The Phillies have a chance to do something historic beginning next week.
Who could have imagined?
"I was in a unique situation coming here to really see a transformation on both ends -- not only the organization, but the fans and the city," Werth said following a 10-4 victory over the Dodgers in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. "I feel like I was here for the old Philly and the old Phillies, and I'm here for the new Philly and the new Phillies."
The old Phillies had heard about the ghosts of the past. They had heard about The Whiz Kids in 1950 and Lefty and Schmidt and Bowa and Bull in 1980. They had heard about The Wheeze Kids in 1983 and Macho Row in 1993.
The old Philly wondered when the next parade would come, if it would come.
But the new Phillies have a chance to take new Philly to a place few baseball teams and cities have been. They have a chance to win consecutive World Series. They can be the first team in baseball to accomplish the feat since the 1998-2000 Yankees, and the first NL team to accomplish the feat since the 1975-76 Reds. (Only two other NL teams have won back-to-back World Series -- the 1907-08 Cubs and the 1921-22 Giants.)
Big Red Machine, meet the Little Red Machine.
"'Are you guys going to repeat? Are you guys going to do it?'" Jimmy Rollins said. "Around the city, everywhere we went every Phillies fan was asking. Now that we're actually in the World Series, we really have a chance to repeat."
They have that opportunity because they outplayed the Dodgers, who finished the regular season with the best record in the National League. They have that opportunity because they pounded Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla on Wednesday to overcome a shaky effort from Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who lasted just 4 1/3 innings to carry a 6.75 ERA into the World Series.
Hamels allowed solo home runs to Andre Ethier in the first inning, James Loney in the second and pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson in the fifth. Phils manager Charlie Manuel pulled Hamels with one out in the fifth after he allowed the one-out homer to Hudson and a double to Rafael Furcal.
But fortunately for Hamels, Padilla struggled even more. He walked Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the first inning and Werth hit a three-run home run to right field to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.
|Year||WS outcome||Next Year||Outcome|
|2008||Beat TB||2009||Advanced to WS|
|1993||Lost to TOR||1994||Fourth in NL East|
|1983||Lost to BAL||1984||Fourth in NL East|
|1980||Beat KC||1981||Lost special Division Series to MON|
|1950||Lost to NYY||1951||Fifth in NL|
|1915||Lost to BOS||1916||Second in NL|
Pedro Feliz hit a solo homer to right in the second to make it 4-2. Werth hit a leadoff single in the fourth, and Raul Ibanez doubled to right-center field to score him to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead in the fourth. George Sherrill hit Shane Victorino with a pitch with the bases loaded in the same inning to score a run to make it 6-2.
Victorino hit a two-run home run to left field to give Philadelphia an 8-3 lead in the sixth and Werth hit a solo homer to left in the seventh to make it 9-3.
The seven home runs by the Phils and Dodgers tied an LCS record.
The Phillies' bullpen, which had been considered a weakness before the postseason started, allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings to preserve the lead. Right-hander Chad Durbin, who threw 1 1/3 perfect innings, picked up the win. Closer Brad Lidge, who struggled throughout the regular season, picked up the final out when Ronnie Belliard flied out to Victorino.
The Phillies stormed the field to celebrate. They are the first NL club to play in back-to-back World Series since the 1995-96 Braves. The Braves beat the Indians in the '95 World Series, but lost to the Yankees in the '96 World Series.
"We feel we match up good against anybody," Lidge said.
"I think as I'm sitting here, I know we can win the World Series again," Manuel said. "But things have to be right for us, and we've got to play our best."
It is expected they will play their hardest. This team started talking in Spring Training in Clearwater, Fla., about creating a legacy.
One World Series is nice.
Two World Series brings a measure of immortality.
"Everybody knows about the Yankees," Rollins added. "Everybody knows about Boston and all the great players. Obviously, we want that here. When people refer to Philadelphia, not just as a team that was first to lose 10,000 games, but a team that was able to play with the best at their time."
"It will be interesting to see, five, 10 years from now what we were able to accomplish," Lidge said. "Not just this year, but hopefully next year and the year after. Hopefully we did some pretty amazing things. Obviously, this is the first time this franchise has been to back-to-back World Series. We really want to win these next four games. We want to be a winning team. But with the players we have here, I don't think anybody is going anywhere for a while, so I think we have the opportunity to do something pretty special."
That opportunity begins Wednesday in Game 1 of the World Series.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.