a 2008 Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies Take 2-0 Lead on Dodgers in NLCS
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Phillies take first two games at home for 2-0 series lead

The Phillies have won the first two games of the NLCS and they look pretty good in doing it. The pitching has been phenomenal as well as the bullpen and the Phillies are also getting some timely hitting too which is always crucial in the playoffs. The Phillies head to Los Angeles feeling good about their play even though Ryan Howard is struggling terribly in the playoffs with a .143 average and far too many strikeouts.

Philadelphia Phillies merchandise In Game 1, the Phillies sent Cole Hamels out to the mound to face the Los Angeles ace, Derek Lowe. Lowe has been one of the best pitchers in the game since August and he showed how dominant he could be early on in the game, but there were always questions with whether the Dodgers had given Lowe too much rest for this critical game 1 in Philly. Those questions were answered in this one. The Dodgers jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning as Manny Ramirez hit a shot off the center field wall that almost went out. He settled for a double and an rbi for a 1-0 lead. The Dodgers got one more in the fourth inning to double their lead in the game. Derek Lowe was cruising until he hit the sixth inning. Shane Victorino hit a ball on the ground to Rafael Furcal, one of the slickest fielders in the game, Furcal hurriedly through the ball and it glanced off Loney’s glove and into right field for an error. Victorino took second base and the Phillies had their lead runner on. Next guy up was Chase Utley, who hadn’t had a great NLDS. He made up for it as he blasted a two run shot to right field to tie the game at 2. After Lowe struck out Ryan Howard again, Pat Burrell drove a pitch over the plate into the left field seats to give the Phillies the lead and ultimately the game. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge came on in relief to close the game out and the Phillies got their first win of the NLCS 3-2.

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In Game 2, the Phillies jumped on the Dodgers early and held on for the win with a score of 8-5. The Dodgers once again struck first with a rbi groundout from rookie Blake Dewitt, who subbed for Jeff Kent. But in the second inning the Phillies responded with another big inning. The Phillies got four runs in the second with the bottom of the order getting it going, Carlos Ruiz hit an rbi double, then the pitcher Brett Myers hit a single and drove in a run, and finally the Phillies catalyst, Shane Victorino brought home Myers and Rollins with a single to center. The Phillies led 4-1 at that point. After the Dodgers cut the lead in half with an rbi single by James Loney, the Phillies put together another big inning in the third by putting up another four spot. Brett Myers continued his phenomenal day at the plate with a single that drove in two, then Shane Victorino tripled in two runs to give the Phillies an 8-2 lead early on. The Dodgers responded in the next inning though. With two outs in the inning, Myers struck out Rafael Furcal but Furcal reached because of a wild pitch. Next up, Russell Martin drove a ball to left to advance Furcal to 2 nd base, then Manny Ramirez hit a ball that barely cleared the left field fence for a three run homer that cut the Phillies lead in half 8-5. Manny had some choice words for Brett Myers after his home run in retaliation earlier in the game when Myers threw way behind Manny Ramirez. Manny was quoted saying, “If you don’t pitch 95, don’t throw there.” Myers tried a high fastball and Manny hit it out of the ballpark. The Phillies held on to the win with another strong bullpen performance. Brad Lidge got into some trouble in the ninth with runners on second and third and two outs, but he struck out Nomar Garciaparra to end the game.

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The Phillies look good, but now they take their game on the road to Los Angeles where they have not won a game yet. Hideki Kuroda will get the start in game 3 against ageless wonder, Jamie Moyer.



By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent

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