2009 National League Championship Series
From BR Bullpen
|2009 National League Championship Series|
93 - 69 in the NL
|4 - 1
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
95 - 67 in the NL
|2009 MLB Postseason|
|AL||NYY - MIN||LAA - NYY||NYY - PHI|
|LAA - BOS|
|NL||LAD - STL||LAD - PHI|
|PHI - COL|
|<< 2008||2010 >>|
The National League Championship Series of 2009 was a replay of the 2008 NLCS, featuring the two teams - the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers - who had contested the National League pennant the previous year. Indeed, the two had also met in the NLCS in 1977, 1978 and 1983. The teams were little changed from a year before, with most of the key figures from the previous year's match-up still in place.
 The Teams
Los Angeles Dodgers
 Series results
|1||Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Philadelphia Phillies 8||October 15||Clayton Kershaw (0-1) Cole Hamels (1-0)||8:07 p.m.|
|2||Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Philadelphia Phillies 1||October 16||Vicente Padilla (0-0) Pedro Martinez (0-0)||4:07 p.m.|
|3||Philadelphia Phillies 11 Los Angeles Dodgers 0||October 18||Cliff Lee (1-0) Hiroki Kuroda (0-1)||8:07 p.m.|
|4||Philadelphia Phillies 5 Los Angeles Dodgers 4||October 19||Joe Blanton (0-0) Randy Wolf (0-0)||8:07 p.m.|
|5||Philadelphia Phillies 10 Los Angeles Dodgers 4||October 21||Cole Hamels (1-0) Vicente Padilla (0-1)||8:07 p.m.|
 Game 1 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Cole Hamels (1-0), LP: Clayton Kershaw (0-1), SV: Brad Lidge (1)|
|Home Runs: - LAD: James Loney (1), Manny Ramirez (1); PHI: Carlos Ruiz (1), Raul Ibanez (1)|
- Attendance: 56,000
The Philadelphia Phillies opened the Series with an 8-6 win in Game 1, propelled by the long ball. The game featured a match-up of two of the better young lefthanders in the National League, Cole Hamels, hero of the 2008 Postseason for the Phils, and 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. However, the bats would decide this opening game.
Both pitchers started off on the right foot, as after four innings, the score was still only 1-0 in favor of Los Angeles, the result of a line drive home run to right field hit by James Loney in the 2nd inning. However, things began to unravel in the 5th. For Kershaw, the inning was a nightmare. His control deserted him and he gave up three hits, three walks and a record three wild pitches, translating into five runs, before giving way to Ramon Troncoso for the last out. The big blows were a three-run homer to left by Carlos Ruiz, and a two-run double to the right field corner by Ryan Howard. Trailing 5-1, the Dodgers went to work on Hamels, however. Russell Martin hit a lead-off double in the bottom of the inning, Rafael Furcal drove him in with a single, then Manny Ramirez hit the 29th postseason homer of his career to bring the Dodgers back into the game, trailing 5-4. Hamels left after one out in the 6th, but had pitched just well enough to be eligible for the win.
The Phillies padded their lead in the 8th, when, after walks to Howard and Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez hit another three-run blow, off lefty George Sherrill. The Phillies were now up 8-4, but the Dodgers were still fighting. They got a first run back in the botom of the inning on Martin's run-scoring single, then Furcal hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-6. Ramirez came up to face Ryan Madson with two baserunners on, but grounded out weakly to end the inning. Charlie Manuel brought in his closer, Brad Lidge, who had struggled through a very difficult season but had picked up the save in the Phils' last two wins in the NLDS over the Colorad Rockies. It seemed to be the Lidge of old on the mound, the same pitcher who was nearly untouchable in 2008. With his slider working effectively, Lidge allowed a single and a walk, but also forced a double play grounder to pick up his third consecutive save.
 Game 2 @ Dodger Stadium
|WP: Hong-Chih Kuo (1-0), LP: Chan Ho Park (0-1), SV: Jonathan Broxton (1)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: - Ryan Howard (1)|
- Attendance: 56,000
The Dodgers evened the series with a 2-1 win over the Phillies in Game 2. After the opening game slugfest, this game was dominated by pitching, with Pedro Martinez marking his return to the postseason by pitching a gem for the Phils, not allowing a run in 7 innings of work. For Los Angeles, Vicente Padilla, also a second-half addition to the roster, almost matched Pedro batter for batter, although he did give up a solo home run to Ryan Howard in the 4th and left after one out in the 7th, trailing 1-0.
The game was decided in the 8th inning. In the top of the frame, the Phillies sought to increase their lead when Carlos Ruiz walked with one out. Greg Dobbs was sent to pinch hit for Martinez, and Joe Torre replied by replacing Padilla with lefthander Hong-Chih Kuo. That led to a counter move by Charlie Manuel, as he pulled back Dobbs and sent in right-handed hitting Ben Francisco to hit. The strategy backfired as Francisco grounded into a double play. Martinez was now out of the game, and veteran Chan Ho Park, added to the Phils' roster for the NLCS, came in to pitch. Casey Blake led off with a single and Juan Pierre pinch ran for him. Ronnie Belliard laid down a bunt which fell for a single, putting two runners on. Russell Martin then hit what appeared to be a double play grounder to third, but on the pivot, Chase Utley threw the ball well wide of first base, allowing Pierre to score and Martin to be safe at first while Belliard was erased. Jim Thome came in to pinch hit for Kuo and, facing lefthander Scott Eyre, added another single, moving Martin to third. More chess playing ensued, with Juan Castro running for Thome, and Ryan Madson coming in to pitch. Rafael Furcal walked to load the bases, but Matt Kemp struck out for the second out. J.A. Happ then came in to face Andre Ethier; Ethier drew a walk, advancing all baserunners, including Martin who scored the go-ahead run. Manuel made one more pitching change, bringing in Chad Durbin to face Manny Ramirez, and he kept the game close by retiring Manny on a pop-up.
Ahead 2-1, Torre brought in his closer, Jonathan Broxton, to pitch the 9th inning. The big pitcher retired all three batters he faced - Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Utley - and the two teams were headed to Philadelphia tied at one game apiece.
 Game 3 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Cliff Lee (1-0), LP: Hiroki Kuroda (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Jayson Werth (1), Shane Victorino (1)|
- Attendance: 45,721
The Phillies had their ace, Cliff Lee, on the mound for Game 3 and it showed. For his third straight postseason start, he was masterful, throwing strikes on almost every pitch and limiting the Dodgers to three weakly-hit singles - two by Manny Ramirez - in 8 innings of work, while walking none and striking out 10. He even had the luxury of singling and scoring a run in the 8th, and could have returned to finish the game and earn a complete game shutout if there had been any point, as he was still fresh when he came out. The contrast could not have been bigger with his Dodger opponent: Hiroki Kuroda was making his first start of the postseason, and never seemed to get his groove. His pitches were lacking in command, and he hardly attempted to throw a breaking ball, letting the Phillies tee up at will on mediocre fastballs. As a result, the outcome of the game was never in doubt after the 1st inning.
After the Dodgers went down in order in the top of the 1st, Kuroda retired lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins, and then the floodgates opened. Shane Victorino singled and stole second; Chase Utley singled and Victorino could have scored easily but pulled up at third. Ryan Howard followed with a triple to the right field corner, scoring both runners. For Howard, it was a 7th straight postseason game with at least an RBI. Jayson Werth followed by driving a ball to the deepest part of center field that landed in the shrubbery in front of the batter's eye at Citizens Bank Park, for a 4-0 lead. The barrage continued in the 2nd, with Carlos Ruiz getting a lead-off double, advancing to third on Lee's sacrifice bunt, and scoring on a double by Rollins. That was the end of Kuroda's night. In came lefty Scott Elbert, and he proceeded to walk the bases full, issuing free passes to Victorino and Utley, while also throwing a wild pitch in the process. Howard followed with a ball hit down the first base line, which James Loney fielded. He tagged a diving Howard who collected his third RBI of the night on the play and it was 6-0, with Chad Billingsley, banished from the starting rotation, coming in as the third pitcher of the evening already.
Billingsley did better than his predecessors, but the Dodgers' bats were completely anemic against Lee, so his good work was for nothing. The Phillies did get to him in the 5th, though, as Pedro Feliz hit a triple to score Raul Ibanez and Ruiz followed with a single that made the score 8-0. The rest of the game was just a question of completing the innings, as the Dodgers looked increasingly despondent. With young Ronald Belisario pitching in the 8th, the Phillies added more runs when Ruiz walked and Lee singled. After Rollins was retired on a grounder to first, Victorino hit a home run to deep right field for three more runs, making the score 11-0. Lee did not come out to pitch the 9th, letting Chad Durbin get the final three outs as Los Angeles went out with a whimper.
 Game 4 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Brad Lidge (1-0), LP: Jonathan Broxton (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Ryan Howard (2); LA: Matt Kemp (1)|
- Attendance: 46,157
The Phillies took a 3 game to 1 stranglehold on the series with a dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 win in Game 4. Randy Wolf, who had not pitched since Game 1 of the NLDS was on the mound for the Dodgers, and Joe Blanton, the Phillies' fifth different starting pitcher of the 2009 postseason, who had so far been used out of the bullpen, was on the mound for Philadelphia.
The Phillies took a quick lead in what seemed a continuation of the relentless pounding inflicted on the Dodgers in Game 3. Jimmy Rollins led off the bottom of the 1st with a single and after two outs, Ryan Howard hit a line drive home run to right field for a 2-0 lead. Howard now had driven in a run in 8 consecutive postseason games, tying a record set by Lou Gehrig (Alex Rodriguez was working on a similar streak over in the ALCS). However, things turned around after that early bolt. Wolf settled down and began to retire the Phillies systematically, using a mix of slow curveballs and well-placed fastballs. He did not allow another baserunner until he walked Carlos Ruiz with two outs in the 5th, and no other hit until the 6th. By then it was a different game. Blanton had started out by retiring the first 10 men he faced in order, but got himself in trouble in the 4th. Matt Kemp drew a one-out walk and Manny Ramirez pushed him to third base with a two-out single. James Loney singled for a first run, then after Ronnie Belliard walked, Russell Martin added another single to tie the game. In the 5th, the Dodgers took the lead on Kemp's solo homer, then added an insurance run in the 6th after Ramirez led off the inning by reaching first on Pedro Feliz's throwing error. Belliard and Casey Blake singled to make it 4-2, Dodgers.
Los Angeles now had to preserve the lead. Wolf gave a run back in the bottom of the 6th, when his streak of brilliant pitching ended with Shane Victorino's triple. Chase Utley followed with a single, Howard walked, and Wolf's day was over. Ronald Belisario got Jayson Werth to ground out and Hong-Chih Kuo got Ibanez to line out to Ramirez, who snagged the ball an inch off the ground on a full run to end the threat. The two bullpens were solid after that, until the game turned around again in the 9th. After Brad Lidge came on in relief of Scott Eyre to end the top of the inning by striking out Andre Ethier and Kemp, the Phillies went to work on closer Jonathan Broxton in the bottom of the frame. Ibanez grounded out for the first out. Matt Stairs pinch hit for Feliz and drew a walk. Eric Bruntlett ran for him and reached second when Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit for Lidge and lined out softly to Blake at third. One out away from evening the series, Broxton then gave up a double to right by Rollins. Both Bruntlett and Ruiz came in to score and the Phillies had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, pulling out a dramatic 5-4 victory in spite of collecting only five base hits all evening.
 Game 5 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Chad Durbin (1-0), LP: Vicente Padilla (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - LAD: Andre Ethier (1), James Loney (2), Orlando Hudson (2); PHI: Jayson Werth 2 (3); Pedro Feliz (1), Shane Victorino (2)|
- Attendance: 46,214
The Phillies completed their second consecutive defeat of the Dodgers in the NLCS with a 10-4 victory at home in a Game 5 that was a real homer-fest. The Phillies won the home run derby 4-3, and more importantly hit two of theirs with runners on, while all the Dodger long balls were solo shots. In the end, the game was a reflection of the series as a whole, dominated by the Phillies with only a few minor threats from their opponents.
Cole Hamels, winner of Game 1 in spite of a shaky performance, started the game for the Phillies, against Vicente Padilla, author of two solid starts in the postseason, for the Dodgers. The one worrying note in the game for Philadelphia was probably Hamels' performance, as once again, he failed to dominate: he gave up a solo homer to Andre Ethier in the 1st inning, and left after one out in the 5th, having given up three long balls, even if his team was ahead 6-3 by that point. That lead was again due to the Phillies' loud bats. The Dodgers' 1st-inning lead was short-lived, as Padilla was in trouble from the get-go: Chase Utley and Ryan Howard drew two-out walks and Jayson Werth followed with a home run for a 3-1 lead. James Loney replied with another solo homer for LA in the top of the 2nd, cutting the lead to 3-2. The Phillies got that run right back as Pedro Feliz led off the bottom of the frame with another home run.
After a scoreless 3rd, the Phillies' bats got going again in the 4th, as Werth singled and Raul Ibanez doubled for another run. Ramon Troncoso replaced Padilla, and after a walk, a hit by pitch and another pitching change, Shane Victorino was plucked by George Sherrill to push the lead to 6-2. Hamels gave up another run in the 5th, on a homer by pinch hitter Orlando Hudson, batting for Sherrill, then was removed from the game after allowing a double to Rafael Furcal. J.A. Happ, with a chance to vulture a cheap win, sputtered, giving up a walk before Chad Durbin came in and pitched a scoreless inning and a third that convinced the official scorer to put the "W" next to his name. The Phillies added two more run in the bottom of the 6th as Victorino homered with Rollins on base, and the game was pretty much over then.
Los Angeles did try a last-gap effort, loading the bases with none out in the 8th. With Ryan Madson pitching, Matt Kemp singled in the 4th Dodger run - it was 9-4 at this point, following Werth's second long ball of the game, a solo shot in the 7th - but the next three batters made outs without being able to drive in any more of the baserunners. The Phils added a 10th run in the bottom of the inning and Brad Lidge came in to pitch the 9th, retiring the Dodgers in order to end the game and the series.
Ryan Howard did not drive in a run this game, ending his streak at 8 games, but his efforts in previous contests were enough to earn him Championship Series Most Valuable Player honors. The Phillies were headed to the World Series for the second consecutive year, with a chance to defend their title. They thus became the first team since the New York Yankees of 1998-2001 to play in consecutive World Series, and the first National League team to do so since the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and 1996.
 Related Sites
|Major League Baseball National League Championship Series