Philadelphia Phillies fans should be used to winning in this fashion.
Lately, it seems the pattern is to have a shaky first inning, pitcher regains composure afterwards, offense shows up in one inning out of nine, and the bullpen salvages the win. The team has my full support, but this method of being victorious can rattle one’s nerves.
After Game One of the NLCS, one thing is clear: offense wins the game.
The concept seems obvious, as it should be, but it's emphasized in this series since the only constant from both teams was the strong pitching. The Los Angeles Dodgers lost the game because the offense wasn’t as potent as they were in the NLDS against the Chicago Cubs.
The Phillies, on the other hand, piggybacked on Cole Hamels and squeezed out three runs through the reliable home run—the same thing they did during the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Chase Utley, are you starting to warm up? Phillies fans are hoping you are because, in order to advance to the World Series, the team desperately needs you.
Utley and Burrell came through with home runs, but the rest of the offense was non-existent. A pop-up here, a groundball there (hats off to L.A. pitcher Derek Lowe), thankfully the number three and five hitters (plus a Dodgers error) turned the tides.
The No. 4 hitter, however, didn't just disappoint with his groundout-producing bat, but also with a horrendous misplay in the third inning. No forgiveness for that one, Ryan Howard.
Game Two starts on Friday at 1:35 PM PT, which is such an inconvenient time for both coasts. That’s the price the fans pay for not being part of the Red Sox Nation or mohawk-sporting fans of the Cinderella Tampa Bay Rays. L.A. and Philadelphia will play opening act for the headlining Boston and Tampa Bay.
Chad Billingsley takes the mound for the Dodgers. In the 24-year-old’s only start against the Phillies in 2008, he lost as he pitched six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. Brett Myers was 1-1 against the Dodgers, winning his last start against them. His record against L.A. justifies the concerns I have with the Phils.
Myers didn’t necessarily pitch horribly when he lost—he gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings. The outspoken pitcher simply didn’t have the run support to earn the win. On Aug. 25, Myers came through victorious (ironically, the losing pitcher was Billingsley), and he had himself to thank.
Throwing seven scoreless innings, the Phillies mustered up five runs against the Dodgers to earn the “W.”
Tomorrow, let’s hope for an offensive resuscitation. The Phillies are one step closer to the promise land, but without gas in the vehicle, the journey will end prematurely.
Four games down, seven to go.
Non-baseball Baseball Notes
High-Socks Watch: Unfortunately for me, I didn’t take notice of any player wearing the traditional garb. In between pitches, I busied myself with the lookers on both teams and Cole Hamels' high kick.
Phillies fans, gotta love them. My favorite today: the fans wearing the '80s mustaches.