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10/22/09 2:43 AM ET
Offensive might pushed Phils past Dodgers
Los Angeles let down by pitching, bats in losing NLCS
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had league-leading offensive firepower that did to the Dodgers what they did to the National League all season.
"First of all we were able to score runs," Manuel said. "Our lineup is outstanding when we're hitting. We hit spurts sometimes, and of course every team does that. But at the same time, I think if you look down through our lineup, we've got guys that are dangerous, and our power shows up, even in our seventh hole. "A lot of times we win games just because of our power and the fact that we can hit the ball out of the ballpark. We need to be a little bit more consistent ... but right now for the National League I think we're outstanding, and we can stay after you, and we could put a big number on you any time during the game." The Dodgers just couldn't match the Phillies' firepower. Manny Ramirez had a two-run home run in Game 1, but those were his only two RBIs of the series. Rafael Furcal was 3-for-21 at the top of the order and did not score a run. For the series, the Dodgers batted just .194 with runners in scoring position while producing 16 runs in five games. "I think everybody did a great job," Ramirez said. "Last year was a learning experience for a lot of players. We played great, but we didn't come through this year. We played a better team." The series obviously turned in the ninth inning of Game 4. The Dodgers had a 4-3 lead with closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound and were 78-3 during the regular season when they had a lead going into the ninth inning. But the Phillies rallied to win on Jimmy Rollins' two-out, two-run double. It was the pivotal moment of the series. If the Dodgers win that game, the series goes back to Los Angeles. The Dodgers could not recover from that. Their bullpen was supposed to be their advantage but it let them down twice in crucial moments. Left-handed reliever George Sherrill gave up a three-run home run to Ibanez in Game 1 that provided the winning margin in an 8-6 loss."We have to pitch better," Torre said. "You know, whether it's the starter or the reliever, that's the one thing that's going to expose you more than anything else is being able to get those outs." The Dodgers bullpen was the best in the National League this year but their rotation wasn't bad either. Dodgers starters had a 3.58 ERA during the season, tied for second-best in the league. Torre also had time to set his rotation any way he wanted. The Dodgers swept the Cardinals in the first round, giving Torre four days to line up his starters for the NLCS. But just about every big decision he made did not work out and the Dodgers. He went with Clayton Kershaw in the first game and the 21-year-old left-hander couldn't get through the fifth, giving up five runs. Torre went with Hiroki Kuroda, who missed the NL Division Series with a herniated disk in his neck, in Game 3 instead of activating Jon Garland, who had a 2.72 ERA in six September starts and who also pitched well for the White Sox in the 2005 playoffs. Kuroda was knocked out in the second inning. Other than a brilliant pitching performance by Vicente Padilla in Game 2, little went right for the Dodgers in this series. The Phillies were clearly better, especially at the plate. "I think we know now that we belong," Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake said. "We're a good team. We belong here. We have that confidence. Playing in the postseason two straight years will certainly help us. We just need to find a way to get over the top."
Back so soon?
|2000||Yankees||Lost to Diamondbacks|
|1995||Braves||Lost to Yankees|
|1992||Blue Jays||Defeated Phillies|
|1989||A's||Lost to Reds|
|1970||Orioles||Lost to Pirates|
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.