Thursday, October 16, 2008

The National League Champs!

The Phillies are going to the World Series. I didn’t expect to write those eight words when I started this blog, but it’s such a beautiful sentence that I think I’ll be repeating it over and over for the next week until the World Series starts.

So many crazy things to consider, so much time over the next week to write about them, but here are a few random thoughts to consider after last night’s 5-1 NLCS championship victory.

Look Out, Lefty
Cole Hamels has now pitched two of the top seven postseason games in Phillies history. His line from last night: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 104 pitches (68 strikes).

As noted yesterday, he’s now the first Phillies pitcher to win three straight postseason starts. And with more of the same—meaning two good World Series outings—he could end the season just behind the legendary Steve Carlton in career Phillies postseason victories (Carlton has 6, Hamels 3).

It’s Outta Here!
With Jimmy Rollins’ first-inning home run, the 2008 Phillies moved past the 1983 Phillies for most home runs in a postseason. They’ve hit 10 in 9 games, and now trail only the 1993 Phillies (13 in 12 postseason games).

What’s surprising, though not if you’ve seen the games, is who’s not leading the charge. Ryan Howard has none and Chase Utley has one. Pat Burrell (3), Rollins (2), and Shane Victorino (2) have done the most damage.

Looking at the numbers below from every Phillies postseason, it’s amazing to consider that the 1980 Phillies hit just four postseason home runs—and went homerless in 7 of their 11 games. Mike Schmidt had a team-high of two.

Here are the Phillies all-time postseason home run leaders, thanks to the Phillies’ Larry Shenk: Lenny Dykstra (6), Greg Luzinski and Gary Matthews (5 each), Schmidt and Burrell (4 each).

2008: 10 HR in 9 games
2007: 5 HR in 3 games
1993: 13 HR in 12 games
1983: 9 HR in 9 games
1981: 4 HR in 5 games
1980: 4 HR in 11 games
1978: 5 HR in 4 games
1977: 2 HR in 4 games
1976: 1 HR in 3 games
1950: 0 HR in 4 games
1915: 1 HR in 5 games

The Game Actually Mattered
Isn’t it an odd coincidence that Brad Lidge ended up being the pitcher who decided the home-field advantage for the World Series—which now works against the Phillies?

In the 15th inning of the All-Star game—after having warmed up six times and thrown upwards of 100 pitches—Lidge allowed the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly to Texas’ Michael Young. Since the American League won the All-Star game, the AL team gets to host the World Series.

Other Philly-related quirks from that game: ex-Phillies manager Terry Francona guided the AL to the win, and Public Enemy No. 1, J.D. Drew, was the game’s MVP.

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