Heading into the National League Championship Series, the buzz around Philadelphia is about the nerves on the mend from the Phillies-Rockies NLDS. And those nerves don’t look like they are going to have an easy road ahead. The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the NLCS boasting the best record in the NL with a 95-67 record, finishing two games ahead of the Phillies.
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Game 1 is slated for 8:07 p.m. on Thursday. That’s about the only thing set in stone right now for the Dodgers. With starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda returning after taking a line drive to the cheek bone in August, the Dodgers have six starting pitchers vying for four spots. Two of the starters, Vicente Padilla and Randy Wolf, anchored the Phillies pitching staff during the early 2000s, when people started looking ahead to “next season” by mid-May. The other four, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Garland, and Kuroda, are all solid pitchers who could make a big impact on the series. The Dodgers come into the NLCS with a stronger bullpen than the 2008 squad, but more or less a similar lineup with just another year under theirs belts.
After another Brad Lidge blown save last night, the Phillies needed a win this afternoon to split a four-game series at the Houston Astros. However, the offensive funk struck again for the Phillies as they lost their third straight game to the Astros, 3 to 4.
Coming off of 19 straight scoreless innings, fans were hoping Cole Hamels would able to complete his third straight shutout. While he looked good early on, Hamels was roughed up with a three-spot in the fifth inning, and ended up lasting six innings, allowing four earned runs, striking out six and walking two on his way to earning the loss. Former Phillie Michael Bourn proved to be the bane of existence for the Fightins’, as his stolen bases in the fourth and fifth innings led to two runs that were the difference in the final score. There were a few bright spots in today’s game however, as Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco, and Jayson Werth all had solo home runs today. Continue reading
After Cole Hamels’ stellar pitching performance last night, the Giants proved that turnabout’s fair play as the Giants took advantage of their own good pitching and took one from the Phils by a score of 4-0.
Tonight’s loss revealed the offensive drought that the Phillies have been in for the past three series. Since the beginning of the series against the Pirates, the Phils have only scored three or more runs twice, as high-quality starting pitching has kept the lead in the NL East comfortably at seven games. Continue reading
All is right in Phillies’ land once again.
The boys from the City of Brotherly Love just wrapped up a three-game sweep over the Cubs at Wrigley to move five games up in the National League East over Atlanta and Florida (with the Marlins still left to play today). The surge comes after the Phils were swept by Florida to reduce their cushion in the East to three and a half games.
With that kind of cushion, there is one question that begs to be asked: why, with a five-run lead in today’s game, was Cliff Lee on the mound for to throw 122 pitches? Continue reading