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.
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.
The National League Championship Series continues in Philadelphia with an afternoon game, that is right now being played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ starter is Brett Myers, who is coming off a good start against the Brewers on October 2, where he pitched seven inning, giving up only two earned runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out four, in the Phillies’ 5-2 win. His record in the National League Divisional Series was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. His regular season record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 190 innings of work, as he struck out 163 batters, while walking only 65. But, his record after coming back from a minor league assignment to help clear his head is 7-4, with two no-decisions, in thirteen starts. In his two starts this year against the Dodgers, he is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA, as he went a combined total of fourteen innings, giving up only three earned runs on fourteen hits and five walks, while striking out sixteen batters. He hopes to do as well against the Dodgers this afternoon as he did against the Brewers last Thursday. The Dodgers’ starter is Chad Billingsley, who is coming off a brilliant start against the Cubs on October 2, where he went six and one third innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and a walk, while striking out seven, in the Dodgers’ 10-3 win. During the regular season, his record was 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 200 and two-thirds innings of work, as he struck out 201 batters, while walking just 80. In one start against the Phillies, back on August 25, he is 0-1, as he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and five walks, while striking out only three, in the Dodgers’ 5-0 lost. He will be seeing if he can improve on his Divisional Series start and avoid being hit as he was in his previous start against the Phillies.
The main keys to today’s game, for the Phillies, will be for the second half Brett Myers to show up and overpower the Dodgers while they are still in shock from the sudden turn of events from last night’s game, while for the Phillies’ batters it will be to stay patient with Chad Billingham until they are able to do to him what they did to him during his previous start against them back in August. If they are able to suceed in both parts, then they should leave Philadelphia with a two games to none lead.
Two home runs by Chase Utley and Pat Burrell in the sixth inning would propel the Phillies past the Dodgers to take a one game to none lead in the National League Championship Series, 3-2. The Dodgers would score first, taking a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, as, with a runner on second and one out, Manny Ramirez would hit a RBI double, knocking in Andre Ethier, who has earlier doubled. The Dodgers would make it 2-0 in the fourth, as, with a runner on third, and one out, Blake DeWitt would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Matt Kemp, who has earlier hit a ground-rule double and has gone to third on Casey Blake’s ground out, 6-3. By the bottom of the sixth inning, Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe was in complete control of the Phillies, making most of the Phillies’ batters hit into ground outs, although a fly out by Jimmy Rollins would end a two on, two out, Phillies’ threat in the fifth, while Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels was keeping the Dodgers under control, dispite giving up two runs thanks to three doubles and a sac fly. But things would suddenly change in the Phillies’ half of the sixth. Shane Victorino would start the inning off by hitting a grounder to Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal, who would make a quick, high throw, to Dodgers’ first baseman James Loney, which would tip off the end of his glove and rolled into foul territory behind first base. After slowing down to make sure that he has touched first base, Victorino would move on to second base on Furcal’s throwing error. The next batter, Chase Utley, would then follow by guessing correctly on a first pitch fastball, sending it into the right field seats for a two-run home run, scoring Victorino before him, to tie the game up at 2-2. After Ryan Howard would ground out to Loney, for the inning’s first out, Pat Burrell would get the count up to 3-1 before he would hit a fastball into the left field seats for a solo home run, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead. That would be the game for Lowe as Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would come out and replace him with Chan Ho Park, who would then proceed to end the inning by getting Jayson Werth to fly out to center and Pedro Feliz to ground out, 6-3. Hamels, in the seventh, would have a 1-2-3 inning, as he would get first DeWitt and then Jeff Kent to strike out swinging, and then end the inning by getting Furcal to ground out, 1-6-3, as the ball glance off of Hamels right to Rollins, before he would easily throw Furcal out at first. In the eighth, Ryan Madson would replace Hamels on the mound. Madson would begin the inning off by getting Ethier to strike out swinging. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout to tell Madson how he was to pitch to Ramirez. I have no idea if Madson actually followed Manuel’s orders or not, as Ramirez would swing at the first pitch thrown to him, a changeup, which he would line directly to third baseman Feliz for the second out. The next batter, Russell Martin, would get on base on a hard ground ball that would glance off of Feliz’s shin, which would slow it down enough for Burrell to get to it and throw it quickly to second base, holding Martin to a single. Loney would follow by hitting into a ground out, 4-3, ending the inning. The ball is then given to Brad Lidge in the ninth to close out the game. Lidge would start the inning by getting Kemp to fly out to right center, which was caught by Victorino for out number one. Blake would follow by flying out to deep center field for the inning’s second out. Lidge would then end the game by getting DeWitt to strike out swinging, getting his third save of the post-season.
Cole Hamel would get the win, his second win of the post-season, as he would pitch seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning, recording his first save of the series and his forty-fourth save in forty-four tries. Derek Lowe would take the lost, as he went five and one-third innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits and a walk, while striking out only two. His series’ record is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Chan Ho Park would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Greg Maddux would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit. Hong-Chih Kuo would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no runs.
Until the sixth inning, Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe had everything going his way, having the Phillies’ bats under his control as he got most of his first fifteen outs on ground balls, including one that would lead into a double play. But, everything would change thanks to a lead-off two-base error by Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal on a Shane Victorino ground ball. After that, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell would guess right on a couple of Lowe’s fastballs, sending them into the right and left field seats, respectively, to give the Phillies the lead, a lead that they would never surrender. Meanwhile, Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels, although giving up runs in the first and fourth innings, was only in trouble once, and that was after giving up the RBI double to Manny Ramirez in the first, as he would, after striking out Russell Martin for the inning’s second out, walk James Loney, then watch Carlos Ruiz allow an 1-0 pitch to Matt Kemp to get pass him for a pass ball, which would allow Ramirez to move up to third and Loney to second. But he would finally end the threat by getting Kemp to fly out to right. The Dodgers would not put together another major threat against Hamels, outside of scoring another run off of him in the fourth, over the next six innings, before he would hand the ball over to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.
The National League Championship Series will continue in Philadelphia this afternoon, with the second game being played at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 4:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers, who is coming off a good start against the Brewers on October 2, where he pitched seven inning, giving up just two earned runs on just two hits and three walks, while striking out four, in the Phillies’ 5-2 win. His record in the National League Divisional Series was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA. His regular season record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA in 190 innings of work, as he struck out 163 batters, while walking only 65. But, his record after coming back from a minor league assignment to help clear his head is 7-4, with two no-decisions, in thirteen starts. In two starts this year against the Dodgers, he is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA, as he went a combined total of fourteen innings, giving up only three earned runs on fourteen hits and five walks, while striking out sixteen batters. He hopes to do as well against the Dodgers this afternoon as he did against the Brewers. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley, who is coming off his brilliant start against the Cubs on October 2, where he went six and one third innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits and a walk, while striking out seven, in the Dodgers’ 10-3 win. During the regular season, his record was 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 200 and two-thirds innings of work, as he struck out 201 batters, while walking just 80. In one start against the Phillies, back on August 25, he is 0-1, as he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and five walks, while striking out only three, in the Dodgers’ 5-0 lost. He will be seeing if he can improve on his Divisional Series start and avoid being hit as he was in his previous start against the Phillies. The Phillies will be trying to take a two games to none lead into Los Angeles while the Dodgers will be trying to leave Philadelphia with a spilt.
The first game of the National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers will start tonight at 8:22 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ starter for this first game of a possible seven games series will be their ace, Cole Hamels. Hamels is coming off a brillant performance against the Milwaukee Brewers on October 1 in the first game of the National League Divisional Series, where he pitched eight shut out innings against the Brewers, giving up only two hits and striking out nine batters, in the Phillies’ 3-1 win. During the regular season, Hamels went 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09, while striking out a total of 196 batters in 227 and a third innings. Against the Dodgers, he would pitch two games, going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA, as he went a combined total of fourteen innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits, while striking out twelve Dodgers. He will be trying to improve upon his previous outstanding performance against the Brewers, while trying to start the Phillies off on a good note in the series. The Dodgers will counter with Derek Lowe, who is coming off a good performance of his own against the Chicago Cubs on October 1 in the first game of their National League Divisional Series, where he pitched six innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six, in the Dodgers’ 7-2 win. During the regular season, Lowe went 14-11 with an ERA of 3.24, as he struck out 147 batters in 211 innings of work. He has met the Phillies only once this year, getting the victory on August 11, as he pitched six and a third innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Dodgers’ 8-6 win. Career wise, he is 4-1 with 2 saves against the Phillies with an ERA of 3.02. He will be trying to pitch the Dodgers into an early lead in the series.
The Phillies will be expecting Cole Hamels to be as dominant in this game, as he was in his start against the Brewers, trying to keep the Dodgers’ bats, especially the bat of Manny Ramirez, quiet during the ballgame. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ bats will have to start out being a little patient with Derek Lowe, waiting for their chances before striking at him, while at the same time trying to make sure that he doesn’t get as comfortable in Citizens Bank Park as he has in the past, as he is sporting a 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. They will have to combine the correct balance of patient and aggressiveness against the veteran Lowe, else it is going to be a long night.
Four long bombs from Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell (2) and Jayson Werth and six strong innings of work from Joe Blanton would help propel the Phillies into the National League Championship Series as they defeated the Brewers, 6-2. On the sixth pitch of the ballgame from Brewers’ starter Jeff Suppan, Jimmy Rollins would help to silence the Brewers’ faithful as he would hit a solo home run, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. As Joe Blanton would keep the Brewers’ bats silent, the Phillies would increase their lead in the third, when, with runners on first and second, and two men out, Pat Burrell would hit a three-run home run, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier doubled, and Ryan Howard, who has been intentionally walked, to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. One batter later, Jayson Werth would hit a solo shot of his own, making it 5-0 Phillies. That would be the score until the seventh, when Prince Fielder would hit a lead-off solo home run of his own off of Blanton, his only hit in the series, to make it a 5-1 Phillies’ lead. The Phillies would get the run back in the eighth, as, with two outs, Burrell would hit his second home run of the game, a solo shot that would make it 6-1 Phillies. The Brewers would score their second run of the game in their half of the eighth, as, with a runner on third, and two outs, Ryan Braun would hit a RBI single, scoring Mike Cameron, who has earlier singled, moved to second on defensive indifference and would move on to third on Ray Durham’s ground out, 4-3, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 6-2. That would be the final score as Brad Lidge would come in to pitch the ninth in a non-save situation and easily put down the Brewers, getting the final out on a Jason Kendall ground out, 6-3.
Joe Blanton would get the win, as he pitches six strong innings plus two batters, giving up only one earned run on five hits, while striking out seven. His post-season record is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.50. Ryan Madson would pitch two innings, giving up an earned run on two hits. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one. Jeff Suppan would get the lost, as he pitches only three innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and walking three batters, while striking out three. His post-season record is 0-1 with a 15.00 ERA. Yovani Gollardo would pitch three shut out innings, giving up only one hit, while striking out one. Manny Parra would go one and two-thirds innings, giving up no earned runs on one hit and striking out three. Guillermo Mota would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits.
With the win, the Phillies have won their first post season series since their defeat of the Atlanta Braves in the 1993 National League Championship Series. Also, this is the first game in the series that the Phils have scored in more than one inning, scoring a run in the first, four more runs in the third and a final run in the eighth. And Joe Blanton would pitch a rather superb game, keeping the Brewers off-balanced in the process, never allowing them to have more than one man on base during his six innings of work, before being relieved after giving up a home run and a single in the seventh. The Phillies will now rest until Thursday, when they will face the Dodgers for the first time in the playoffs since their defeat of LA back in the 1983 National League Championships Series. GO PHILLIES!!! BEAT LA!!!!!
The Phillies show to the rest of the league that C.C. Sabathia is as human as the rest of us by scoring five runs off of him in the second inning before running him out of the game in the fourth as the Phillies’ ride Brett Myers’ two-hit pitching and Shane Victorino’s grand slam to a 5-1 victory over the Brew Crew. Things didn’t start out so brightly in the first inning, as the Brewers, after Mike Cameron started the game off by striking out on three pitches, would load the bases on Phillies’ starter Brett Myers via a walk to Ray Durham on four pitches, a double to Ryan Braun, which would send Durham to third, and an intentional walk to Prince Fielder. J.J. Hardy would then follow with a walk of his own, forcing in Durham with the game’s first run, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. But Myers would then get out of the inning as the next batter, Corey Hart, would hit the first pitch thrown to him directly to Myers. Myers would throw home for the second out of the inning as Carlos Ruiz would touch home plate before Braun can cross it. Ruiz would then throw over to first, beating out Hart, for the inning’s final out. That would turn out to be the first key moment of the game, as Myers would then settle down after the first inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies would try to strike back in their half of the first, as they would have a runner on third, via a Shane Victorino double and a stolen base, and one man out, when Brewers’ starter Sabathia would end the inning by striking out both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard swinging, and doing it by throwing only seventeen pitches. But, after Myers pitches a 1-2-3 second, the Phillies would go back to work on Sabathia. After Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a fly out to left, Jayson Werth would get on base with a double. Pedro Feliz would follow him with a RBI double, knocking in Werth, and tying the game at 1-1. After a Ruiz ground out to first would put Feliz on third, Myers would come up to bat. Myers would battle with Sabathia until on the ninth pitch thrown to him, he would get a walk, putting runners on the corners. That would be the second key moment of the game, as Sabathia’s pitch count starts to rise and he is beginning to miss the plate. Jimmy Rollins would follow Myers with a four pitch walk, loading the bases, as Myers would move up to second, bringing up to the plate Victorino. Trailing in the count, 1-2, Victorino would belt a slider into the left field seats for a grand slam home run, the first one ever hit by a Phillie in the playoffs, scoring Feliz, Myers and Rollins, and giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. Sabathia would finally end the inning by getting Utley to once again strike out swinging, but by then the damage has already been done, as Sabathia’s pitch count was now up to fifty-one pitches. In the third, Myers would pitch another 1-2-3 inning, while Sabathia would only let one batter get on base, Werth via his second double of the game, but Sabathia’s pitch count was still rising as he has now thrown seventy-two pitches in three innings. In the fourth, after Myers would breeze through another inning, even though he would hit Hart with a pitch with two men out, Sabathia would finally get knocked out of the box by the Phils. They would start their half of the fourth off with a one pitch ground out, 1-3, by Ruiz. Myers would then battle Sabathia again, getting him mad in the process, as he would get the count up to 3-2 on nine pitches, before finally flying out to center on pitch number 10. Rollins would then follow with a double, the fifth double, and the sixth extra-base hit, that the Phillies would get off of Sabathia. After intentionally walking Victorino, the Phils would get a double steal as Rollins and Victorino would both move up a base, with Utley batting. These would be the third and fourth stolen bases that the Phils would get off of Sabathia. Utley would then get a walk, loading up the bases, and leading to the removal of Sabathia by Brewers’ manager Dale Sveum. At that point, Sabathia’s pitch count has risen to ninety-eight pitches. Sveum would then bring in reliever Mitch Stetter to face Howard. Stetter would get the Brewers out of the inning by striking out Howard, leaving the bases loaded. In the fifth, the Phillies would reload the bases, with two outs, via two walks (Burrell and Ruiz) and a single (Myers), but the Brewers would get out of that jam as Rollins would line out to Fielder who made a great catch on a ball that would have broken the game wide open if it has gotten through. The Phillies would threaten again in the sixth as they would put runners on second and first, with one out, via a double (Victorino) and an intentional walk (Howard), but the Brewers would get out of the inning as Seth McClung, pitching in his second inning in relief of Stetter, would strike out Burrell for the second out of the inning and then get Werth to fly out. In the seventh, the Brewers would get a run back as Craig Counsell would ground out, 4-3, scoring Hardy, who has reached base earlier with a double, only the second hit given up by Myers, and would then move to third on Hart’s fly out to right, making it a 5-2 Phillies’ lead. The Phillies half of the seventh would see the Phils go down 1-2-3 for the only time yesterday. In the Brewers’ eighth, Myers would be taken out of the game and replaced by Ryan Madson. The inning would start with a fielding error by Rollins of pinch hitter Rickie Weeks’ grounder. Madson would then get Cameron to pop (foul) out to the third baseman for the inning’s first out. Durham would then hit into a force out, 1-6, forcing out Weeks, while Durham would beat out Rollins’ throw to first. Braun would then follow with a single, moving Durham up to second base with still two men out. Madson is then taken out of the game by Charlie Manuel and replaced by J.C. Romero, to face Fielder. On Romero’s first pitch, Fielder would hit a slow grounder towards Utley, who would shovel the ball over to Howard for the inning’s final out, ending the short-lived Brewers’ threat. In the ninth, Lidge would be given the ball for the save. Unlike Tuesday’s game, Lidge would have an easy 1-2-3 inning, ending the game with a fly out to center, giving the Phillies a 5-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the series, as the two teams now head for Milwaukee for the third game of the series.
Brett Myers would get the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out four. His post-season record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face on one pitch. Brad Lidge would get his second post season save and his forty-third save in forty three tries, as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning. C.C. Sabathia would get the lost as he is only able to go three and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits, walking four batters, while striking out five. His post-season record is now 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA. Mitch Stetter, Seth McClung, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres would pitch a combined total of four and one-thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up just three hits (McClung (2), Torres (1)) and walking three (McClung), with each one striking out a batter for a total of four strike outs.
The victory gives the Phillies a commanding 2-0 lead in the series as they show that C.C. Sabathia is indeed human. This is mainly because most of the batters remained patient, with Brett Myers’ two at-bats against Sabathia being the key at-bats, especially the first one, as Sabathia would lose his composure after each one, leading to Shane Victorino’s grand slam in the second and Sabathia’s removal with the bases loaded, after throwing 98 pitches, in the fourth. It would seem that pitching Sabathia with only three days rest for the fourth straight game has come back to haunt the Brewers as they are now backed into a corner with the wily veteran Jamie Moyer up next to attempt to seal the deal for the Phillies. The Brewers’ ace was hit hard by the Phillies as all six of the hits off of him would be for extra-bases (5 (2B), 1 (HR)) while they also ran wild on him, stealing four bases, with Victorino leading the way with two steals. Meanwhile, Myers, after starting out a little wild and maybe being a little pinched by the home plate umpire, would gain control of the game after Corey Hart’s 1-2-3 double play ball ending the first inning, ending the Brewers best, and as it would turn out, only chance to get control of this game. After that inning, the Brewers would not be able to handle Myers’ pitches, especially after he starts to throw at them more than just his fastball. It would appear that the Myers of the second half is back, and if he is, thank god for that.
The five games National League Divisional Series will now move to Milwaukee. The third game of the series will be played in Miller Park on Saturday and will start at 6:30 pm Eastern (5:30 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be veteran Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71), who is coming off a victory against the Nationals on September 27, as he went six innings, giving up only an earned run on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. He has last faced the Brewers on September 11, defeating them in the game that would lead to a four game swept of the Brew Crew, as he would pitch five and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, while striking out five, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Moyer will be trying to, like he did last Saturday, pitch the Phillies deeper into the playoff with a win. His opponent will be Dave Bush (9-10, 4.18), who is coming off his fifth straight no-decision, this time against the Cubs on September 27, as he would pitch three innings in relief, giving up no runs on no hits, while walking a batter and striking out one, in the Brewers’ 7-3 lost. His last start would be on September 23 against the Pirates, also a no-decision, as he went five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Brewers’ 7-5 win. His last start against the Phillies would be on September 14, as he pitched a no-decision, going six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Brewers’ 7-3 lost in the first game of a day/night doubleheader. Bush will be trying to prevent a sweep of the Brewers.
The Phillies will be trying to end the series early, handing the ball over to Jamie Moyer to do it. And, with the Brewers now trying to keep from getting swept, Moyer should be the right person for the job, as he’ll be trying to use the Brewers’ aggressiveness against them.