Phillies Advance To Face Dodgers In NLCS
The Phillies scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Rockies 5-4 and advance to the NLCS. They will face the Dodgers on Thursday in Los Angeles.
Cliff Lee and Ubaldo Jiminez pitched well except for Jiminez allowing homers to Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
The Phillies took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning but by the time the smoke had cleared they were losing 4-3 at the end of the inning. Jason Giambi kept the inning alive by singling in the tying run to tie the score at 2-2.
Then Yorvit Torrealba doubled in two more runs to give the Rockies a 4-2 lead.
Huston Street came in to close out the game in the top of the ninth but blew a save for the second consecutive night. Ryan Howard doubled in two runs and was followed by Jayson Werth who singled in the winning run.
Scott Eyre was brought in to start the ninth inning and gave up a single to Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton kept the hopes of the Rockies alive by delivering a two out single.
Charlie Manuel summoned Brad Lidge from the bullpen with runners on first and second and he struck out Troy Tulowitzki to end the game. Lidge got the save for the second straight night.
With the failure of Ryan Madson to hold the lead in the eighth inning it is more likely that Lidge will be used in the closer role during the rest of the postseason.
The Phillies will rest today and Wednesday before playing the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Thursday on TBS at a time to be announced.
Game Notes: It was ironic that Huston Street had blown two saves all season yet blows saves in the third and fourth games of the NLDS….Brad Lidge who had blown 11 saves during the season saves the last two games of the series.
The Rockies have two players to watch in the future in Carlos Gonzalez and Eric Young Jr.
Gonzalez was 10-17 in the NLDS and hit .588 and slugged .882. He was traded along with Greg Smith and Huston Street last offseason from the Athletics for Matt Holliday.
It turned out be a great trade for the Rockies who picked up a solid closer in Street and a star of the future in Gonzalez. The Athletics did not fare so well with Holliday underperforming with the Athletics and playing his last game for them on July 23.
He hit 11 homers and drove in 54 runs in 400 plate appearances with the A’s before playing his last game on July 23. He hit 13 homers and drove in 55 runs in 270 plate appearances for the Cardinals. He hit .286 for the Athletics and .353 for the Cardinals. His slugging percentage improved from .454 with Athletics to .604 with the Cardinals.
Gonzalez will be 24 on Saturday and with Dexter Fowler in center field the Rockies should have a good outfield for many years to come with Brad Hawpe, Ryan Spillborghs and Seth Smith making up a strong outfield.
Eric Young Jr. also played the outfield and second base in 2009. He hit .246 but should improve as the 24 year old gets more experience.
Young is 24 and is averaging 50 stolen bases a year in the minors in six seasons with 303 stolen bases. In the last four seasons he has stolen 87-73-46 and 58 stolen bases.
Young gave an indication of his speed last night when he was barely thrown out after hitting a routine grounder to Jimmy Rollins. He will get a lot of infield hits on grounders that aren’t hit directly to an infielder. Third basemen will have to really bring it to throw Young out next season.
The season had a sad ending for the Rockies who have nothing to be ashamed of. They came a long way since manager Clint Hurdle was fired in May and Jim Tracy replaced him as manager.
They made an amazing run to capture the NL Wild Card and then were the only team in the division series to win a game and came close to winning their second game last night.
All the winners in the division series won their deciding game in front of their opponent’s home crowd. If all the division series had gone to five games there would have been 20 games played but only 13 games were played because of the three sweeps and the lone Rockies win.
The Phillies are eight wins from becoming back to back World Series champions but first they need four wins against the Dodgers to have that chance.