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This was a real bummer of a loss for the Phillies. Teams hate to waste a solid performances from their starter, and they especially hate giving away the deciding run with a bases-loaded walk. The Good Phight laments:
after Pedro Martinez put on an absolute pitching clinic for seven innings and left with a 1-0 lead, the eighth inning turned into a nightmare of errors and misplays, pitching changes, and a crushing bases-loaded walk that forced in the decisive run as the Dodgers evened the series with a 2-1 win
The ninth wasn’t nearly so dramatic. Three up , Three down and best home closer in baseball had done his job once again. With this win our series expectancy moves back to 51.9%. I’ll take that as we head to Philly.
No mistake, this was a lucky win, if Utley makes the DP who knows how the inning turns out but he didn’t and we ain’t giving it back. This doesn’t quite make up for Chase not signing with us when we drafted him but it helps.
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Los Angeles rallied for two eighth-inning runs off the Phillies bullpen, as J.A. Happ walked Andre Ethier to force in the deciding run, spoiling a vintage Pedro Martinez outing and evening the National League Championship Series in a 2-1 decision in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium.
"I was really proud of the at-bat that Andre had," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He got behind in the count, the shadows made it tough to see and he laid off some tough pitches...It was obviously huge."
Martinez silenced the Dodgers' bats to just two hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out three and walking none.
But Chan Ho Park (0-1) and the much-maligned Philadelphia bullpen -- with the aid of a Chase Utley error -- couldn't hang on to a one-run lead in the eighth, sending the series back to Philadelphia on Sunday tied at one game apiece.
Hong-Chih Kuo (1-0) recorded the final two outs in the eighth behind a stellar start from Vicente Padilla, who allowed just one run, four hits and a walk while fanning six in 7 1/3 innings for the Dodgers.
Jonathan Broxton retired the top of the Phillies' order in the ninth to record the save.
Ryan Howard had half of Philadelphia's four hits, including a solo homer in the fourth to account for the defending World Series champions' only run.
While the clubs accounted for 22 hits in Philly's 8-6 victory in the series opener, it was the starters that shined on Friday.
Padilla, a former Phillie, retired 11 of the final 13 hitters he faced, while Martinez, who started his career with the Dodgers in 1992, was brilliant in only his second start since September 19.
The rest, coupled with the sweltering LA heat, served Philadelphia's midseason acquisition well, as he needed just 87 pitches to get through seven frames.
Regardless, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel opted to use the bullpen to start the eighth, starting with Park.
"I placed my team in a position to win. That was my main goal today," said Martinez, who pitched in the postseason for the first time since 2004. "[Manuel] said before the game he had me for 80 or 90 pitches, and I was very aware that he would make the move at that moment...After 17 days [off] I think seven innings was good enough."
Casey Blake led off the eighth with a single, and Ronnie Belliard reached on a well-placed bunt between Park and a charging Howard.
After failing to lay down a bunt, Russell Martin bounced into a possible 5-4-3 double-play ball, but Utley's throw to first after getting the force at second was well off the mark, allowing pinch-runner Juan Pierre to score the tying run.
"They got a couple of runners on and I thought Chan Ho did a good job of getting a ground ball. I just wasn't able to turn it and they capitalized on it," Utley admitted.
Scott Eyre gave up a single to the only batter he faced -- pinch-hitter Jim Thome -- and Ryan Madson walked Rafael Furcal to load the bases. Matt Kemp struck out, and once again the Phillies went with another reliever.
The lefty-lefty matchup didn't go in the visitors' favor, as Ethier worked a full count against Happ and was able to lay off a borderline ball four to force in the go-ahead run.
Chad Durbin got Manny Ramirez to pop out to end the inning, but the damage was done, as Broxton set down the Phillies in order in the ninth to seal the much- needed win.
Both teams stranded a runner in scoring position in the third inning, and Howard broke a scoreless tie with a no-doubt, opposite-field blast on a 1-1 curveball in the fourth.
Carlos Ruiz erased a leadoff single in the bottom half by throwing out Kemp trying to steal second, and Martinez set down the side in order in the fifth.
The veteran hit Martin in the back with a 2-2 changeup to start the sixth. Padilla moved the runner up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, but successive fly outs from Furcal and Kemp stranded him there.
It was Howard's first career postseason homer on the road. The All-Star first baseman also became the third player to have at least one RBI in six straight postseason games (Bernie Williams, 1996, and Ivan Rodriguez, 2003)...Martinez who turns 38 on October 25, entered the game with a career postseason mark of 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 games, including 11 starts...Padilla, also picked up by the Dodgers late in the season, spent five-plus years with the Phillies... This is the first NLCS rematch since Houston and St. Louis met in 2004 and '05...The Dodgers had just five hits in the win and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position...In Game 3 on Sunday, the Phillies look to get back on track with lefty Cliff Lee on the mound, while the Dodgers counter with Hiroki Kuroda, who battled back from a neck injury after being left off the NL Division Series roster.
- Via Sports Network.
Less than 24 hours after the Phillies Game 1 conquest over the Dodgers, the two teams take to the field again for a pivotal Game 2. If Philly advances the series to 2-0, talk of a second straight World Series appearance will only intensify. Coincidentally, if the Dodgers can even the series, the painful images of last night will become a distant memory. Joe Torre sends Vincente Padilla to the mound tonight. From True Blue LA:
The Dodgers are hoping Vicente Padilla continues his groove. In his last 14 innings, he has allowed one run on eight hits and two walks while striking out 17. Since joining the Dodgers, Padilla has thrown 46.1 innings, including the playoffs, and has a 2.72 ERA and 3.02 FIP. Call me crazy, but I think the Dodgers today get what they have been longing for for quite a long time: a win in a playoff game started by Pedro Martinez at Dodger Stadium.
The move to start the 37-year-old Martinez, considered a gamble by some, isn't too much of a risk, at least according to Rich Hoffman of the Philadelphia Daily News:
It will be great drama, a fine show, as Martinez comes home to where he started, to Dodger Stadium, and attempts to shake off a topcoat of rust on the game's biggest stage. And now I guess it isn't such a big deal -- because if it blows up, or he blows up, well, they did already win Game 1.
Buck Martinez has a horrible voice. Ron Darling sounds like Robert deNiro (seriously). And, as someone pointed out somewhere, Chip Caray talks about fisting a whole lot. Collectively, the three of them were Dodgers' groupies. When the Dodgers were at bat, it was all about how much the Dodgers have grown this year and how the Dodgers' young hitters have learned how to hit and win without Manny Ramirez in the lineup. When the Phillies were at bat, it was all about the Dodgers' pitching staff.
First pitch for Martinez v. Padilla is slated for 1:07 Pacific Time. That's 4:07 for us EST folks.
Phillies fans are simply enjoying the ride at this point. From SBN's the Good Phight:
If it were ever easy, it wouldn't be as much fun. [...]Billed as a matchup between brilliantly talented young lefthanders Kershaw and Cole Hamels, Game One was just that through four innings. [...]After the Phils could not score against Jonathan Broxton in the ninth, it was time for Brad Lidge. The once-and-again closer started the ninth by allowing a single on a two-strike offering to Matt Kemp, but followed by inducing a double-play grounder from Casey Blake. Lidge jumped out in front of Loney 0-2, but lost him to a walk. With Belliard up as the tying run, however, Lidge got a popup to shallow left which Jimmy Rollins squeezed to preserve the win.
With home-field advantage secured, the Phils go for a 2-0 advantage Friday as ex-Dodger Pedro Martinez faces ex-Phillie Vicente Padilla.
Dodgers fans, meanwhile were at a loss after the Dodgers give up all eight runs in just two innings. From SBN's True Blue LA:
What a strange game this 8-6 loss was. The pitching duel didn't materialize, as both Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels struggled, to varying degrees. Kershaw completely lost it in the fifth, giving up five runs, missing the ever-shrinking strike zone (same for both teams though) with more regularity. Two crushing blows stand out, a pair of three run homers. One was hit by Dodger nemesis Carlos Ruiz off Kershaw, the other was hit by Raul Ibanez off George Sherrill, who was something less than effective on this night. [...] Vicente Padilla faces Old Friend Pedro Martinez tomorrow in a 1:07pm start. I suggest limiting the three-run homers.
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Raul Ibanez’s first career postseason home run gave the Phillies the breathing room they needed, as the defending World Series champions held on to knock off Los Angeles, 8-6, in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium.
In a rematch of last season’s National League Championship Series, the Phillies used two three-run home runs, the first by catcher Carlos Ruiz in a five-run fifth and the second by Ibanez in the eighth to thwart any chance of a Dodgers comeback.
“I faced him (George Sherrill) in the American League a little bit and obviously played together with him for a long time in Seattle. So you know, you’re definitely not trying to do too much. He’s tough. He’s a tough pitcher. He’s tough on left-handers. You’re trying to do less, and a lot of times in this game less is more,” Ibanez said of his approach during the at-bat versus Sherrill.
Cole Hamels (1-1) worked through 5 1/3 frames, giving up four runs on eight hits and Brad Lidge saved his third game of the postseason in as many opportunities. It wasn’t easy as Matt Kemp singled before Casey Blake grounded into a double play. After a walk, Lidge induced a Ronnie Belliard pop out to end the game.
Andre Ethier went 3-for-5 and James Loney finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a home run for the Dodgers. Manny Ramirez belted a two-run homer for the Dodgers, but grounded out to end the eighth inning, leaving runners on the corners.
Clayton Kershaw (0-1), the youngest starter in League Championship Series history at 21 years of age, gave up five runs on four hits with five walks in 4 2/3 frames to absorb the loss.
“Tonight was a prize fight. We just came up a little bit short. The walks were a little bit tough to overcome,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium as Pedro Martinez takes the ball for the Phillies versus former Phillie Vicente Padilla for the Dodgers.
“Any time you are on the road, the first game is big to win. If you win the first one on the road, it sets up tomorrow’s game,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Loney started the scoring with a solo shot in the second, as the Phillies struggled to figure out the young Dodger southpaw in the early innings.
After four nearly flawless frames, Kershaw showed his age — and the Phillies took advantage — in the fifth. Ibanez started with a single to left before Pedro Feliz worked a four-pitch walk, one of three walks issued by the southpaw in the inning.
Ruiz then worked a favorably count and turned on an up-and-in fastball, shooting a rocket into the left-field seats tight to the line for a three-run shot. Kershaw, visibly shaken by the long ball, promptly threw four straight balls to the opposing pitcher before Jimmy Rollins replaced Hamels with a force out. Shane Victorino then struck out on a wild pitch — one of three thrown in the frame by Kershaw — and Chase Utley walked in an at-bat that saw Rollins take third on another wild pitch. The fifth frame marked the first inning in League Championship Series history that included three walks and three wild pitches.
Ryan Howard clubbed a middle-in mistake, drilling a fastball down into the right-field corner for a two-run double and a 5-1 lead. In the process, the first baseman passed Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt for first place on the team’s all-time postseason RBI list with 18.
The Dodgers showed resiliency and battled back in the home half. Russell Martin found open real estate for a double that one-hopped over the short porch in left. Rafael Furcal won a long battle with a one-out single then Ethier rolled what could have been a double-play ball to Rollins, who initially had trouble getting it out of the webbing. The trouble caused timing issues for Utley, who airmailed the toss to first into the dugout as Martin scored for a 5-2 game.
Ramirez then stepped in and drilled a low change-up deep into the left-center field seats for a 5-4 game.
Los Angeles again made things difficult in the home sixth, loading the bases and pushing Hamels to the showers. Loney and Belliard singled and pinch-hitter Jim Thome walked, however, J.A. Happ bared down and got Furcal to ground out to second to push aside the threat.
Ethier led off the Dodgers seventh with a double to right, but Chan Ho Park entered and mowed through three straight, including Ramirez, to keep the Phillies up one.
The Phillies lefties then worked up some trouble against lefty-specialist Sherrill in the eighth. Howard worked a walk then Jayson Werth took a free pass in front of Ibanez, who jumped on a first-pitch curveball and hit it just over the right-field wall for a three-run shot and an 8-4 lead.
Yet, once again, the Dodgers put the pressure on the Philly bullpen. Ryan Madson yielded successive singles to Loney, Belliard and Martin, the last scoring a run for an 8-5 game. Pinch-hitter Juan Pierre chopped into a force out and Furcal hit a sacrifice fly before Ethier’s single to right put runners on the corners with two away. Madson then got Ramirez to ground out to third to end the frame with an 8-6 advantage.
Park, who last appeared on September 16th, reached 96 miles per hour in retiring all three batters he faced…The Dodgers and Phillies are meeting for the fifth time in the NLCS, splitting the previous four meetings…Hamels gave up four runs after surrendering just five in four previous games (30 innings) versus the Dodgers. He entered the game with a 1.50 earned run average in his career versus Los Angeles…Kershaw was the third-youngest pitcher to start the first game of any postseason series. St. Louis’ Rick Ankiel in the 2000 National League Division Series versus Atlanta (21 years, 77 days) and the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela in the 1981 National League Division Series versus Houston (20 years, 339 days) were younger…Ramirez is now just three RBI shy of breaking baseball’s all-time postseason RBI record. Bernie Williams holds the record with 80…Ruiz was 8-of-14 versus the Dodgers in the regular season then went 2-for-3 on Thursday…The winner of Game 1 has won 14 of the last 17 National League Division Series…The team with home field advantage has lost five of the last seven NLDS…Attendance 56,000.
—Via Sports Network
The MLB Playoffs continue tonight at 8:00 pm ET after a two night hiatus with Game One of the NLCS between the Phillies and Dodgers from Dodger Stadium. This is the second year in a row the two teams have met with a trip to the World Series on the line. Game One pits last year's NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels against 21 year-old fireballer Clayton Kershaw.
SB Nation's Dodgers' (True Blue LA) and Phillies' (The Good Phight) blogs got together earlier this week for a Q&A to preview the series. Both think the series is bound to last 6 games. Of course, they are predicting those games to go a little differently. Eric Stephen of True Blue LA says home field advantage will tilt the series to the Dodgers:
I like that the Dodgers have homefield advantage, I think that the bullpen will play a huge role in the Dodgers' favor, and I think the Dodgers can score some runs, especially off Pedro, Blanton, and Happ. I'll take the Dodgers in six.
Peter Baker of The Good Phight places his faith in the Phillies lineup for his prediction:
Phillies win in 6 (you expected something else?). The Dodgers are better than last year, no doubt, but I'm confident in the Phillies' lineup's ability to put runs on the board, and the starting pitching between Hamels, Lee, and your choice of Joe Blanton and Pedro Martinez gets a slight edge over the Dodgers.
The teams appear to be fairly evenly matched and the series should certainly be a good one. Check back here for updates on the game and reaction after the game is over.
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