked before he threw to first base after Pena had started to run towards second base. The first base umpire, Kerwin Danley, would ignore their argument, but before the start of the Phillies’ seventh, home plate umpire Tim Welke told Maddon that he would look into the matter. Quite frankly, I don’t know what the point of all this is. If it was a balk, Danley should’ve called it right then and there. I just hope this wasn’t an attempt by Maddon to influence things later in the series as it could backfire on his team since the umpires could decide to look closely at the pitchers of both teams when their pitchers throw towards first when there is someone on base who is a basestealing threat. I guess time will tell. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense would once again in the post-season be unable to hit an early knockout blow against their opponent as they would leave eleven men on base, thanks mainly to Ryan Howard being unable to stop chasing junk out of the strike zone. Hey big guy, lay off the junk pitches will you? As long as you keep swinging at them, they’re going to keep throwing them to you. Please follow Charlie Manuel’s advice, just relax at the plate and let the ball come to you. Even if it means hitting into an out, it’ll at least be a lot better than being made to look like a fool with your constant swing and misses at off-speed junk.
The 2008 World Series continues tonight with the series’ second game, being played tonight at Tropicana Field. The game will begin at 8:29 pm Easten time. The Phillies will send to the mound Brett Myers (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his victory over the Dodgers on October 10, where he went five innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 8-5 win, thanks in part to his going 3 for 3 at the plate, knocking in three runs and scoring two. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA, as he pitched twelve innings, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and seven walks, while striking out ten. During the regular season, his record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA, as he pitched in thirty games, giving up 103 runs, 96 of which were earned, on 197 hits and 65 walks, while striking out 163 batters in 190 innings of work. But, he was a better pitcher in the second half, after his return from a minor league reassignment, as he would go 7-4 with two no-decisions. Myers will be pitching his first start on the road during the post-season, and hoping to stake the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the series, while hoping to avoid a repeat of his last road start back on September 19 against the Marlins where he got bombed for ten earned runs. The Rays will be countering with James Shields (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his second straight bad start in the ALCS against the Red Sox on October 18, as he would last just five and two-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Rays’ 4-2 lost. In the post-season, his record is 1-2 in three starts, as he would pitch ninteen and a third innings, giving up nine runs, eight of which were earned, on twenty-one hits and six walks, while striking out thirteen. His regular season record was 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA, as he would pitch in 33 games, going 215 innings, giving up 94 runs, 85 of which were earned, on 208 hits and 40 walks, while striking out 160. Shields will be going out to even the series at a game a piece, while trying to avoid getting hurt for the third straight game in the post-season. The Phillies will once again be trying to be patient with another Rays’ starter who have had even worst recent luck in the post-season than has last night’s starter Kazmir before striking the major blow, while hoping that Myers will be able to do well on the road for at least this game, before heading back home to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and its very loud, screaming fans.
So how did the Phillies do offensively both individually and as a team? First, let take a look at how the Phillies did as a team. (Comment: When I put down worst, flip it over as it really means that they were near the bottom in a particularly bad offensive category. So, for example, eighth worst in total strike outs means that they have as a team actually struck out fewer times then have the seven teams above them.)
In 162 games, the team had a team batting average of .255, 10th best in the NL, which puts them in the middle of the pack. Their team slugging percentage was .438, second best in the league, while their on-base percentage was .322, the league’s seventh best offensive team. The team’s OPS (On-base percentage plus Slugging Percentage) was .770, third best in the league. The team went to the plate officially a total of 5509 times, for 10th best in the NL, while they went to the plate (TPA) a total of 6273 (seventh) times. They crossed home plate a total of 799 times, tied for second best in the league with the New York Mets. They had 1407 hits, once again for 10th place in the NL. Of those hits, 291 of them were doubles (ninth), 36 were triples (fourth) and 214 were home runs (1st) for a total of 541 Extra-Base Hits (2nd) and 2412 total bases (third). They had 762 RBIs (second), of which only 40 came via a sacrifice fly (12th). They had 71 sacrifice hits, which tied them for fourth place with the St. Louis Cardinals. They walked a total of 586 times (fifth) of which 68 were intentional (second). They were also hit by the pitch 67 times (fourth). They would strike out a total of 1117 times, for eighth worst in the league. They stole 136 bases (third), while being caught only 25 times (13th worst), giving them a SB% (Stolen Base Percentage) of 84.5, the best in the NL. They would hit into 108 double plays, for 12th worst in the league. They saw 24,124 pitches (sixth). They made 1516 ground outs (fourth most) and the same number of fly outs (1516, also fourth) for a GO/AO (Ground Out to Fly Out ratio) of 1.14 (11th worst).
Put together, this means that during the regular season, the Phillies was an offensive machine who, although they didn’t get many hits, were very likely to kill you with extra-base hits, mainly home runs and triples, and would score a lot of runs off of their opponents’ pitching. They were also a team that could get on base via the walk, partly because the opposing team would rather not allow themselves to be beaten by their big men. They would also steal a lot of bases and knew when to pick their spots when they did so. Overall, they would strike out very little and would hit into very few double plays. If they had an achillies’ heel, the team did not hit too many sacrifice flies, meaning that they didn’t do much small ball, although they did know how to move the runners over when they needed to. Also, they were an about average team when it came to taking opposing teams’ pitchers deep into counts.
Now individually. Ryan Howard lead the NL in most Home Runs (48) and RBIs (146), while ninth in runs scored (105) and sixth in slugging percentage (.543). Chase Utley was tied for 19th in batting avg. (.292), tied for ninth in home runs (33), eleventh in RBIs (104), tied for fifth in runs scored (113), tenth in hits (177), tenth in doubles (41) and ninth in slugging percentage (.535). Shane Victorino was the Phillies regular with the highest batting avg. (.293) which was 18th in the NL. He was also 13th in runs scored (102), sixth in stolen bases (36), and 5th in triples (8). Pat Burrell was tied for ninth in home runs (33) and tied for 20th in slugging percentage (.507). Jimmy Rollins was third in stolen bases with 47, tied for 18th in doubles (38), and fourth in triples (9).
This means that this is a very dangerous hitting club that should not be taken lightly, while the team’s star players were all, in their own ways, able to did a lot of damage to opposing teams’ pitching when they were given the chance to do so.
Behind the five hit pitching of the National League Championship Series MVP Cole Hamels, the Phillies have defeated the Dodgers, 5-1, to win the NLCS four games to one. The Phillies are now in the World Series for the sixth time in the organization’s 126 years history and are now looking for their second World Series crown. The Phillies would strick first in the first inning as Jimmy Rollins would smack Chad Billingsley’s 3-2 fastball into the right center field seats for a lead-off home run, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would threaten to tie the game in the second as they would put two men on base, via singles to James Loney and Matt Kemp, with only one out. But Hamels would get out of the jam as he would get Blake DeWitt to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Kemp at second base. The Phillies would then increase their lead in the third, as, with runners on first and second, and two outs, Ryan Howard would get a RBI single, knocking in Rollins, who has earlier walked, and then steal second, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead, while sending Chase Utley, who has also walked, over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Utley, making it 3-0 Phillies, while sending Howard over to third. After a wild pitch by Billingsley would send Burrell over to second base to put two runners in scoring position, Billingsley would intentionally walk Shane Victorino to load the bases. Billingsley would then be taken out of the game by Joe Torre and be replaced on the mound by Chan Ho Park. Park would then end the inning by getting Pedro Feliz to ground out, 6-3. The Phillies would then put the game away in the fifth. Jayson Werth would start the inning off with a lead-off single. Utley would then hit into a force out, 3-6, that would wipe out Werth at second for the inning’s first out, while Utley would beat the throw back to first. Howard would then follow with a single, putting Utley on second base. Burrell would then hit a ground ball to Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would proceed to first boot the ball off of his glove and then kick it away from himself with his left foot, for a fielding error. Utley, who was running on the play, would then turn around third and head for home, while Howard would round second and head for third. Furcal, after catching up with the ball, would then uncork a wild throw towards home plate which would get past Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin, allowing Utley to score safely and make it a 4-0 Phillies lead as Furcal would receive his second error on the play. Meanwhile, Howard would stop at third, while Burrell would move up to second, with still one man out. Shane Victorino is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. Feliz would then strike out swinging for the inning’s second out. Carlos Ruiz would then come up and hit a grounder towards Furcal, who would then proceed to commit his third error of the inning as he threw the ball past Dodgers’ first baseman Loney, allowing Howard to cross the plate with the Phillies’ fifth run, giving the Phillies a 5-0 lead, while allowing Burrell to get to third and Victorino to move up to second, while leaving the bases still loaded. Hamels would then end the inning by grounding out to Loney at first. The Dodgers would then try to get back into the ballgame in their half of the fifth, as Casey Blake and Kemp would both reach base with back-to-back singles. But Hamels would then get DeWitt to hit into another double play, 4-6-3, wiping out Kemp at second for two outs, while sending Blake over to third. Hamels would then end the inning by striking out pinch hitter Jeff Kent swinging. The Dodgers would finally score a run in the sixth, as, with no one on base and two out, Manny Ramirez would hit a solo home run, his second home run of the series, to make it a 5-1 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by striking out Martin looking. The Dodgers would threaten again in the seventh, as, with two men out, first Kemp and then pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra would both reach base on walks, putting runners on first and second. Hamels would then settle down enough to end the inning by striking out Kent, looking, on a 2-2 fastball. In the Dodgers’ eighth, after getting out the first two batters, Ryan Madson would give up a single to Ramirez. After Ramirez would move up to second base on defensive indifference, Madson would end the inning by getting Martin to ground out to Howard at first. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to their closer Brad Lidge. Lidge would give up a lead-off single to Loney. Lidge would then get Blake to fly out to Victorino in right center field for the inning’s first out. He would then get Kemp to hit a deep fly ball to center that would be caught in front of the fence by Victorino for the inning’s second out. After Loney would move up to second on defensive indifference, Lidge would end the game by getting Garciaparra to pop up a 3-2 slider into third base foul territory, which would be caught by Ruiz for the final out of the ballgame, sending the Phillies into the 2008 World Series.
Cole Hamels would get the win, as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA, earning him the NLCS MVP. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning of scoreless relief, giving up only one hit. Brad Lidge would also pitch an inning of scoreless relief, giving up just one hit. Chad Billingsley would take the lost, as this time he would only last two and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA. Chan Ho Park would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Greg Maddux would pitch two innings, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out three. James McDonald would pitch two innings of shut out ball, giving up only one hit and a walk, while striking out two. Joe Beimel, Cory Wade and Hong-Chih Kuo would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit (Kuo), while striking out one (also Kuo).
Like in the fourth game in Milwaukee, the Phillies would take the Dodgers’ fateful out of the game early with Jimmy Rollins’ lead-off solo home run. The Phillies’ offense would then knock Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley out of the ballgame in the third by scoring two more runs against a pitcher who has wilted under the post-season spotlight. The Phillies would then get their last two runs in the fifth, thanks to three errors by Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would commit four errors in the series, all of them detrimental to the Dodgers’ hope for a series victory. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels would pitch a superb game, getting the first two Dodgers’ batters out constantly, so that Manny Ramirez would be unable to do any major damage against him, so that his solo shot late in the game would turn out to have no effect upon the game’s final outcome. Hamels was also helped along by a pair of double play balls that were hit by Blake DeWitt that would help to defuse Dodgers’ rallies in the second and fifth innings, while a Russell Martin strike out would help end a post two out threat in the seventh. The Phillies’ bullpen was once again superb as both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine for two shut out innings, both giving up only one hit.
With the victory, the Phillies can now relax for close to a week before they will finally face the American League Champion on October 22 in the home of the American League Champion. Of the two teams, I myself would prefer that the Phillies face the Boston Red Sox, as that would give them both a chance to snatch the World Series crown from the present champs as well as get revenge for the lost back in ’15. But, unless the Red Sox are able to pull off another trailing three games to one-three victories in a row senario, it looks like it’ll be a Phillies-Rays World Series, Fox’s ratings nightmare come true. And if it does, I’ll be laughing my head off, as this is what Fox gets for trying to overlook a couple of good teams because they were hoping for a Manny v. Red Sox wet dream. Shame on you, Fox. And, let go, PHILLIES!!!!
Two two-run home runs by Shane Victorino and pinch hitter Matt Stairs in the eighth inning would help lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers as the Phillies take a commanding three games to one lead over the Bums in the National League Championship Series. The Phillies jumped quickly on Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe in the first inning, as, with runners on first and second and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled and has moved up to second on Jayson Werth’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead, while sending Werth on to third. Ryan Howard, as he would make the inning’s first out, would make it 2-0 Phillies, as he would hit a RBI ground out to the right side, 4-3, scoring Werth, while sending Utley over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a walk, putting runners on the corners. Lowe would finally get out of the inning as he would get Shane Victorino to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Burrell at second. The Dodgers would get a run back in their half of the first, as, with runners on first and second and two men out, James Loney would hit a RBI double, scoring Rafael Furcal, who has earlier singled, and has moved on to second on Andre Ethier’s ground out, 4-3, to make it 2-1 Phils, while sending Manny Ramirez, who has earlier been intentionally walked by Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton, to third. Blanton would then get out of the inning as Blake DeWitt would line out to Howard. That would remain the score until the bottom of the fifth as Lowe would calm down, while Blanton would constantly pitch himself out of jams. In the Dodgers’ fifth, the Dodgers would tie the game as, with two men on and no one out, Ramirez would hit a RBI single, scoring Furcal, who has earlier walked and has gone on to second on an Ethier’s single, while Ethier’s would reach third on Burrell’s late throw to the plate as Furcal is able to push his way through catcher’s Carlos Ruiz’s right leg. Ramirez would meanwhile move up to second on the throw, putting two men in scoring position. Blanton would then get Russell Martin to ground out, 6-3, for the inning’s first out, scoring Ethier on the play, to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead, while Ramirez would go back to second base. Blanton would then intentionally walk Loney to put runners on first and second with still one out. The strategy behind the move would work for the Phils, as the next batter, DeWitt, would hit into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning. After Lowe is taken out of the game by the Dodgers, the Phillies would then tie up the game in the sixth, as, with men on second and third, and with two men out, Howard, who has earlier walked, moved on to second on Burrell’s single and would move over to third on Victorino’s sacrifice bunt, would score on a Chan Ho Park’s wild pitch, while Burrell would move up to third. Park would then walk Ruiz to put runners on the corners. Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would then come out of the Dodgers’ dugout and replace Park with Joe Beimel, after Geoff Jenkins is sent out as a pitch hitter. Jenkins is then replaced by So Taguchi, who would promptly end the inning by flying out to right. The Dodgers would retake the lead in their half of the sixth as Casey Blake would hit a lead-off home run off of Phillies’ reliever Chad Durbin, making it 4-3 Dodgers. Juan Pierre would then follow with a double. Durbin would then walk pinch hitter Matt Kemp, putting two men on base, still with no one out. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel would then replace Durbin with Scott Eyre. Furcal would then attempt a sacrifice bunt. Howard would get the ball but would then commit a throwing error, throwing it past Utley, allowing Pierre to score, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead, while allowing Kent to go to third and Furcal to move up to second, with still no body out. Ethier would then line out to first for the inning’s first out. Then, on the key turning point of the game, Ramirez is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. After Eyre is replaced on the mound by Ryan Madson, he would help get the Phils out of the inning with no more damage as Martin would hit a line drive that is caught by Utley, who would then quickly tag second base with his glove, beating Furcal back to the bag, for an unassisted double play, leaving the score still 5-3 Dodgers. After turning back the Dodgers in the seventh, the Phillies would go to work on the Dodgers’ bullpen in the eighth, finally scoring some runs. Howard would start the inning off with a single. After Burrell pops up to second for the inning’s first out, Victorino would follow with a two-run bomb to right, scoring Howard, and tying the game up at five all. After Pedro Feliz would line out to left for the inning’s second out, Ruiz would get on base with a single. Torre would then come out and replace Cory Wade, who had given up the two-run shot to Victorino, with Joe Broxton, to face pitch hitter Matt Stairs. Stairs would work the count to 3-1 before he would hit a monster two-run home run of his own to right field, scoring Ruiz, and giving the Phillies a 7-5 lead. Rollins would then walk and steal second with Werth batting, before Werth would end the inning by striking out. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies would send out J.C. Romero. After giving up a walk to Furcal, Romero would get Ethier to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Furcal at second. Romero would then be replaced with Brad Lidge for a four-out save. It didn’t start out that way as Ramirez would get on base with a double. Martin would then follow with a strike out, which should’ve ended the inning, but didn’t, as it would get away from Ruiz, allowing Martin to reach first base while sending Ramirez over to third, putting runners on the corners. But Lidge would finally get out of the inning by getting Loney to fly out to left. In the ninth, Lidge would pitch an easy 1-2-3 inning, as he would first get pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra to fly out to center for the first out, get Blake to strike out swinging for the second out and then end the game by getting Jeff Kent to fly out to Feliz for the final out, as he records his fifth save of the post-season.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four. Chad Durbin would face only three batters, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a walk. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Ryan Madson would get the win as he would pitch an inning and two-thirds, giving up no runs on one hit and a walk, while striking out one. His record in the series is now 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on one hit, while striking out two, as he would records his forty-sixth straight save in forty-six tries. Derek Lowe would also get a no-decision as he also goes only five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. Clayton Kershaw would go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Chan Ho Park would get a blown save as he goes a third of an inning, giving up no runs on a walk and a wild pitch. Joe Beimel would also go a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would go an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on a hit, while striking out two. Cory Wade would get a blown save and the lost as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. His record is now 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Jonathan Broxton would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one.
The victory places the Phillies just one game away from getting into the World Series, as the offense is finally able to torch the Dodgers’ bullpen, getting five runs off of it thanks to a wild pitch and two two-run home runs. The bats would end up getting twelve hits over all, with all of the regulars getting at least one hit, with Chase Utley being the team leader, as he went three for five, knocking in a run on a double and two singles. Next was Carlos Ruiz, who went two for three, with two singles and a walk, scoring a run. Meanwhile, Joe Blanton would pitch five good innings, getting out of trouble constantly before finally being taken out for a pinch hitter. Although giving up two runs, the Phillies’ bullpen would hold firm for four innings, helped along by two double plays with Utley’s unassisted gem in the seventh being the more important of the two as it would get the Phillies out of a bases-loaded, one out jam. The Phillies now need just one more win to get into the World Series, with three chances within which to do it.
Game Five of the National League Championship Series will be played tomorrow night. It will be played in Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (1-0, 2.57), who is coming off a good start against the Dodgers in game one of the NLCS on October 9, where he would go six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to pitch the Phillies into their first World Series appearance since 1993 with a victory. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (0-1, 27.00), who is coming off a very awful start in game two of the NLCS against the Phillies on October 10, as he would last only two and one third innings, giving up eight runs, only seven of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five, in the Dodgers’ 8-5 lost. He will be trying to pitch a better game tomorrow night while trying to keep the Dodgers in the playoff.
For his second straight start, Brett Myers will be unable to get through the fifth inning as the Braves would bust the game wide open on a Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run in a six run fifth, as the Phillies fall to the Braves, 10-4. A Mets lost to the Cubs in extra-innings still leaves the Phillies ahead in the East by a game and a half while the magic number to clinch the East drops down to three. The Braves would score first in the first inning as, with two men on and no one out, Martin Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Josh Anderson, who has earlier doubled, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while sending Kelly Johnson, who has earlier singled, to move on to second base. One out later, after Johnson has stolen third, as Brain McCann strikes out, to put runners on the corners, Casey Kotchman would make it 2-0 Braves, as he would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, and sending Prado to third. Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would finally get out of the inning by getting Omar Infante to hit into a double play, 1-6-3, cutting down Kotchman at second. The Phillies would get a run back in the second as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier doubled and has went to third on Shane Victorino’s ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Johnson, who would then commit a fielding error that would allow Victorino to reach base, making it 2-1 Braves, while Victorino would go to second. Chris Coste would then end the inning by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play, cutting down Feliz at second. The Braves would make it 3-1 in the third, as, with a runner on third and one out, Kotchman would hit into an out to Ryan Howard, for the second out of the inning, scoring McCann, who has earlier doubled, and has gone to third as Jayson Werth threw out Prado, who has earlier singled, when he tried to score on McCann’s double, with Coste supplying the tag, for the inning’s first out. The Phillies would get it back in their half of the third, when, with two outs, Chase Utley would hit a solo home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-2 Braves. The Phillies would tie it up in the fourth as Howard would hit a lead off home run, his forty-seventh home run of the year. Burrell would then follow with a double. After a Victorino fly out to right would move Burrell to third, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox would come out and relieve Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would then proceed to strand Burrell at third as he first get Feliz to strike out for the inning’s second out and then get Coste to end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Braves would then retake the lead in the fifth. After getting the lead-off batter to fly out, Myers would give up a walk to Prado. McCann would follow with a RBI double, scoring Prado, and giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. After Myers intentionally walk Kotchman, Charlie Manuel would take out Myers and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would get the next batter, Infante, to hit a grounder to Howard. Instead of getting the sure out at first, Howard would throw to second, trying to force out Kotchman. Sadly, the plan backfired as the ball hit Kotchman and would go into right field, allowing McCann to score, making it a 5-3 Braves’ lead, with Kotchman safe at second and Infante on first thanks to Howard’s throwing error. This would become important as Durbin would strike out Jeff Francoeur for the inning’s second out, as it could’ve been the inning’s final out if Howard had gone to first and not second, leaving the Phillies’ trailing by one run. The next batter, Brandon Jones would then hit a RBI single, scoring Kotchman, giving the Braves a 6-3 lead and putting Infante on second. Chipper Jones is then sent out to pitch hit for Carlyle. Durbin is then replaced with Scott Eyre, whom the Phillies hope would be able to handle C. Jones. Sadly, he would not as C. Jones would hit a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his twenty-second home run of the year, knocking in both Infante and B. Jones, and giving the Braves a 9-3 lead. Eyre would then end the inning by striking out Anderson. That six run fifth inning would seem to take the fight out of the Phillies, as they would be unable to mount anything against the Braves’ relievers. The Braves, in the meantime, would tack on an extra run in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, who has earlier walked, and has stolen second, to give the Braves a 10-3 lead, The Phillies would get a run back in their half of the eighth, as, with runners on second and third, and one out, Burrell, who has earlier walked, would score on McCann’s pass ball, making it a 10-4 Braves’ lead, and sending Victorino, who has earlier double, to move to third. But that was where he would stay as Braves’ reliever Julian Taveraz would strike out pinch hitter Greg Dobbs for the inning’s second out and then strikes out pinch hitter Matt Stairs to end the inning. The Phillies would then go down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the ballgame.
Brett Myers would take the lost as he would only be able to go four and one third innings, giving up six run, four of which were earned, on ten hits. His record is now 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two runs, neither of which were earned, on one hit while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch and inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jo-Jo Reyes would get a no decision, as he pitches three and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Buddy Carlyle would get the win as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Vladimir Nunez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Jorge Julio would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Julian Taveraz would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk. Manny Acosta would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Phillies’ offense has once again gone silent for most of the night, being unable to do any real damage on Jo-Jo Reyes before he got yanked in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then being kept quiet for most of the night by the Braves’ bullpen. Of course, Brett Myers being unable to put down the Braves earlier in the night didn’t help matters and Ryan Howard’s fielding blunder of throwing to second base for the force instead of going to first for the sure out would open up the flood gates that would turn the game into a blow out in the fifth inning thanks to Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run. Sigh, I hate reruns like this. I wonder why this team never make pennant winning easy or fast. Luckily, a Mets’ lost to the Cubs in extra-innings has dropped the Phillies magic number down to three. Anyway, with the day off today they should be able to regroup and forget this series before they meet the Nationals for the final three games of the season, starting tomorrow, weather permitting, as a big storm is heading in the direction of both Philadelphia and New York, which could play a factor in both the Phillies-Nationals and the Mets-Marlins series. I guess we’ll see what develops by friday night.
The Phillies are still a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they lost to the Cubs in extra-innings, with one more game to play in their four games series tonight. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets and the Brewers are now tied for the lead as the Brew Crew defeated the Pirates, with one more game left in their series. This bring up several interesting scenarios for the start of tomorrow night’s series (Phillies-Nationals, Mets-Marlins, Brewers-Cubs): 1) A Mets lost to the Cubs and a Brewers lost to the Pirates would place the Mets two games behind the Phillies and leaving both teams two games behind the Phillies in the wild card (the best of the four scenarios); 2) A Mets lost and a Brewers victory would put the Mets two games behind the Phillies and a game behind the Brewers in the wild card (the preferred scenario as it would force the Mets to get past two teams); 3) A Mets win and a Brewers lost would put the Mets a game behind the Phillies and a game ahead of the Brewers (bad, as it will put the pressure back on the Phillies to try to win two against the pesky Nationals); and 4) both the Mets and the Brewers win, putting the Mets a game behind in the East and both teams a game behind the Phillies in the wild card (very bad as the Phllies will have to worry about both teams). While I prefer scenario number two, I would rather the Phillies would just go out and cream the Nationals and let everything else just sort itself out.
Behind the two-hit pitching of Brett Myers, the Phillies have completed the destruction of the slumping Brewers, getting a share of the lead in the NL Wild Card race while putting themselves a game behind the Mets in the East. The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first when, with runners on first and third, and no one out, Chase Utley would hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Jayson Werth at second, who has earlier singled, while scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier doubled and would go to third on Werth’s single. The Phillies would break the game open in the second as, with runners on the corners and two men out, Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would get a RBI single, knocking in Pat Burrell, who has earlier walked, went to second on Shane Victorino’s single and then moved to third on Pedro Feliz’s 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Victorino at second, to increase the Phillies’ lead to 2-0, while sending Chris Coste, who has been intentionally walked to get to Myers, to second. After a wild pitch by Brewers’ starter Jeff Suppan would place Coste and Myers on third and second respectively, Rollins would follow with a two-run single, scoring both Coste and Myers, who would just beat Jason Kendall’s tag at home plate, to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. The Phillies would add to their lead in the fourth as Burrell lead-off the inning with a solo home run, his thirty-first home run of the year, making it 5-0 Phillies. Six batters later, with the bases loaded via a double (Victorino), a hit batsman (Coste) and an intentional walk (Rollins, after Myers would sacrifice both Victorino and Coste over to third and second respectively), and with two men out, Werth would bring in the Phils’ final run with a walk, forcing in Victorino, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. That would be it for Suppan as Brewers’ manager Ned Yost would take him out for Tim Dillard, who would end the inning by getting Utley to pop out. Meantime, Myers would breeze along, getting the Brewers out almost with ease, while keeping his pitch count low, allowing only two men on base, via a walk (Craig Counsell, who would later be wiped out on a 6-4-3 double play by Kendall) in the third, and a single (Ray Durham) in the fourth. He would only make one mistake as he would give up a solo home run to Prince Fielder in the seventh on a 3-2 slider, Fielder’s thirtieth home run of the year, with two men out, which would make it a 6-1 Phillies’ lead. But that would be the best that the Brewers would be able to do against Myers as he would get out the next seven batters with ease, pitching a complete game.
Myers would pick up the win as he pitches a complete game, giving up just one earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out four. His record is now 10-11 with his ERA dropping to 4.05. Jeff Suppan would receive the lost, giving up all six runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks as he is only able to last three and two-thirds innings. Suppan’s record is now 10-9 with a 4.85 ERA. Tim Dillard, Seth McClung and Todd Coffey would all combine to pitch four and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up just three hits (Dillard (1), Coffey (2)).
The Phillies have done what would’ve been impossible a few weeks earlier. They have beaten the ever dangerous Brewers, putting themselves in a tie with them for first place in the NL Wild Card while placing themselves just a game behind the Mets in the pennant race for the Eastern Division, and doing it with a couple of starters who would both be pitching with only three days rest (Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers), a third who was not pitching as advertised (Joe Blanton), while the team’s ace would be recovering from a beating in his previous start against their main rival in the East (Cole Hamels), while the team’s fifth starter have finally fallen apart in his last start (Kyle Kendrick), forcing the three days rest situations for both Moyer and Myers. Now, with the sweep completed and with the day off, the Phillies’ starting rotation and the bull pen looks to be in a lot stronger position for the final twelve games of the season then they did when Kendrick was getting spanked by the Marlins on September 9. Everything now depends on the offense not reverting back to the old inconsistencies if they want to get into the playoffs as either the NL Eastern Division Champ for the second straight season, or as the NL Wild Card entrance. We will all know the answer on September 28.
The Phillies, with the sweep, are now trailing the Mets by only a game in the East, as the Mets lost to the Braves. The Mets will now start a four games series against the Nationals in Washington. The Phillies now lead the Marlins by five and a half games as the fish defeated the Nationals. The Marlins will now have the day off, before they start a three games series with the Astros in Miami. In the wild card race, the reeling Brewers will also have the day off before they start an important three games series with the Cubs in Chicago, trying to regain their composure after getting swept by the Phillies. The Phillies, along with the Brewers, are now two games ahead of the Astros, who lost last night to the Cubs, as they got caught in the wrong end of a no hitter. They are presently playing the second of the two games with the Cubs that was rained out by Hurricane Ivan, and are presently trailing. The Phillies and Brewers are now four and a half games ahead of the Cardinals after their lost to the Pirates. The redbirds will have the day off today before they face the Reds for three in Cincinnati starting tomorrow. The Phillies have today off before they start a three games series in Atlanta, hoping that they can sweep their third straight series in Atlanta against the Braves.
It was bound to happen. The fish were finally able to defeat their nemesis, Jamie Moyer, as the Phils lose to the Marlins, 8-2. The Marlins would score their first run of the game in the second innings, when, with the bases loaded, and two out, Jeremy Hermida would get a RBI walk, forcing in Dan Uggla, who has earlier doubled, to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, the Marlins would increase their lead to 2-0, when, with runners on first and third, Josh Willingham would hit into a force out, third to second, beating out the throw to first, allowing Hanley Ramirez, who has singled, moved to second when Hermida was hit by the pitch, and stole third, to score on the play. The Marlins would make it a 4-0 game in the seventh, when, once again with the bases loaded, and with two outs, Alfedo Amezaga would hit a two-run single that would drop in behind third baseman Greg Dobbs, scoring Jorge Cantu, who has gotten on base with a single, and Uggla, who has walked. In the bottom half of the inning, the Phillies would get on the board, on a two-run home run by Shane Victorino, his twenty-eighth home run of the year, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has singled, making it a 4-2 Marlins’ lead. The play is considered controversial, as instant reply would show that the ball was actually a foul ball, but the umpires refused to change the call after holding a conference. In the eighth, the Marlins would get one of the runs back, as Hermida would hit a RBI single, scoring Ramirez, who has walked and reached second on a wild pitch, giving the Marlins a 5-2 lead. The fish would put the game out of reach in the ninth inning, as, once again with the bases loaded and this time with one out, Ramirez would hit a sacrifice fly for the second out, scoring John Baker, who has earlier walked, to make it a 6-2 lead, while the runners would each move up to second and third. The next batter, Hermida, would follow with a two-run single, scoring Amezaga and Cody Ross, who have both singled earlier, to make it 8-2 Marlins. That would end up being the final score, as Matt Lindstrom would put down the Phillies in the bottom half of the ninth.
Jamie Moyer would take the lost as he loses for the first time to the fish, as he goes five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and three walks. His record is now 10-7 with a ERA of 3.78. Clay Condrey would go one and a third innings, giving up an earned run on two hits. Les Walrond, making his first appearance as a Phil, would go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and two walks. Ryan Madson would pitch a third of an inning, giving up neither a run or a hit. J.A. Happ would make his first relief appearance as a Phil, going two innings as he gives up four earned runs on four hits and two walks. Walks would especially hurt Phillies’ pitching in last night’s game. Josh Johnson would get the win, as he went six innings, giving up no runs on five scattered hits. His record is now 2-0 with a ERA of 3.34. Justin Miller would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Renyel Pinto would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Joe Nelson would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Arthur Rhodes would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Matt Lindstrom would pitching a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits while walking the lead off man.
The Phillies’ offense hurt itself in last night’s game by hitting into several double plays, thus preventing the possibility of any kind of an inning being developed, especially late in the game, when they did had a change to rally from behind when it was still a close game. Also, the Phillies’ bullpen had another ineffective night, although it would be because a pair of newcomers could not get the job done. Les Walrond, as he makes his first start as a Phil, would strike out the first man he’d faced, but would then walk the next two batters, to load the bases, followed by a two-run single. His performance would force the Phils to bring in Ryan Madson in the seventh. It’s even worst when you factor in that he started out ahead of the first batter he would walk. And then there’s J.A. Happ. According to the Phillies’ broadcastors, it would seem that the local press has been calling for him to be used out of the bullpen, although the consensus from some of my fellow bloggers has been to not use him out of the ‘pen, since he doesn’t have the mentality to be coming out of the ‘pen. Well, we all know now that Charlies Manuel have seem to have given in to the local sports press and have finally used Happ out of the ‘pen last night, and we have all seen the final results. To which I say to the local sports media, ARE YOU GUYS HAPP-Y NOW??? Now, let Charlie decides when to actually use him again, and hopefully not in an important spot like last night when the Phillies needed to be close to their opponent to try and win the game, although the bats weren’t able to get anything going last night.
The Philles (61-51) continue their important three games series with the Marlins (60-53) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (9-5, 4.59), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on July 31, where he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 8-4 win. He will be trying to rebound from his last start against the Marlins on July 19, where he got rocked for seven runs on ten hits in four and one third innings, in the Philles’ 9-5 lost. Lifetime against the fish, he is 1-1 with a ERA of 5.40 in three starts. He will be trying for his tenth win, while trying to end the Phillies’ present losing streak at one game. His opponent will be Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 3.18), who is coming off a victory over the Rockies on July 31, as he went five and two-thirds innings, giving up just two earned runs on six hits, in the Marlins’ 12-2 win. He will be trying to make it two wins in a row after coming off the disabled list, while trying to get the Marlins even closer to the Phils in the East.
With the lost, the Phils now lead the fish by a game and a half, while they lead the Mets by two as they get ready to face the Padres for the second game of their series. The Braves now trail by nine and a half games after their win over the Giants last time. They will be preparing to play the last game of their three games series with the Giants tonight. The Phillies will be trying to even their series with the Marlins tonight, and then try to go for a series win tomorrow afternoon, as they hope that Kendrick will be able to finally find a way to get past the Marlins’ left handed batters tonight.