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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Phils Crush Dodgers For Second World Series Berth In Two Years: Phillies 10, Dodgers 4

Vicente Padilla couldn't get it done twice in the same series; no shame in that, but after handing out consecutive two-out free passes to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth's three-run jack sealed the Dodgers' fate. The closest they got to a look at the game was when James Loney belted the Dodgers' second solo shot of the game (the first was Andre Ethier's in the first) in the top of the second, making it 3-2 Dodgers; but that was it, as the Phils reclaimed a two-run lead with Pedro Feliz' solo homer.

Thereafter, nothing worked. Raul Ibanez hammered an RBI double in the fourth to make it 5-2, and the lead just kept growing from there. Dodger pitching, a strength in the regular season, simply couldn't execute, and indeed self-immolated: runs scored on a bases-loaded hit batter (Shane Victorino by George Sherrill, in the fourth, with two out, no less) and a wild pitch (Jimmy Rollins from third with Ronald Belisario facing Chase Utley in the eight, again with two out).

So it was not a good game, not even, really, an entertaining loss, as the Dodgers fought themselves, fought their control, failed to get men on base in the right order (Ethier's first-inning homer was followed by a Manny Ramirez line-drive single), failed to drive them in when they did (seven stranded baserunners), and just looked like a second-division team all the way.

That isn't to say that the Dodgers were a second-rate team all season; they earned that postseason berth, but they'll have to do it again next year, too, and there's no telling who will get better by how much. The Dodgers still have a lot to look forward to; Kershaw and Billingsley will both be older and hopefully better, and the offense is mostly young (especially the non-Manny parts of the outfield). That said, there are a lot of questions that need answers still (starting with James Loney, Vicente Padilla, and the rotation generally), but I for one am hopeful about next year, too.

And there's always Vin Scully to look forward to, too.

Just in case you were wondering, I'll be rooting for the Phils and against the Yankees in the World Series — which of course means the Yanks will take it all. I don't think the Phils have the pitching.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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