2009 National League Division Series 2
From BR Bullpen
|2009 National League Division Series|
93 - 69 in the NL
|3 - 1
92 - 70 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 second National League Division Series of 2009 pitted the Philadelphia Phillies, defending World Champions and winners of the NL East title, against the Colorado Rockies, who had caught fire after a dreadful start that cost manager Clint Hurdle his job. The Rockies, 18-28 on May 29th, went 74-42 under new manager Jim Tracy to capture the National League wild card and return to the postseason two years after their great September and October run of victories had led them all the way to the 2007 World Series.
 The Teams
 Series results
|1||Philadelphia Phillies 5 Colorado Rockies 1||October 7||Cliff Lee (1-0) Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1)|
|2||Philadelphia Phillies 4 Colorado Rockies 5||October 8||Cole Hamels (0-1) Aaron Cook (1-0)||2:37 p.m.|
|3||Colorado Rockies 5 Philadelphia Phillies 6||October 11||Jason Hammel (0-0) J.A. Happ (0-0)||10:07 p.m.|
|4||Colorado Rockies 4 Philadelphia Phillies 5||October 12||Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1) Cliff Lee (1-0)||6:07 p.m.|
 Game 1 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Cliff Lee (1-0), LP: Ubaldo Jimenez (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - none|
- Attendance: 46,452
Game 1 of the Series was Cliff Lee's affair. The 2008 American League Cy Young Award Winner and the Phillies' prize acquisition at the 2009 trading deadline mystified the Rockies' hitters for the entire evening, coming within one strike of a complete game shutout. He gave up 6 hits over the entire evening, and had two strikes on Troy Tulowitzki with Carlos Gonzalez on second when the Rockies' shortstop hit a run-scoring double. Lee stayed in the game and struck out Garrett Atkins to seal the 5-1 victory.
Lee's opponent, Ubaldo Jimenez, a 15-game winner and one of the keys to the Rockies' surprise run in 2007, matched the curveball-tossing lefty over the early innings. He kept the hometown team off the scoreboard until the 5th, when he walked Jayson Werth to lead off the inning and Raul Ibanez doubled him in. One out later, Carlos Ruiz singled for a 2-0 lead. The Phils' heart of the order added three more runs in the 6th. Chase Utley singled and stole second, and Ryan Howard doubled him in. Werth then tripled for another run and Joe Beimel came in to pitch. Ibanez then singled for a 5-0 lead, chasing Beimel too. Matt Daley managed to get out of the inning without further damage, but with Lee dominating opposing batters, it was too late already. The Rockies' lone run in the 9th was too little too late.
 Game 2 @ Citizens Bank Park
|WP: Aaron Cook (1-0), LP: Cole Hamels (0-1), SV: Huston Street (1)|
|Home Runs: - COL: Yorvit Torrealba (1); PHI: Jayson Werth (1)|
- Attendance: 46,528
One year made quite a difference for Phillies' starting pitcher Cole Hamels. After dominating the 2008 Postseason with a 4-0 record and a 1.80 ERA in 5 starts, he had a so-so regular season, going 10-11, 4.32, and looked downright mortal facing the Rockies at home. They scored a run off him in the 1st, and had built a 4-0 lead after 5 innings when he left the game. Carlos Gonzalez led off the game with a single and a stolen base and Dexter Fowler bunted him to third. Todd Helton then tapped a ball towards the mound which Hamels fielded, but he couldn't throw out Gonzalez at home and the Rockies had drawn first blood. In the 4th, Helton singled to lead off and after two outs, Yorvit Torrealba homered to left to make it 3-0. In the next inning, Colorado added another run when pitcher Aaron Cook singled with one out and Gonzalez followed with a double to send Cook to third. Fowler then hit a fly ball to left, allowing Cook to score the fourth run. The Rockies' pitcher was having an excellent game, displaying great form after spending much of September on the disabled list, with his sinker working perfectly. Hamels was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning and Joe Blanton, although pencilled in to start Game 3, came in to pitch.
Blanton got the Rockies out in order in the top of the 6th, allowing the Phillies to mount a comeback in the bottom of the frame. Shane Victorino led off with an infield single and advanced to second on second baseman Clint Barmes' throwing error. Chase Utley singled to place runners on the corners, then Ryan Howard doubled for the Phils' first run. Manager Jim Tracy took Cook out of the game, and in came Jose Contreras, who allowed a single to Raul Ibanez after an out, scoring two more runs. Pedro Feliz followed with a single, but Carlos Ruiz ended the threat when he grounded into an inning-ending double play. Still, the score was now 4-3, but Blanton couldn't hold the Rockies for a second inning. Ryan Spilborghs hit a lead-off double and Barmes laid down a sacrifice bunt; the Phillies tried to cut down Spilborghs at third but failed, only worsening things. J.A. Happ replaced Blanton, but the first batter he faced, pinch hitter Seth Smith, lined a ball off his shin for an infield single. Happ was forced to leave the game, and Scott Eyre had to deal with a bases-loaded, none out situation. He struck out Gonzalez, but Fowler hit his second sacrifice fly of the game to make it 5-3.
Matt Belisle pitched a scoreless 7th for the Rockies, but after two outs in the 8th, Rafael Betancourt gave up a solo home run to Jayson Werth to bring Philadelphia back to within a run. Ryan Madson retired the Rockies in order in the top of the 9th and Huston Street took the mound to try to close out the win for Colorado. He did it, but not without difficulty. After one out, he walked pinch hitter Matt Stairs. Game 1 starter Cliff Lee came in as a pinch runner and after a second out, advanced to second on Jimmy Rollins' single. Victorino then hit a sharp liner, but right at Barmes, to end the game. The Rockies had won, 5-4, and the series was tied at one game apiece as the two teams moved back to Colorado. Up in the air was the question of who would be the Phillies' Game 3 starter, with two of the logical choices, Blanton and Happ, having been used in relief today.
 Game 3 @ Coors Field
|WP: Chad Durbin (1-0), LP: Huston Street (0-1), SV: Brad Lidge (1)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Chase Utley (1); COL: Carlos Gonzalez (1)|
- Attendance: 50,109
Game 3 was moved back a day because of snow in Denver, and by the time it started late on a Sunday evening, two of the other Division Series were over, while the New York Yankees were only a few minutes away from putting away the Twins in the third. However, there was plenty of baseball left in this series, even though the temperature at the time of the first pitch was barely 35 degrees, and would dip much lower as the game progressed. Two youngsters making their first postseason starts were on the mound, Jason Hammel for the Rockies and J.A. Happ, a replacement for veteran Pedro Martinez, for the Phillies.
Both offenses got moving in the 1st inning, first the Phillies' when Chase Utley homered with two outs, then the Rockies' when Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler led off the bottom half of the inning with singles. Todd Helton forced out Fowler with a ground ball, but drove in Gonzalez to tie the score, then singles by Troy Tulowitzki and Garrett Atkins made it 2-1, Rockies. The Rockies added another run in the 3rd when Atkins doubled in Helton. However, the Phillies put together a big inning in the 4th to chase Hammel. The first three batters of the inning, Shane Victorino, Utley and Ryan Howard, all reached base on a walk and two singles, the latter of these scoring Victorino. Hammel then walked Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, scoring Utley with the tying run. With Hammel in the ropes, Pedro Feliz threw him a lifeline by hitting a comebacker to the mound, which Hammel fielded; he threw home for the force out, after which Yorvit Torrealba completed the double play by relaying the ball to Helton at first base. However, Carlos Ruiz followed with a single, and it was 4-3, Phillies. Matt Belisle came in for Hammel and ended the inning by forcing pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to ground out.
The see-saw battle continued in the bottom of the 4th, with Joe Blanton having replaced Happ on the mound for Philadelphia. Carlos Gonzalez homered after two outs, and the score was tied at 4 all. The next blow came in the Phillies' half of the 6th inning. Jose Contreras was now pitching for Colorado and walked Ibanez and Feliz after one out. Ruiz singled to make it 5-4, but Blanton failed to lay down a bunt and Jimmy Rollins made an out to end the inning with no further scoring. The Rockies tied the game again in the 7th as Gonzalez led off the inning with a double off Scott Eyre. Fowler then laid down a bunt which became a base hit, putting runners at the corners. Charlie Manuel brought in Ryan Madson to try to get out of the jam. He struck out Helton, but Tulowitzki hit a sacrifice fly to left, and it was now 5-5.
The Phillies manufactured another run in the top of the 9th, with the help of a dubious umpiring call, the third in the 2009 Postseason thus far. Rockies closer Huston Street took the mound and allowed a lead-off single to Rollins. Victorino sacrificed him to second, then Utley hit a ball that grazed his foot in the batter's box and was fielded by Street, whose throw just pulled Helton off the bag at first, placing runners at the corners. Umpire Jerry Meals admitted, after seeing replays after the game, that he should have ruled the hit a foul ball, but the play was allowed to stand. Howard then hit a sacrifice fly to center to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead. However, that meant that much-maligned Phillies closer Brad Lidge would come into the game. He had been perfect in save opportunities during the 2008 regular season and postseason, but this year had turned into a nightmare, as his record of 0-8, 7.21 with 11 blown saves clearly attested; he had lost the closer's job for a time in September and Manuel was under pressure from fans to use someone else if ever a save situation occurred in the postseason. Lidge made the ending interesting: he retired Brad Hawpe on a ground ball but walked Gonzalez. Slugger Jason Giambi pinch hit for the speedy Fowler and popped out after Gonzalez stole second. Lidge then walked Helton, putting the potential winning run on base. Helton was replaced by Eric Young Jr., one of the fastest men in the game, meaning any ball hit to the gap could now win the game with Tulowitzki at bat. But Lidge held up, forcing the Rockies' shortstop to hit a weak fly ball to left fielder Ben Francisco to end the game. The Phillies were up, two games to one.
 Game 4 @ Coors Field
|WP: Ryan Madson (1-0), LP: Huston Street (0-1), SV: Brad Lidge (2)|
|Home Runs: - PHI: Shane Victorino (1), Jayson Werth (2)|
- Attendance: 49,940
The Philadelphia Phillies punched their ticket to the NLCS for the second consecutive year with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory in Game 4. The two Game 1 pitchers, Cliff Lee and Ubaldo Jimenez, were back on the mound, and the temperature was somewhat warmer than the previous night for this game. It seemed at first that things were headed for a slugfest. For the Phils, the game's second batter, Shane Victorino, homered to right field off Jimenez. Then the Rockies' first two hitters, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, both singled; after Todd Helton forced Fowler at second, one of Lee's pitches bounced a few feet in front of the plate and runners were now on second and third as Helton advanced on the wild pitch. But Troy Tulowitzki struck out and Garrett Atkins grounded out, so the inning ended with the Phillies still ahead, 1-0. That score would now hold until the 6th, as both pitchers settled into a solid groove.
In the top of the 6th, Jayson Werth hit his second home run of the series, and the Phillies were up 2-0. The Rockies replied in the bottom of the frame when Helton walked after one out and came all the way around to score, diving head first into home plate, on Tulowitzki's double to left-center. But Atkins followed with a line drive that was caught by Pedro Feliz at third and Tulowitzki was doubled off second to end the threat with Philadelphia still ahead, 2-1. Colorado finally got some serious offense going in the bottom of the 8th, with Lee still on the mound. Fowler walked after one out and Helton hit a grounder towards Chase Utley at second. Fowler then made a tremendous athletic play, leaping over Utley to avoid being called out for interference just as Utley was fielding the ball; the second baseman was stunned by the move, and instead of throwing to first to get Helton, tried a shovel throw to Jimmy Rollins at second, who was rattled enough by Fowler's effort to bobble the ball and allow him to reach safely. Manager Charlie Manuel then pulled a double switch, bringing in reliever Ryan Madson and inserting Ben Francisco in left field in place of Raul Ibanez. Francisco was immediately tested as Tulowitzki hit a flare to left that he had to catch on a spectacular dive, saving at least a run. It was now Jim Tracy's turn to make a move, and he called on Jason Giambi to pinch hit for Atkins. He singled to left, scoring Fowler with the tying run. Yorvit Torrealba followed with a huge hit that fell for a double beyond the reach of Victorino in center field and allowed the lumbering Helton and Giambi to both score for a 4-2 Rockies lead. Coors Field was rocking and everyone seemed convinced that the two teams were headed back to Philadelphia for a decisive fifth game.
However, the Rockies still had to retire the Phillies in the 9th and Tracy called upon his closer Huston Street to do the job. Greg Dobbs pinch hit for Francisco and struck out. Rollins followed with a single just beyond the range of Clint Barmes at second, but Victorino immediately forced him out at second with a ground ball. One out away from the save, Street began to unravel. He gave up a walk to Utley, then a double to right field by Ryan Howard. The two runners scored, Utley almost passing Victorino on his way to the plate as the latter had hesitated at second base, perhaps forgetting that there were two outs. With the score tied, Werth then delivered a single to center for the go-ahead run. But the Rockies had one more chance, against a Phillies bullpen that had been shaky all year. Lefthander Scott Eyre was brought in to save the game, but he gave up singles to Gonzalez and Helton in getting the first two outs. With Tulowitzki coming up, Manuel brought in Brad Lidge, figuring that he had retired the Rockies' shortstop to end the game the night before and should be confident. The tactic worked, as Tulowitzki struck out trying to check his swing on a pitch in the dirt, sending the Phillies back to the NLCS, where they would face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a repeat of last year's match-up.
 Related Sites
|Major League Baseball National League Division Series