NLCS Game 1, Arizona Fall League

Last night was Game 1 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) between the Phillies and the Dodgers. And my hex was broken, because the Phillies won!
Clayton Kershaw
I don’t know if it was just because I was baseball-starved, but I thought last night’s game was really good! Clayton Kershaw was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers, and Cole Hamels took the mound for the Phillies.
Cole Hamels
Kershaw lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 4 hits, 5(!) walks, and 3(!) wild pitches while getting 3 strike-outs. Hamels went 5 1/3 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on 8 hits and 1 walk, with 4 strike-outs.
James Loney
The Dodgers scored first on a solo home run by James Loney in the bottom of the 2nd inning, so they were leading 1-0. Then, in the top of the 5th inning, the Phillies came roaring back to score 5 runs, all the property of Clayton Kershaw.
Carlos Ruiz
With 2 men on and no outs in the top of the 5th, Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies catcher, stepped up to the plate and belted out a 3-run homer to vault the Phillies to a 3-1 lead. But they weren’t done yet!
Ryan Howard
After Ryan Howard got a 2-run double with 2 outs in the 5th inning, Joe Torre finally pulled Clayton Kershaw, and the Phillies went into the bottom of the 9th with a 5-1 lead. I don’t know about the Phillies players, but I was feeling pretty confident with a 4-run lead. I should have known better. The Dodgers are a great team, a playoff team, and this is a playoff game. There are no easy wins once you get to this level.
Manny Ramirez
The Dodgers didn’t stay down for long. Cole Hamels gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the frame to bring the score to 5-4, and the Dodgers were back within a run. Manny Ramirez was responsible for a couple of those runs with a 2-run homer in the inning. And the Phillies lead was no longer comfortable.
Raul Ibanez
In the top of the 8th inning, Raul Ibañez hit the Phillies’s second 3-run homer of the night to help the Phillies breathe a little easier. 8-4 Phillies.
But then the Dodgers came back again in the bottom of the inning with 2 more runs, scaring the Phillies again. The Phils couldn’t add any more insurance runs in the top of the 9th inning, so they went into the bottom of the 9th leading 8-6. Which is not enough of a lead to feel comfortable going against the Dodgers in the bottom of the 9th.
Matt Kemp
And sure enough, the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter in the 9th inning (Matt Kemp) got a single. Uh-oh. But, miraculously, the next batter (Casey Blake) grounded into a double play, clearing the bases and putting the Phillies only one out away from a Game 1 victory! Whew! Then James Loney walked. Oh no. But then Ronnie Belliard flied out, and the game was over! Phils win!
The announcers of last night’s game pointed out that in the past 17 years, the team who won Game 1 of the NLCS was the team that went to the World Series 14 times. That’s promising!
Vicente Padilla
Today’s pitching matchup: Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against Vicente Padilla for the Dodgers. Eww, Padilla. Interestingly enough, Pedro Martinez used to be a Dodger, so he’ll be pitching against his old team. Go Phillies!
Marcus Lemon
In other news, I finally got some information on the Arizona Fall League. Our boys are on a team called the Surprise Rafters, and it includes Brennan Garr (P, Frisco), Matt Harrison (P, Rangers DL this season), Danny Gutierrez (P, Frisco), Evan Reed (P, Bakersfield Blaze), Tanner Scheppers (P), Marcus Lemon (2B, Frisco), Mitch Moreland (RF, Frisco), Doug Hogan (C, Blaze), and batting coach Brant Brown (Frisco).
The Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League are undefeated at 3-0! There are apparently 6 teams in the Arizona Fall League, and they’re divided into the AFL East and the AFL West, each with 3 teams. And our Rangers’ prospects are leading their division (the AFL West)! Yay! 🙂
Originally published October 16, 2009

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