The Phillies continue on their quest Wednesday to be the first National League team to win back-to-back World Series since the Big Red Machine of the Cincinnati Reds in the mid-70's.
They are one win away from getting back to the World Series for that second straight year. Former Phillies starter Vicente Padilla, and the somewhat snake bit Los Angeles Dodgers, remain standing, just barely, in their way.
After a devastating blown save and blown game by 100 mph pitcher Jonathan Broxton on Monday night, the Dodgers are hanging on by a thread.
Manny Ramirez was quoted saying, "The Phillies have just been playing better." He is 100 percent correct about that no doubt.
This Phillies team has one characteristic which separates themselves from any other team, at least, in the National League East. When bad things happen, at least on the outside, they do not get flustered. They bounce back as quickly as it's done and move on in the right direction.
That point was proved here in the NLCS a day after Chase Utley made a crucial throwing error that cost the Phillies a shot at Game Two. They came right back in Game Three and put an 11 spot on the board.
They hope to close out this series on Wednesday with their former ace Cole Hamels on the hill. I do believe that having Cliff Lee has taken some of the pressure off Hamels. It's nearly impossible to top Hamels' performance in the 2008 postseason and I truly believe he has put a lot of pressure upon himself to do just that.
He had a very short offseason this year, being in demand for interviews, commercials, and the like. He started a major controversy when he called the Mets "choke artists" on a New York-based radio show. He then struggled through spring training and opened the year with a couple of injuries that I believe plagued him throughout the season.
We didn't get to see the vintage Hamels until after Lee was acquired at the trade deadline. Since then, Cole has had a number of games that clearly resembled 2008.
He is in a great position to put the Phillies over the top tonight. Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Jayson Werth have been clutch in this NLCS and unless Padilla can repeat his best games with the Dodgers in 2009, this baby is going to end on Wednesday.
I love Joe Torre. He actually said his team was not in such a bad situation. He basically said if the Dodgers can win on Wednesday, the Phillies will have to come to us in our home park.
Yes, and face Pedro Martinez and, if necessary, Lee again. Yes, Joe, the Dodgers are in real great shape.
Prediction: My bad, I guess I wasn't a true believer as I picked the Dodgers in Game Four. I came close, but close doesn't get it done in the world of predictions and otherwise. So tonight, I do believe, Phillies 9, Dodgers 5, and barring any miracles from the Angels, it will be the Phillies and the Yankees in a Turnpike Series, first one of those since 1950.
Yes, I was around for that.