(though they couldn’t make the trip to Milwaukee, the Sadistic Exploits bask in the accomplishment of their hometown team’s victory)
The Philadelphia Phillies have erased the memory of their 3 and out playoff loss of 2007 and have advanced to the NLCS for the first time since Team Mullet of 1993 with their 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers today at Miller Park.
The Fightin’s took this series with the “Weaverball” combination of strong pitching and the longball. Jimmy Rollins got the Phillies on the board with a leadoff HR and in the third inning the spirit of Ned Yost was in the Brewers dugout as Dale Sveum elected to intentionally walk Ryan Howard with 2 outs to face Pat Burrell. Sveum was either ignorant of or choose to ignore Burrells excellent career #s vs Jeff Suppan and Burrell made them pay by turning on a 2-2 pitch and launching a 3-run blast. Jayson Werth followed up with a HR in the next at-bat and after a brief torrent of boos from Brewers fans, said fans and their thundersticks were taken out of the game. Phillies starter Joe Blanton kept them silent by efficiently setting down the Brewers through 6 innings and after a leadoff HR by Prince Fielder and single by JJ Hardy in the 7th, Charlie Manuel went to the pen and Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge held on for the win. Before the game there was much concern from Phillies fans over the somewhat anemic offense during the first 3 games. The margins of victory in the first two were a result of a Mike Cameron misplay of a Chase Utley liner in Game 1 and the freakish 9 pitch Brett Myers walk off of CC Sabathia that extended the Phillies inning and helped set the stage for Shane Victorinos grand slam. The Phillies didnt produce anything resembling a real rally during the series (having scored in 3 of 27 innings during the first three games) but the flukes and long ball were sufficient given the strong Phillies pitching this series
I would have to consider the upcoming NLCS to be pretty much of a toss-up. The Phils and Dodgers faced each other 8 times this year (all games post-Manny acquistion) where each team took turns sweeping 4 games from the other in their respective home parks. The Phillies rotation and bullpen looks really strong going into the series, but the Phillies have a long history of being completely handcuffed by Derek Lowe (who will be getting 2 starts this series). The Phillies win today does ensure that Cole Hamels will be matched up against Lowe. The biggest question is what the Phillies bring offensively. Is Chase Utley finally going to show up for his first playoff series? Was todays 2 HR performance by Pat Burrell his final hurrah as a Phillie or will he make the Dodgers pay for pitching around Ryan Howard? Will Rollins, Victorino and Werth follow up on the good series they had and will Feliz/Ruiz be a black hole in the bottom of the order or will they contribute some ancillary production at the plate? And of importance: If Larry Bowa goes ballistic on an umpire at CBP while wearing Dodger blue, will he be booed, bemusedly laughed at or will Phans give him the “Lar-ry..Lar-ry” chant and give him a standing O as he leaves the field for old times sake?