…to keep the Phillies out of the NLCS! After a very stressful pair of games (for me, anyway) against the Rockies at tundra-like Coors Field, the Phillies have a repeat engagement with the Dodgers for the National League Championship.
I will admit to missing the end of Game 3. I just could not keep my eyes open, and around 1:30 or so, turned the TV off in the middle of the eighth inning with the score still tied. Sacrilege, I know. My husband was already snoring by this time, and I was not feeling terribly optimistic and did not want to stay up even later if they were going to lose.
Then, I dreamed that they had won the game. Imagine my delight to wake up the next morning and find out they really had!
Game 4 thankfully came on earlier, so I didn’t have to worry about nodding off. The Phils took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, but it looked like things were about to implode after the Rockies scored 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth. I couldn’t bear to watch, so I again turned it off and proceeded to get the kids to bed.
Before settling down (glumly) to watch The Big Bang Theory – which is a really funny show, if you haven’t seen it yet – I had a few extra minutes and decided to check to see if the game was over, and to my shock saw Ryan Howard driving in the tying runs!
Me (to husband who is coming down the steps): Oh my God, Ryan Howard just hit a two-run double to tie the game!
Him: You’re kidding!
Me: No, I turned it on just in time to see it!
So of course we watched the rest of the ninth, saw Jayson Werth drive in the winning run and Brad Lidge get the final out, and went to bed happy that night.
The First Key to Victory
After many years of watching the Phillies, I’ve come to the realization that quite a few of their winning rallies coincide with my (or my husband’s) act of turning the TV off. Maybe there is a connection! While it results in our missing a lot of the excitement, I’ll try to stick with that plan for the NLCS.
The Second Key to Victory
L.A., meet my lucky shirt…
I realized that I was wearing this very shirt during all three Phillies victories (or at least the parts of them I was awake for), but not during the dreadful Cole Hamels debacle of Game 2. Where was it then, you ask? Well, it was (gasp!) in the laundry. I will not make that mistake again! I will only wash it on off days during the NLCS, which by the way, there are too many of, but that will lead me into a whole new rant.
Game 1 is tomorrow, so I better get started on that laundry!
[blogging note: You may have noticed a lack of entries from me since last week. That’s because when I am very tense about the games, I have a tendency to think not very nice things about the other team. So as everybody’s mom always said, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” Hence my silence.]
They say that “hitting is timing”.
According to Warren Spahn, “pitching is upsetting timing”.
Thanks to Cole and Heidi Hamels, we now can surmise that “timing of wife going into labor is upsetting pitching”. Cole was not sharp in yesterday’s 5-4 loss to the Rockies, giving up four runs in five innings.
Ah yes, timing. Cole Hamels, who seems to already have his whole career planned out, was certainly not thinking ahead when he and Heidi decided to engage in some baby-making, presumable back in January. Would it have been that hard to realize that January plus nine months equals new baby smack in the middle of playoffs? Maybe he was assuming the Phillies wouldn’t make it to the postseason?
(alright, yes that last paragraph was typed with tongue planted in cheek, but still…)
As for Baby Hamels, I haven’t been able to find any confirmation this morning that the baby actually arrived. Nonetheless, congrats to the new parents.
Which leads me to wonder why Charlie even decided to have Cole start this game, if labor was that imminent. Sure, we can say that professional athletes should be able to set their personal lives aside while on the field, but who knows how much that might have affected his concentration?
And then there’s Cole’s abysmal record in day games this season: 0-6 with a 5.44 ERA. What’s up with that? His performance in night games is markedly better, at 10-5 with a 3.95 ERA. No wonder he was whining to the press earlier this week about the ridiculous start times of Games 1 and 2.
So why not start Happ or Blanton? Okay, Happ had pitched two innings in the final regular season game on October 4th, but Blanton had last pitched on October 2nd. As it turned out, both Happ and Blanton were used out of the bullpen, so now the Phils have burned through three starters in one game.
That would seem to leave Pedro Martinez as the Game 3 starter, though Charlie has not yet made his decision, saying Blanton is still in the mix, according to phillies.com. Happ says he would be ready too, even though he took a liner off the leg yesterday from the first batter he faced.
Now the series moves to Denver, where the forecast for Game 3 includes temperatures in the 30’s and snow showers (!). That’s football weather, not baseball. At least I’ll be watching from the cozy comfort of my home.
Some quick thoughts on yesterday’s game, before I settle in to watch Game 2 on TV. No visual aids today.
The “August” version of Cliff Lee was in the park yesterday, going the distance as the Phils beat the Rockies 5-1. Thank goodness it wasn’t “September” Lee that showed up! Today Cole Hamels takes the mound – let’s hope we get “2008 Postseason” Cole, and not the inconsistent 2009 version.
Though it looked like a nice sunny day, the gusting, swirling winds made for some entertaining fielding. On one pop-up, the ball must have taken a U-turn while in flight, as Jimmy Rollins first ran out to short left, then abruptly ran back towards third base before making the catch. The wind also robbed Jayson Werth, and possibly Ryan Howard, of homers.
I can breathe a little easier with the Phillies victory yesterday, but if they can win today I will definitely feel more comfortable.
Speaking of TV, I despise the coverage by TBS. They seemed to be having some sort of technical difficulties yesterday, as the sound kept cutting out. I also have it on good authority from Jenn of Phillies Phollowers, who was there in person, that the crowd was REALLY LOUD. You would not have known that from the broadcast – the crowd sounds were buried in the mix, leaving the announcers all too easy to hear. Maybe I should try muting the TV and listening to the local radio broadcast :-).
The Phillies will face the Rockies in Game 1 of the NLDS on Wednesday afternoon. Quite frankly, I would rather see them face the Dodgers, but of course the recently-hot Rockies had to go and lose the final two games of the season to the Dodgers. Otherwise, the Rockies would have been the NL West champs, and the Dodgers would have been the wild-card team.
Of the four NL playoff teams, the Rockies seem to be the only one with any momentum. The Phillies, Dodgers, and Cardinals all seemed to go pretty flat after clinching their divisions. So I’d rather play against an equally flat team – despite winning the last two games, the Dodgers had lost 5 straight prior to that, while the Rockies had won 5 straight before the final two losses.
Also, if the Phillies were facing the Dodgers, we (hopefully) would not have this ridiculous 2:30-ish start time. The fans in the L.A. market don’t want to watch a game that starts before their lunch! But I guess the powers-that-be must think that the Phillies-Rockies matchup is the least desirable, therefore we get the crappy start times.
Besides, the Rockies bring back unpleasant memories. I’ve only seen the Phillies play the Rockies in person twice, and both games had outcomes that I would prefer to forget.
The first time was in 2007, and the Rockies were in town on my birthday. So we went to the game. The Rockies’ starter that night had an ERA hovering around 19 (!) at the time, which would seem to be a good thing, but that usually means the Phillies will make him look like the reincarnation of Cy Young.
After loading the bases with no outs in the top of the first, the Phillies managed to pull off a triple play, which was really cool, but things went downhill quickly from there. They ended up losing 12-0, in one of the most uninspired performances by a baseball team I have ever witnessed.
The second time was Game 2 of the NLDS later that same year. We managed to get standing-room tickets (which I will never do again – my feet were absolutely killing me by the end of the game), and this was our view:
Though the Phillies led briefly, for all purposes the game was over after the fourth inning, when Kyle Lohse gave up a grand slam to Kaz Matsui (!), not exactly a power hitter, who had hit a grand total of four home runs all season. The Rockies went on to sweep the Phillies in three games.
Which brings us to the present. The lineups are not the same, the Phillies now know what it’s like to win in the postseason, but nonetheless I still have my doubts. Just the natural Philadelphia pessimism that seems to be impossible to get rid of.
I’ll be watching on TV, back to holding my breath again, and hoping I can exhale happily later this week!
If you read my last post, you’ll recall that I was in Los Angeles. Two days later, the second leg of my business trip took my husband and I to Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies. Whereas our experience at Dodger Stadium had been sunny and warm, our visit to Coors Field turned out to be anything but that. However, it was a great night.
We were apparently following the Dodgers, as we would see them take on the Rockies on September 17, 1996.
This picture is the only one from our visit to Coors. It was not taken the night of the game we went to – note that the sky is beautiful and sunny. Less than 24 hours prior, it was dark, rainy, and cold. So rainy that I didn’t even try to take my camera to the game, which is really unlike me.
So why did we go to a rainy night game? Because this was only the second season for Coors Field, and it was still pretty hard to get tickets. I’d ordered the tickets in advance once I knew we’d be in Denver, and was only able to get Rockpile seats for the game. Still, we had the tickets and wanted to use them, considering our flight home left the next afternoon.
It hadn’t actually been raining all day, though it was looking threatening. And having just come from L.A., we didn’t have anything warm to wear. So a few hours before game time, we ended up in a Gap in downtown Denver, buying jackets with fleece linings in them.
As we left our hotel for the walk to the stadium, it was raining lightly. Once we got to the stadium it continued to rain. Game time comes, and guess what? Rain delay!
Ultimately a two-hour rain delay. Lord only knows why we waited it out, and didn’t just go back to the hotel. But we walked around and around the concourse, and eventually it was announced that the game would start. We made our way to our seats.
Not only were they in the Rockpile, the farthest section from the field, they were only a few rows from the very top of the Rockpile. But because of the delay, there were a lot of empty seats, so after an inning or two we moved down to the front of the section.
It never did really stop raining; it just sort of drizzled and misted most of the night. And even though we had our brand new fleece-lined jackets, I still froze my *ss off!
Eventually we made our way over to the first row or two of the left-center field seats. While we were there, we saw a home run hit by the Dodgers’ Tim Wallach bounce off some guy’s chest, only to be claimed by another guy sitting a few rows in front of him. The first guy tried to argue that the ball should be his because it hit him first, but to no avail.
The Rockies didn’t do much that night, losing to the Dodgers 9-0.
So what, you ask, was so great? Hideo Nomo had just pitched a no-hitter at the most hitter-friendly park in the major leagues. And we had witnessed it!
The next day was, of course, beautiful, but we had a late afternoon flight to catch. We walked around the stadium area, so I could take the above picture. A man walking down the street asked us if we wanted two tickets to that afternoon’s game, as he couldn’t use them. We said “no thanks”. After walking another block we could have kicked ourselves, having just realized that we could have gone in at least for a few innings, even if we didn’t stay for the whole game. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
Postscript: we still have the jackets we bought in Denver, and I often wear mine during the winter. And believe it or not, the price of Rockpile tickets is still the same as we paid almost 13 years ago – only $4!
Trivia Tid-Bit! Can anyone tell me what was unusual about this game? (yes, I know, but I want to see if you do)
Up next, The Ballpark In Arlington.