Being down 2-0 in the NLCS isn’t a good situation, but you couldn’t ask for more fortuitous circumstances. You’ve got a starter who dominated the Phillies, and you’re going against a guy who’s never had any success against your boys – plus, it’s back at Dodger Stadium, which is huge in a series where the home team has won all ten games this year.
Starter who dominated the Phillies: check. Okay, five hits and two runs over six innings isn’t quite “domination”, but Hiroki Kuroda was more than effective tonight.
Going against a guy who’s never had any success against your boys: check. I was incredibly confident that the Dodgers would be able to hit Jamie Moyer, especially with the career numbers Manny and Nomar had against him coming in, combined with Moyer’s lousy past against LA. But even I never saw this coming. Moyer got four outs and gave up six runs, including a triple by Blake DeWitt that scored three and a solo homer by Rafael Furcal. If this series makes it to seven games, I honestly cannot fathom how you let Moyer back out there again if you’re Charlie Manuel.
The home team has won all ten games this year: Make it eleven! Seriously, this is getting a little out of control. If the Dodgers happen to win games 4 and 5 to go back to Philadelphia up 3-2, we’ll all be completely thrilled – and rightfully so. But in the same breath, how confident would you be that the Phillies are taking games 6 and 7? 100%? 120%?
You know, in reviewing this game, I was going to do a “good things/bad things” split. But then I realized, there’s almost nothing to criticize here. Kuroda, as I said above, did everything you could ask of him, and Cory Wade and Jonathan Broxton followed by allowing just two hits over three scoreless innings. It was nice to see DeWitt get that huge hit (his first of the series, although his 6 RBI are third behind Manny and Nomar), and seeing Furcal getting on base three times and parking that home run could be an incredible sign that his timing is coming back, and reminded me so much of how much we’d missed his bat at shortstop.
Finally, since it seems to be the topic du jour, I’ll quickly address the whole bench-clearing silliness. There was a whole lot made of Chad Billingsley not throwing at any Phillies after Brett Myers did so in Game 2, with Bill Plaschke going so far as to imply that it was the reason for the loss. Personally, I felt the whole thing was overblown – intimidation is a lot less important than getting the job done, and that’s not the reason that Billingsley was terrible. But with Russell Martin being used as a pincushion in Game 3, something had to be done, and I give Kuroda credit for throwing at Shane Victorino to protect his batterymate (sidenote: do they do that in Japan? I have no idea, and I can’t quite decide if the culture of honor in Japan would make that more likely or less likely. Let me know in the comments if you happen to know). That said, I do completely agree with Victorino – you don’t throw at a guy’s head. Pop him in the ribs if you have to, but keep it below the neck. Although Russell Martin on FOX just now said, “it wasn’t at his head. It was over his head.” That’s a tight line to tread! Either way, it was good to see some emotion from the team.
Be sure to check the morning’s LA Times for Plaschke saying that Kuroda throwing at Victorino was the reason for the win, even though the Dodgers had already put up 6 on the board at the time.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness