The title speaks for itself.
Well, if it doesn’t, I’ll be glad to sum it up for you.
THE PHILLIES ARE ONE WIN AWAY FROM GOING BACK TO THE WORLD SERIES FOR THE SECOND TIME IN AS MANY YEARS.
Did that clear up the confusion?
While the Los Angeles Dodgers were the heavy favorites going into the 2009 NLCS (and rightfully so after a 3-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals), they are now fighting for their playoff lives, starting Wed. night against Cole Hamels and the Phillies.
That’s got to be a tough pill for the Dodgers to swallow, as they are a couple hits and a normal Jonathan Broxton inning away from being up 3-1, rather than being down 3-1 and on the verge of elimination.
Needless to say, this series has been an exciting one so far.
Here are some of the highlights.
: Welcome back Brad Lidge! It took long enough, but after a solid performance in the NLDS, Lidge showed why he was once nicknamed “Lights Out” against the Dodgers. An inning after the Dodgers rocked Ryan Madson and came within two runs of tying the Phillies in the eighth inning of Game 1, Lidge came in and shut down the door (while inheriting two runners on base) on the Phillies opening win of the series. In game 4, with the Phillies down a run, Lidge entered the game with a runner on base and just one out in 9th inning. Not only did he stop a potential big inning for the Dodgers, but struck out both Matt Kemp and Andre Either consecutively in convincing fashion to give the Phillies a chance in the bottom half of the 9th down just one run. Boy, did that make a difference.
: The fastest pitch that Jimmy Rollins faced this season (98.8 mph) was probably the most memorable pitch he will face all year. That was the speed of the Jonathan Broxton 0-2 inside fastball that Rollins hit into the right-center field gap, scoring both Eric Bruntlett and Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz with two outs to win game 4. Rollins, who is barely hitting over .200 in the 2009 playoffs, is now 4-6 when hitting in the 9th inning in the playoffs, and has scored two game-tying runs along with delivering that magical walkoff in game 4. Clutch.
: For the Phillies, the MVP of this postseason is clear. While Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, and Carlos Ruiz have made incredible contributions towards the success of the Phillies in the past eight games, Ryan Howard is in a league of his own. Hitting a scorching .379 in this post-season, Howard is completely locked in, knocking in runs at will out of the cleanup spot. In fact, Howard is now tied with Lou Gehrig and Alex Rodriguez for the all-time record of most consecutive games in the playoffs with a RBI with eight, and is leading the league in post-season RBI’s with 14. To put this into perspective, if this were a normal 162 game season, Howard would be on pace for 283 RBI’s. Talk about stepping up on a big stage.
: With all the talk about the Phillies offense, their pitching has been just as impressive. Cliff Lee’s 0.74 E.R.A in three postseason starts this year screams of dominance, Pedro Martinez’s 7 1/3 inning gem during game 2 was a blast from the past, and the much-maligned Phillies bullpen pitched three innings of one-run ball in game 4 to give the Phillies potent lineup a chance to complete a comeback, a task that they ended up accomplishing. With that said, if the saying is true that pitching wins championships, then the Phillies look to be in good shape..well, at least for a trip back to the Fall Classic.
With that said, they will be in better shape if they can win one more game against the Dodgers.