Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fun With Phillies / Dodgers

By now everyone has heard about that incredible ending in Game 4 of the NLCS on Monday night that saw Jimmy Rollins bash in two runs with two outs in the bottom of the 9th of a game that seemed essentially hopeless for the Phillies to win and very close to impossible for the Dodgers to lose. In all honesty, without rehashing the whole thing at this point, suffice it to say that I thought that was truly one of the most dramatic moments in nearly 130 years of Phillies history. And right here you can listen to three calls of that historic play -- only the fourth walk-off postseason hit in Phillies history and just the third time in baseball history that a team won with a walk-off when losing and down to their last out in the 9th inning -- first the television call, which I thought was very good all things considered, then the local Philly radio call which is great mostly because of the clowns screaming and cheering like crazy in the background, followed by the Dodgers radio call which is downright boring and sounds like it's being delivered by an 85-year-old man taking a dump. But it's good stuff, and I definitely recommend taking a listen to this link if you haven't already to enjoy a little bit of what that moment felt like for the fans of the teams involved.

The one thing about Rollins' incredible smash and the Phils' comeback win in Game 4 is that the game had really been ratcheting up the tension for the better part of an hour at that point and that contributed greatly to the tremendous release of that tension when the game was finally won. After giving up the lead in the 6th inning because Charlie Manuel again left his starting pitcher in about two innings too long, the Phils' bullpen clamped down and did not allow another run, leaving the team just one run down at 4-3 after we got one run back in the bottom of the 6th inning. While closing the floodgates on the Dodgers' lineup for the rest of the night, the Phillies went to work in their three remaining innings on chipping away at the Dodgers' slimmest of leads. In the 7th inning, the Phillies got two men on with one out before failing to advance either runner to third base, but it was exciting for anyone awake interested enough to stay up to see if the Phils could reach down into the magic hat one more time. Then again in the 8th inning, the meat of the Phillies' lineup managed to get two guys on base with just one out, but once again they could not satsify the Philly fans' increasing tension by knocking one of those guys in.

So the Phillies had scored one run in the 6th inning to cut the Dodgers' lead to just one run -- and thanks to Manny Ramirez's ridiculously accidental shoestring catch they did not tie it up right then and there -- and then they made a real run at tying it up in both the 7th and again in the 8th inning. So by the time the 9th rolled around and Brad Lidge actually somehow did not ruin yet another game in the top of the 9th, there was no way I was turning it off even though the bottom of the Phillies' order would have to be the hero if the Phils were to come back and win. Which is exactly what happened, including Dodgers' fireballing closer Jonathon Broxton -- throwing 100 and 101 mph fastballs all throughout his short appearance on the night -- walking Matt Stairs on four pitches after Broxton clearly just could not get this blast out of his head from, ironically, Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS. Then Broxton, clearly still shaken just from the thought of having to face Stairs again in the same spot one year later, hit the Phillies' remarkably clutch catcher Carlos Ruiz with his first pitch after the Stairs walk, setting the stage for J-Roll to work his magic. It's one of those games that encapsulates true sports drama at its best, and having sat through the previous four innings of this game, I can tell you that the tension in the 9th was as high as it ever gets outside of a Game 7 extra innings battle to decide the World Series.

Although certainly at this point this series is far from over, and if the Phils don't manage to coax a win out of new father Cole Hamels in Game 5 on Wednesday night then it's back to LA for the final two games of the series, the Game 4 win has given birth to a number of funny things that us Phillies fans have had a blast with over the past couple of days. For starters there was this screenshot:

which was accidentally put up by on their homepage just minutes before J-Roll's historic double gave the Phils the win. With two down in the bottom of the 9th and the bottom of the order up at the plate, I guess just wanted to get the jump on putting the freshest baseball headlines up on their site. Sometimes, though, I guess a little patience is called for, especially when predicting things as unknowable as sporting events. It reminds me of back in 1986 at Shea Stadium, Game 6 of the World Series, just minutes before Bill Buckner would make -- or extend, as the case may be -- baseball history letting the ball go between his legs, when the Mets accidentally flashed a message saying "Congratulations to the 1986 World Champion Boston Red Sox" on the big screen at the stadium before quickly taking it down (you can read some accounts of that occurrence here). Of course, the greatest example of this is the classic "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline run by the Chicago Tribune on November 3, 1948 which incorrectly reported the result of the previous night's presidential election, but as far as sports go, I really enjoyed seeing the false report of the Dodgers' victory over the Phillies in Game 4 the other night.

Another great snapshot I saw yesterday from one of my Phillies fans was this one, which those of you who enjoy the Fail Blog as much as I do will probably enjoy quite a bit:

The best part of this snapshot has got to be not only the triumphant pre-slide pose captured of Carlos Ruiz just milliseconds before officially ending the Phillies' incredible comeback, but the fact that Dodgers pitcher Jonathan Broxton happened to be right in the background of the picture, already walking off the field and into the dugout before Ruiz had even yet touched home. The Dodger "faithful" can cram it, the tofu-eating vegetarian non-fans that they are. Fail!

Lastly, a few of my Philly fan friends also hooked me on to some incredible message board threads resulting from the Game 4 debacle at the Bank (my new name for Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia). First, there is the Dodgersblues board forums, where I assure you any baseball fan can find hours of fun and enjoyment, mostly of the unintentinoal comedy variety. But the best board of all has got to be this one, which is of all things a Mets message board where all these loser fans have to focus on is who they will root for if the unthinkable evil of a Yankees - Phillies World Series comes to fruition. Honestly I must have spent two hours (on a very busy work day no less) just reading through all these posts over the past 24 hours or so, and it still isnt' getting old for me. At all. There is so much great stuff for a Phillies fan buried deep in that Mets forum thread that I can't even begin to describe it all or narrow it down to some of the best posts or ideas. One thing I can say for certain is that one post caught my eye more than any others, essentially (I think) implying that the Mets are every bit as good as the Phillies this year and the last, but that it's just the different stadiums the two teams play in that is the only thing separating the Mets from back to back World Series appearances and at least one world title. Uh huh. That post I will reproduce in its entirety here for your viewing pleasure:

We added Shawn Green, at age 33. With a career OPS of .850.
Flash in the pan? 10 straight seasons over 110 OPS+ is a flash in the pan? Watch something besides Mets games, or be older than 16.

The Phillies added Raul Ibanez, career OPS of .826. He posted a .899 in their cheese box this season.

Livan, Alou, Redding and Castillo? That's Fing retarded.
Livan and Redding were brought in to COMPETE for the #5 spot in the rotation.

Like Chan Ho Park and Brett Myers for Philly this season, or Adam Eaton (5.80 ERA) in 2008, Kyle Lohse (4.72) or Jon Leiber (4.73) Chad Durbin (5.15) in 2007.

Castillo and Alou are starters. Alou was awesome but hurt.
Castillo sucked last year and was good this year.

Luis Castillo is better than Pedro Feliz. The Phillies added Pedro Feliz at age 33. Career OPS+ of 83. Last two seasons, 80 and 81.
Last three seasons, Castillo has a .712 OPS and Feliz is rocking a .704. In tiny a** Philly's park.

And both are better than Abraham Nunez, who had a .600 OPS for the Phillies in 2007.

"Oh, the Phillies have good players and not Jeremy Reed, Corey Sullivan, Ramon Martinez, Argenis Reyes, and Anderson Hernandez"

Meet Matt Stairs, Geoff Jenkins, So Taguchi, Tadihito Iguchi, Wes Helms, Andy Tracy, Greg Dobbs, Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo, Eric Brunlett, Michael Bourn, Chris Roberson, Pete LaForest, Russell Branyan, etc.

Take a look at their bench this season. They have one guy with an OPS over .800 this year. Ben Francisco. And we have Angel Pagan with a number remarkably close.

They've had an endless stream of ****ty guys, too. JUST LIKE EVERY TEAM. IT'S CALLED A MOTHERFING BENCH.

Hmmm, how can we emulate the Phillies.

Well, we could get a power-hitting first baseman (Carlos Delgado)
We could get a power-hitting infielder who's one of the best at his position (David Wright)
We could get an All-Star SS with speed and defense (Jose Reyes)
We could get a ****ty fourth infielder (Castillo vs Feliz)
We could get a gold glove CF (Carlos Beltran)
We could get a 38 year old LF to OPS .900 (Moises Alou .916 in 2007)
We could get a great athlete who was a top prospect but his team has given up on because of his .750 OPS at age 25, and hope he's a late bloomer (Werth: .753 OPS guy when the Dodgers cut him. Church was .810. Francouer kinda fits the bill too.
And we'll get a ****ty offensive guy to catch.

For the bench, we'll bring out a pile of crap, because that's what bench players are and hope they match up. See above.

Now we need a pitching staff.
We need one home grown guy top prospect with a sub-4.00 ERA (Mike Pelfrey 3.72 in 2008)
We need an older than dirt veteran oozing puss (Pedro, Glavine, Orlando take your pick)
A young guy who suddenly blossoms at age 26 (John Maine 3.91 ERA at age 26 in 2007)
A guy with stuff who's erratic as hell, but has good stuff (Myers, Oliver Perez)
Now let's go the extra mile and get a lefty ACE who won a Cy Young (Johan Santana)

Closer, what about a guy who Fed up as a closer in Houston? (Wagner)
Ok, how about a guy who was lights out in 2008? (K-Rod)
Can we get a situational lefty? (Feliciano)
No, no, no... we need someone who got busted for steroids! (Shoeneweis vs JC Romero!)
30 year old average guy? (Chad Durbin vs Sean Green)
Old ****ty starter who does a good job as a RP for us? (Darren Oliver, Elmer Dessens vs Park)

Ok, well there's one spot they got us beat...
How about a great lookin setup man with nasty stuff (Parnell vs Madsen!)

See, we shouldn't take a guy like that and F him up by asking him to start! (Madsen 17 GS in 2007, 5.69 ERA)

Our team's are built pretty much the same... only they play in a cheese box; they've been healthy this year; That's basically it except for one difference:

Our team defied logic and rational thought with an epic collapse one year; their team defied logic and rational thought by having a bullpen that was ridiculously unstoppable one year.

Any Fing questions?

Just one question: What color is the sky in your world?

Good luck to Cole Hamels tonight in Game 5 at the Bank. I know nobody on the team wants to have to travel back across the country and win one of two on the road to end this series, so the pressure will actually be palpable tonight to get this one wrapped up and send the Dodgers home in five games in the NLCS for the second straight year. And to Charlie Manuel, if you're reading this: If Hamels looks like shit, pull his ass out of there early and just put Happ in there to finish out the game! Why have a starter like that who is conditioned mentally and physically to go the distance sitting in your bullpen but then never use him for that purpose?

Why I have to keep reminding the Phillies' manager of this I will never understand.

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Blogger Riggstad said...


Pure gold. Anyone else notice the Phils on the road record this year? How about the 17 blown saves?

Nothing that last idiot wrote made a goddamn bit of sense.

I had no idea Mets fans are that whiny.

I guess I should check the Phils message boards before making that statement though :)

I have to disagree with you about Blanton. He should have been taken out earlier, yes, but more for the reason he wasn't getting calls. That's not a complaint. the umpire was fair in his strike zone to both sides. It was just small.

Blanton's arm didn't go sour on him, rather, the Dodgers did a good job of recognizing that they were going to get what would normally be called a strike, called a ball. They laid off those pitches, and without that ability to sneak that little cutter in there, Blanton will struggle. AS I said he forced some pitches in there because he had too. More unlucky than getting tired.

LOL @ Vin Scully's call. That was a great find. It was almost as if you could see the apathy and frustration in his face as he called it.

Unlike you I think this series is over. The Dodgers are cooked, and there is too much to overcome for them.

BTW, Did you hear about Manny???

He was taken out of the game in the ninth for defensive reasons and went straight to the showers. The team was in the clubhouse when he was finished and he walked up to Broxton and gave him a big chest bump as if to say congrats. He thought they had WON!!!

BLAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Classic Manny!

I'm hoping that Hamels comes out tonight and pitches lights out. Closing out at home would be nice.

12:35 AM  
Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

Hey Hoy, havent been around in awhile but can't wait to read your thoughts on the probable NYY vs PHI series.

my woman is a yanks fan so this should be a tense 15 days or so :)


9:31 AM  

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