Well, spring training has just started, and it seems that a few Phils have decided to show up in better shape then they did when they left Citizen Bank Park after the victory parade last Halloween.
Ryan Howard has shown up at Bright House Field weighing 30 pounds less. Brett Myers has meanwhile lost 20 pounds and Scott Eyre has lost 10. Hhhhmm, 30, 20 and 10? Is someone trying to tell us something? Hopefully, it will all translate into better seasons for all three players.
Also, Ryan has said that he plans to work on his defense this spring, and is working out with third base coach Sam Perlozzo, and that some of the things that he has shown him has clicked. Sam, if you are able to get Ryan to stop leaking balls during the season, I’ll try and see if I can get the other fans to raise a moument in your honor.
Meanwhile, Brett plans to do a lot better this season than he did during the first half of last season. We’ll all be watching you very closely Brett, as the batters won’t be the only ones seeing if you can continue what you did after coming back from the all-star break last season.
Phils’ pitching coach Rich Dubee had announced that he sees Kyle Kendrick as the present favorite to win the number five starting job in the Phillies’ starting rotation, when he commented that it was Kyle’s job to lose. Hear that Kyle, that means that only you can pitch yourself out of that position right now. And, I hear that both J.A. Happ and Chan Ho Park want your job badly, especially Park. So, you better show Dubee and the rest of the brain trust your best stuff while you’re out there pitching this spring, or you might be seeing yourself either heading back to the minors, or being used as trade bait.
The Phillies this weekend have signed Miguel Cairo to a minor league contract and an invite to spring training while they still continue to see if they can get Nomar Garciaparra to signed as their righthanded bench bat. Cairo spent the 2008 season playing the infield for the Seattle Mariners as he batted .249 with no home runs and 23 RBIs in 221 at-bats. A career .266 hitter, Cairo has been a journeyman in the majors for 13 seasons. Well, I’ll say this for the team, they certainly won’t be lacking for players if someone goes down during the season.
Lastly, Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets’ new closer has once again says that the Mets will be the team to beat this season. Yawn!!! Jimmy Rollins, when are you going to defend your copyright against these New Yorkers? But seriously, F-Rod, saying it is one thing. Prove it on the playing field, mister!!!
The Phillies will officially begin their defense of their World Series title tomorrow, as pitchers and catchers will officially report at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. Although the team is, for the most part, already set, there will still be some battles for spots on the team. Among them will be, who will be the fifth starter and who will be taking up residence in the bullpen between J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Chan Ho Park, and prospect Carlos Carrasco; who will be playing back-up to Carlos Ruiz behind the plate, Chris Coste or Ronny Paulino; and lastly, who will be playing second base, if Chase Utley is not ready by opening day, April 5, Eric Bruntlett or prospect/rookie Jason Donald, or someone else. Other questions to be answered will include: will Raul Ibanez be the improvement to the departed fan favorite Pat Burrell that everyone keep saying that he is; will the Phillies be able to get lefty Will Ohman to replace J.C. Romero during his 50 games suspension, or will they be able to find someone in-house; will they be able to get Nomar Garciaparra to sign on the dotted line to become their right-handed bat off the bench to compliment left-hander Greg Dobbs, or will they be able to do it with left-handers Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins; will the afformentioned Utley actually be ready to start at second base on opening day, or will the Phils tell him to give his right hip the rest that they think it will need for him to be fully ready; will Pedro Feliz’s back be ready to let him play during the spring; will the Phils be able to get somebody to take Adam Eaton off their hands, or will they just let him go; and lastly, will anyone among the invitees be able to get a job with the main team, or will they be spending the season in the minors or with another MLB team.
Those are the questions. They should all be answered by the time the Phillies will start their title defense at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday night, April 5, against the Atlanta Braves.
Me, I can’t wait to find out the answers. 🙂
Well, some news occurred this weekend and today, both Phillies and non-Phillies related.
First, Phillies related news. Phillies.com has reported during the weekend that the Phillies are showing some interested in former Dodgers shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Garciaparra, who was only able to play in 55 games during the 2008 season, most of which were played in the second half of the season, after returning from an injury, batting .264 while hitting eight home runs and 28 RBIs, is a career .314 hitter after 13 seasons playing for the Red Sox, the Cubs and the Dodgers, where he has a combine total of 1702 hits for 5426 at-bats in 1369 games, knocking in 920 RBIs while scoring 910 runs. Of his 1702 hits, he has 362 2Bs, 52 3Bs and 226 HRs for a total of 2846 total bases. He also has a .525 slugging percentage and a .363 on-base percenatge. Nomar, beside playing shortstop, has also played third base and first base. If the Phillies do sign him to a deal, which will probably be for no more than one year, he would more than likely be the right handed bat that they’ll be wanting to come off the bench against lefthanded pitching to complement left hander Greg Dobbs. We’ll see if they will be able to get him. But, if they do, and he returns to his earlier form, other teams may not like to face a combo of Dobbs and Garciaparra coming off of the Phillies’ bench (depending on which of the lefties they still have (Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins) that they don’t trade).
Next, the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday afternoon knocked off the NFL Champions New York Giants, 23-11. I am sure that Giants fans are still not believing this. Hate to break it to you guys, but it actually happened. And you can all thank a certain thigh shooter for this lost. 🙂 Anyway, next stop for the Eagles, Phoenix, and a date with those other Cardinals, the ones of the football variety. Hopefully, these Cardinals won’t realize that they’re in a championship game until its over.
And lastly, the votes are in, and the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, via the Writers’ Ballots are….drum roll please ladies and gentlemen….Rickey Henderson, in his first year on the ballot, and Jim Rice, on his 15th and last year on the ballot.
Rickey Henderson, formerly of the A’s, the Yankees, the Blue Jays, the Padres, the Astros, the Mets, the Mariners, the Red Sox and the Dodgers, was elected, on his first year of eligibility, with 94.8 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, being placed on 511 of the 539 ballots cast. Henderson, who has played from 1979 to 2003, is considered the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, and is the current leader in stolen bases with 1406 and runs scored with 2995. He also has the record for the most steals in a season, stealing 130 bases in 1982, while also having the most lead-off home runs in Major League history with 81. Henderson, in 25 seasons, has a career batting average of .279, with an on-base percentage of .401 and a slugging percentage of .419, has 3,055 hits, 510 of which were 2Bs, 66 3Bs and 297 HRs. He has won the AL MVP in 1990 and has two world series rings, being a member of the 1989 A’s and the 1993 Blue Jays World Championship teams.
Jim Rice, formerly of the Red Sox, was elected to the Hall in his fifteenth, and final, year of eligibility, with 76.4 percent of the vote, being named on 411 of the ballots. A member of the 1975 American League Champions Red Sox, Rice, who spent his entire 16 years career (1974-1989) with Boston, ended his career with a .298 batting average, with a slugging percentage of .502 and an on-base percentage of .352, has 2452 career hits, knocking in 1451 RBIs, while scoring 1249 runs, hitting 373 2Bs, 79 3Bs and 382 RBIs. His career totals in hits and home runs, along with his 4129 total bases, are all Red Sox career marks for a right handed batter. He won the AL MVP in 1978, as well as being a member of eight AL All-Stars teams. Rice’s selection has been an uphill climb, with him gathering more votes each year he was on the ballot.
Congratulations to both Henderson and Rice on their election, and hoping that the third highest vote getter on the ballot, Andre Dawson, with 67 percent (361) of the votes, will get the nod next year.
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.
The Dodgers came out smoking against Jamie Moyer, batting around in the first inning and scoring six runs off of him before he is finally removed in the second, as the Dodgers defeated the Fightins’, 7-2.
The Phillies lead in the National League Championship Series is now two games to one. The Dodgers attack Moyer early in the bottom of the first as Rafael Furcal would get on base with a single. Andre Ethier would follow with a single, moving Furcal to second base. Manny Ramirez would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Furcal and giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Ethier and Ramirez would both move up to third and second respectively on Pat Burrell’s throw to home, which would get past Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz, which was a mistake as Burrell should’ve thrown to third, keeping the runners at second and third. Moyer, after getting ahead in the count, would hit Russell Martin on the right knee, loading the bases, with still nobody out. Nomar Garciaparra would strike out looking for the first out of the inning. Casey Blake would then follow with a single, scoring Ethier to make it 2-0 Dodgers, while Ramirez and Martin would both move up a base, leaving the bases loaded. Moyer would then strike out Matt Kemp looking, for the inning’s second out. He would then get ahead of Blake DeWitt with two quick strikes, before the count evens out at 2-2. DeWitt would then hit the ball down the right field foul line for a three-run triple, knocking in Ramirez, Russell and Blake, giving the Dodgers a 5-0 lead. Moyer would finally get out of the inning by getting Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda to ground out, 5-3. The Phillies would get a run back in the top of the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier doubled and would move to third on Jayson Werth’s fly out to center, making it 5-1 Dodgers. The Dodgers would get that run back as Furcal would hit a lead-off home run off of Moyer, giving the Dodgers a 6-1 lead. In the top of the third inning, with no one on and two men out, Kuroda would throw the first pitch behind Shane Victorino’s head for ball one. This would lead to an exchange between first Victorino and Martin and then Victorino and Kuroda, with Victorino constantly pointing at his head and ribs, indictating that if he was going to hit him, Kuroda should be aiming for his ribs and not his head, while the home plate umpire would give Kuroda (and every pitcher who would later enter the game) a warning that if he believes that he was intentionally aiming at a batter, he would be thrown out of the game. Two pitches later, Victorino would ground out to the first baseman, Garciaparra, with Kuroda covering. Victorino would continue the argument about the ball being thrown at his head while both benches would clear out. Thankfully no blows were thrown, although Ramirez ended up being restrained by several of his teammates as he still believes that Brett Myers had tried to hit him with a pitch in game two although Myers has denied it. In the fourth, the Dodgers would make it 7-1 as, with two men on, and two outs, Garciaparra would hit an RBI single, scoring Ramirez, who has earlier walked and has moved to second on Martin’s walk. But the inning would end as Burrell would throw to third, catching Martin in front of third base, who is then caught in a run down, before being tagged out by Jimmy Rollins, 7-5-6. The Phillies would get a run back in the seventh, as, with runners on the corners and no outs, Pat Burrell would get a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has earlier doubled, and would move to third on Howard’s single, making the score 7-2 Dodgers, while moving Howard up to second. But, that would be the best that the Phillies would be able to do as the Dodgers’ bullpen would then shut them down for the last three innings, with Jonathan Broxton ending the game with a Feliz’s pop up to second, with Werth on first base, and two men out.
Jamie Moyer took the lost, his second straight bad start in the post-season, as he is only able to go one and a third innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits and a hit batter, while striking out two. His series record is presently 0-1 with a rather high 40.50 ERA. Clay Condrey would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and walking one. J.A. Happ would pitch three innings, giving up only one earned run on four hits and a two walks, while striking out two. Steve Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would each pitch an inning of scoreless ball, giving up between them no hits, two walks (Durbin (1), Romero (1)), and a hit batter (Durbin) and four strikeouts (Durbin (2), Romero (2)). Hiroki Kuroda would get the win as he would pitch six strongs innings plus three batters, as he gave up only two earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Cory Wade would pitch two shut out innings, giving up only one hit, while striking out two. Jonathan Broxton would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up only one hit, while striking out one.
The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead in the series to 2-1 as the Dodgers went to work early on Jamie Moyer, batting around in the first as they scored five runs, with DeWitt’s three-run triple being the major blow. But the Phillies’ bullpen, after Moyer’s removal in the second after giving up a solo home run to Rafael Furcal, would shut down the Dodgers, only giving up one more run in six and two-thirds innings of work. Meantime, the Phillies’ batters would be once again unable to do anything against Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda before the seventh inning, when three straight hits by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell would finally chase him out of the game. Sadly, it would a case of too little, too late. If there is any silver lining in all this, it is that it looks like Howard is finally coming out of his post-season slump, as he had a double and a single, scoring a run, and helping to set up the other Phils’ run. Now, if Jimmy Rollins’ bat would finally wake up, and if Shane Victorino would use last night’s incident as a motivator for the rest of the series, the Dodgers will be in a lot of trouble.
The National League Championship Series will continue tonight with Game 4. The game will be played at Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton, who is coming off an excellent start against the Brewers on October 5, as he pitched the Phils into the championship series by pitching six innings of strong ball, giving up only an earned run on five scattered hits, while striking out seven, in the Phillies’ 6-2 win. During the regular season, his record was 9-12 (4-0 as a Phil) with a 4.69 ERA (4.20 as a Phil) in 197 and two-thirds innings, striking out 111 batters while walking only 66. He has faced the Dodgers twice already this year, getting a no-decision in both starts, as he pitched a combined total of eleven innings, giving up just five earned runs on fifteen hits and six walks, while striking out ten. He will be trying for his fourth straight win and his second win in the post-season, while trying to give the Phillies their first win this year in Los Angeles as well as a three games to one lead in the series. He will be opposed by first game starter Derek Lowe, who lost game one as the Phillies ended up knocking him out of the game in the sixth inning, after having them under control for the first five, as he gave up two home runs to Chase Utley and Pat Burrell after Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal’s two-base error on Shane Victorino’s ground ball shifted the game’s momentum over to the Phillies. In five and a third innings of work, Lowe would give up three runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Dodgers 2-1 lost. His series record is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. He will be trying to rebound from the lost, as he tries to tie the series up at two games apiece.
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.