The Fightins'

Posts Tagged ‘NLCS’

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 9:14 am ET 155 Comments

Well, that’s it. It’s over. The Great Campaign of 2010, thought by many to end with a shiny Commissioner’s Trophy, is finished, wrecked by the Cinderella Giants.

It’s been over 48 hours since Ryan Howard stared at Brian Wilson’s offering that caught the outer edge of the plate, and like him, we are all still a bit catatonic, unable to comprehend what just happened. I suppose that’s why I didn’t write a recap of Game Six. There was no sense in writing about something that I didn’t grasp, and to try would have been an act of futility. It’s much different than 2009, where the season didn’t end with the looming question of Where did it all go wrong? It felt like the Phillies made it to a World Series in which they likely didn’t belong, with a less talented rotation, a questionable bullpen and an offense that had its share of problems.

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Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 12:33 am ET 51 Comments

There are gutsy postseason players, and then there’s Roy Halladay, whose performance in Game Five of the National League Championship Series – all on a balky groin – helped push the Phillies past the Giants and the series back to Philadelphia.

His outing, which saw him give up two earned over six, never had the look and feel of a typical Doc start (that is to say, he didn’t dominate the hitters), but was good enough to keep the Giants’ bats at bay, while the offense put up just enough runs to avoid the series loss.

According to Todd Zolecki, Doc felt the pull in the second inning, but was able to gut it out the rest of the way. It certainly explains his lack of velocity, command, and perennial dominance that is normally on display during one of his starts.

But The Ace gutted it out over six innings and ended with a flourish, as he struck out two in the sixth inning to stymie a Giants rally.

The Phillies’ offense, which showed signs of life during Game Four, came alive in the third inning against Tim Lincecum, wen they strung together three hits to score three runs, with the big blows coming on a two-run error from Aubrey Huff, followed by an RBI single from Placido Polanco to make it a 3-1 Phillies lead. Jayson Werth added a huge insurance run in the top of the ninth when he blasted a solo shot over the high wall in right field.

The Giants would add another run to the line of Halladay, but were held in check for the rest of the night by the Phillies bullpen, who tossed three shutout innings, including a pair of perfect frames from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.

One night after a heartbreaking loss that pushed their backs up against a wall, the Phillies once again rallied behind Halladay to keep baseball alive for at least one more game, while simultaneously illustrating just how great of a pitcher Roy Halladay is. He battled for the final five innings with an injury and a lack of control and velocity, yet still had enough to keep the Phillies alive. It’s a sight to behold.

The series returns to Philadelphia on Saturday, when Roy Oswalt, who allowed one run over eight innings in Game Two, will match up again with Jonathan Sanchez, who was wildly effective over seven innings, where he allowed two runs on five hits and three walks.

Roy Halladay (W, 1-1) allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out five.

Placido Polanco went 1 for 3 with an RBI.

Jayson Werth went 1 for 4 with a homer (2) and an RBI.

Raul Ibanez went 2 for 4 with a run.

Brad Lidge (S, 1) struck out one in a perfect ninth inning.

Tim Lincecum (L, 1-1) allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings on four hits and a walk. He struck out seven.

Andres Torres went 2 for 3 with a run.

Pat Burrell with 1 for 4 with a double (2) and a run.

Cody Ross went 1 for 4 with a double (2) and an RBI.

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Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 11:44 pm ET 408 Comments

I didn’t hear a fat lady. Did you?

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Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 10:06 pm ET 168 Comments

Cole Hamels was unable to replicate his NLDS performance, as the Philadelphia Phillies fell to the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the National League Championship Series as the N.L. West Division champs take a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series.

The Phillies were rendered punchless by Giants starter Matt Cain, who held them scoreless over seven innings. Despite putting a handful of runners on in the early goings, the Phillies were unable to get that one big hit to get them on the board.

The Giants fared better against Hamels, who allowed a pair of two out RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth off the bats of Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff to give San Fran the 2-0 lead. They would add another run in the bottom of the sixth when Freddy Sanchez’s two out liner was misplayed by Chase Utley, which allowed Aaron Rowand to score from second base.

It was all the offense the Giants would need, as a pair of relievers combined with Cain to shutout the Phillies in a playoff game for the first time since 1985 to give them a 2-1 series edge heading into Game Four on Wednesda.y

The Phillies will turn to Joe Blanton, who last started a game on September 29. He will face off against Madison Bumgarner, who allowed two runs in six innings in the NLDS versus the Braves.

Cole Hamels (L, 0-1) allowed three earned runs on five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

Matt Cain (W, 1-0) allowed no runs on two hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out five.

Cody Ross went 1 for 3 with an RBI.

Aubrey Huff went 1 for 3 with an RBI.

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Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 1:54 pm ET 87 Comments

Props go to All Star Twitterer ItsStephGrace.

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 9:17 am ET 11 Comments

What happened?

The Phillies broke out the bats to defeat the Dodgers to win the National League Pennant to advance to the World Series for the second straight season.

Who did what?

Cole Hamels (ND) allowed three runs on five hits in four and a third. He walked one and struck out three.

Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 with a homer (2) and three RBIs.

Jayson Werth went 3 for 4 with two homers (3) and four RBIs.

Raul Ibanez went 1 for 4 with a double (1) and an RBI.

Pedro Feliz went 1 for 4 with homer (1) and an RBI.

Chad Durbin (W, 1-0) struck out one and didn’t allow any base runners in an inning and a third of relief.

Vicente Padilla (L, 0-1) allowed six runs on four hits in three innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Andre Ethier went  2 for 4 with a homer (1) and an RBI.

Matt Kemp went 1 for 4 with an RBI.

James Loney went 1 for 3 with a homer (2) and an RBI.

Orlando Hudson went 1 for 1 with a homer (1) and an RBI.

What does this mean?

For the second time in as many seasons, the Philadelphia Phillies are going to the World Series.

Despite another shaky outing from Cole Hamels, the offense came alive to send Vicente Padilla to the showers in the fourth inning, (where he presumably joined Manny Ramirez), as the Phillies bullpen worked a brilliant four and a third to preserve the lead.

After the Dodgers took an early lead in the first behind a solo shot from Andre Ethier, the Phillies bounced right back. With two outs, Padilla walked Chase Utley and Ryan Howard before giving up a three-run shot to Jayson Werth, who served the 3-2 offering deep into the right field seats.

The Dodgers scored in the top of the second, this time on a solo shot from James Loney, to cut the lead to one run. The Phillies answered back in the bottom half of the frame, as Pedro Feliz went yard for the first time in the series.

Things would stay that way until the bottom of the fourth, when Raul Ibanez doubled in Werth, extending the lead to 5-2. Five batters later, and with the bases loaded, reliever George Sherrill plunked Shane Victorino to force in another run to  put the Phillies up by four.

Cole Hamels settled in after giving up the homer to Loney, retiring eight in a row and 10 of the next 11 hitters. He ran into trouble in the top of the fifth, when Orlando Hudson belted a solo shot, which was followed by a double from Rafeal Furcal, chasing Hamels from the game. Jay Happ came on to retire Andre Ethier for the second out, while Chad Durbin induced a weak ground out from Manny Ramirez to end the Dodger threat.

Shane Victorino added a two run blast in the bottom of the sixth, and Jayson Werth added his second homer of the night, a solo shot, in the bottom of the seventh to give the Phillies a 9-3 lead.

The Dodgers would add a run on a Matt Kemp single in the eighth, and despite having the bases loaded with nobody out, they would manage only one run, as Ryan Madson came on to end the threat and the rally.

In the ninth inning, Charlie Manuel turned to Brad Lidge to protect the 10-4 lead, and Lidge responded by striking out pinch hitter Mark Loretta to begin the inning, popping out Furcal, and getting Ronnie Belliard to fly out to center to end the game and to send the Phillies back to the World Series.

It’s been a long season, but the Phillies are making good on the promise of last year’s parade. The promise to march down Broad Street, again and again, as World Series Champions.

And with eight wins in the bag, the Phillies now await their American League opponent.

This series, and the one before it, have been a microcosm of the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies: Talent, determination, and grit. They used brilliant starting pitching when they had it, the bats when they didn’t, a bullpen that somehow looked reminiscent of 2008, and come-from-behind-can-you-believe-it-rallies when all hope seemed lost.

And their reward? A date with destiny.

By winning the National League Pennant, they’ve become the first team since the 2000-01 New York Yankees to make back-t0-back appearances in the World Series, and the first National League team since the 1995-96 Atlanta Braves.

And in a week’s time, they will take to the biggest stage of them all, in hopes to become the first NL team since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds to win back-to-back titles.

What’s next for our 2009 National League Division Series Winning Champion Heroes?

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to the World Series!

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 1:05 am ET 32 Comments

What happened?

Jimmy Rollins’ two out, two run double in the bottom of the ninth completed the come from behind victory to take a 3-1 series lead against the Dodgers.

Who did what?

Joe Blanton (ND) allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings. He walked and struck out two.

Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 5 with a run.

Shane Victorino went 1 for 3 with a triple (1) and a run.

Chase Utley went 1 for 4 with an RBI.

Ryan Howard went 1 for 3 with a homer (2) and two RBIs.

Brad Lidge (W, 1-0) struck out two in two-thirds of an inning.

Randy Wolf (ND) allowed three runs on four hits in five and a third. He walked and struck out two.

Matt Kemp went 1 for 4 with a homer (1) and an RBI.

James Loney went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Casey Blake went 1 for 4 with an RBI.

Jonathan Broxton (L, 0-1) allowed two runs on one hit, a walk, and a hit batsman in one inning.

What does this mean?

How do you spell “resilience”?


What about “tough”?


And “never say die”?

P-H – You get the idea.

With two outs in the ninth and a one run deficit that would see the Dodgers even things up at two games apiece, the Philadelphia Phillies, like they’ve done all season, powered back in their final at-bats to rally against Jonathan Broxton and the Los Angeles Dodgers to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.

The journey to the 5-4 win started in the first inning, when Ryan Howard blasted a two out, two run rope to right field to give the Phillies an early lead behind Joe Blanton, who set down the first 10 hitters with ease.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning, with one out, that the Dodgers could muster their first base runner, when Matt Kemp drew a base on balls from Blanton. Manny Ramirez roped a two-out single for the first hit of the game, making way for James Loney, who singled to right to drive in the first Dodger run of the game. Two batters later, Russell Martin singled to left to bring in a run to even the score at 2-2.

In the top of the fifth, Matt Kemp hit a two out solo homer to give the Dodgers their first lead of the game, a lead they would add onto in the sixth, when Casey Blake blooped a two out RBI single to right to put the Dodgers up by two.

While Joe Blanton struggled after a blistering start, the exact opposite could be said for Randy Wolf, who set down 12 Phillies in a row after Ryan Howard’s first inning blast. He cruised until the sixth inning, when Shane Victorino tripled with one out, only to be brought home on a single by Chase Utley. Wolf was finished after walking Ryan Howard, with the bullpen preserving the one run lead after Manny Ramirez’s shoe string grab to rob Raul Ibanez of an RBI and possible extra bases to end the inning.

While the bullpens battled back and forth over the next two innings, it would ultimately lead to the bottom of the ninth, with the Phillies down by one run and down to their last three outs.

Jonathan Broxton, who recorded the last out in the eighth inning, was on to close things out in the ninth. He got Raul Ibanez to roll over to second base before walking pinch-hitter Matt Stairs on four pitches. After hitting Carlos Ruiz to put two on with one out, he jammed Greg Dobbs, who looped a soft liner to third base.

With two on and two out, Broxton went to work against Jimmy Rollins, who fell into a quick 0-1 hole. Two pitches later, Rollins lined a double to the gap, scoring pinch runner Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz to give the Phillies the 5-4 win.

And just like that, the Phillies, who were looking a 2-2 series tie in the face, took a commanding 3-1 series lead. One win away from their second straight World Series.

Without question, this was the best game of the 2009 postseason. It had everything: an early pitchers duel, a battle of the bullpens, and ultimately, a comeback Phillies victory.

Joe Blanton, who took the no decision, was solid. Despite getting knocked around in the middle innings, Blanton didn’t look a bit like a man who hasn’t started since September. He threw strikes early and often, and more than anything, he fell prey to an inconsistent strike zone rather than inability.

The Phillies’ bullpen, which we last saw was losing game two of the series, was great. Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson had very little trouble in their innings, as they kept the Phillies within a run. Perhaps the best sight from the ‘pen was Brad Lidge, who struck out both batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, using both his fastball and his slider with aplomb.

But it was the offense, this unrelenting offense, that stole the show. They jumped out to an early lead against Randy Wolf, and despite being slowed down in the middle innings, they managed to keep themselves within striking distance. It was in the ninth inning that this team showed its true colors, as they rallied against one of the best closers in the game to walk-off with the victory.

And just like that, the Phillies are one win away from their second straight trip to the Fall Classic. And I can think of no better quote to leave you with than that of ‘Duk from Big League Stew.

via Twitter.

I think most baseball fans follow their teams in hopes they’ll one day get to follow a team like the Phillies. What a run they’re on.

Truer words have never been spoken.

What’s next for our heroes?

In game five of the series, Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.97) takes on Vicente Padilla (1-0, 0.63).

Bonus baseball!

  • In the first inning of tonight’s game, Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer, making him the first player in history to drive in a run in eight straight postseason games…in the same season.
  • In 2009, the Dodgers were 78-3 when entering the ninth with a lead.
  • You guys wanna see something cool? Head over to Fan Graphs and check out the live game graph from game four. You see that spikey yellow line at the very end? That is literally the visual representation of taking a dump in one’s pants. Coincidence?
  • Oh, one last thing: I love this team.
Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 12:28 am ET 20 Comments

What happened?

Cliff Lee held the Dodgers to three hits in eight innings as the Phillies broke out the bats to cruise to an 11-0 win to take a 2-1 lead in the NLCS.

Who did what?

Cliff Lee (W, 1-0) tossed eight shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks, while striking out 10.

Jimmy Rollins went 1 for 5 with a double (1) and an RBI.

Shane Victorino went 2 for 3 with a homer (1), three RBIs, and a stolen base (1).

Chase Utley went 2 for 4 with a run.

Ryan Howard went 1 for 4 with a triple (1) and three RBIs.

Jayson Werth went 1 for 4 with a homer (1) and two RBIs.

Pedro Feliz went 1 for 4 with a triple (1) and an RBI.

Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 3 with a double (1) and an RBI.

Hiroki Kuroda (L, 0-1) allowed five runs on six hits in an inning and a third. He struck out one.

What does this mean?

If I knew any better, I’d swear that Cliff Lee has been here before.

It was his third career postseason start, but it was arguably his best to date. Considering hos well he was in his previous two October starts (1-0, 2 ER in 16.1 innings), that’s saying something.

In his most recent act of brilliance, Lee tossed eight shutout innings in game three of the National League Championship Series, allowing only three hits while setting down ten Dodgers by way of the strikeout.

He was supported by an offense that put up 11 runs against Dodger pitching, beginning with a four run first off Hiroki Kuroda, who held the Phillies to two runs in six innings in game three of 2008′s NLCS.

After back-t0-back hits from Shane Victorino and Chase Utley in the first, Ryan Howard tripled to right to give the Phils a two run lead. He was followed by Jayson Werth, whose homer to dee-e-e-e-p center increased their lead to four runs.

The Phillies added two more runs in the second on a RBI double from Jimmy Rollins and an RBI groundout from Howard. In the sixth, an RBI triple from Pedro Feliz and an RBI single from Carlos Ruiz increased their lead to eight. It would stay that way until the eighth, when Victorino blasted a three run blast to right to finish the scoring for the night.

Coming off a game where they could only muster one run, this was just the kind of game the Phillies needed. They got on the board early to give Cliff Lee more than enough run support, and Lee obliged with one of the most dominating starts in the post season.

What’s next for our 2009 National League Divsion Series Winning Heroes?

In game four of the NLCS, Joe Blanton (0-0, 4.91) faces off against Randy Wolf (0-0, 4.91).

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 12:54 pm ET 19 Comments

What happened?

Pedro Martinez’s outing was wasted as an error in the eighth inning led to two Dodger runs, as they go on to defeat the Phillies in game two of the NLCS to even the series at a game apiece.

Who did what?

Pedro Martinez (ND) tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out three.

Ryan Howard went 2 for 3 with a homer (1) and an RBI.

Chan Ho Park (L, 0-1) allowed two runs on two hits in one-third.

Vicenta Padilla (ND) allowed one run on four hits in seven and a third. He walked one and struck out six.

Andre Ethier went 0 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.

Juan Pierre pinch ran in the bottom of the eighth and scored a run.

Jonathan Broxton (S, 1) pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn the save.

What does this mean?

If the first 16 innings of the NLCS were ones to remember for the Philadelphia Phillies, then the last two were ones to forget.

Pedro Martinez, making his first postseason start since XX, was dominant over seven innings, allowing just two Dodgers to reach base while allowing none of them to score.

Not to be outdone was Vicente Padilla, who continued his 2009 postseason success by holding the Phillies to one run over seven and a third.

With a one run lead courtesy of Ryan Howard’s solo shot in the fourth, the Phillies turned to the bullpen to get the final six outs. Chan Ho Park, who was ever so masterful in game on of the series, was first up. After allowing a single that was just out of the reach of Pedro Feliz, Ronnie Belliard reached on a bunt single, as his sacrifice attempt was hit just hard enough to get past Park and the charging Ryan Howard.

With two men on and none out, Park induced a sure-fire double play ball to Pedro Feliz, who fired to Chase Utley for one, but Utley’s throw was wide of the bag at first, allowing the tying run to score.

With a man on and one out, the Phils sent Scott Eyre to the mound to face Jim Thome, who greeted the lefty with a single to right. Ryan Madson came on with men at the corners and walked the first batter he faced before striking out Matt Kemp for the second out of the inning.

Jay Happ was called upon to face Andre Ethier, but despite getting ahead of him in the count, Happ would walk either to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. After Chad Durbin got Manny Ramirez to pop out on one pitch, the Phillies found themselves on the wrong end of a one-run game.

The score would stay that way, as Jonathan Broxton set down the Phillies in order in the top of the ninth to preserve the win for the Dodgers to even the series at ones.

First. the good: Pedro Martinez. The veteran and future Cooperstown resident was dominant in his return to the mound. It’s a shame, however, that his superlative start was wasted by suspect defense. It’s encouraging, however, to see this kind of start from Pedro. With Hamels struggling, the Phillies needed someone to come up big, and Pedro answered the call.

And now, the bad: Everything else.

I’d tear the offense for their poor outing, but Vicente Padilla matched Pedro every step of the way. His fastball was in the mid 90s with movement, and his control was impeccable, so much so that he didn’t work a three-ball count until Carlos Ruiz faced him with one away in the seventh inning. Hats off to Padilla.

Everyone knew the bullpen was the weak underbelly of the 2009 club, but in this game, the pen, most notably Chan Ho Park, put the team in a position to escape the eighth inning with a lead. The leadoff single to Casey Blake just deflected off Pedro Feliz’s glove, and the bunt single from Ronnie Belliard was perfectly placed – not too much you can do about those.

But the biggest moment of the game, with two on and none out, was foiled by the sure-handed Chase Utley. For the second straight game, an easy double play ball was botched by Utley, whose throw sailed past Ryan Howard and into the protective netting in front of the Phillies dugout. If he makes that throw, the same one he’s made 1000 times this season, then the Dodgers have two outs and are still down a run.

But unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way, and the Phillies are left wondering “what if?” as they head to Philadelphia with a series tie.

Ultimately, the Phillies are still in a very, very good position. With home field advantage now on their side, they are sending Cliff Lee to the mound in game three to take on Hiroki Kuroda, recently off the disabled list. In that regard, the Phillies have the upper hand. Lee has been dominant in the postseason, while Kuroda is a bit of a question mark due to his injury.

But for now, the Phillies need to do what they’ve done the entire season: Pick themselves up off the ground and go back to work.

What’s next for our 2009 National League Division Series Winners?

The series shifts to Philadelphia, where Cliff Lee (1-0, 1.10) takes on Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.76 – 2009 Regular Season).

Posted by Dash Treyhorn at 1:25 am ET 79 Comments

What happened?

The Phillies used the long ball to back a shaky start from Cole Hamels, as Brad Lidge saves his third straight postseason game in the win.

Who did what?

Cole Hamels (W, 1-0) allowed four runs on eight hits in five and a third. He walked one and struck out four.

Ryan Howard went 1 for 3 with a double (1) and two RBIs.

Raul Ibanez went 2 for 4 with a homer (1) and three RBIs.

Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 3 with a homer (1) and three RBIs.

Brad Lidge (S, 1) allowed one hit and one walk in a scoreless ninth to earn the save.

Clayton Kershaw (L, 0-1) allowed five runs on four hits in four and two-thirds. He struck out three and walked five.

Andre Ethier went 3 for 5 with a double (1) and an RBI.

Manny Ramirez went 1 for 5 with a homer (1) and two RBIs,

James Loney went 3 for 4 with a homer (1) and an RBI

Russell Martin went 2 for 4 with a double (1) and an RBI.

What does this mean?

It was a game that no one wanted to win. A game that saw aces get knocked around, setup men get pummeled, and a career .246 hitter in the mix of it all.

With a trip to the World Series on the line, the Phillies broke out the bats agains the Dodgers, as Cole Hamels survived a shaky start to earn the win and take game one of the National League Championship Series.

Hamels, who allowed five runs in five innings in his start in the NLDS against the Rockies, didn’t fare much better tonight. After allowing a second inning homer to James Loney, Hamels would go on to retire eight of the next nine hitters to preserve the one-run deficit.

The Phillies’ bats struck in the fifth inning, when a single from Raul Ibanez, followed by a walk to Pedro Feliz, put two men on for Carlos Ruiz, who deposited a 2-1 pitch into the left field bleachers to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

Kershaw would be unable to escape the inning, as he walked Cole Hamels on four pitches, who was then erased on a fielders choice off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. After striking out Shane Victorino and walking Chase Utley, Kershaw allowed a two out, two run double to Ryan Howard, in what would prove to be his final batter of the game.

Cole Hamels ran into trouble in the bottom half of the frame, allowing a leadoff double to Russell Martin and a one out single to Rafeal Furcal. Hamels would induce a double play ball off the bat of Andre Ethier, but a bobble from Jimmy Rollins saw the Phillies only recording one out, with a run scoring to make it a 5-2 lead.

Instead of sitting in the dugout with a comfortable lead, Hamels found himself facing off against Manny Ramirez with a man on and two out. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Manny served a 2-0 change up into the left field seats to make it a one run game.

Hamels wouldn’t make it through the sixth, as he allowed two men on while recording only one out. Chad Durbin came on to retire Russel Martin, followed by Jay Happ, who walked Jim Thome to load the bases before retiring Furcal to end the inning.

Antontio Bastardo took the hill in the bottom of the seventh and promptly allowed a leadoff double to Andre Ethier. He was relieved by Chan Ho Park, who set down Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake to end the threat and hold the one run lead.

The Phillies struck again in the eighth inning, when Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth worked back-to-back walks off George Sherrill, before allowing a three run homer to Raul Ibanez to give the Phillies  a four run lead.

The Dodgers tacked on two more in the eighth of Ryan Madson, who allowed four singles in the frame before retiring Manny Ramirez with two outs and two on.

With a two run lead, Brad Lidge came on in the ninth and shut the door, despite allowing a leadoff single to Matt Kemp, who was then doubled up off the bat of Casey Blake. After walking James Loney, Lidge got Ronnie Belliard to pop up to shallow left field to end the game.

To say the least, it was an exciting game. After Kershaw set the Phillies down with relative ease early in the game, it looked to be a pitcher’s duel, with Cole Hamels holding up his end of the bargain.

But after a botched double play ball in the fifth, Cole’s biggest problem came to light: He got flustered. If you recall, the same thing happened in his start against Colorado after he gave up the homer to Yorvit Torrealba. In fact, this has been Cole’s M.O. the entire season. Despite how well he is pitching, one bump in the road are capable of derailing his efforts. Had the Phillies turned that double play, then it’s quite possible that Hamels goes seven innings en route to an easy Phillies victory.

While Cole struggled, the bullpen stepped up. Chad Durbin, Jay Happ and Chan Ho Park came up big in a tight game. The most impressive of the three was Park, who made his first appearance in nearly a month after a stint on the disabled list. His fastball had life and velocity, and his control was solid. If he can maintain this for the rest of the post season, things will be much easier on the beleaguered ‘pen.

And of course, Brad Lidge earned his third straight October save. It wasn’t a typical save from Lidge, but it’s good enough.

With game on in the books, the Phillies can breathe a sigh of relief, especially with Pedro Martinez taking the hill in game two. Having not pitched in an actual game since the Phillies clinched the division, a lot is riding on him and his right arm. But knowing Pedro and his penchant for the spotlight, the Phillies could find themselves in a very advantageous position tomorrow night.

What’s next for our 2009 National League Division Series Winners?

In game two of the NLCS, Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63 in the regular season) takes on Vicenta Padilla (1-0, 0.00).

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