The first game of the 2008 World Series between the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays (aka Fox’s Worst Nightmare)will start later tonight. The game will be played at Tropicana Field and will start at 8:22 pm Eastern time. The Phillies’ starter will be Cole Hamels (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a brilliant start against the Dodgers on October 15, where he went seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five batters, in the Phillies’ 5-1 win, clinching the National League pennant and winning the National League Championship Series MVP in the process. During the post-season, he would go 3-0 with an 1.23 ERA, as he pitched a total of twenty-two innings, giving up only three earned runs on thirteen hits and six walks, while striking out twenty-two batters. During the regular season, his record was 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA, as he worked 227 and a third innings, giving up 89 runs, of which only 78 were earned, on 193 hits and 53 walks, while striking out 196 batters. He will be trying to make his record in the present post-season 4-0 while setting things up for the Phillies in the World Series. The Rays will counter with Scott Kazmir (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a good start against the Red Sox on October 16 in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, as he would go six innings, giving up no runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out seven, in the Rays’ 8-7 lost. In the playoffs, his record is 1-0 with two no-decisions in three games, posting an ERA of 4.02, as he would pitch fifteen and two-thirds innings, giving up seven earned runs on sixteen hits, eight walks and two hit batters, while striking out thirteen. During the record season, his record would be 12-8 with a 3.49 ERA, as he would pitch 152 and a third innings, giving up 61 runs, 59 of which were earned, on 123 hits and 70 walks, while striking out 166. He will be trying to improve on his last start, while hoping that the Phillies won’t do to him what the BoSox did to him in Game 2 of the ALCS.
The keys to the Phillies’ victory in tonight’s game will be for Cole Hamels to come out and dominate the young bats of the Rays with his pitches while the Phillies’ bats will have to be patient with Scott Kazmir, raising his pitch count with good, long at bats before finally striking. A good start from Jimmy Rollins to help set things up for the rest of the offense and Ryan Howard’s bat waking up completely from its post-season slumber wouldn’t hurt the team. But most important of all, the Phillies will need to be relax and stay loose, while using the fact that most people don’t see them winning the series (gee, there’s that 1980 feel again) should be used as a motivator to get them going.
It is now two days before the start of the 2008 World Series, which will be played at the home ball park of the American League Champion, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field, on Wednesday, October 22, at 8:22 pm Eastern. The Tampa Bay Rays will be hosting the National League Champion, the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that has just won only its sixth pennant in its 125-years history. So, how did Charlie Manuel’s boys get here, on the verge of possibily winning the franchise’s second World Series crown? Let look at the numbers, shall we?
First, let’s see how well this team did month by month.
As can be seen, the team has winning records in six of the seven months shown above, with their best month being September, when the team, with Ryan Howard’s resurging bat leading the way, would sprint their way to the National League Eastern Division pennant, and with their worst month being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.
Another thing that people have said is that you have to win series to win pennants, and the Phillies have also done that. At the end of the regular season, they have ended up with 27 series wins, 19 series loses and 6 series splits. Of their 27 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in nine of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (3), Washington (2), Los Angeles (NL) (1), Milwaukee (1)) for a total of 28 wins, while in their 19 series defeats they were swept only twice (Los Angeles (AL), Los Angeles (NL)) for a total of 7 loses. Of their 10 series wins during the last two months of the regular season, their most important ones would be the one against the Padres in San Diego as it would help to get the team back on track after having been swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles; their home sweep of the Dodgers since it would help prove to the team that they can beat anybody at home; their win against the Mets in New York at the beginning of September as it would help the Phillies stay close to the Mets, especially after having lost the previous series in Washington; their four games sweep of the Brewers, as it would give the Phillies the option of winning either the Eastern Division or the Wild Card, putting them in the driver seat of the later as they challenged the fading Mets for the former; their final sweep of the Braves in Atlanta as it would help to build up momentum for; their series win against the Marlins in Miami, in which they would help to kill the Marlins’ own hope for the post-season; and lastly, their second sweep of the Nationals which would see them clinch their second straight divisonal crown on the last Saturday of the regular season, while the Sunday win by the rookies and the bench players would help them to maintain momentum going into the National League Divisional Series against Milwaukee.
Another thing that you need to do is to win games in your own division. And the Phillies have actually accomplished that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both teams in their own division and against the teams of the other two divisions within the National League:
National League East: 41-31
National League Central: 27-16
National League West: 20-12
Unfortunately, they have not done so well this year against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.
But, how well have they performed against the other clubs in the National League? The Phillies would end the regualr season with losing records against only two other NL teams, both of them being teams within their own division:
National League East:
Atlanta Braves: 14-4
Washington Nationals: 12-6
Florida Marlins: 8-10
New York Mets: 7-11
The Phillies’ best record in both the division and against the NL overall was their 14-4 record against the Braves, which included their three straight three games sweeps of the Braves’ in their own ball park, something that have not happened to the Braves since they were swept by the Chicago Cubs in 1909, when they were known as the Boston Doves. Their worst record in the division was their 7-11 record against the New York Mets, who won all but the last two series with the Phils, including their series spilt of late August in Philadelphia and the Phillies’ 2-1 series victory in New York in early September, including the spilt of a day/night Sunday doubleheader which would keep the Phillies close to the Mets before they would make their final move to win the Eastern Division pennant.
National League Central:
Milwaukee Brewers: 5-1
Cincinnati Reds: 5-3
St. Louis Cardinals: 5-4
Chicago Cubs: 4-3
Houston Astros: 4-3
Pittsburgh Pirates: 4-2
Against the teams of the National League Central Division, the Phillies would do rather well, winning most of their series against them. They would do best against the Brew Crew, spliting the series in Milwaukee and then sweeping them in an important August series in Philadelphia that would help propel the Phillies into the lead of the National League Wild Card race, on their way to their eventual winning of the National League Eastern Division.
National League West:
Colorado Rockies: 5-0
Los Angeles Dodgers: 4-4
Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3
San Diego Padres: 4-2
San Francisco Giants: 3-3
Against the West, the Phillies would end the season with a 20-12 record, doing their best against the Rockies, as they would get even with the former National League Champions for losing the 2007 National League Divisional Series by sweeping them in five games, although they would do the home portion of the sweep against a wounded team, while doing their worst against both the Giants and the Dodgers, as they would spilt home series with both teams, winning the series at Citizens Bank Park (2-1 (Giants), 4-0 (Dodgers)), while losing the series on the road (1-2 (Giants), 0-4 (Dodgers)).
Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face facts, people, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3
Boston Red Sox: 1-2
Oakland Athletics: 1-2
Texas Rangers: 1-2
Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2
With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it should means that this team might have a hard time with the American League Champion Tampa Bay Ray. But the team that got creamed by the American League in May and June is not the same team that have finished crushing first the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Series and then the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Championship Series, and with little help from either their set up man (Jimmy Rollins) or their biggest offensive threat (Ryan Howard) until the end of both series. This team appears to be a lot more confident now then they did when they faced the American League elite teams the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels at home back in June. That might make all the difference by the time the World Series is over.
The Phillies also had a very good home-road split. At Citizens Bank Park, they had a record of 48-33, where they were in a four way tie for the second best record for the National League, while they were 44-37 on the road, the best record in the National League. Overall, their 92-70 record was the second best in the National League, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (97-64) and the fifth best in the Majors. Those two records of success at both home and on the road should help the Phillies when they face the Rays starting on Wednesday.
Hamels dazzles to win NLCS MVP
Teammates awestruck by Phillies ace’s big-game prowess
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
And no one in this series deserved it better. Way to go, Cole!!!!
LOS ANGELES — Jamie Moyer watched his young teammate work, marveling at what Cole Hamels is able to do on the mound. He wasn’t the only one.
Hamels wowed Moyer and the rest of his teammates with a second consecutive outstanding performance, earning National League Championship Series MVP honors on Wednesday night. Matched up with another of the NL’s finest young hurlers, Chad Billingsley, Hamels was simply brilliant. And Moyer watched with a combination of pride and awe.
“It’s a pleasure,” said Moyer, at 45 the Yoda of the Phillies’ staff. “He’s a great kid. He’s learned a lot. He’s come a long way. He’s really matured. He’s actually, in my opinion, mature beyond his years. To see him go out tonight and throw the ball the way he did, I think he’s well on his way to being a great pitcher.”
Hamels didn’t just cruise, either. He had a couple of innings where he steamrolled the Dodgers on Wednesday night, but his greatest moments came when he got in trouble. With two on and one out in the second inning, he induced a critical double play from Blake DeWitt. With two on and no out in the fifth, he got another DP ball from DeWitt, then struck out Jeff Kent.
And on the biggest pitch of his life, he fanned Kent again with two on and two out in the seventh.
“Cole is a big-game pitcher,” said Ryan Howard. “It takes a lot to come here and pitch in these guys’ home park, with their backs against the wall, knowing they’ve got to come out swinging. Cole is a guy who answered the challenge.”
Hamels finished the NLCS with a 2-0 mark and a 1.93 ERA. He struck out 13 and walked five in 14 innings.
Hamels was a man in demand after the game on Wednesday, giving one interview after another while trying to celebrate with his teammates. At one point he ducked out into the hallway to oblige a TV outlet, and jokingly chided the assembled media not to steal his crystal trophy.
Still, along with giddiness was a real sense of the moment. It’s the Phillies’ first pennant since 1993, and they’ll now gun for their first World Series title since 1980. Hamels carries the same weight on his shoulders that previously rode with Steve Carlton and Curt Schilling.
“To get an award like this is just something surreal,” he said “It takes a whole team to get here. I was able to go out there and play the way I know I’m able to do, but it’s because of my teammates. We had some big plays.”
As Hamels answered questions from reporters in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium, he wore one of the standard-issue champions caps, but he wore it backwards — flashing the image of the World Series trophy on the back of the hat, rather than the league champion and Phillies logos on the front.
It may have been an accident, but it certainly seemed telling. Hamels will surely get the ball in Game 1 of the World Series, and that’s the real goal for this club. If the Phillies are to bring home the big title, Hamels will be a huge part of it.
“Cole’s been great all year,” said outfielder Jayson Werth. “He’s our guy. He’s our go-to guy. He stepped up big tonight.”
Now he just needs to do it two more times. (H/T Phillies.com)
He even wowed grand pappy Jamie Moyer? Wow, now that’s a compliment. Hey Cole, how about an encore in the World Series?
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!!!!
The fifth game of the National League Championship Series will be played tonight in Dodgers Stadium. Tonight’s game will start 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 pitched 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 be countering 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, where he would only last 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 tonight while trying to keep the Dodgers in the playoff.
The Phillies will be looking to put the final nail on the Dodgers’ coffin while punching their ticket to the 2008 World Series. Cole Hamels will need to come out smoking tonight, going out and showing people that he is indeed the ace of this team and that he is able to handle the spotlight. The bats, meanwhile, will have to be prepared to once again destroy Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley, who will obviously be under a lot of pressure to not only keep the Dodgers in the series but also be trying to prove to his teammates that he got their back after the so called brushbacks in game two. Having not seen the game myself, I have to take Brett Myers at his word that he was not throwing at Manny Ramirez. But, quite frankly, I don’t care as the Phillies’ offense should be going out there making life miserable for Billingsley on the mound tonight. A well pitched game from Hamels and a lot of runs from the offense should translate to a World Series appearance, cause, quite frankly, I am not in the mood for a six games series when the Phillies at the moment have their collective feet placed upon the Dodgers’ necks. Do not, I repeat, do not let this one get away, guys. GO PHILLIES!!! BEAT LA!!!!
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.
Brett Myers’ surprising three hits would help lead the Phillies’ offensive attack as the Phillies defeated the Dodgers, 8-5. The Phillies now lead the National League Championship Series, two game to none, as it heads for Los Angeles. After a quiet first inning, the Dodgers would take the lead in the second, as, with runners on second and third, and one man out, Blake DeWitt would hit a RBI ground out, 3-1, scoring Andre Ethier, who has earlier singled and has gone to third on James Loney’s double, while Loney would move over to third, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. After Phillies’ starter Brett Myers intentionally walks Casey Blake to put runners on the corner, Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley would end the inning by lining out to right. The Phillies would then go to work on Billingsley in their half of the second. After two quick outs, Greg Dobbs would start things off with a single to short. Carlos Ruiz would then follow with a RBI double, scoring Dobbs, and tying the game up at one run apiece. Myers would then help his own cause with a RBI single, scoring Ruiz, and giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Jimmy Rollins would then follow with a single to center, which would send Myers to third base. Rollins would move up to second on the play thanks to Dodgers’ center fielder Matt Kemp’s fielding error, which would put both runners in scoring position. Shane Victorino would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Myers and Rollins, making it a 4-1 Phillies’ lead. After Chase Utley reaches base with a walk, moving Victorino over to second, Billingsley would finally get out of the inning by striking out Ryan Howard. The Dodgers would get a run back in the third, as, with runners on first and second and two outs, Loney would hit a RBI single, scoring Russell Martin, who has earlier walked, and has moved to second on Ethier’s walk, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 4-2, while moving Ethier to second. After Kemp reaches base on Dobbs’ fielding error, loading up the bases as Ethier and Loney would both move up a base, Myers would finally end the threat by striking out DeWitt. In the Phillies’ half of the third, they would go back to work on Billingsley. Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a single. Jayson Werth would follow with a double, sending Burrell to third. Billingsley would then intentionally walk Dobbs to load the bases. The Dodgers’ plan to not allow any more runs to score would work with Ruiz at the plate, as he would hit a ground ball to Loney, who would then throw to home plate, forcing out Burrell for the inning’s first out, while leaving the bases still loaded. But, it would fail with Myers, as he would slap a single past Loney into right field, scoring both Werth and Dobbs, while sending Ruiz over to third, giving the Phils a 6-2 lead. That would be it for Billingsley, as Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would take him out and replace him with Chan Ho Park. Rollins would make the inning’s second out as he would strike out, looking. But Victorino would follow with a two-run triple, scoring both Ruiz and Myers, making it 8-2 Phillies. Torre would then come back out and replace Park with Joe Beimel. Beimel would then proceed to walk both Utley and Howard to load the bases as the Phillies have now batted around. Beimel is then taken out of the game and is replaced by James McDonald. McDonald would finally end the inning by striking out Burrell. The Dodgers would then cut the lead in the fourth, as with two men on and two out, Manny Ramirez would hit a three run home run, scoring Rafael Furcal, who has earlier reached base on a strikeout-pass ball, and would then move on to second on Martin’s single, making it an 8-5 Phillies’ lead. But that would be it as the Dodgers’ bullpen would keep the Phillies’ offense scoreless for the next five innings, while Myers would keep the Dodgers scoreless in the fifth, before handing it over to the Phillies’ bullpen, which would allow only two singles and a walk in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, before handing the ball over to Brad Lidge in the ninth. Lidge would start the inning off by walking Ramirez. He would then strike out Ethier on three pitches for out number one. He would then give up a walk to Loney, which would move Ramirez up to second, and put the tying run at the plate. But Lidge would then end the game by striking out both Kemp and Nomar Garciaparra, recording his second save of the series and his fourth save in the post-season.
Brett Myers would get the win as he pitches five somewhat strong innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six. His series record is now 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA. Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson would all combine for three shut out innings, giving up only two hits, (one apiece for both Durbin and Madson) and one walk (Romero), while striking out three (Romero (1), Madson (2)). Brad Lidge would get the save as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits and walking two, while striking out the side, as he records his second save of the series and his forty-fifth straight save in forty-five tries. Chad Billingsley would get the lost as he would only last two and a third innings, giving up eight runs, only seven of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five. Chan Ho Park would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no earned runs on one hit, while striking out one. Joe Beimel would face only two batters, whom he both walked. James McDonald would pitch three and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up only two hits and walking one, while striking out five. Clayton Kershaw and Cory Wade would combine for two scoreless innings of work, giving up no hits and one walk (Kershaw), while striking out one (also Kershaw).
The Phillies’ offense would beat up on Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley, tagging him for eight runs, doing it mostly with singles, as they had only two extra-base hits against him (doubles by Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth), while their other extra-base hit was hit off of Chan Ho Park (Shane Victorino’s two-run triple). The surprising offensive star was Phillies’ starter Brett Myers as he went three for three, all singles, knocking in three runs, while scoring two. The Phillies other offensive stars were Greg Dobbs, who started the rally in the second inning, who went two for three with an intentional walk, scoring two runs, and Shane Victorino, who went two for five, knocking in four runs. The Phillies had a total of eleven hits, as each of the starters had at least one hit, except for Chase Utley, who went 0 for 1 with four walks, and Ryan Howard, who went 0 for 4 with a walk. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ pitching would limit the Dodgers’ offense to only eight hits, although one of them was a Manny Ramirez three-run home run on a good fastball in on him by Myers, that he was able to fist out of the ballpark. Otherwise, the Dodgers couldn’t do anything against either Myers or the bullpen as they struck out twelve times in the game.
The National League Championship Series will continue tomorrow night in Los Angeles. The game will be played in Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be the veteran Jamie Moyer who is coming off a lost against the Brewers on October 4 in the National League Divisional Series, where he was only able to pitch four inning, while giving up only two earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 4-1 lost. His record in the series was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. His regular season record was 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 196 and a third innings of work, as he struck out 123 batters while walking only 62. He has not faced the Dodgers this year. He will be trying to do better than he did in his last start, hoping that he can make it three victories in a row against the Dodgers in the series. The Dodgers will counter with Hiroki Kuroda who is coming off his victory over the Cubs on October 4, where he pitched six and one third shut out innings, giving up only six hits and two walks, while striking out four, in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win, which clinched the National League Divisional Series for the Dodgers. His series record was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. During the regular season, his record was 9-10 with a 3.73 ERA in 183 and one third innings of work, striking out 116 batters while walking 42. He has faced the Phillies twice this year, with an 1-0 record, with a no-decision, as he would pitch a combined total of thirteen innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out twelve. He will be trying to stop the Dodgers’ present post-season slide, while hoping that the Phillies’ dangerous offense hasn’t finally awaken.
The series will now move to Los Angeles, where the Phillies will hope to win two of the next three games so that they can clinch the series early, before being forced to do so in Philadelphia.