I am serious and don’t call me Sherrill.
The Phillies came out on top of game one of the NLCS last night. It was a game filled with huge moments and big swings, but none bigger than the three-run homer Raul Ibanez hit off of George Sherrill in the top of the eighth inning. Sherrill came into the game having not allowed a home run to a left-handed batter all season long.
James Loney put the Dodgers up 1-0 when he lined a solo shot out to right off of Hamels in the second. Clayton Kershaw, LA’s 21-year-old starter, was in complete control until the bottom of the fifth when he most clearly was not. Kershaw started the frame with a shutout, but only got two outs in the inning, uncorked three wild pitches and walked two including the pitcher on four pitches. With nobody out and two men on, Ruiz blasted a three-run homer to left to put the Phillies up 3-1. Five batters later Howard delivered a two-run double that extended the lead to 5-1 before LA got out of the frame. Hamels got into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. He got Ethier to hit a double-play ball that should have ended the inning, but the Phils didn’t turn it. A run scored on the play to make it 5-2 and kept the inning alive long enough for Manny Ramirez to hit a two-run homer and cut the lead to 5-4. Sherrill walked the first two in the eighth before Ibanez homered to make it 8-4. Madson was awful in the bottom of the eighth and LA got within two at 8-6, but Lidge kept them off the board in the ninth to get the Phillies the win.
The game featured dramatic matchups between Phillies relievers and big hitters for the Dodgers. The Phils didn’t win them all, but they won enough. The sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth all included huge situations for Phillies relievers with danger lurking.
With the Phils up 5-4 in the sixth, Happ got Furcal to ground to second on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end the inning
Chan Ho Park pitched in a game for the first time since September 16 in the seventh with the Phils still up by one. After Bastardo allowed a leadoff double, Park came in and sat down Manny, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake in order to leave the runner stranded. He looked real, real good doing it, too. They told us he was a hundred percent. They didn’t say a hundred percent of what, though.
Madson got blasted in the eighth. But it ended with him facing Ramirez with two outs, men on first and third and the Phils up 8-6. He got Manny to ground to third.
Lidge pitched the ninth with a two-run lead and gave up a leadoff single. Most of the drama in that inning came on the second batter, when Casey Blake smashed a ball, but right at Utley and into a double-play.
The Phillies lead the best-of-seven NLCS with the Los Angeles Dodgers after winning game one 8-6 last night.
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs. He struck out four. His line would have looked a lot better if the Phillies had turned an inning-ending double-play in the fifth. When Ramirez followed the non-double-play with a two-run homer it wound up costing the Phillies three runs.
Hamels faced a lineup that went (1) Furcal (SS/S) (2) Ethier (RF/L) (3)Ramirez (LF/R) (4) Kemp (CF/R) (5) Blake (3B/R) (6) Loney (1B/L) (7) Belliard (2B/R) (8) Martin (C/R). That’s pretty different than the lineup I expect we’ll see against a righty in the series, which I guess will likely go (1) Furcal (2) Kemp (3) Ethier (4) Ramirez (5) Loney (6) Blake (7) Belliard (8) Martin. Furcal is always at the top, I expect, and Belliard and Martin at the bottom, but two through six changes up a lot. Ethier hitting second doesn’t make a lot of sense to me against a lefty, but he sure fared well last night. The 3-4-5 of Ramirez, Kemp and Blake all bash lefties.
The Dodgers had six players on the bench to start the game, lefties Jim Thome and Juan Pierre, righties Mark Loretta, Juan Castro and Brad Ausmus and switch-hitter Orlando Hudson.
Furcal led off the first and flew to left on an 0-1 pitch for the first out. Ethier was next and he singled to left. Manny followed and he had a long at-bat, but struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out after fouling off five pitches. Kemp singled into left 1-0, moving Ethier to second, but Hamels got Blake to pop to Utley to end the inning.
Nineteen pitching the first for Hamels, fifteen of which were strikes.
Loney led off the second and lined a 2-1 pitch out to right. 1-0. Hamels got Belliard on a line drive that Victorino took in front of the warning track for the first out and Martin on a ground ball to third for the second. The pitcher Clayton Kershaw was next, but Hamels walked him on a high 3-1 pitch. Hamels didn’t like the call as the count went 3-1, but the ball looked clearly low. Furcal was next and hit a dribbler up the first base line. Ruiz made a nice play, pouncing on it and throwing Furcal out to set the Dodgers down.
Hamels had thrown 37 pitches.
He started throwing a lot more changeups in the bottom of the third and things went well. Ethier looked awful striking out swinging after getting behind 0-2. Manny popped to Utley for the second out. Kemp dribbled back to the mound for the third.
Hamels had thrown 54 pitches through three innings.
He set ‘em down in order again in the fourth. Blake struck out swinging at a high fastball. Loney and Belliard both popped to second.
Seven in a row for Hamels, who had thrown 67 pitches.
He started the fifth with a 5-1 lead and gave up a leadoff double to Martin. Orlando Hudson hit for the pitcher Ramon Troncoso and Hamels struck him out for the first out. Furcal was next and Hamels got ahead of him, too, but Furcal singled to right on an 0-2 pitch, sending Martin to third. Ethier got ahead 3-1 and hit a double-play ball to short. But. Rollins got the ball struck in his glove, then tossed to Utley late and Utley threw with his footing badly messed up and threw the ball into the dugout. Martin scored on the error to make it 5-2 with Ethier going to second. Hamels flailed his arms around dramatically on the mound in the universal gesture for darn-I-wish-that-hadn’t-happened. It was a sure sign that Manny Ramirez was about to homer and homer he did, pounding a 2-0 pitch out to left-center. 5-4. Kemp grounded to Utley for the third out.
If the Phillies turn Ethier’s double-play ball it’s 5-1, inning over. They didn’t. Utley never should have thrown the ball, but the fact that he did throw it into the dugout didn’t change anything. Rollins being unable to get the ball out of his glove clean doomed the play. Hamels shouldn’t be flailing about on the mound. Pretty sure everyone associated with the Phillies knew they would have been better off turning that one and it was unfortunate that they had a lefty against Ramirez with a runner on base now.
Hamels had through 92 pitches through five innings.
He got Blake on a foul ball to Howard for the first out in the bottom of the sixth. Loney followed with an opposite field single to left. Belliard was next and he hit a 2-2 pitch into left for another single, moving Loney to second. That was it for Hamels, who was due to lead off the seventh, and Manuel brought in Durbin to pitch to the righty Martin. Martin smoked the ball to right, but Werth took it for the second out and would have had a chance to double Loney off of second if he made a good throw. His throw wasn’t close, but was backed up nicely by Feliz and neither runner could advance. Lefty Jim Thome hit for the pitcher Ronald Belisario and Happ came in to pitch to him. Happ didn’t get a close call on a 2-1 pitch and Thome walked to load the bases. Randy Wolf ran for Thome at first. Furcal was next, who really needs a right-hander in a big situation like this if you can, but Manuel left Happ in to pitch to him. Furcal worked the count full and grounded hard but right at Utley to leave the bases loaded.
Huge out for Happ to get Furcal.
Second appearance in the post-season for Durbin. He hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk in 1 1/3 innings.
Bastardo started the seventh to try to get Ethier with the Phils up 5-4. Nope. Ethier doubled into right. Chan Ho Park came on to face Ramirez, pitching for the first time since September 16. Ramirez grounded a 1-2 pitch to third for the first out. Ethier held second. Park struck Kemp out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Blake grounded to second to leave Ethier stranded.
Wow. Park looked rather amazing. It was the kind of thing that made you feel like he might be able to contribute. Ethier seems to be doing just fine against the Phillies lefties so far. Huge outs for Park with the Phils up a run and the heart of the order at the plate for LA.
Madson started the top of the eighth for the Phillies with an 8-4 lead. Francisco was in left for the Phils. Loney singled to center and moved to second when Belliard followed with a single to left. Martin was next and he singled to left, scoring Loney just ahead of Francisco’s throw to make it 8-5 with men on first and second and nobody out. Juan Pierre hit for the pitcher George Sherrill and dribbled a ball back to the mound. Madson fielded and threw to second to force Martin for the first out with Belliard moving to third. It brought up Furcal and Furcal delivered a fly ball to right for the second out, deep enough to score Belliard and cut the lead to 8-6. Ethier was next with two outs and a man on first and Madson stayed in to pitch to the lefty. The lefty singled to right on a 3-2 pitch, moving Pierre to third. It set up Madson versus Manny Ramirez with two outs and two men on. Manny grounded to second on a 1-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.
Manuel does not bring Eyre in to pitch to Ethier with two outs, presumably because it creates a who-pitches-to-Manny problem if Eyre doesn’t get Ethier.
Madson has been absolutely awful twice in a row in two huge situations. Between game four of the NLDS and last night’s game he has gone 1 2/3 innings over his last two appearances, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk.
Third time in three innings a Phillies reliever came up big in a pickle to end the inning. Happ got Furcal in the sixth, Park got everyone in the seventh after the leadoff double and Madson finally got Manny to end the eighth.
Lidge started the ninth up 8-6. He got ahead of Kemp 0-2 before Kemp lined a single just over the glove of Rollins and into left. Blake was next and got ahead in the count, but swung at a high 2-1 pitch and fouled it off. He smashed the next pitch, but on one hop to Utley and the Phillies turned two. Enormous play and a little luck for the Phils there, cause that ball was hit hard but right at Utley. Lidge got ahead of Loney 0-2, but Loney came back to work a walk. It brought Belliard to the plate as the tying run. Belliard popped a 1-1 pitch to Rollins in shallow left field to end the game.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Clayton Kershaw went (1) Rollins (SS/S) (2) Victorino (CF/S) (3) Utley (2B/L) (4) Howard (1B/L) (5) Werth (RF/R) (6) Ibanez (LF/L) (7) Feliz (3B/R) (8) Ruiz (C/R). Werth hits fifth, breaking up the lefty string of Utley, Howard and Ibanez.
The Phillies started the game with six players on the bench, lefties Dobbs, Stairs and Bako and righties Francisco, Bruntlett and Cairo.
Rollins led off the first and fouled out to Martin on an 0-1 pitch. Victorino was next and he hit a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Utley got behind in the count and drove an 0-2 pitch to center field, but Kemp took it on the warning track for the second out. It brought Howard to the plate, but before Kershaw delivered a pitch he picked Victorino off of first. Victorino was tagged out after a short rundown to set the Phillies down.
Kershaw threw a first-pitch strike to all three of Rollins, Victorino and Utley. He had thrown eight pitches through one inning.
Victorino and Martin yelled at each other after the third out. Not sure who started it, but Victorino tried to run into Loney in the rundown like he always does in a rundown, looking for an interference call.
Howard led off the second and got behind 0-2 before hitting a 3-2 pitch well to left, but Ramirez took it on the track. Werth struck out looking 2-2. Ibanez struck out looking 2-2.
Again, all three hitters got behind 0-1. Howard fouled off the first pitch and Werth and Ibanez watched strike one.
Kershaw had thrown 25 pitches.
The Phils started the third down 1-0. Feliz became the first Phillies batter not to get behind 1-0 as he took ball one, but popped to Belliard on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Ruiz was next and he drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch way outside and Hamels bunted him to second. Rollins grounded a 1-2 pitch to second for the third out.
Forty pitches for Kershaw.
Victorino led off the fourth and popped to Loney 2-2 for the first out. Utley swung at the first pitch and popped to Blake in foul territory. Howard tried to check his swing 2-2 and got the call (he swung) and then walked on a 3-2 pitch that was really a strike. Werth got ahead 2-0 and smashed a ball to left field, but Ramirez took it on the track to set the Phillies down.
Werth’s out was the third time the Phillies had really crushed the ball into an out against Kershaw. Utley hit it great in the first and Howard just missed in the second.
Fifty-six for Kershaw through four innings.
He blew up in the fifth. Ibanez led off and singled to left on a 1-1 pitch. Ibanez went to second on wild pitch before Feliz walked. Ruiz took two balls out of the strike zone and then flailed at a high 2-0 pitch. Phillies fans everywhere screamed curses at their televisions, but not for long. The 2-1 pitch was in nearly the same place, but Ruiz hit that one way out to left to put the Phillies up 3-1. Hamels was next and he walked on four pitches. Kershaw did everything in his power to walk Rollins, too, but Jimmy was having none of it. He swung at a 3-1 pitch and hit a ground ball to third. Hamels was forced at second for the first out of the inning. Victorino was next and he struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch that was wild for the second out, but Rollins took second on the wild pitch. Utley walked on a 3-2 pitch, putting men on first and second for Howard. Howard blasted a double to right, clearing the bases and putting the Phils up 5-1. That was finally it for Kershaw. Righty Ramon Troncoso came in and got Werth to fly to left for the third out.
Nice walk by Feliz early in the inning. Huge hits for Ruiz and Howard. Good no swing by Hamels. Rollins swinging 3-1 with Kershaw nowhere near the strike zone was not the way to go.
Three wild pitches in the inning for Kershaw. The Dodgers sure did stay with him a long time. I was pretty sure walking Hamels on four pitches was a sign of bad things to come for him. He was due to hit second in the bottom of the inning.
The Phillies lead had been cut to 5-4 by the time they came to bat in the top of the sixth and face righty Ronald Belisario. Belisario set the Phillies down in order, getting Ibanez on a ground ball to short and Feliz and Ruiz on ground balls to second.
Unhittable lefty Hong-Chih Kuo started the seventh for LA. Cairo hit for Happ to start the inning and struck out. Rollins got ahead 3-1 and singled into center, but Victorino followed with a ground ball to third. The Dodgers could only get one, forcing Rollins at second for the second out and bringing Utley to the plate with two outs and a man on first. Utley struck out swinging 2-2 for the third out.
Lefty George Sherrill started the eighth with the Phils still up 5-4 and walked Howard. He walked Werth, too, putting two men on for Ibanez. Ibanez was swinging first pitch and popped one just out to right for a three-run homer. 8-4. Feliz flew to right for the first out before Ruiz snuck a single through to left. Francisco hit for Park and hit a fly ball to center. Ruiz thought it was going to drop, but it was a long way from being something that might drop. Kemp took it for the second out and Ruiz was doubled-off of first on a close play to end the frame.
Not good base-running by Ruiz.
Lefties hit 128/188/154 against Sherrill this season. He faced two Phillies lefties in the inning. Howard walked and Ibanez hit a three-run homer. Left-handed hitters were 10-for-78 against him with two doubles for the year.
Righty Jonathan Broxton was on for LA in the ninth with the Phils up 8-6. Rollins flew to left for the first out, but Victorino followed with a single. Utley flew to left before Howard went down swinging to end the frame.
Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game. Grounding out 3-1 when Kershaw couldn’t throw a strike and had just walked Hamels on four pitches was the worst at-bat of the game.
Victorino was 2-for-5 and was picked off of first in the first.
Utley was 0-for-4 with a walk.
Howard 1-for-3 with a big two-run double and two walks.
Ibanez was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Ibanez now has eight RBI in five post-season games with the Phillies.
Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk. Didn’t do much against the lefty starter, but he almost did, just missing a two-run homer in the fourth.
Feliz was 0-for-3 with a walk. I sure feel better about the seven and eight spots in the order against a lefty, but Feliz hit a miserable 208/278/385 against lefties this year so I should probably try to calm down a little.
Ruiz, on the other hand, had a monster game. 2-for-3 with a three-run homer. He hit 293/370/524 against left-handed pitching this season.
Francisco and Cairo both had pinch-hit at-bats in the game and went 0-for-1. Francisco seems like he could be the critical bench player for the Phils in the series against Kuo and Sherrill. The other two right-handed options for the Phils off the bench, Cairo and Bruntlett, are not big offensive threats.
Pedro Martinez faces righty Vicente Padilla today in game two.
Padilla pitched for both the Rangers and the Dodgers this season. He made 18 starts for Texas to start the season, going 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA and a 1.50 ratio. The Rangers released him in mid-August and he was signed by the Dodgers. He made eight appearances for LA, seven on them starts, and threw to a 3.20 ERA and a 1.22 ratio.
He was much better against righties than lefties on the season. Righties hit just 246/301/363 against him for the year, lefties 303/384/453.
Padilla pitched for the Phils between 2000 and 2005. His best year was 2002 when he went 14-11 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.22 ratio.
He started game three of the NLDS against the Cards and was fantastic. He allowed four hits and a walk over seven shutout innings as the Dodgers won 5-1. It was the only playoff appearance of his career.
Raul Ibanez saw him a ton in the AL. 9-for-28 with two home runs (321/394/536). Feliz is the only other Phillies regular with more than five career at-bats against him. He’s 2-for-9 with two singles.
The 37-year-old Martinez made nine starts for the Phillies this season, pitching to a 3.63 ERA and a 1.25 ratio over 44 2/3 innings. He gave up seven home runs — that rate would have him giving up about 31 over 200 innings. Opponents slugged .472 against Pedro for the season.
He didn’t walk much of anyone. His walk rate of 1.61 batters per nine innings was the best of any Phillies pitcher other than Lee.
He has a ton of post-season experience. He has appeared in thirteen post-season games and started eleven, overall throwing to a 3.40 ERA with a 1.12 ratio over 79 1/3 innings. He last appeared in the post-season in 2004.
Pedro started his career with the Dodgers, pitching for them in 1992 and ’93 before they traded him to the Expos for Delino DeShields in November of 1993.
Belliard, Kemp, Blake, Martin, Loney and Ethier all have five or fewer career at-bats against Martinez. Furcal 6-for-25 with two doubles (240/240/320). Manny 5-for-30 with two doubles (167/194/233). Orlando Hudson 7-for-25 with three extra-base hits, a double, a triple and a home run (280/308/520).
This helps explain why Bruntlett was added to the roster for the NLCS. Apparently Dobbs’ problems in playing defense coming off his calf injury were a primary factor. Still a lot of Carios and Bruntletts to have on the roster and I think it speaks to the lack of organizational depth hitting right-handed.