Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Game 5 Preview: Padilla vs. Hamels

Tonight, our Philadelphia Phillies have a chance to clinch their 2nd straight National League Pennant. After Monday's thrilling, walk-off win, the anticipation for tonight's game couldn't be higher. Charlie Manuel will send last October's hero, Cole Hamels, to the mound. Joe Torre and the Dodgers? They counter with Vicente Padilla.

Now I understand that Padilla pitched outstanding in Game 2, holding the Phillies to only one run over 7.1 innings. He certainly has the raw stuff to dominate any lineup and he has been quite hot over the last month.

But honestly, I don't care. If someone told you, in April, that all the Phillies had to do to make the World Series was beat Vicente Padilla, at home, with Cole Hamels on the mound...well, would anyone have turned that down? I didn't think so.

So Phillies fans, be confident. Be excited. And most of all, get ready to celebrate.

With that, I'll leave you with three things you need to know about tonight's game:

Three Things You Need to Know

1) The Phillies have had a chance to clinch a postseason series at home only four times in their 128-year history. In the 1980 World Series, the 1983 NLCS, the 1993 NLCS and the 2008 World Series. They are 4-0 in those games.

2) Vicente Padilla pitched in Citizens Bank Park in both 2004 and 2005. Over those two years he made 26 starts, pitched to a 5.00 ERA and gave up a whopping 28 ding-dongs. Last time I checked, that's awful. So, while he has been pitching well of late, his history in this park is working against him.

3) Even after his shaky Game 1 start, Cole Hamels is still 5-0 with a career 2.19 ERA against the Dodgers. Oh, and he took the ball for clinching games in both the NLCS and World Series last year. The Phillies won both times.

Folks, the numbers don't lie. The Phillies have an excellent chance of winning this game tonight. The offense is coming up huge in big spots and the starting pitching has been excellent this postseason.

But, again, this team is about so much more than numbers. They just simply know how to win.

So, as nervous as I always am, I can't doubt this team. I'll be amongst the 46,000+ tonight at CBP. Game 5 is theirs for the taking. Go get it boys.

Go Phillies.

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