Philadelphia Phillies NLCS Game Three: Cliff, That Was Just LoveLEE

By the end of the fifth inning with the Phillies up by eight, I was thinking, this game can’t be over fast enough . But after the eighth, when the home team added three more to the score, the Dodgers were thinking the same thing.

The signs said it all.

“City of BrotherLEE Love”
“We BeLEEve”

But like Bill Engvall says, “Here’s my sign…”

“You compLEEte me.”

By the time Cliff Lee came out to bat in the eighth, he had pitched so effectiveLEE that he could have flipped the fans the bird and not fallen from grace. In the postgame Lee was humble, mentioning that Manny seemed to give him a little trouble…

Manny who?

Lee put the kibosh to LA’s plans to score like a custom-made chastity belt. He closed a chapter on LA with double digit K’s, no free passes, and only three hits over eight innings. At 114 pitches, I think he earned the right to watch the last three outs from the bench.

And let’s hear it for Chad Durbin. If he keeps this up, I’ll have to change his nickname from “Disturbin’ Durbin” to “The Durbinator.” Before you know it, he’s gonna want a part in an action movie and an Austrian accent.

The key to the game was getting to Hiroki Kuroda early. The Phils had the Dodger bullpen stirring by the time Jayson Werth slugged a two-run dinger in the first to put the game one winner ahead by four. Then the lineup hit for the cycle in the first eight batters and Kuroda was gone by the second. I thought only I could make someone flee a room that fast.

If there was any doubt about a Phil’s recovery from the game two disaster, read my last blog. I knew the Phillies I'd seen all season would bounce back, and they did—with major contributions. The players pooled their resources like a midwest potluck.

Ryan Howard set a major league record with an RBI in seven consecutive postseason games and Carlos Ruiz is finally getting the league respect he deserves. I’ve even heard Ruiz called the quarterback of this team. After the Sunday Eagles loss to the Raiders, I’ll bet Andy Reid has him on his radar too. But the biggest complement for the Panamanian was to group him with Yadier Molina as one of the two best catchers in the league.

Welcome to the show, Chooch.

Pedro Feliz even broke his series hitless streak with a ball that bounced off the wall. With one swing he earned himself a multiple base hit and checks in the columns for an H, an R, and an RBI. Now that’s efficiency.

And Shane Victorino was on fire. Unfortunately the TBS production team chose him for something they called the Inside Track . That’s picking one player to wear a microphone. Little did they know Shane doesn’t speak in complete sentences—he doesn’t even speak in complete syllables.But it doesn’t matter. As the top Phillies batter, he was 2 for 3 with a home run, two walks, three RBI, and a stolen base. Whew, I’d hate to see what happens when you feed that guy sugar.

At one point it looked like Chad Billingsley would lay a hurt on the Phightin’s. From the last third of the second inning all the way through the fourth, it appeared as though we’d had our fun. But when he gave up two more runs in the fifth, Joe Torre pulled from the pen again. It would take two more pitchers giving up another three runs before the game was stopped, halting the Phillie offensive like bad breath on a blind date.

Well, with a 2-1 series lead, Joe Blanton has his work cut out for him. Pedro Martinez showed what a veteran postseason pitcher can do, Cliff Lee showed what a first-time postseason pitcher can do, and now Blanton needs to show what a second-time postseason pitcher can do.

And I need to think of a new sign. Unfortunately, “You compJOEte me,” doesn’t quite sound right.

Back to the drawing board.

Go Phils!


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