PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had league-leading offensive firepower that did to the Dodgers what they did to the National League all season.
In short, the Phillies had everything they needed to take down the Dodgers in five games in the NL Championship Series and advance to the World Series for the second straight year. "They did pretty much everything better than we did," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said in summing up the 2009 NLCS. The Phillies' offensive muscle stood out more than anything. They simply bludgeoned the Dodgers back to Los Angeles. The Phillies, despite hitting just .231, scored 35 runs in the five-game series, the fourth-most by a team in NLCS history. Their .500 slugging percentage was the third-highest and their 10 home runs tied for the fourth-most in an NLCS. No team has scored 35 runs or hit 10 home runs in an NLCS that went less than seven games. Ryan Howard led the way for most of the series and he was named the NLCS Most Valuable Player. But in Game 5, the second half of the lineup turned it on against Dodgers pitching. Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz were 4-for-41 with two home runs in the first four games of the series. On Wednesday night, they were 5-for-12 with three home runs and five RBIs. Werth hit two home runs, given him three for the series. "It was really a total team effort," Howard said after receiving his MVP trophy. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel brought up his offense immediately when asked what the difference was in the series.
"First of all we were able to score runs," Manuel said. "Our lineup is outstanding when we're hitting. We hit spurts sometimes, and of course every team does that. But at the same time, I think if you look down through our lineup, we've got guys that are dangerous, and our power shows up, even in our seventh hole. "A lot of times we win games just because of our power and the fact that we can hit the ball out of the ballpark. We need to be a little bit more consistent ... but right now for the National League I think we're outstanding, and we can stay after you, and we could put a big number on you any time during the game." The Dodgers just couldn't match the Phillies' firepower. Manny Ramirez had a two-run home run in Game 1, but those were his only two RBIs of the series. Rafael Furcal was 3-for-21 at the top of the order and did not score a run. For the series, the Dodgers batted just .194 with runners in scoring position while producing 16 runs in five games. "I think everybody did a great job," Ramirez said. "Last year was a learning experience for a lot of players. We played great, but we didn't come through this year. We played a better team." The series obviously turned in the ninth inning of Game 4. The Dodgers had a 4-3 lead with closer Jonathan Broxton on the mound and were 78-3 during the regular season when they had a lead going into the ninth inning. But the Phillies rallied to win on Jimmy Rollins' two-out, two-run double. It was the pivotal moment of the series. If the Dodgers win that game, the series goes back to Los Angeles. The Dodgers could not recover from that. Their bullpen was supposed to be their advantage but it let them down twice in crucial moments. Left-handed reliever George Sherrill gave up a three-run home run to Ibanez in Game 1 that provided the winning margin in an 8-6 loss.
Back so soon?
|2000||Yankees||Lost to Diamondbacks|
|1995||Braves||Lost to Yankees|
|1992||Blue Jays||Defeated Phillies|
|1989||A's||Lost to Reds|
|1970||Orioles||Lost to Pirates|
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.