Friday, October 10, 2008
Phils Take Lead in NLCS
Chase Utley and Pat Burrell both hit homers and Cole Hamels went 7 strong innings as the Phillies beat the Dodgers last night in Game 1 of the NLCS. The win gives the Phils a 1 - 0 series lead, with the NLCS continuing this afternoon with a Happy Hour starting time.
Hamels struggled a little bit in the early going of this game, giving up consecutive doubles in the first inning to Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez to give the Dodgers a 1 - 0. The Dodgers extended the lead to 2 - 0 in the 4th inning, off a double from Matt Kemp, who was eventually advanced and chased home on a sacrifice fly from Blake DeWitt.
Offensively, the Phillies struggled mightily to do anything with Derek Lowe in the early going. The made some noise in the bottom of the 5th, getting two out singles from Chooch Ruiz and Cole Hamels, before Jimmy Rollins flied out to end the inning. That set the stage for a 6th inning of fireworks from two of the Phillies big guns.
Shane Victorino led off the inning by getting on base via a Rafael Furcal throwing error. Chase Utley then hit the first pitch of his at bat into the first couple of rows in right field, evening the score at 2. Utley's homer revived the home crowd, who was put to sleep by the Phillies pounding the ball into the infield for the better part of 5 innings. The Phillies eventually took the lead in the 6th inning, when Pat Burrell took a 3 - 1 pitch out of the yard to left in what could be charitably described as a flower box shot.
Hamels, meanwhile, got through the 7th inning by striking out two of the three batters he faced and that ended his evening with 8 strikeouts and 2 runs allowed. Ryan Madson pitched the 8th inning and Brad Lidge closed matters with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
As mentioned earlier, the Phils and Dodgers play again today at Happy Hour (4:35pm) with Brett Myers facing Chad Billingsly.
- Like you, I thought Manny Ramirez's double in the first inning was out of the park from the bat. Apparently, so did Manny. If he had run that ball out, it would have possibly been a triple and he might have scored on the passed ball incurred by Chooch Ruiz in the first inning.
- TJ Simers is trying his best to take shots at us in his columns of late (today's offering is here). And for the record, I'd much rather live in a passionate and substantive city like "Angryville" than the shallow and fake "Fairweatherville" that is the city of Los Angeles.
- Good offering in yesterday's USA Today on some of the previous playoff clashes between the Dodgers and Phillies. The symmetry of Davy Lopes and Larry Bowa's careers is something I touched on here in the beginning of the season.