Live Blog: 2009 NLCS, Game 5

6:40 PM:  We’re about 90 minutes from the start of Game 5, and the champagne and ice have already been shipped to Citizens Bank Park in anticipation of the Phillies winning their second straight National League Championship.  Joe Torre’s Dodgers have their backs against the wall in an elimination game on the road, while the Phillies confidence must be at an all-time high following yet another how’d-they-do-that win in Game 4 on Monday night.

The Phils will send Cole Hamels to the mound, just as they did in the Game 5 clincher of last year’s NLCS against these Dodgers.  That’s about where the similarities end for Hamels.  Last year at this time, he was the most dominant pitcher on the planet.  So far this October, he’s probably been the Phils’ least reliable starter, coming into tonight’s game with a 6.97 ERA in his first two games.  This is definitely the least-crucial game the Phils have had in the playoffs, but if Hamels could come out and dominate the Dodgers, it would not only end this series, but would be a fantastic boost for the pitching staff heading into the Fall Classic.  In last year’s Game 5, Hamels allowed one run in seven innings.  Let’s hope for a repeat performance.

The Dodgers counter with Vicente Padilla, who dominated the Phillies in the Dodgers’ Game 2 win last week.  It’s well-documented that Padilla is not the most mentally stable person in the world, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts to adversity on enemy territory in Philly.  The Phillie hitters all know exactly what to expect from him now, so maybe they can put some runs on the board early.  Maybe there will be a repeat of last year’s Game 5, when Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a home run.

8:08 PM:  OK, a note on superstitions here as the game gets started.  First off, I’ve worn the same Phillies t-shirt for every playoff game over the last two years.  At this point, I’m not sure how much money someone would have to offer me just to have me NOT wear this shirt during a game.  I’m pretty sure it would be quadruple-digits.  Second, I’m enjoying some Dogfish Head “Punkin Ale” with the game tonight.  I also had this beer on Sunday night during the 11-0 win, so that’s a good sign.  I made a small misstep though at the start here.  I poured the beer into a regular pint glass, instead of my Phillies mug given to me as a groomsman gift for Bry’s wedding last year.  I’ve made the switch to that mug now, and we’re all set-up for victory in my apartment.

8:19 PM:  The Dodgers stick with the same lineup they used in Game 4 and Andre Ethier comes through with a first-inning homer.  Buck Martinez said that Hamels had “good command” of his fastball one pitch after he clearly missed his spot and one pitch before he gave up the homer on a 1-2 fastball in the middle of the plate.  Hamels didn’t want to throw the change-up to Ethier for some reason.  Ethier kept fouling off fastballs before finally hitting one out.

8:25 PM:  I guess it’s a bad sign for the Dodgers that when the cameras showed Padilla in the dugout during the top of the 1st, my girlfriend asked, “Who’s that sweaty, fat guy in their dugout?”

8:34 PM:  I guess it was a bad sign!  The Dodgers decided they don’t want to pitch to Ryan Howard anymore, but that’s not gonna work against this offense.  Padilla ran a deep count against Jayson Werth, then put a series of fastballs in the middle of the plate, before Werth finally pounded one over the right-field fence for a three-run bomb!  Now we need Hamels to get the job done.

8:41 PM:  Hamels gives up another solo shot to a left-hander in the 2nd.  As the announcers said, lefties are now 9-14 with 3 homers against him in the playoffs.  I wonder if it’s because he’s not throwing enough change-ups to them.  A lot of times, lefties are hesitant throw change-ups to left-handed batters, but Cole has to be an exception.  That pitch is what makes him so great, and if he makes himself just a fastball-curveball pitcher, he’s going to get hit.

8:50 PM:  Pedro “Pete Happy” Feliz leads off the 2nd with a homer!  Looks like we could be headed for a shoot-out in this one.  When they show the close-up of the Dodgers’ right-handed hitters, there’s a fan over their shoulder with a sign that says, “This guy stinks”.  Pretty funny.

8:58 PM:  Hamels ends a 1-2-3 3rd inning by striking out Ethier on a…change-up.  He needs to keep going to it like that.

9:17 PM:  Heading to the bottom of the 4th, and maybe it won’t be a shoot-out.  Neither pitcher has allowed a hit since Feliz led off the 2nd with that homer.  Though with Hamels already at 76 pitches, the bullpen will be in there before too long.

9:28 PM:  A single and double from Werth and Raul Ibanez to start the 4th put the Phils up 5-2 and chase Padilla from the game.  You could argue that the Dodgers made a mistake leaving Padilla in the game after the 2nd inning.  It was pretty obvious that he didn’t have it tonight and in an elimination game when you have “all hands on deck” in the pen, you can’t afford to see if the guy will pull it together.  I’m a big fan of quick hooks in the playoffs, especially when your facing elimination.

9:50 PM:  Joe Torre may have left Padilla in the game too long, but he managed the 4th inning in a pull-out-all-the-stops manner, bringing in his main set-up man, George Sherrill.  Sherrill couldn’t prevent further damage though, hitting Shane Victorino with the bases loaded, stretching the lead to 6-2.  Rick Honeycutt has really been wearing out the phone to the bullpen already.  And speaking of Honeycutt, seeing him makes me feel really old.  I vividly remember watching him pitch, and now he’s pretty damn old looking.

10:00 PM:  Another underwhelming outing from Hamels comes to an end, as he gives up a pinch-hit homer to Orlando Hudson and a double to Rafael Furcal.  Hamels goes just 4.1 innings, gives up 3 runs (and is responsible for the runner on 2nd), and will get a no-decision for his efforts.  J.A. Happ is on in relief.

10:17 PM:  Clayton Kershaw, the scheduled Game 6 starter, is on in relief for the Dodgers.  Win or lose now, the Phillies have accomplished something.  The Dodgers will most likely be left choosing between Hiroki Kuroda and Chad Billingsley for the Game 6 start, if they manage to get there.

10:21 PM:  In response to Bry’s comment below (#5):  After Manny didn’t run out of the box on that play, I was left wondering if he’s really worth all of the money you have to pay him.  I know when he’s producing like he did last year, he is worth it, but he can’t be that dangerous with the bat all the time.  He’s a total liability defensively, he can’t run, he doesn’t care in the least about winning.  I think the guy’s pretty hilarious, but I wouldn’t want him on my team.

10:37 PM:  Helluva job by Chad Durbin for 1.1 innings.  He hasn’t given up a run in his 5 appearances now in the post-season.  We’ll take everything we can get from this bullpen.

10:45 PM:  Not that he’s the only guy on this team you could say this about, but the legend of Shane Victorino grows a bit more with big 2-run homer to put the Phils up by 5 through 6 innings.  For the Dodgers, facing elimination and a 3-1 deficit in the series, that had to be such a deflating hit.  A five run hole feels incredibly different than three.  The Phils can taste that NL pennant now.  But still 9 outs to get.

10:47 PM:  And, not to get ahead of ourselves, but the Phillie bullpen is STILL not completely settled and figured out, so how these guys perform in the rest of this game could determine how they’re used in the World Series, you know, if we get there.  The way Park has been pitching, he could move into a more important role next week.

11:07 PM:  Ho hum, just another LONG home run by Jayson Werth.  9-3 Phils heading to the 8th.  Interesting that Charlie is sticking with Park here in the 8th.  Hard to argue with that.  I’d honestly like to see Lidge pitch the 9th no matter what.  I just want another look at him pitching a whole inning before we head into the next series.

11:18 PM:  OK, this is pretty much what I was talking about with the bullpen.  Madson comes in and inexplicably walks Manny, with a 6 run lead, then gives up a single to Kemp to score a run.  If we win this game (I’ll keep saying ‘if’), Park should move past Madson as our main set-up man.  He’s clearly out-pitched him throughout this series.

11:29 PM:  Madson pulls it together and gets out of the 8th with a 9-4 lead.  3 OUTS from the pennant.  I’m sure the Yankees and their fans, after a 103-win regular season and cruising through the playoffs so far, are feeling very confident right now.  But they have to be fearing this Phillie team a bit.  There will be plenty of time to ponder that series if it ends up coming, but no team can have too much confidence going against these Phillies in a playoff series.  Or at least they shouldn’t.

11:52 PM:  NL CHAMPIONS!!!!! AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!

12:03 AM:  I said coming into this series that I wasn’t going to make the mistake of underestimating the Phillies again, so I picked them to win the series, in 7 games.  Well, I underestimated them again it seems, as they take out the Dodgers 4-1, outscoring them 35-16 and, put simply, dominating this series.  The ridiculous thing is, they’ve dominated EVERY team they’ve gone up against in these 5 playoff series over the last two years.  The Phillies are now 18-5 in the last two post-seasons.  Come on, that’s unbelievable.  As the great Charlie Manuel just said, “We have one more step to go, and we’re gonna get it!!”

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11 Responses to Live Blog: 2009 NLCS, Game 5

  1. bry says:

    Hey, Doogan, think Torre overmanaged in the 4th by using Sherrill? I know that the game could have been lost there, but your best setup man in the 4th against a SWITCH-hitter with the pitcher’s spot second in the 5th? Now, what do you do with LH Howard, RH Werth, and LH Ibanez?

  2. bry says:

    Oh, and I definitely feel the same way when I see Rick Honeycutt or Bruce Bochy or even Jamie Moyer. And, Ina made pretty much the same comment about Padilla

  3. Doogan says:

    I think the Sherrill move was strange because he had him up before there was really much trouble in the inning. With the bases loaded, I guess it made more sense to go to one of your best guys, but yeah, it as a bit strange, and maybe over-managing.

  4. bry says:

    Is this not still the 5th innning or is this a Game 7? Pretty interesting, to say the least, with all the pitching changes. This is going late into the night, that’s obvious. One more pitching change before the 6th inning and I might call out sick tomorrow right now

  5. bry says:

    I know he’s won two World Series and is one of the most feared hitters of all-time, but Manny Ramirez is just not a winner. Compare that play (where he didn’t run out of the box on a check-swing dribbler) to the play that Utley made in Colorado in Game 3, when the ball actually did hit him, so there was reason not to hustle. But, not Chase. He beat it out and set the stage for the big guy. Manny, on the other hand, doesn’t even stay in the dugout in last night’s 9th inning

  6. bry says:

    Hey, do you even consider letting Durbin hit in the bottom of the 6th, so that he can try and get you through the 7th? Or, is that stupid?

  7. Doogan says:

    No, I think hitting for him was the right move. I don’t know, Park and Madson and Eyre and Lidge et al, should be able to handle it. Or at least you have to still believe they can.

  8. bry says:

    Wow, Park looked good. SIX MORE OUTS…………..

  9. bry says:

    The Yankees (or at least their fans and closest commentators) ARE DEFINITELY fearing the Phillies–I know that for a fact

  10. bry says:

    But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still need THREE MORE OUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. bry says:


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