Philadelphia Phillies Head to the NLCS Riding the Long Ball

Claire ReclosadoSenior Analyst IOctober 5, 2008

We knew that we’d be here, right? Was there any doubt that the Philadelphia Phillies would advance to the NLCS after beating the Milwaukee Brewers? I didn’t think so.

My initial attraction to the Phillies was their similarity to my hometown teams, the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants. Yes, I know they’re quite different, but it’s what they had in common that made me an instant Phillies fan.

Just like my hometown teams (ahem, when they’re playing well), the Phils are the underdogs of their division. No matter how good they are, there’s always a cloud of doubt hovering over the team and I am a sucker for an underdog.

Another shared quality is their ability to thrill and frighten me within a three-hour window. Take today’s Game Four, for instance. The Phillies won 6-2 and yet the fear of a Brewers comeback would peek in every time a big hitter like Ryan Braun stepped up to the plate.  While I was positive the Phillies would win, my mind wouldn’t let me fully accept it.

It’s just like love. Your heart says one thing and your mind tries to protect you from getting your heart broken.

Well, no Phillies fan hearts are breaking today because their team is on their way to the NLCS, thanks to authoritative starting pitching from Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, and today’s pitcher Joe Blanton.

The lazy bats are waking up and it’s about time. Jimmy Rollins started it with a leadoff home run. Pat Burrell showed up and hit a three-run jack. Later, he added a solo shot just to prove the first wasn't an accident. Jayson Werth added his solo home run to the long-ball parade.

The bat we’re all waiting for, however, has been quiet. Will we see the Chase Utley we’ve been waiting for to show up against Los Angeles?

Before we look toward Game One of the NLCS on Thursday, let’s soak in this moment.  It’s been a long time coming.

Good game, Milwaukee, good game.

Three wins down, eight to go.

Non-Baseball Baseball Notes

High-Socks Watch: The Phillies starting pitcher, Joe Blanton, was sporting my favorite uniform.

One reason I’m happy we’re done with the Brewers: Prince Fielder’s baggy uniform. Unfortunately, now I’ll have to watch Manny Ramirez play in his pajama-style uniform.

Pat Burrell, possessor of one of the top baseball derrieres, brings his sexy score down by chewing tobacco. Ugh.