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2008 National League Division Series 2
From BR Bullpen
|2008 National League Division Series|
92 - 70 in the NL
|3 - 1
90 - 72 in the NL
|2008 MLB Postseason|
|AL||LAA - BOS||TB - BOS||PHI - TB|
|TB - CHW|
|NL||CHC - LAD||PHI - LAD|
|PHI - MIL|
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The second National League Division Series of 2008 pitted the Philadelphia Phillies, winners of the NL East title, against the Milwaukee Brewers, who had squeaked into the playoffs by nicking the New York Mets at the finish line on the season's last day to secure the wild card berth. For the Phillies, it was a second consecutive post-season appearance, after losing the 2007 NLDS to the Colorado Rockies, but for the Brewers, it was their first postseason play since losing the 7th game of the 1982 World Series, when they were still playing in the American League. In the last regular season series between the two teams, Philadelphia had swept the Brewers in four games, costing manager Ned Yost his job.
 The Teams
 Series results
|1||Milwaukee Brewers 1 Philadelphia Phillies 3||October 1||Yovani Gallardo (0-1) Cole Hamels (1-0)||3:00 p.m.|
|2||Milwaukee Brewers 2 Philadelphia Phillies 5||October 2||CC Sabathia (0-1) Brett Myers (1-0)||6:00 p.m.|
|3||Philadelphia Phillies 1 Milwaukee Brewers 4||October 4||Jamie Moyer (0-1) Dave Bush (1-0)||6:30 p.m.|
|4||Philadelphia Phillies 6 vs. Milwaukee Brewers 2||October 5||Joe Blanton (1-0) Jeff Suppan (0-1)||1:00 p.m.|
 Game 1 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Cole Hamels (1-0), LP: Yovani Gallardo (0-1), SV: Brad Lidge (1)|
|Home Runs: - none|
- Attendance: 45,929
The Phillies took a one game to none lead in the Series thanks to a dominant performance from starting pitcher Cole Hamels. He pitched 8 innings, giving up no runs and striking out nine opponents. Closer Brad Lidge finished the game, but not before making things interesting. Hamels' opponent was the 22-year-old Yovani Gallardo, who had missed almost all of the regular season after injuring his knee on May 1st and was 0-0 for the year. He put up a valiant effort, but was undermined by his defense.
In the 3rd inning, Carlos Ruiz led off with a single. Hamels followed by laying a bunt towards third base, which Bill Hall fielded with some hesitation; still, his throw reached Rickie Weeks, who was covering first base, in enough time to get Hamels, but Weeks dropped it for an error. Gallardo then retired Jimmy Rollins on a fly ball and struck out Jayson Werth, but Chase Utley hit a fly ball to center which the usually sure-handed Mike Cameron misjudged and saw bounce out of his glove for a (generous) two-run double, scoring both Ruiz and Hamels. Gallardo then walked Ryan Howard intentionally and Pat Burrell unintentionally to load the bases, and Shane Victorino to force in a third run. That was the only scoring until the 9th.
With Lidge in the game to replace Hamels, the Brewers mounted a threat. With one out, Ray Durham, pinch hitting for Hall, hit a single. Ryan Braun followed with a double, and Durham scored when Utley bobbled the throw back to the infield. Lidge struck out Prince Fielder for the second out, but J.J. Hardy drew a walk and then moved to second on defensive indifference (something unusual as he represented the tying run). However, Lidge then struck out Corey Hart to end the game. For the Phillies, it was a first win in the postseason since the 1993 World Series.
 Game 2 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Brett Myers (1-0), LP: CC Sabathia (0-1), SV: Brad Lidge (2)|
|Home Runs: PHI - Shane Victorino (1)|
- Attendance: 46,208
The Brewers sent their best weapon to the mound in Game 2, CC Sabathia, but the big gun misfired. After going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA after being acquired from the Cleveland Indians on July 7th, the big lefthander had his worst start in a Brewer uniform, a reminder of his poor performance in the 2007 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox a year earlier. For the second game, the Phillies scored all their runs in a single inning, and it was enough to win.
Milwaukee opened the scoring this time, when Phillies' starter Brett Myers walked J.J. Hardy with the bases loaded to force in a run in the top of the 1st. However, Myers then forced Corey Hart to hit into an inning-ending double play, and the Brewers had wasted a chance to take a big lead. Sabathia looked good in the 1st when he struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to strand Shane Victorino on third base, but he was not himself in the 2nd. After one out, Jayson Werth hit a double to left-center and Pedro Feliz followed with a double down the third base line to tie the score. Carlos Ruiz grounded out, but Myers drew a nine-pitch walk, and Jimmy Rollins followed with another walk to load the bases. Victorino then stepped up to the plate and drove a pitch into the left field seats for a grand slam and a 5-1 lead.
This was all the run support that Myers needed. After his difficult opening frame, he settled down and did not give up another run until Hardy doubled and scored on a ground ball in the 7th inning. Milwaukee's bullpen kept things close after Sabathia left in the 4th inning, and the Brewers brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th against reliever J.C. Romero in the person of Prince Fielder, but the big man hit a weak broken-bat grounder to second to end the threat. Brad Lidge then came on for the second consecutive game and pitched a scoreless 9th for the save.
 Game 3 @ Miller Park
|WP: David Bush (1-0), LP: Jamie Moyer (0-1), SV: Salomon Torres (1)|
|Home Runs: - none|
- Attendance: 43,992
The Series moved to Milwaukee for Game 3, as Miller Park hosted its first-ever postseason game, and the city of Milwaukee its first since the 1982 World Series. Neither manager tinkered with his line-up, and both sent their third starters to the mound, ageless veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer for the Phillies, and the unpredictable Dave Bush for the Brewers, whose stuff and talent had always seemed to exceed his results.
Milwaukee got off on the right foot and controled the game from the outset. Bush came out firing on all cylinders, striking out Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth and getting Chase Utley on a comebacker to dispose of the first frame in easy fashion. The Brewers then got to a wild Moyer, with Mike Cameron and Bill Hall drawing walks and both advancing an extra base on a wild pitch. After Ryan Braun fouled out, Prince Fielder hit a sacrifice fly and J.J. Hardy singled to put the Brewers up, 2-0. Bush continued to mystify the Phils over the next innings, and while Moyer also settled down, the Brew Crew drew the next blood as well. In the bottom of the 5th, Clay Condrey came in to pitch after Moyer had been lifted for pinch hitter Matt Stairs, and immediately proceeded to pluck Cameron with a pitch. Hall singled, moving his teammate to third and Braun lofted another sacrifice fly, scoring Cameron and moving Hall to second for a 3-0 lead. The Brewers kept threatening, though: Fielder was walked intentionally, then Corey Hart walked after a second out, but Craig Counsell, who had come in to play second base for a banged-up Rickie Weeks in the 4th, struck out with the bases loaded to leave Philadelphia with a hope of coming back in the game.
The Phillies did get themselves on the scoreboard in the 6th, when Werth led off with a triple and scored on a ground out by Ryan Howard. That was the end of Dave Bush's day, but he had done an excellent job, and it was up to Milwaukee's shaky bullpen to hold the lead. Their hitters tried their best to make it an easier task in the 6th, but failed: they loaded the bases on three singles after one out against Chad Durbin, but Braun struck out and Fielder flied out against LOOGY Scott Eyre to end the threat. However, Carlos Villanueva retired the Phils in order in the top of the 7th and the Brewers repeated the three-consecutive singles routine at the bottom of the frame. This time, the fourth batter, C Jason Kendall, hit another single to make it 4-1, but Eyre and Ryan Madson got a strikeout and a double play grounder to keep the game in reach.
It was now up to the much-maligned Eric Gagné to keep the vaunted Phillies' offense in check. He did so in spite of a two-out double by Werth, and handed the lead over to Salomon Torres, the Brewers' closer-by-default, in the 9th. The three singles to load-the-bases thing played out for a third time, with Howard, pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs and Victorino creating the tension-filled situation. This is when the Brewers caught a huge break: Pedro Feliz hit an apparent double play ground ball that should have scored the second run and put another runner on third base in the worst case scenario. But Victorino was called for interference when he slid into second base, and not only was the double play registered, but Howard and Dobbs had to return to their original bases. With the Phillies' balloon badly deflated, Torres got Carlos Ruiz to hit a weak tapper back to him for the final out, prompting a Game 4 the next day.
 Game 4 @ Miller Park
|WP: Joe Blanton (1-0), LP: Jeff Suppan (0-1)|
|Home Runs: PHI - Pat Burrell 2 (2), Jimmy Rollins (1), Jayson Werth (1); MIL - Prince Fielder (1)|
- Attendance: 43,934
The Philadelphia Phillies completed their defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers with a 6-2 win at Miller Park in Game 4. They did it with raw power, belting four home runs in forging an early and insurmountable lead. Manager Charlie Manuel made a couple of changes to his line-up for the game, moving the hot-hitting Shane Victorino to the second slot in the batting order, and starting Greg Dobbs in place of Pedro Feliz at third base. On the mound was Joe Blanton, a trading deadline acquisition from the Oakland Athletics who had gone 4-0 in his 13 starts as a Phillie. For the Brewers, Dale Sveum had Ray Durham starting at second base in place of the injured Rickie Weeks, and Craig Counsell taking over for the erratic Bill Hall at 3B. On the mound was Jeff Suppan, whose last postseason experience had been crowned with the NLCS MVP award as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals two years earlier.
The Phillies got on the board right off the bat, as leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins started the game with a home run to deep right field. Before the Brewers could reply, Philly put up a barrage of runs in the 3rd. After one out, Victorino doubled and went to third on Chase Utley's ground out. Sveum then elected to walk the dangerous Ryan Howard intentionally, but the strategy backfired when the equally-dangerous Pat Burrell catapulted one of Suppan's offerings to deep left field for a three-run home run. Jayson Werth followed with another long ball, and it was 5-0, Philadelphia.
The shell-shocked Brewers sent pitcher CC Sabathia to pinch hit for Suppan in the bottom of the 3rd, and Yovani Gallardo, the Game 1 starter, did a good job keeping the Phillies' bats in check over the next three innings. However, the Brewers were being muffled by Blanton until Prince Fielder went deep leading off the 7th. When the next batter, J.J. Hardy, singled, it put an end to Blanton's workday, but the Phils' bullpen did its job: Ryan Madson retired the next three batters, then after Burrell added another homer in the top of the 8th to make it 6-1, he allowed a largely meaningless run, scored by Mike Cameron on a single by Ryan Braun, in the bottom of the frame. Brad Lidge came in to pitch the 9th, closing the books for the third time in the series. The Phils were going on to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
 Further Reading
- Gary Matthews and Scott Lauber: Phillies Confidential: The Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Championship Season, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2008.
- Jayson Stark: Worth the Wait: Tales of the 2008 Phillies, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2009.
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series