Phillies Keep On Phitin', Reach World Series

Scott MaloneAnalyst IOctober 16, 2008





One team.


One city.


One dream.


No, I am not talking about the Philadelphia Eagles or their era of NFC dominance.


Instead, I am talking about those Philadelphia Phillies. The long ignored team of red, in a town that has forever bled Eagles' green, has finally made enough noise to *gasp* shift the City of Brotherly Love's focus away from the Birds and instead to October baseball.


While our beloved Eagles currently sit in the basement of the NFC East, the Phillies have been busy forging a path that led to the October Classic, with stops in Milwaukee and Los Angeles.


They hype was there when the Phillies took a 2-0 series lead in the NLDS against the Brewers. It was there at the end of Game Four, after the Phils clinched a spot in the NLCS and a date with the Dodgers.


The hype persisted to grow, after the Phillies took another 2-0 series lead against the LA boys in blue, and with the series at 2-1 entering Game Four in Chavez Ravine, Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs kept the hype alive with home runs in the top of the eighth.


The hype around the Phitin's had grown so much that leading up to Game Four and Game Five for the Phillies, the sports talk radio stations of Philadelphia seemed to forget about the beloved Eagles.


That same hype and passion was there in Game Five, with Cole Hamels set to clinch the team's first World Series appearance since 1993.


Jimmy Rollins set the tone early on, after battling Dodgers' starter Chad Billingsley on a lengthy at bat, as he put a high and away fastball into the right field seats for an early 1-0 lead.


Billingsley then settled down until the third inning, where he gave up back to back RBI singles to Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell, which plated Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley respectively, making it a 3-0 Phillies lead.


Dodgers skipper Joe Torre elected to pull Billingsley then and there, replacing him with Chan Ho Park and then Greg Madux.


In the fifth inning, Dodgers' shortstop Rafael Furcal had most likely the worst inning in his baseball career, as he committed three errors which plated two more Philadelphia runs.


He botched a potential double play ball by missing it with his glove, then kicking it away. He proceeded to mis-execute a throw across the diamond to James Loney at first base to end the inning, scoring another run.


When that dreadful inning for the Dodgers was all over, they were down 5-0 heading into the sixth.


The Dodgers got their lone damage off of Cole Hamels in the bottom of the sixth, as Manny Ramirez it a high and away 1-2 changeup from Hamels over the right field wall to make it 5-1.


The Phillies threatened to add to the lead once again in the top of the seventh, with men on first and second with one out, before Dodgers' reliever James McDonald induced a strikeout from Pedro Feliz and a groundout from Carlos Ruiz to end the threat.


The Dodgers also threatened in the bottom of the seventh, with back-to-back two out walks of Matt Kemp and Nomar Garciaparra, before Cole Hamels struck out Jeff Kent looking to end the threat.


Hamels put together another strong outing, going 7 innings, surrendering 5 hits, 1 run, and 3 walks while striking out 5.


Brad "Lights Out" Lidge trotted out from the bullpen once again in the ninth, to button down the NL Pennant for the Phitin' Phils.


Manny Ramirez just angrily stared out at the mound, watching Brad Lidge slowly do his work.


James Loney: single to center.


Casey Blake: fly out to center.


Matt Kemp: fly ball to the wall in dead center...caught.


Nomar: pop up, foul territory, Ruiz under it...caught.


On a night where Dodger Stadium possessed the electricity of a playoff crowd, the Phillies once again clinched a series, on the road, and won with convincing satisfaction.


Once again one city will rally behind its team. Once again, they are underdogs headed into the main event.


This time, there is no "Wild Thing" controlling our fate.