Friday, October 16, 2009

NLCS - Game One Diary

I honestly thought that after the Phillies brought home the World Series trophy last year, I’d calm down just a little while watching these games. I was wrong. I’m still a total head case, only now I have an insatiable need for winning…again. To be honest, it’s really not too good for my health. But you know what, that’s exactly what makes this Phillies team so damn good. They have a desire, a need, an addiction even, to winning. And that is why, going into this series, I’m eerily calm.

So with that, here it goes…coming to you live (well it was live yesterday), it’s the 2009 NLCS Game 1 Diary (time stamps at the beginning of each half inning, since I was wayyyyy to lazy to do more than that).


I turn on the screen to the lineups…and Craig Sager. Honestly, this guy is great. He knows his suits are ridiculous, he knows people know that he has no idea what he’s talking about. But the dude has an awesome job, and gets paid handsomely to do it. I give him credit.

Kershaw is walking around the mound, looks calm. Hopefully that changes.

First pitch strike. Makes sense. Pop up by Rollins for the first out. Also makes sense. This damn Phillies team leads the major in pop-ups (I don’t actually have that statistic, but it sure feels like it’s true). Victorino is the greatest offender of them all, the damn guy pops-up every other at-bat.

And with that, Victorino singles to left. Of course he does. I swear to god the guy knows I don’t like him. (Now before you scream at me, know this - I’ve never liked Victorino, not since Day 1. The guy makes too many mental errors and I honestly don’t think he has any approach at the plate. But he plays great defense and they won a World Series with him, so I admit he isn’t going anywhere.)

Utley deeeeeeeeep fly out. Looked good off the bat. Good sign, I see good things from Utley this series. He needs his career defining postseason series. My guess, it’s about to happen.

And now you see why I hate Victorino. Gets picked off first, taking the bat completely out of Howard’s hands. I need a beer.


I’m back with a beer. All I have is Miller Lite, so it will have to do. On a side note, I guarantee that Lopez Tonight will blow. George Lopez is almost as bad as Carlos Mencia, and everyone know that Carlos Mencia is basically the worst person ever put on TV (a close 2nd behind Rosie O’ Donnell).

Ok, let’s go Cole. I’m looking for command here, strikes. Two pitches, fly out. I’ll take it. Honestly, I’m not sure what was wrong with Cole this year. Could have been any number of things: too many innings last year, too much love too soon, or injury. Who knows. But whatever it was, hopefully it’s behind him. The Phillies can’t win this series, or the World Series, without the Hamels of ’08.

Manny is up with a man on. I’m not sure how I feel about Manny this year. I mean, the guy certainly wasn’t the hitter he was last year, but could you blame him? He was caught cheating, something that ruins most careers. So while it’s probably natural to feel a little more comfortable with him at the plate this year than last, I still don’t like it.

Long at-bat. Hamels is throwing strikes though, which is a good sign overall. Manny down swinging, big out for Cole. If you throw that many pitches to one guy, you better get him.

Kemp singles, two on now. Casey Blake looks ridiculous with his beard. Honestly, shave dude. I know that you’ve pretty much always had a beard (I think) but you just look silly. Most guys with a beard seem tough, it makes Blake look gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And with that, Blake pops-out. End of one, no score. I feel a big inning coming for the Phils.


Kershaw’s stuff is nasty. He’s a damn good young pitcher, this won’t be easy. Howard takes him to the wall though, he just missed it. A shot to Cole in the dugout, he looks distant. I’m hoping he’s just thinking about all the strikeouts he’s about the get, and not his kid. Oh and the damn kids name is Caleb. I hate people.

Werth strikes out looking. Same with Ibanez. I wish I was watching FlashForward.

Captain Morgan is telling people there are “40 shots in this bottle…” First off, who the hell is doing shots of Captain Morgan? It’s a spiced rum, it’s for girly summer drinks, not multiple shots. Listen guys, you only do shots of three liquors:

1) Tequila (the mother of all shots)
2) Whisky (because you’re a man)
3) Jager (causes bad decisions)

That’s it.


Loney goes deep. Crap. 1-0 bad guys. I swear Loney only hits homers off the Phillies. The guy hit two in one game against them earlier this year, I just don’t get it. Line drive to center is scary of the bat, but Victorino gets there. Cole needs to get some quick outs here, so he can get back to the dugout and regroup. Don’t let the big inning happen. Far too often he gives up the big inning, since he pitches so much on rhythm. He hasn’t found that rhythm yet, hopefully he does.

I do not like this. Hamels loses it and walks the pitcher. You absolutely can’t do that with two outs, no excuses. When he’s not composed, he doesn’t have a chance. But he’s out of the inning with no further damage. I need another beer.


Phillies need some runs. Not confident that Pedro Feliz is going to get them. I like Feliz, I do, and his defense has saved more runs than I care to know. But I’d really like a more productive bat at third base, someone who gets on base more than 30% (winking at you too, Jimmy Rollins). Not sure what they do in the off-season with him, since he has a very manageable five million option. But that’s for another day, after another title.

Good sequence, Ruiz turns the lineup over. Rollins needs a clutch hit, he’s been too cold this playoffs. Nothing doing, another quick inning. Still confident though, I just don’t see this team losing this game. Not on this stage, not against this team.

There are so many bad TV commercials it’s alarming. As someone who does advertising as a job (I refuse to call it a career) it really upsets me. More on this, again, at a later date. Beer time.


Cole is back on the mound, Ethier up. Cole’s changeup has looked good so far. He still doesn’t use the curveball enough, he absolutely needs to work on that pitch. It’s the only thing standing between him and a Cy-Young year, a reliable third pitch. Good strikeout for Cole, he needed that. Especially with Manny on-deck.

I hate these dugout interviews, they add nothing to the game. I’d rather they interview an opposing fan at the game, or an usher. It at least has the opportunity to be comical then. What is the pitching coach going to honestly tell you?

Bad TBS Announcer: “And now Rich Dubee, pitching coach of the Phillies. Rich, thanks for joining us, how does Cole look so far tonight.”

Dubee: “He’s given up a run and a few hits already. Walked the pitcher. I’ve seen better.”

TBS: “What is his game plan today? He’s had good success against the Dodgers in the past.”

Dubee: “Do you realize his wife posed nude in Playboy? Half the males in this stadium have seen his wife’s tits.”

TBS: “……”

End of the inning. I have to pee.


Two straight pop-ups. So many damn pop-ups. Again, another bad manager interview. No one cares. However, I was intrigued today that Joe Torre denied the Peter Gammons report that each day with the Dodger is a “living hell.” I’m pretty sure Peter Gammons knows the truth, always. The guy knows everyone, and I don’t think anyone has the balls to lie to Peter Gammons, lest he spit on them. So, yes, Joe Torre, your life is a “living hell.” Hopefully the Phillies can make it worse.

Howard walks. I don’t know how, but he does. I’m pretty sure he just struck out twice, but I’ll take it. As I type this, Buck Martinez says the same thing. I’m a better analyst than Buck Martinez, and drinker.

Kershaw is getting a little wild. Werth needs to look for something to drive here. Fastball middle in. Put it in left field…

Wow. Fastball middle in. Just missed a homerun, warning track shot again. Third this game for the Phils. Yet again, I’m a better analyst than Buck Martinez. I’m frustrated now.


Bottom of the 4th. Cole needs to find a rhythm, get through a couple quick innings. Ideally he gives them at least seven innings tonight. It might take that long to get to Kershaw.

Another K, good pitch. He’s deadly when he gets ahead in the count; he needs to keep doing that, and he quickly falls behind Loney. I swear I’m a sports psychic.

Quick check of Facebook. Have a video of some weird muscular kid. I’ll post the link later. I’m always looking for a good video; I spend most of my day doing so. People should spend about 15 minutes a day on YouTube, at least. It’s good for you. There are a lot of hilarious things out there and it’s better than working.

Hamels gets out of the inning quickly. 1-2-3. He looks like he has found a groove. Let’s hope he keeps it for awhile.


Ibanez leads off with a single. His bat has been good all playoffs, that’s a great sign starting this series. He’s hits lefties well, so he’ll need to continue that with all the power lefties the Dodgers can throw at you. Ibanez is the kind of guy who gets hot and stays hot for an extended period of time. Obviously what he did from April – June showed that, but he had been like that even in Seattle.

Ibanez moves up to second on a passed ball. 3-1 count to Feliz. Look for another fastball, anything else, lay off.

Nice, another walk. Kershaw’s third. His stuff is nasty, but he’s wild, which is to be expected from a 21-year-old. Senior Octubre at bat. He owns October, it’s proven. Keep the ball in the air, just stay away from a double play.


Honestly, he’s the real unsung hero of this team. He’s been getting big hits for the last month. Hell, for the last year. I love him. 3-1 on his three-run ding-dong. I love the big hits this team gets. Every time they need one, they get one.

Four pitch walk to Hamels. This needs to be a big inning; you may not get another opportunity once you get into that bullpen. Look for a strike and drive it. I’d like to see a good at-bat from Rollins right now.

Chopper to third isn’t what I wanted, but it’s only out number one.

Victorino needs to come through here. Of course that means quickly fall behind 0-2. Strikeout, but Rollins goes to second. Come on Chase, big at-bat here. I’d feel much more confident with a three-run lead.

Good patience by Utley. He’s put some good swings on the ball tonight; he’s seeing the ball well this postseason. Walk. Howard up now. This has to force Joe Torre’s hand here. I doubt he lets Howard face Kershaw.

But he will. If I’m Howard here, I sit fastball. Nothing to lose, just wait for your pitch or walk.

I am a golden god! Howard bangs a double to the corner, two more runs. Huge hit. 5-1 is huge, and that will end Kershaw’s night. He seemed dialed-in, but he started to over pitch in that inning. Again, that is what you expect from a 21-year old. Beer refill, I’ll be back.

Werth flys out, but I’ll take it. The big inning, exactly what the Phillies are known for. I friggin’ love this damn team.


Here is what you want from Cole, another 2+ innings. Just get into the 7th, I trust the bullpen from there. Martin leads off with the double, just a bad pitch. He needs to get this out, can’t afford a big inning right back. Momentum is huge and I’d like to hold onto it here.

Orlando Hudson. What a year, cheap and productive. But he strikes out on four pitches because he’s Orlando Hudson. Hamels is bringing the heat tonight, his arm must feel good. He rarely gets up to 95, but I’ve seen him get there a few times tonight. That’s a great sign.

Single to right, but Martin is held. Gotta love the respect for the outfield arms the Phillies have, yet another reason to love this team. Ethier is a scary hitter right here though, just don’t give him anything to hit. Make him work; make him hit a good pitch. I wouldn’t be surprised if Furcal ran here too, it would make sense. Hamels has a decent move, but can be run on.

3-1 count to Ethier. This is huge at-bat. Bases loaded with Manny would be scary, but I see a double play.

Almost a double play, bad play all around. Rollins has to get that clean, had a chance to get out of the inning without trouble, and Utley has to hold that throw once the timing gets messed up. Manny up. I’ll be back when this is over.


Mistakes will kill you, and that missed double play opportunity stings big time. Manny hit a good pitch though, it was low, not an easy pitch to take deep like that. But he’s a special hitter and they’ll do that from time to time. Hamels obviously was done mentally after Utley’s error. He doesn’t rebound well from that kind of a problem in an inning. I wouldn’t be surprised, if a guy or two gets on next inning, if that is the last we see of him.

Oh well, he comes another goddamn close game. There goes my heart. Beer.


Belisario is on the hill now. He’s very good. It would be good to at least turn over the lineup here. Get a guy on. Slow the momentum somewhat.

Three quick outs. Exact opposite of what we needed. Not good. Let’s do it right back.


This is a huge inning. Hamels needs to find his rhythm again, get some quick outs. No base runners. Again, I go back to momentum, it’s huge. You can’t understate it, especially in baseball. Pitchers pitch differently with momentum, hitters hit differently. A quick inning slows down the Dodger momentum and let’s them know they’ll need to work for this game.

Loney get a hit with one away. I’m not sure how long Manuel lets Hamels go. He leads off next inning, so the options aren’t as good as you’d like them to be. You’ll need to burn a pitcher here if you pull Hamels. He just hit 100 pitches. He needs to attack Belliard here, with the changeup. Pull a string, get a K. Trust me.

He shakes off the changeup, I don’t like that. Looks like a long at-bat, he rarely misses bats with the fastball. Another single. I think this is it for Hamels, it has to be.

Hamels is out; we need the bullpen to be big here. For the most part they pitched well in the Rockies series, outside of Madson in Game 4.

Durbin is in. Just don’t walk anyone, keep throwing strikes. A double play here would be huge, get out of inning without any damage.

Scary line drive, but right to Werth. Huge catch.

Thome is up. Happ is coming in. It’s going to be a chess match from here on out, with neither starter getting through six. Torre has more bullets to fire here, that is without a doubt. We’ll need a great night from the pen if the Phillies are going to win today. I have to hope they’re up for it.

Just don’t give up a pitch to hit here. Walk him if you need to, walks are better than home runs.

Ok, maybe I lied. Bases loaded. Timeout. Huh? Apparently Joe Torre is trying to do his best Andy Reid impression. Who the hell calls a timeout in baseball? I swear this crap only happens in Phillies games.

Furcal is up with the bases loaded. Need to throw strikes now, but hit the corners. Furcal doesn’t really strikeout much, so this ball is going to go in play. I’m having a heart attack, yep, definitely a heart attack.

Wow. Great job Happ. I need another beer.

Onto the 7th.


Kuo is on. Incredible stuff for this guy, lefties can’t even touch him. This guy just threw a filthy pitch; I’m not a fan of him. Cairo is a smart move here; you need to save Francisco for later, for defense in left. Cairo is down on strikes.

Quick cut to tomorrow’s game, damn 4:00 start. I’ll see about none of that game. Whatever, nothing you can do.

This Phillies team needs another spark; they’re only going to see lefties for the next two innings. Rollins singles, great hit. Wonder if they send him here.

Victorino swings away at a first pitch slider. Honestly, learn how to think about an at-bat. Swings at the second pitch, chopper to third. Kuo has thrown balls, take a pitch or two. Ever.

Utley hits lefties better than people think; he actually hit them better than he hit righties this year. His swing helps him, since it’s short and compact. I’m starting to get way too nervous; another run here would really help me out.

That was not a strike. First real bad strike call all night. Strike out.

The Phillies are going to need to keep the Dodgers at 4. They aren’t scoring again says the baseball golden god.


I think it’s important to mention, that whenever they cut to a shot in the announcer booth, things get awkward. This is true of really any sports broadcast, especially those that feature Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who have slept with each other on many occasions. Like clockwork some bad joke gets made, there is some forced laughter, no talks for three seconds and then small part of me dies inside.

Bastardo. I don’t like it. Ethier does, and doubles to right. Still don’t understand why he’s on the roster, I’d rather a good righthander face a lefty than a bad lefthander. But whatever.

Chan Ho Park is in. Manny is up. This game has 6-5 written all over it. Remember, fastballs to Manny. If he hits a fastball, tough luck. But this guy kills off-speed stuff and breaking pitches (non-Tim Lincecum ones). Always has, always will.

Manny looks dialed in. He’s officially scary again, but Park gets him. Nice inside pitch, exactly what you need to do. Make him turn on a fastball, I’m not sure he can do it right now. Got him.

I really like Matt Kemp, he’s a very good player. Hits for power, runs with speed, plays great defense. He’s one of those “5-tool” guys that scouts love and touch themselves at night to. But you can get him out, and Park needs to pitch smart here. Love the last pitch, a high fastball. If you can hit a 96 MPH fastball letter high, you’re a better man than Matt Kemp.

Park has made some big pitches here. 1-2 to Blake. I’d like to see him get him to chase, nothing to hit for this next pitch. Almost hits him up and in. Now go away, it’s tried and true.

Groundout to second. 6 more outs. Madson…then…Lidge?

Come on bullpen!!!!

(I have to vomit, I’ll be back).


Boy, how much things can change in on year. One year ago there would be no worries right now, with Madson and Lidge coming in to pitch. But now, everyone in the Delaware Valley is on oxygen right now.

Sherrill walks Howard. Boy is Sherrill fat. I honestly never knew what the guy looked like when he was in Baltimore, but now that I do, I’m hardly impressed.

Walks Werth too. That’s what happens when you pitch in low-pressure Seattle and Baltimore you’re whole career. When you get the playoffs, you don’t know what high pressure is. Two men on, no outs. The Phillies need at least a run here, preferably 10.


Hell, it isn’t 10, but I’ll take 3. Again, George Sherrill doesn’t scare me. If you blow saves in Baltimore, you’ll blows saves in the NLCS. Trust me.


Missed some time there, phone call. But Ruiz can’t get doubled off there. I know it’s a four run lead, but you can never leave runners out there. It’s just not good baseball.

Madson gives off a lead-off single, then another single. He doesn’t have it. You can tell. He’s going to have to gut this one out, his fastball is flat. This is a double play ball here, has to be. With Pierre on deck, you don’t have a choice. Another single, 8-5. Madson has to get pulled. You can’t give up 3 straight hits and be counted on in a big spot.

Dubee comes out, Madson stays in. Big batter here, you have to get this guy. Another hit and the go-ahead run will come up. Need to limit the damage here.

Big out, getting the guy at second. Pierre at first is scary, he’ll steal here, trust me. Madson needs to concentrate on the batter, and get Furcal. I don’t want Manny coming up in this inning. No f’in way. Redeem yourself Ryan, we need you here.

Shot to Brad Lidge warming up. Shoot me now. I need another beer.

Sac-fly. 8-6. Not perfect, but at this point you’ll take it.

Ethier is up, Manny on deck. I’d prefer to shoot Ethier and Manny in this situation, but considering that’s murder and not legal in the US, I suppose they’ll have to pitch to them.

Another single. Ryan Madson, I hate you. Manny up. No idea what to do here. Again, I’ll be back when this is over.

Got him. Thank the lord.

Top of the order again next inning, need I ask for another 10 runs?

I need another beer.


Broxton is in. Rollins is up. I like this match-up with Broxton for the Phillies, I might be the only guy in America that doesn’t buy into him. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but you can get to him. Rollins runs the count full, but flies to left.

I guess it’s going to be Lidge in the ninth. Not sure how I feel right now. Not sure how much more I can type. I’m seriously frightened.

Single by Victorino. I like that. Bring up the big bats against a power righthander. That’s a recipe for a homerun. Utley needs a hit. I’ll order one up now.

Utley holds up on a meatball down the middle, and then flies out to left. Here we go Howard, a little knock here would be nice. I still can’t concentrate. The bottom of the 9th is looming over me like a prostate exam (so I’ve heard).

Howard strikes out.

Bottom of the ninth, here we come.

(Insert time, I honestly was so worried I forgot to look at the clock)
Here comes Lidge. I want to trust him, but I just can’t.

It starts with Kemp, we’ll see what happens. He gets ahead of him, which is a good sign. 0-2, even better sign. Slider to finish him off? We’ll see.

Hangs a slider, single to left. Not a good pitch, but a single doesn’t kill you I guess. I’m going to pass out, I can feel it.

Double (extremely loud expletive) play. Enough said. I just punched myself.

Two quick strikes on Loney. The slider is coming.

Misses with a fastball, slider low and away. 2-2. Full count. Walk.

Honestly. Seriously. I’m tired of this.

Belliard is up. 1-0 count. Loney takes second.

Pop-out. Out 27.

Phillies win.

1-0 series lead.

Beer time. Go Pedro.

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