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Howard, Werth come up big as Phillies finish Rockies

Oct 12, 2009, 9:57 PM EDT

Ryan Howard had the go-ahead hit in the ninth Sunday. This time he settled for the game-tying two-run double and left it up to Jayson Werth to knock him in. Werth, who hit a solo homer in the sixth, did just that with a single to center and the Phillies won 5-4.
The one non-sweep in Divisional Series play featured another thrilling game Monday, with the Rockies scoring three times in the bottom of the eighth, only to have the Phillies come back with three runs in the top of the ninth and clinch the series in four games.
It was the worst possible matchup for the Rockies and then the worst-case scenario Saturday: because of the snowout that pushed back the two games in Denver one day apiece, the Phillies were going to be able to start five straight southpaws against a Colorado lineup that, at its best, features five left-handed hitters.
In the end, the Rockies did their best and got to both Cole Hamels in Game 2 and J.A. Happ in Game 3. However, they fell a little short in Game 3 anyway and they struggled mightily to solve Cliff Lee, who allowed two earned runs over 16 1/3 innings between Games 1 and 4.
So, now Divisional Series play is over, all too soon again. Is there better evidence for the need of a seven-game first round than what happened to Colorado? Baseball is a 25-man game, but the Phillies were able to win a series with one pitcher throwing 45 percent of their innings. It’s an absurd way to go about deciding the true champion. Having the best pitcher in a series should provide a nice advantage, but it’s too extreme of one in a short series filled with off days.
The Phillies have to be pretty excited with the way they’re playing as they head to Los Angeles. Their power hitters are clicking on all cylinders, and even Brad Lidge might have a little confidence back after picking up saves in back-to-back games.

  1. patrick - Oct 13, 2009 at 12:09 AM

    are you kidding me dude?
    7 game first round series?
    if the series were 7 games, the phillies just would have used lee 3 times, which is guess would be just that much more unfair according to you.
    how is it not fair that the phillies used cliff lee twice? the rockies used jimenez twice, it was just unfortunate for colorado that they couldn’t figure out lee whereas philadelphia figured out jimenez.
    what an absurd idea on your part.

  2. John - Oct 13, 2009 at 6:22 AM

    The Phillies from top to bottom are a better team than the Rockies. With that said, I salute the Rockies for their turn around season and the succes they had in making the play-offs.
    It came down to our clean up hitter (Ryan Howard) coming through 2 games in a row and their clean up hitter (Troy Tultowiski sp?) NOT coming through 2 games in a row, making the final out of the game both times and our rag-tag bullpen preserving in the end with Lidge saving the last 2 games and Street not getting the job done in the last 2 games.
    That makes 3 years in a row that the New York Mets have sat at home while the Phillies have gon on to the play-offs.
    GO PHILLIES !!

  3. Chris - Oct 13, 2009 at 6:44 AM

    OMG—they won. That is the bottom line. Would you make that statement about a football team with a great quarterback and great wide receiver? Baseball has always been played in this manner. That is why the teams spend so much money on their ace. Lee was superior, that is why he won the Cy Young. You cannot ignore, however, the offense and the rest of the defense. Was that not Ben Francisco who made that great catch and not Cliff Lee? I do not recall Cliff Lee getting on base last night. I also did not see him run to second base to catch his pick off, it looked like Jimmy Rollins had the sense to plant his glove in the perfect position and hold it. The pitcer has a great impact, but does not do everything. Get over it.

  4. Jim - Oct 13, 2009 at 6:44 AM

    Life’s unfair – whoda guessed? Go Phils!

  5. CTS - Oct 13, 2009 at 7:12 AM

    I THINK THE ROCKIES ARE A GREAT TEAM. IVE WATCHED SEVERAL OF THEIR GAMES AND WENT TO ONE. GREAT TEAM. HOWEVER, THAT IS WHY THE GAMES ARE PLAYED. I READ, JUST A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO, THAT THE PHILLIES MIGHT NOT MAKE IT BACK TO PA. NOW, SUDDENLY, IT IS “BREAK UP THE PHILLIES”?!!! WHAT IF THE DODGERS WIN IN 4? WILL WE HAVE TO ENDURE ANOTHER, OFF TARGET, STORY ABOUT “ALL” THE PROBLEMS WITH THE PHILLIES? PLEASE, SAVE THE “PROBLEM” STORY FOR THE HAPLESS CUBS. THEY SUCK. PERHAPS YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE GAME OF BASEBALL. THIS IS WHY IT EMPLOYS HUMAN UMPIRES. I DON’T AGREE, BUT THAT IS WHAT THEY DO. THIS IS WHY THEY ACTUALLY PLAY THE GAME, RATHER THAN WAITING AROUND FOR POLLS. WHY? BECAUSE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. NO ONE HAS COME BACK FROM BEING DOWN 3-0 OR 3-1? BOSTON HAS. JUST IN THE LAST FEW YEARS WE HAVE SEEN SEVERAL MONUMENTAL COMEBACKS THAT ALLOWED TEAMS TO WIN THEIR DIVISION OR A SERIES. GO WRITE ABOUT GARDENING IF YOU DONT LIKE BASBEALL.

  6. Fran - Oct 13, 2009 at 7:38 AM

    Oh please! Make the series longer (God forbid) because it’s “not fair” that the winning team had an ace pitcher–and used him? Spare me. And it’s TOTALLY UNFAIR that they had so many lefties, too. That needs to be stopped! Would you like some cheese with that whine?
    If you want to talk problems, how about the Cardinals? All season, it’s been MVP Pujols, MVP Pujols, MVP Pujols. And the “unbeatable” Chris Carpenter. Talk about coming up small when it counts!
    And if, just if, perhaps, maybe, when the stars and planets align and all the other teams sweep, and the Yankees or the Red Sox aren’t playing and it’s not snowing in the Rockies, and there’s no football game, the Phillies might actually get to play a game in semi-prime time. Remind me again, who won the Series last year? And the Eastern Division for the third straight year? Oh yeah, that’s right….

  7. Crash - Oct 13, 2009 at 8:34 AM

    The rules change in the playoffs from the regular season. During the season the team with the best 5 man staff wins. In post season, teams only need a 4 staff. Keep the Division Series 5 games and eliminate travel days, except coast to coast. Cut the LCS to 5 games and eliminate travel days, except coast to coast. Keep the World Series 7 games. And let’s have some sane individual negotiate with TV and not cave in.
    Phils pitched well and hit when they had to. Their big guy came through. (“Get me to the plate, boys.”) The Rockies closer didn’t do his job and their big guy didn’t hit when it mattered most through out the series.

  8. Mark - Oct 13, 2009 at 8:53 AM

    The Phillies road record was off the scale…..LA’s starting pitching Wolf-Padilla…who ever.. = a Phillies sweep

  9. Jeff - Oct 13, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but when Lee left the game he was on the hook for the loss. Don’t blame the Rockies losing solely on an inability to figure out Lee… the Rockies couldn’t hold on to their lead. That said, when did it become unfair to throw your ace out for two games in a series?

  10. Warren - Oct 13, 2009 at 9:30 AM

    Congrats to the Phillies, but this series (and the AL divisional) showed that baseball really needs to implement instant replay. At least five obvious bad calls (not even difficult calls) were made and shown on national TV in the Colorado-Philadelphia series, one of which cost the Rockies Game 3. That was the foul ball that put the runner on third so what would have been the third out was a sacrifice fly. I am not saying that the bad calls cost Colorado the series, but they contributed. Instant replay will not solve the putrid ball and strike umpiring, but at least it would do something about the poor officiating out in the field.

  11. Fran - Oct 13, 2009 at 9:30 AM

    Wolf/Padilla? So it’s ex-Phillies vs. Phillies for the first two games? Yikes!

  12. Shannon77 - Oct 13, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    This writer should not write about baseball….he knows nothing about the game. Maybe something that is more touch-feely would suit his disposition. Phils were the better team and came through when they needed to. Randy Wolf used to be a Phils pitcher…anyone think the Wolf-Pack is going to show up in Philly?

  13. A-Dog - Oct 13, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    The phillies don’t play in prime time, because no one outside philly gives a crap about the team. Yeah, they may be the defending champs, but that doesn’t mean anyone cares. We can only hope that they lose to the Dodgers, so we don’t have to suffer from another low rated, boring series.

  14. JT - Oct 13, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    who wrote this blog??? A Rockies fan or just another Philly hater. Seems every time the Phillies win there is a reason why the other team, “Should Have Won”..B.S. The Phils tried to give it to the Rockies and despite bad calls, who was pitching, how unfair the number of games there are the Rockies had a 2 run lead heading into the 9th. The Phils believed they could still win and delivered pretty much end of story, that is why you play the game until the very end!!

  15. AhCmon25 - Oct 13, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    I care.

  16. Melba - Oct 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    thank god everyone here is on the same page. i was beginning to think i was crazy. whoever wrote this is apparently new to baseball…ask anyone who knows anything about the game, and they’ll tell you that in the postseason, pitching means EVERYTHING. so (gasp) a phillies pitcher outperformed a rockies pitcher over two starts and the phillies (gasp) won the series. this is unfair how?
    and i love how lee throwing ’45%’ of the innings is construed by the writer as a bad thing. how about giving an ace his due for throwing two nearly complete games with a handful of hits? like, hello…that’s a GOOD THING. really confused as to how it’s portrayed as bad. baffling.

  17. Dave - Oct 13, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    I happen to agree the division series should be 7 games, but not for your reasoning. I just don’t like to see a team get lucky and knock a better team out.
    However, your reasoning is completely wrong. There was nothing unfair here. Both teams used their ace 2x.
    Ironic part of this article is that the last 2 games of this series was won by Phillies offense, not their pitching. Phillies hitting got to the Rockies pitching late and won the game. All the Rockies had to do was get some outs.
    The defending champs are just better in every aspect of the game. If this was a 7 game series it would have been over in 5.

  18. Omega - Oct 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    As a Rockies fan, my hat is off to the Phillies for a great series and two of the best baseball games I have seen in my life the last two nights.
    The Phillies outpitched and outhit the Rockies, plain and simple. That is why the Phillies are advancing to the LCS and the Rockies are making vacation plans. Nothing overtly fair or un-fair about that, that is just baseball and life.
    Now, who do I root for in the NLCS? The dreaded divison rivals who denied my boys first place? or the dreaded Eastern Division rivals who knocked us out of the playoffs?
    I think with the four teams remaining we are in for a pretty derned good LCS round and World Series.
    And the guy who writes this blog should go back to practicing law and leave the real baseball fans alone.

  19. Hank - Oct 13, 2009 at 12:26 PM

    Bwah-bwah-bwah! So the Phils were able to take advantage of the situation just like any team would given the same circumstances. Geez, haven’t read or heard anything about making the Division Series a 7 game set after the other teams won their series.
    How’s this. Let’s make the defending World Series Champ the featured team in the playoffs. No more 2:30pm starts mid-week. No more 10:07pm starts. No more let’s have a re-do or change the format. Has a defending World Series Champion ever been so disrespected than the Phillies?
    Go Figthin’s!!

  20. Mike Z - Oct 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    Of the 60 LDS that has been played from 1995 to this 2009 season 13 of those have gone to a series deciding game 5. Compare that to the 26 3 game sweeps that have happened over the past 15 seasons of LDS play including 2009. That means that 43.3% of all LDS has been won with the winning team using 3 different pitchers only once to win the series.
    By those numbers I see no reason to change the format to best of 7 for LDS play.
    As for the Phillies vs. Rockies it was a great series despite a few bad calls by the umps. When it comes down to it the better team won. And that seams to be the case in almost every LDS ever played in the best of 5 game format.

  21. Fajahmik - Oct 13, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    Don’t have a clue as to what you wrote because I do like people shouting at me. Get rid of the “all caps scenario”. It’s juvenile and ineffective.

  22. Mike Soo - Oct 13, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    First of all, with regular season baseball ending in early october and the WS concluding in November, adding another 2 games to the schedule would push the series even further into the cold weather. There were two games in the WS last year in Philly that should not have been played at all, so that series could’ve dragged on even longer. Just imagine what it would be like if Colorado and the Twins were in the WS next year, would you expect to be lucky enough to play all the games as scheduled?
    Secondly, 5 game series are fair for both teams, everyone uses their best pitchers when they can and field the best players. As others have stated Colorado started their ace twice as well, its’s just not the Phillies fault that Lee was better than Jimenez. However, even in a 7 game series, teams will often go with less than 5 starters. Evidence the extreme case of the 2001 WS when Arizona started Curt Schilling 3 times in seven games, Randy Johnson twice and appeared in relief in winning game 7. Curt pitched 21.1 innings (34%) and Randy pitched 17.1 innings (27%) for combined total of 38.2 innings (61%).

  23. Steve Kusheloff - Oct 13, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    Add two more games to baseball’s playoffs? Did you not notice the weather in Denver for the Phillies-Rockies games? Below freezing and snow on Saturday. Below freezing, but dry Sunday. if you’re going to add games, move all the playoffs to neutral sites and just kill baseball once and for all.

  24. BIGBRUCE11047 - Oct 13, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    If the Dodgers are to win this upcoming series with the Phillies, they must get the starter’s pitch count up as soon as possible so they can get into the Phillies’ pitiful bullpen. They also have to keep Utley, Howard, and Worth under control. It is a hard job but it can be done. I pick the Dodgers in six games.

  25. Mike Z - Oct 13, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    And Rollins, Victorino, Ibanez, Feliz and even Ruiz. The Phils can hit and score runs with their entire lineup.
    Are you referring to the pitiful bullpen that gave up 4 earned runs over 11 1/3 innings to the team(Rockies) with the second most runs scored in the NL this season? If the Phils get 6 solid innings out of their starters you can pretty much count it as a W.
    You should be more concerned with the Dodgers starting pitching, or should I say the pitchers the Phils had at one point but replaced with better arms.
    Phillies in 5 games.

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