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Like Deja Vu All Over Again
2008-10-05 22:07
by Mike Carminati

Today the Phils advance easily past the Brewers—Craig Counsell, really?!?—and now take on the once lowly Dodgers for the League Championship. While many analysts spent the season explaining why the Dodgers should not even be allowed to appear in the postseason while lauding the unbeatable Cubbies, somehow LA swept Chicago with nary a Billy Goat, Bartman-esque moment. They just got plan beat.

So I am left reminiscing over all of the Phils-Dodgers matchups in the late Seventies and early Eighties. I remember helping to boo Burt Hooton off the mound in 1977, even though the Phils went on to lose the game. I remember the Phils besting the Dodgers (finally) in four games in the 1983 NLCS after going 1-11 against them during the regular season. I still can't stand Davey Lopes even though he is now the Phils first base coach. And Steve Garvey definitely isn't my Padre, er, Dodger.

I would say this is a coincidence except for the fact that after the Phillies clinched the division, I sauntered over to Modell's at lunchtime to purchase an NL East champs T-shirt, thinking this might very well be the only opportunity for a cherce souvenir this season. Little did I know that "Mo's" would have a sale on a 1980 Phils retro windbreaker with the 1980 World Series logo on the sleeve and with the back emblazoned with the championship trophy. Hey, it was just nineteen smackers after all. And now guess who was my favorite player back when I was akid? Greg "The Bull" Luzinski. Number 19.

It's kismet.

Anyway, back to the Dodgers-Cubs. The Cubs have now become only the third team to be ousted by sweeps in the first round in two straight postseasons. Here are the other two:


[Note: the Braves were also swept out of the playoffs in two straight years (1999-2000), but the first year was in the World Series, not the first round.]

As for the Phils-Brewers, there were a few eccentricities of note.

First, CC Sabathia pinch-hit and struck out today in a strange move given that he was to be the starter in game five in two days. It would be one thing to pinch-hit Randy Lerch, but this is the Brewers ace/only legitimate starter. How could Sveum have such disregard for game five? Well, maybe looking down the bench, he realized that the stiffs he had with him, given all of their injuries, would do no better. Did I mention that they have Craig Counsell?

Sabathia becomes the 65th pitcher in postseason history to appear in the game without pitching. Here are the last ten:

PitcherYrRoundTmPitching GBatting G
Micah Owings2007NLCSARI12
Hong-Chih Kuo2006NLDSLAN12
Brandon Backe2004NLCSHOU23
Jason Marquis2001NLCSATL24
Darryl Kile2000NLCSSLN23
Darryl Kile2000NLDSSLN12
Greg Maddux2000NLDSATL12
Tom Glavine1998NLCSATL23
Lance Painter1995NLDSCOL12
John Smoltz1992WSATL23

If you missed it, in Saturday's ballgame, the Phils started a rally in ninth, trailing 4-1. With the bases loaded and none out, Pedro Feliz hit a ball to third for an apparent double play scoring Ryan Howard from third. The score stood 4-2 with a man at third, two out, and Carlos Ruiz representing the tying run striding to the plate. Then Dale Sveum strode out of the dugout chatted mildly with the umps and the runners were returned to second and third thereby taking a run off the board.

Charlie Manuel complained, but the replay clearly showed that Shane Victorino failed to slide attempting to take out Craig Counsell at second and break up the double play. It also showed that the ump clearly called interference immediately on the play. At the time of the interference, the runners had not yet reached the next base.

Given the rule—see below—the ball was dead and the runners were barred from advancing. It sucked, but the umps did get it right. Or at least they did when Sveum told them.

Rule 7.09
(f) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.

Finally, in another odd play, in the top of the sixth with the Phillies leading, 5-0, Jayson Werth hit what looked like a home run to left, when suddenly the ball apparently careened off a cable in the Miller Park infrastructure and was caught by third baseman Craig Counsell—he is scrappy after all (Did the TBS announcers say that enough?).

It seemed like a homer call, but I looked up the Miller Park ground rules, and there it was:


· Batted ball strikes roof, roof truss, or roof cable over fair territory:
o Ball shall be judged fair or foul in relation to where it strikes the ground or is touched by a fielder.
o If caught by fielder, batter is out and runners advance at own risk.
· Batted ball strikes roof, roof truss, or roof cable over foul territory: Dead Ball.
2008-10-05 22:24:51
1.   Shotupthemiddle
The Houston Astros would like to contest the reason why you're reminiscing about 1980.
2008-10-06 01:36:15
2.   Cliff Corcoran
Those four errors in Game 2 didn't seem like a Billy Goat moment to you? The Cubs did plenty of beating themselves as well as getting plain beat by the Los Angeles Mannies.
2008-10-06 06:05:28
3.   JL25and3
Isn't Craig Counsell just David Eckstein, only taller?

Dale Sveum earned himself another year as manager on the basis of the DP argument alone.

2008-10-06 16:09:30
4.   dbt
Aren't our Cubbies now the 4th team to be swept in two consecutive opening rounds? Twins 69-70 (Orioles), Dodgers 95-96 (Reds & Braves) and the Rangers 98-99 (Yankees).

The Cubs are only the second team to do it to two different teams.

They've also ended 6 straight postseasons with an exactly 3 game losing streak (84, 89, 98, 03, 07, 08).

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