Archive for October, 2009

2009 World Series: Yankees vs. Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 26, 2009 12:04 AM Comments: 87

The Phillies quest for back-to-back World Championships will now go through the Big Apple.

The New York Yankees disposed of the Los Angeles Angels in a hard-fought six games, and will now face the Phils starting Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Game 6 was won by Andy Pettitte, who now has the most postseason victories in the history of the game (16). In addition to the fine job done by Pettitte, the Yankees offense as a whole has been clicking on all cylinders, much like the Phillies.

Alex Rodriguez is hitting a ridiculous .438 in the playoffs to this point, launching five homers to go with 12 RBI. On the other hand, slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira has struggled, hitting just .203 through the first two rounds.

For Game 1, it will be C.C. Sabathia for the Yankees going against Cliff Lee, two ex-teammates and Cy Young Winners going against each other to open the Fall Classic.

Phillies fans wanted the Yankees, and the Phillies will have to beat the best team in baseball this year; one that has 110 victories so far this season. Other than their 110 wins this season, the Yankees hold 26 World Series titles and have now won 40 AL Pennants.

Phillies. Yankees. Doesn’t get any better than this.


Myers to be added to roster?

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sun, October 25, 2009 01:02 PM Comments: 35

The Phillies have not made an official decision, but adding Brett Myers to the World Series roster is “a possibility we have to consider,” according to Ruben Amaro Jr.   Adding Myers will depend on if the Phillies want to carry 12 pitchers instead of 11.

Myers walked two batters in 2/3 of an inning during the NLDS.  He was left off the NLCS roster because he did not fully recover from a strained muscle in his throwing shoulder.  Myers continues to make  progress.  “His stuff is sharper. His breaking ball’s better. He was pretty crisp with his location. He’s throwing better. And that’s a great sign,” Amaro said.

If the Phillies end up playing the Yankees in the World Series, the Phillies’ decision may become easier.  He pitched eight inning, three-run baseball against the Yankees in May.  Additionally, he helped beat CC Sabathia in the NLDS.  As Amaro said, “well, we know he can draw a walk.”


Who Would You Rather Face? Yankees or Angels?

Posted by Amanda Orr, Sat, October 24, 2009 09:29 AM Comments: 42

Most of the country is assuming that it will be a Phillies-Yankees World Series, even though the latter isn’t there yet.  The New York Yankees had a 3-1 series lead against the Los Angeles Angels, but lost to send the series back to New York.  The 2004 American League Championship Series is still fresh in every body’s minds; the Boston Red Sox beat the Yankees despite trailing the series 3-0.  A similar comeback is possible for the Angels, but right now their backs are against the wall.

That leads to the question: who do you want the Phillies to play in the World Series?  The players don’t have a preference.  The Angels and Yankees are each elite teams;  they are playing in the ALCS for a reason.  When compared head to head, the Phillies, Angels, and Yankees are closer than you think.

The mentality of facing the Yankees is to play the better team.  The Yankees had the best record in baseball during the regular season (103-59).  To be the best, you have to beat the best.  A Phillies-Angels series may appear to be “easier” on paper, but the Angels put together a 97-65 record under Mike Scioscia.

If the Phillies were to play the Yankees, slug-fests would be expected.  The Yankees scored the most runs (915) and hit the most home runs (244) in baseball.  The Phillies weren’t far behind, ranking first in the National League in runs scored (820) and home runs (224).  In the “bandboxes” these two teams play in, high scoring games would be expected. 

The Angels’ offense shouldn’t be taken lightly.  They don’t hit many home runs (173), but they play small ball effectively.  The Angels crossed the plate 883 times this year.  They’re also a running threat, stealing 148 bases (2nd in MLB).

The Phillies had the best team ERA out of the the three (4.16).  The Yankees’ team ERA (4.26) was tied for third in the American League.  Despite having John Lackey and acquiring Scott Kazmir, the Angels are toward the bottom of the pack in team ERA (4.45).  Both the Phillies and Yankees allowed 1.25 walks and hits per innings pitched, while the Angels allowed 1.41.  The Yankees (7.82 K/9) are more of a strikeout club than the other two.

It may be thought that the Phillies have the weakest bullpen of the three, but their bullpen ERA is equivalent to the Yankees’ 3.91.  The Angels rank much lower (4.49).  With Mariano Rivera as a closer, the back end of the Yankees bullpen is automatic.  The Phillies and Angels have had trouble in the ninth.  Brad Lidge’s story is well known, but he has been great in the postseason.  Brian Fuentes led the majors in saves, but he also blew seven and allows too many base runners.  He blew a save earlier in the ALCS, and came close to doing it again on Thursday. 

The Phillies took two out of the three against the Yankees in May.  If not for a blown save, the Phillies would have swept them.  Each game was close, with the difference coming in the late innings.  The Phillies last played the Angels during interleague play in 2008.  The Angels swept them at Citizens Bank Park.

Game six of the ALCS will be played tonight.  A New York win would end it, but a loss will send it to game seven.  No matter who the Phillies play, the World Series will not be easy.  Exciting?  You got that right!


Nicole Brewer of CBS3.com Interviews Pat Gallen

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, October 23, 2009 08:18 PM Comments: 0

Click here for the videoToday our own Pat Gallen was interviewed by Nicole Brewer of CBS3 for her segment Behind The Blog: PhilliesNation.com.

What’s your favorite blog of all time?
My favorite blog of all time is probably Truehoop, which is now part of ESPN.com. It was actually the reason I got into blogging, because I love what Henry Abbott does on his site. It’s actually an NBA blog, which is how I got started, by doing my own basketball blog.

What’s the best blog post you’ve ever written?
I’d like to think that each time I write, that it’s the best I’ve done because I’m learning new things everyday, and still learning the craft of being a writer. If I had to pick one though it would probably be the piece I put up after the Phillies Game 4 win against the Dodgers, when J-Roll won it in the 9th. It was basically a breakdown of my day and just how insane it was at the ballpark. I think it captured what it’s like to be a true fan at the game.

Read more and watch the video at CBS3.com


Calling All Phillies Fans

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, October 23, 2009 04:03 PM Comments: 3

Our good friend Tim Malcolm is writing a story on the Phillies for the Times Herald-Record up in New York and he’s looking for some fans to interview. So if you’re a crazy Phillies fan, or just a regular championship-loving fan (or even just reading this post) email Tim and he’ll make you famous.

Email him at tim@philliesnation.com


“It’s Always Sunny” Pays Tribute

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 23, 2009 01:50 PM Comments: 6

In case you missed last night’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on FX, you missed a good one. In the episode, the Gang disputes a parking ticket they received after Game 5 of the World Series last season.  It’s great laughs throughout, and I looked at it as them paying homage to our team.  Couldn’t have come out at a better time, either.

Enjoy the trailer below, or watch the whole episode here.


Phillies Nation Podcast: Episode 14

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 23, 2009 02:15 AM Comments: 1

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

Joining Pat Gallen today is the TV play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, Tom McCarthy.  Pat and T-Mac talk about the NLCS, the TBS announcers, and a possible showdown with the Yankees.

McCarthy is in his second stint with the Phillies, having left in 2006 to work with the New York Mets. Tom has done extensive broadcasting for collegiate sports in his career. He currently does basketball and football play-by-play for College Sports Television (CSTV), a CBS-owned property, and is the radio voice of the Saint Joseph’s University men’s basketball team. Previously, he was the play-by-play voice for Rutgers University football (2001-03), as well as Princeton University football (1995-2000) and men’s basketball (1995-2003).

In 2000, Tom earned a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for his work on CN8 and is a two-time winner (2002 & 2004) of the Achievement in Radio Award for Best Local Sports Coverage.

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 14


Your 2009 National League Champions

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, October 22, 2009 08:51 PM Comments: 57

It’s hard to believe that after nearly 170 games, two teams that looked so even on paper could have such different performances under the bright lights of October. But such was the case in the 2009 NLCS, as the Phillies handily defeated the Dodgers.

To put it bluntly, the battle for the National League championship pitted a varsity team against a K-8 after-school baseball program. The Phillies focused, played instinctively, and treated these semi-finals as if it were just another collection of games in mid-June. The Dodgers, on the other hand, pressed, strayed away from throwing strikes in hitter’s counts, and played “not to lose.”

Held In Check

I don’t mean to disrespect the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers, for they did beat the Phillies in four of seven regular season meetings en route to finishing with the National League’s best record. They have a good nucleus of young talent (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw) that will hopefully reach their peak at the same time. But they also have young guys who appear to be declining, such as Russell Martin (the new Jason Kendall) and Chad Billingsley, as well as the rapidly aging Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal, who went 8-for-40 in the NLCS.

Furcal was supposed to be the Dodgers igniter, yet he failed to score a run in the series. Ramirez was supposed to be the middle-of-the-order run-producer extraordinaire, but he didn’t drive in a single run after the fifth inning of Game One.

Before & After

Coming into the NLCS, the Phillies appeared to have an advantage on the Dodgers, but the gap between the teams wasn’t as gigantic as these five games showed. The Phils had the more powerful offense, reliable defense, and superior starting pitching, but the Dodgers held a massive edge in the bullpen, where they sported the likes of 2009 un-hittables Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, and Hong Chih-Kuo.

Against a left-handed heavy Phillies lineup, devastating lefties Sherrill and Kuo were supposed to thrive. The Dodgers held a distinct advantage on the bench, too, which supported the rear-ends of Jim Thome, Mark Loretta, Juan Pierre, and Orlando Hudson.

Suffice it to say, Phillies absolutely pounded the oft-praised Dodgers bullpen, scoring 14 runs on 21 hits off the unit in 21 innings, while also drawing 14 huge walks. In addition to displaying a fondness of multiples of seven against LA’s relief corps, the Phillies played their brand of baseball against the Dodgers pen. They were extremely patient, worked deep counts, and executed with runners in scoring position. For five games, the entire Dodgers pitching staff looked scared and out-matched by this dynamic offense.

Playing Scared

Two single innings represented the Dodgers fear of failure in this series: the ninth inning of Game Four and the first inning of Game Five. In the final frame of Game Four, Jonathan Broxton pitched around his old nemesis Matt Stairs with one out and the bases empty, walking the lefty on four pitches. This took Broxton out of his element, as he proceeded to hit Carlos Ruiz one pitch later, and eventually surrender a game-winning two-run double to Jimmy Rollins that will forever be etched in the minds of Philly faithful.

The very next time the Dodgers sent out a pitcher and eight fielders, Vicente Padilla easily got past Rollins and Shane Victorino, but then got behind in the count to Chase Utley and refused to give in. Padilla walked Utley, then threw four pitches way out of the zone to Ryan Howard due to fear of “The Big Piece” once again carving his initials into the major-league postseason record book. Much like Broxton did with Stairs, Padilla didn’t trust his stuff enough, and paid the price when Jayson Werth blasted a three-run homer that set the tone in the Phillies clincher.

Too much blame cannot be placed on the Dodgers starting rotation or bullpen however, because it was up to the Phillies to execute – which they did, just about every single time. Sure, the Dodgers bullpen was critically acclaimed throughout the season, but if they pitched only against the Phillies, you better believe those ERAs, FIPs, and BB/K/HR rates would be vastly different.

Throwing a fastball by Chase Headley at Petco Park in mid-August is much different than attempting to get one past Chase Utley at Citizens Bank Park in October.

Charlie Manuel > Joe Torre

In between the Phillies ridiculous offensive output and Dodger pitching woes came a bunch of head-scratchers from Joe Torre that only helped the Phils. For no logical reason in particular, Torre refused to play second baseman Orlando Hudson. I understand that Ronnie Belliard had a high slugging percentage and a number of timely hits after coming to the Dodgers from the Nationals on August 30, but his hot-streak had been over for some time, and the minimal offensive advantage that Torre feels Belliard provides is undeniably negated by his inferior fielding.

Hudson’s legs, switch-hitting, and defense (even after all the injuries) are still more threatening than what Belliard provides in the 2-hole, 7-hole, or wherever else Torre felt he needed to bat his undeserved starter.

Another baffling decision was not pinch-hitting Jim Thome with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a 9-4 Phillies lead in Game Five. Torre elected to let Martin, who either has money against his team, an affinity for the Phillies and their fans, or absolutely forgot how to play baseball, strike out with one away, and then let Casey “the Grinder/Battler/insert stupid analyst cliché here” Blake ground out for the 9,000th time this series. All the while, Thome waited in the on-deck circle.

I fail to see the logic in this. Both Martin and Blake struggled in the series, and both are much worse candidates to face Ryan Madson than Thome. Even if the presence of Thome were to force Charlie Manuel to counter with Scott Eyre, isn’t Thome vs. Eyre a more favorable matchup for LA than Martin/Blake vs. Madson?

In contrast, Charlie Manuel pulled all the right strings and didn’t worry about the feelings of his players. Cole Hamels couldn’t hold big leads in Games One or Five, a la Adam Eaton, and Manuel didn’t let last year’s NLCS and World Series MVP stick around to work through it. Hamels’ effectiveness was nowhere to be found, and Manuel played the “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” card, reaping the benefits both times.

In Torre’s defense, managing is much more difficult and subject to scrutiny when you’re playing from behind in 34 out of 45 innings.

When It Rains, It Pours

A key factor in this series was the ability of the Phillies to put up crooked numbers. The Phils scored in 16 different half-innings over five games, but scored 2 runs or more in 11 of them. Meanwhile, the Dodgers scored more than one run in an inning only four times throughout the series. Why, you may ask? Because the Dodgers pitchers out-walked the Phillies 23-to-12. Six walks a game isn’t going to get it done against the Phillies – this lineup is too deadly do dilly-dally with.

From Ryan Howard to Chad Durbin

So many different Phillies stepped up in this series. Ryan Howard has had one of the most impressive postseasons in major league history, tallying an RBI in a ML-record eight consecutive playoff games.

Jimmy Rollins’ game-winning two-run double in Game Four was the most substantial swing of momentum in the series, and one that the Phillies didn’t look back from.

Jayson Werth hit three mammoth home-runs in the NLCS to set the Phillies all-time record for playoff homers, with seven.

Chase Utley reached base in every game – what else is new? He now holds the record for most consecutive playoff games reaching base safely, with 25.

Shane Victorino went 7-for-19 with a double, triple, three homers, six RBI, and four runs scored.

Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies very own Mr. October, started the scoring in Game One with a three-run big fly off Kershaw, and reached base in 11 of 19 plate appearances!

On the mound, Cliff Lee was brilliant once again, tossing eight scoreless innings, with 10 strikeouts and no walks. Through two rounds, he has now allowed a mere two runs in 24 1/3 innings pitched.

Pedro Martinez dazzled in Game Two, giving up two hits in seven shutout innings.

Brad Lidge, after allowing nearly two baserunners per inning in the regular season, saw only two Dodgers reach base in three outings.

And not to be overlooked is the stellar performance of Chad Durbin, a 2008 blessing and 2009 disappointment, who came in during four different situations (three of which were crucial) and refused to let a Dodger reach base.


What will transpire in the World Series is anyone’s guess. Predictions in sports are like TV’s in the backseat’s head-rest – they’re useless. The bullpens of the Rockies and Dodgers were each labeled as reasons for the Phillies impending demise, yet here we are, waiting one long week for the World Series.

The Phillies 1-8 hitters have disposed of every “great” reliever they’ve faced, and their pitchers have made Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, and Matt Kemp all look like different forms of Eric Bruntlett.

By the time the World Series returns to Philadelphia, the Phillies will have held baseball’s crown for over one calendar year. It doesn’t matter who or what has stood in their way during the title defense, every attempt at dethroning the Phils has been futile.

It’s like this team listens to the traffic report on the radio and hears about four-car pileups and overturned tractor trailers, but when they actually get there, the streets are clear. What’s supposed to stop them now, a fantasy baseball team with a $210 million payroll led by Joe Girardi? Or Bobby Abreu’s Angels?

I’ll believe it when I see it.


How did you party last night?

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, October 22, 2009 02:38 PM Comments: 9

Here’s how it went down at Frankford and Cottman (save the opening audio sequence from the NLDS).


Phillies Beat Dodgers, Win NL Pennant!

Posted by Amanda Orr, Thu, October 22, 2009 12:56 AM Comments: 116


This doesn’t get old!  For the first time in franchise history, the Phillies win back-to-back National League pennants.  The Phillies 10-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers sends them back to the World Series!

Andre Eithier’s solo home run put the Dodgers on the board in the first, but Jayson Werth’s three-run shot in the bottom of the inning changed the entire atmosphere.  Werth, who smacked two home runs, tipped his cap and raised his arms to the fired up crowd after a long standing ovation.  That was the attitude for the rest of the game.  The Phillies took a 3-1 lead and didn’t look back.  Even when the Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth inning, there was no one doubted that the Phillies would win.

It wasn’t a good homecoming for Vicente Padilla, who allowed six runs, while the Phillies continued to tack on runs after his departure.  Pedro Feliz and Shane Victorino each homered and Raul Ibanez added a RBI double.  Victorino caught the final out as Carlos Ruiz and Brad Lidge rejoiced on the pitcher’s mound with the rest of the team joining them.

Cole Hamels, who looked shaky in his 4.1 innings, handed over his NLCS MVP to Ryan Howard.  Howard certainly earned the honor – driving in a run in eight consecutive games (though it ended on Wednesday). Howard batted .333 with two home runs and eight RBI during the League Championship series.

Simply put, this series was amazing.  Cliff Lee’s eight inning shutout and Jimmy Rollins’ walk-off are two of the top highlights to be remembered from one of the best postseason series in franchise history.  Celebrate Philadelphia, but we still need four more wins!

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