Friday, October 10, 2008

Phils take first ever 2-0 lead in LCS

The Phils led the 1980 World Series 2-0 and had a 1-0 lead in the ill-fated 1983 Series, but the playoffs are another story:

1976: swept by the Reds
1977: up 1-0 before dropping 3 straight to lose to the Dodgers
1978: down 0-2 before losing to LA again, 3 games to 1
1980: up 1-0, down 1-2, then 2 dramatic wins to take the series against the Astros 3-2
1981 (NLDS): down 0-2, tied 2-2, then lost to the Expos in 5 in the faux divisional playoffs occasioned by the striker-shortened season
1983: up 1-0, tied 1-1, then a pair of 7-2 victories in Philly to take the series 3-1
1993: up 1-0, then shelled 14-3 and 9-4, the Phils take 3 straight to down the Braves 4-2
2007 (NLDS): rumor has it the Phils were in the playoffs last year, but I blinked and they were out, apparently having been swept 3-0 by the Rockies
2008: Have led both series 2-0

So having a 2-0 lead is new this year for the Phils. I remember how entering the 1980 World Series, there was such a huge sense of relief that we had finally made it that the Series itself seemed like gravy. When we got up 2-0, there was a lot of talk about a sweep. However, we lost 2 in KC and were in danger of losing Game 5 before late inning heroics by Del Unser salvaged that game and allowed us to come home for the Game 6 clincher. Daria and I were there, in the lower deck behind the right field wall. I remember some whiner behind us complaining that they couldn't see (we were all standing) when it was the 9th inning and Tug McGraw was on the mound, making sure that the ending had the necessary theatrics - no 1-2-3 innings for the Tugger. We gave her the "sorry, lady" treatment, but this was a time to stand and cheer, and boy did we! I recall the mood in South Philly that night was unlike any other: we cheerfully walked from the stadium about 15 blocks to our cousin's house where we had parked, exchanging fives and "woo-hoos" with passersby and guys standing out on the corner just being a part of it all. What a great night!

So this no time for the Phils to relax. Ryan Howard needs to get untracked. Jimmy Rollins needs to do some more, although he hasn't been as silent as the big man. They also need to be not so wasteful of opportunities as they were tonight and had been against the Brewers. A little small ball to generate a run here or there wouldn't be such a bad thing. The big innings aren't going to happen over and over forever.

As for tonight's game, the karma of Manny Ramirez having hit a ball as far could be hit without leaving the park last night and then hitting a pop-up 3-run dinger that barely cleared the left field fence was offset by the fact that the Phils were up 8-2 when he did it. That made it 8-5 and a lot more nerve-wracking than I would have preferred, but the bullpen did a stellar job, especially Romero and Madson. Lidge did his obligatory "make the fans nervous" thing by walking two guys, but struck out Matt Kemp and Nomar Garciaparra to end it. A travel day tomorrow, and then, I hope, a victory Sunday night...

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