Phillies Look To Raise Curtain On World Series, Avoid Tinseltown

October 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

Just when you thought the Phillies could not make things any more exciting, drama struck again Monday night in Game Four of the 2009 NLCS.

It has been a parade of “Can you top this?”: The unlikely 5-4 NLDS Game Four victory this year against the Rockies highlighted by Ryan Howard’s two-run, two-out ninth inning double or last year’s dramatic Game Four NLCS 7-5 win featuring Matt Stairs’ two-run eighth-inning home run in 2008.

Dodgers‘ closer Jonathan Broxton entered the game in the eighth inning of Game Four Monday to record the last out, then got the Phillies’ Raul Ibanez to ground out for the first out in the ninth inning.

Innocent enough.

He was throwing heat, 99 to 100 MPH and the Dodgers held a 4-3 lead.

Then something magical happened for the Phillies.

Enter Stairs, who is not nearly the slugger he was last season, to face Broxton. Sure enough, I knew TBS would show the dagger, a bomb of a home run Stairs launched against Broxton last postseason in Los Angeles.

Stairs must have been inside Broxton’s head, because he walked Stairs, who hit .194 this season with five home runs and 17 RBI.

What happened next, prompted my one friend to text me: “Wow.”

Broxton hit catcher Carlos Ruiz on the leg, putting runners on first and second. Eric Brunlett was on second as he pinch ran for Stairs.

After pinch hitter Greg Dobbs, lined out softly to third for the second out, the top of the order was up for the Phillies.

The stage was set and up came Jimmy Rollins.

One of the MLB Network commentators said after the game that Jimmy loves Jimmy. Hey, if you can perform, so what?

Perform Jimmy did. With two outs.

Rollins stroked a 1-1 Broxton pitch into right center. The ball skipped quickly to the wall and you knew, just knew, both runs would score. Game over.

Phillies win 5-4 and now hold a 3-1 series lead.

“You knew it was getting in the gap,” said Dodgers’ reliever George Sherill of Rollin’s game-winning double, in an LA Times Sports story.

How desperate is it for the Dodgers, facing a 1-3 hole?

As Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times wrote:

“Reporting from Philadelphia – Win – or else. Or else the Dodgers will end their season on Wednesday. Or else they won’t play another game at Dodger Stadium until April. Or else Jonathan Broxton will head into the winter with another October meltdown to ponder.”

Wow. Remember how heavyweight fighter Mike Tyson could not beat Evander Hollyfield in the ring? This has a similar feel to it. The Phillies might have just gotten into Broxton’s head.

“Just throw the cheese,” an exuberant Ricky Botalicco said on Comcastsportsnet Philadelphia after the game about Broxton facing Stairs.

Looking ahead, Cole Hamels (1-0 6.75 ERA in NLCS) faces Vincente Padilla (0-0 1.23 ERA) in Game Five in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

The Phillies must get to Padilla, knock him out to get as many of the Dodgers bullpen pitchers in the game. Because as good as the Dodgers bullpen is, Padilla may be better.

However, this is Philly and we have been known to rattle pitchers in the past. As is the case with Padilla, rattling pitchers can be even easier when the pitcher has pitched in Philly before in his career.

If the Phillies win Wednesday and the Yankees advance, C.C. Sabathia could come back into town. Remember last year’s playoff with the Brewers and Shane Victorino’s grand slam against Sabathia?

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The Phillies have three games to win one. They most definitely would like to repeat last year’s five-game series win over the Dodgers and not have to go back to Los Angeles.

But this is baseball and anything can happen.

Ryan Howard has been red hot and he became the first player in Major League history to record an RBI in seven consecutive playoff games in the same year.

The Phillies have not only wrestled away home-field advantage from the Dodgers, they have shortened their National League season to having to win one game in the last three.

Sound familar? The end of the regular season in the National League East this year?

What happened there?

As always has usually been the case for this team in the past two seasons, the Phillies took care of business.

Expect no less with a chance to go to their second straight World Series.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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