There’s nothing like being at home—just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers came through with a win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Three of the NLCS. By the end of the first inning, the Phillies were done, unable to recover after starter Jamie Moyer allowed five runs. With this win, the Dodgers regain the coveted momentum, which is exactly the reason I’m no fan of the seven-game series schedule.
While one team has “home-field advantage” with four of their games at their home ballpark, the other team has the “momentum advantage” in the 2-3-2 format. The Phils won their two home games, but the next three belong to the Dodgers. If L.A. comes away with three wins, they enter the last two games riding a wave of victories.
Philadelphia must win one game in Los Angeles.
Game Three was a disaster from the first pitch. Jimmy Rollins grounded out, Shane Victorino popped out, and Chase Utley got caught stealing for the third out. The bottom of the first was all the Dodgers’ offense needed, as they scored five runs.
The Dodgers had all the swagger of a winning team, while the Phillies seemed to be on the defensive the entire game. Instead of playing their game and getting back in it, they were reacting to what the Dodgers threw at them.
Throw at the Dodgers enough, the Phils learned, they will retaliate. Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin was hit by a pitch by Moyer and later buzzed back by Clay Condrey, causing some unhappy glares between the two teams.
Tim McCarver and Joe Buck made sure there would be some sort of retribution by talking incessantly about how the Dodgers were going to hit a Phillies player. If L.A. wasn’t already planning to do so, the pair of commentators said it enough times that they willed the universe to make it happen.
The game? What game? They were just trying to predict the pitch that was going to be “the one.” While Rollins was at the plate, before every pitch, it was the “perfect time.”
By saying the next pitch is the one, eventually they would be correct.
Dodgers started Hiroki Kuroda threw a pitch that sailed toward Victorino’s head. The location did not sit well with the center fielder, who was seen instructing the Dodgers to throw at his ribs and not his head if they were going to hit him. After grounding out, the Flyin’ Hawaiian had more words with Kuroda and the benches cleared.
No punches were thrown and the teams continued the game, eventually ending with a Dodgers 7-2 victory.
The Phillies had no pitching or offense to counter the Dodgers, but at least they showed some life by getting up out of the dugout during a benches-clearing chat between the two teams.
With the Phillies loss, they are up two games to one. It’s an understatement to say that the next two games are vital for the visiting team.
Phillies’ Joe Blanton takes the mound tomorrow against Game One starter Derek Lowe. Lowe only allowed two runs in his last start against the Phillies. Rollins and Victorino need to live up to their “spark plugs” reputation and fire up the offense. Two runs will not be enough to win on foreign soil.
Five games down, six to go.
Non-baseball baseball notes
Phillies lineup announcers: Who asked Danny DeVito to announce the Phillies line up? It’s not cool to throw in, “I’m a Dodgers fan” while announcing the Phillies. He must have been sipping on the Jesus juice during the pregame festivities.
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver: If Fox is looking for someone to actually talk about the game instead of something meaningless, I’m free.
Them are Fightin’ words: Russell Martin and Shane Victorino get in a fight—who wins?