The 2009 NLCS just ended. The Philadelphia Phillies have advanced to the World Series, and I am thoroughly enjoying the moment. Game 5 was relatively comfortable from the bottom of the 1st inning on, which was a nice respite after Game 4. Here are a few thoughts about the game and the series as a whole:
- Cole Hamels had another rough start. He struggled to locate his pitches at times. On the plus side, his curve seemed much better tonight than it has in weeks. But after being staked a nice lead he couldn’t get through five innings. That’s a problem. I’m holding out hope that he has a stellar start left for the World Series.
- Chase Utley didn’t get a hit, but he did walk. That walk means he has safely reached base in 25 consecutive postseason games, which ties the MLB record held by Boog Powell.
- In Game 5 the Phillies’ 3 and 4 hitters (Utley and Howard) combined for an 0 for 6 night with no runs batted in. Despite this the Phillies put up 10 runs. That makes me feel pretty good.
- Jimmy Rollins had a huge hit that dramatically won Game 4. In Game 5 he was hit by pitches twice. Coincidence? Rollins had never been hit twice in one game before. For the record I do not think the Dodgers were throwing at Jimmy.
- Chad Durbin pitched 1.1 innings of solid relief to get the win. He faced Manny, Kemp, Loney, and Martin at a critical time in the game and got three ground balls and a strikeout.
- I must bring up my favorite commentator from TBS once more. In the 5th inning Ron Darling made two contradictory statements. Statement 1 = A three run lead in this ballpark is nothing. (This is a stupid comment regardless of what was said after it. A three run lead is something in any ballpark.) Statement 2: How many times do you see a pitcher with a big lead struggle in the 5th inning? (The insinuation he was making is that it is common). So a three run lead is nothing, yet it is a big lead. Riiiigggghhhhhtttt.
- And my favorite topic of the postseason. The strike zone. Argh. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion called a conservative strikezone. I do not ever recall a series (regular season or postseason) having this many consecutive games with such a small strike zone. I think both teams were hurt by it, but the Dodgers more so than the Phillies. I also think that if Jamie Moyer had been on the Phillies’ roster for some reason he would have never had a chance. Saying the umpires were calling a conservative strike zone does not even do it justice. If the strike zone were an Anabaptist denomination it would be Old Order Amish, more conservative than the Mennonites, Brethren, or Hutterites. I prefer the Evangelical Mennonite strike zone.
- I’ve made a very disturbing observation about Ryan Howard during the NLCS. Before Game 4 he spoke at a press conference wearing a hat cocked slightly to one side, which I consider an abomination. I had not seen him do this before. After Game 5 he did it again. This grieves me. I have always appreciated that the Phillies do not have players on their roster who wear crooked hats. A backwards hat is fine, but crooked hats are just wrong. Thankfully Howard still wears his in a respectable manner during the game.
Congratulations to the Dodgers on a fine season. They had the best record in the NL and are a good ball club. I’d love to see the Phils tangle with them again next year in the NLCS. That’s a distinct possibility considering the nucleus of young talent they have.
So now I get to look forward to the World Series for the next week. I’m hoping we get to play the Yankees.