The Phillies-Dodgers Game 1 certainly went down to the end, although the Phillies-Dodgers game should have been a blowout for the Phils. Instead, even after two big innings, the Phillies-Dodgers Game 1 went right down to the wire. Once more, the Phillies can’t do anything without making it a high wire act, and against the Dodgers, the Phillies almost fell off more than once. However, somehow, someway, the Phillies-Dodgers Game 1 had the champions steal homefield advantage, with an 8-6 win.
The Phillies and Dodgers didn’t really get started until the fifth inning, as the Dodgers were leading 1-0, and Clayton Kershaw was cruising for Los Angeles. But things turned when Carlos Ruiz got a three run home run, and Ryan Howard chased Kershaw out with a two run double. Things should have been easy from then on in for Cole Hamels and the Phillies.
Instead, the Phillies-Dodgers opener only got started from there, after a failed double play and a two run Manny Ramirez home run in the fifth. The Dodgers came oh-so-close to taking the lead in the next two innings, and given the Phillies’ bullpen struggles, it wouldn’t have been a shock.
But J.A. Happ got pushed to the absolute limit with the bases loaded in the sixth, and got out of it. Then Chan Ho Park came back from a month’s absence and got three straight big outs in the seventh. Ryan Madson fared much worse, giving up four hits and two runs in the eighth – but by then, the Phillies went up 8-4 on a Raul Ibanez home run.
Philadelphia is making a habit of hitting tough relievers this postseason. Rockies closer Huston Street only blew two saves in the regular season, and was torched by the Phillies in the NLDS. George Sherrill had been unhittable since coming to Los Angeles, giving up two earned runs in two months – then he gave up three on one swing to Ibanez. As it turned out, the Phillies needed every run.
The Phillies-Dodgers epic Game 1 had both teams drain their bullpen, and the Phillies barely hung on with theirs. Yet although Cole Hamels is still struggling, and Ryan Madson has been torched in his last two appearances, Brad Lidge remained on a roll by getting another save. In the end, although Philadelphia may have had no business winning Game 1, they still did it, and stole home field from Los Angeles.
For the Phillies-Dodgers Game 2, both teams only have until 4 p.m. est later today to recover. Pedro Martinez and Vicente Padilla will probably do both teams a big favor if they pitch deep into Game 2. If Martinez can do that, and if the Phillies steal another game, they go up 2-0 with Cliff Lee going in Game 3 in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia fans may have suffered at least 20 heart attacks per inning tonight, after nearly blowing 5-1 and 8-4 leads. Every time the team has had a big inning this postseason, they give the other team life in the next half-inning. But that may be the only way the Phillies-Dodgers series can go, and it’s going okay for Philadelphia so far – just barely.
Associated Press- “Homer-happy Phils beat Dodgers 8-6 in NLCS opener” www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hS6GVWdpJ3GDHMMVEjQkdRpM79tQD9BBV8382