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2008-10-13 22:59
by Mike Carminati

Never stop, never stop fighting till the fight is done…Here endeth the lesson.
—Eliot Ness via David Mamet in "The Untouchables"

The Phils extracted victory from the duodenum of defeat tonight, winning 7-5 over the Dodgers to go up three games to one in the NLCS. In the process, the Phils overcame their own manager's proclivity to small ball them to death and their own defensive blunders.

Charlie "I Need a Friggin'" Manuel set the tone in the bottom of the first intentionally walking Manny Ramirez with a 2-0 lead and one out which set up a James Loney double (on a GD 0-2 pitch!) to cut the lead by one.

Next with the Phils trailing 3-2, Manuel did his best to thwart a Phils rally. After A Ryan Howard walk and a Pat Burrell single, the Phils had men at first and second and had none out. Shane Victorino, the man who would eventually tie the game with a home run, sacrificed. This was a move so bad that even Tim McCarver could tell it was bad. Let's kill a rally by handing the other team an out and bring up the caboose of my lineup.

Next, he brought in righty Pedro Feliz to bat for lefty Greg Dobbs against shaky lefty Clayton "Don't Call Me Nik" Kershaw. Torre easily countered this by bringing in right Chan Ho Park, that was sort of a push. Feliz flied out but Park gave up a wild pitch to Carlos Ruiz, tying the ballgame. After Ruiz walked, Manuel forced Torre to lift the abysmal Park for Joe Biemel, by pinch-hitting lefty Geoff Jenkins. Jenkins was then lifted for So Taguchi. I might prefer letting the pitcher bat against Park than Taguchi bat against Biemel. Whichever you prefer, two bats off the bench were wasted.

With the Phils having just tied the game 3-3, Manuel stuck with Chad Durbin in the sixth after he gave up two monster shots, a homer to Casey Blake and a gapper double to Juan Pierre of all people. Durbin next walked Matt Kemp on four pitches. Kemp did not end up scoring, but the next batter, Rafael Furcal with Scott Eyre relieving Durbin, bunted and after a Ryan Howard throwing error to first to get Furcal, Pierre scored.

The turning point was Chase Utley's great unassisted doubleplay to end the inning. Crybaby Martin lined to Utley and he won a foot race—somehow—with Rafael Furcal to get back to the bag for the final out.

Then Torre's ill-advised moves came to the fore. Earlier in the game, he made some questionable calls first putting a slight lead in the young Kershaw's hands when Derek Lowe had just had a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. Next, Torre turned to Park. But his worst move may have been to lift Hong-Chih Kuo, who had been dominate but gave up a walk to Howard, in favor of Cory Wade. Wade then gave up the game-tying home run to Shane Victorino and what turned out to be the winning run in the form of a Carlos Ruiz single to left. Finally, Torre turned to closer Jonathan Broxton, who promptly lost the game on a tremendous shot by Matt Stairs to the right field bleachers in Long Beach.

Manuel then turned to closer Brad Lidge with two out in the eighth, and suddenly it looked like the Phils would fall apart again. Ramirez doubled next and a wildpitch strikeout left Crybaby Martin on first and Ramirez at third. But Lidge get the next four men out to save it.

The Phils now go into game five with Cole Hamels who has looked completely the ace this postseason against Chad Billingsley, who the Phils plastered last time out. Also, teams leading three games to one in a seven-game series have historically won 83% of the time (54-11), and that's including teams who did not have the last two games at home.

I just hope the put the Dodgers away early in Wednesday. I'm going to have a heart attack if they have another one like tonight's ballgame. I just hope he doesn't bunt Victorino again.

2008-10-13 23:51:43
1.   clopez
Nice post. I like the duodenum reference. Just remember that every rational baseball fan agrees that you really mean Crybaby Victorino.
2008-10-14 03:27:57
2.   williamnyy23
1 Crybaby Victorino? You can't be serious...Victorino has proven his mettle in these playoffs. In so many big spots, he seems to rally the Phillies. Next time, maybe the Dodgers should try to head hunt against someone who isn't going to get up off the mat and beat them.
2008-10-14 09:19:50
3.   Rainman
No, he definitely meant Victorino... after all, who whines about the inevitable retaliation when it happens after your team has thrown at not one but two of the opposition's best hitters? And what right does he have to complain about getting pitched high and tight when both Martin and Ramirez got their faces buzzed by Phils pitching? Victorino should have just pretended to be a man and accept his dusting... but no, he had to run his mouth to a pitcher who was just doing his job. Trash.
2008-10-14 09:40:35
4.   clopez
Victorino has absolutely proven his mettle this series. He's been fantastic, torching the Dodgers seemingly at every turn. That said, he was perceived to be the real crybaby Sunday night by baseball fans everywhere except Philly.

Every Phillie has said they were expecting something in return. Why would that be? Because they were throwing at the Dodgers repeatedly (and no, nobody cares about curve balls at the knees!) The ball comes in way over his head and instead of just taking the message he throws a theatrical tantrum and then continues it after the game with Ken Rosenthal. Embarrassing. What a crybaby... A crybaby whose hot bat I wish the Dodgers could match in their lineup right now.

2008-10-14 11:37:57
5.   underdog
I actually like Victorino, I like the way he plays. He hadn't really done much this series until last night, and I'm not sure why Fox needs to show us two different Shane montages, or spend five minutes showing him in the dugout, but I don't really have a problem with him. I have a problem with Mike continuing to characterize Russell Martin as a "crybaby" though. How about neither of them being categorized that way?

Any scout, or any beat reporter who has seen the Dodgers play at all would think Martin would be about the last person to be called a crybaby. And I thought his quotes following that game were pretty spot-on.

It would be nice if Mike would stop letting that 12 year old boy write these columns this week and step back in.

2008-10-14 15:33:55
6.   fordprefect
Victorino, the Cryin' Hawaiian.
2008-10-14 16:52:53
7.   capdodger
Victorino is a pussy. Don't chatter at the pitcher after you tap out 3U. He's supposed to be there. He doesn't want to talk to you.
2008-10-14 22:40:05
8.   AshburnAlley
I'll bet that Cory Wade doesn't want to talk to him, either.

Broxton throws pretty hard, doesn't he? Stairs' ball still hasn't come down.

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