The Dodgers were supposed to be concerned about facing Phillies' pitcher Brett Meyers' arm in Game 2, but his bat turned out to be even more devastating. Myers was 3-3 from the plate, with three RBIs and two runs scored, as the Phillies held on to beat the Dodgers 8-5. Playing in Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies' home field helped them to lead the league in home runs, it's not surprising to see a lot of runs piled up in Game 2 of the NLCS. But to see Myers knock in three, well, that was unexpected.
Things started off just fine for L.A., as they were able to strike first by getting a run in the second. After an Andre Ethier single and a James Loney double put runners at the corners with nobody out, they were in prime position to do some damage. But a Matt Kemp strikeout, followed by an RBI ground out from Blake DeWitt quickly shut down the team's chances of an early rally. And in the bottom of the inning, the Brett Myers show began.
With two outs, the Phillies were able to put up four runs, and really the last three were thanks to Myers. Because had Chad Billingsley been able to get him out (you know, like you're supposed to do with the opposing team's pitcher in the playoffs), the Phillies would have ended the inning with just a one-run lead. But Myers' RBI single kept the inning alive and allowed his team to get back to the top of the order, where Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino took advantage. Each of them singled, and the Phillies ended the inning up 4-1.
The Dodgers bounced back with another run in the third, thanks to a two out RBI single from James Loney. The Phillies countered with four more runs in the bottom of the inning, again thanks to Brett Myers. With the bases loaded and one out, and Myers coming to the plate, again you might think: advantage, Dodgers. You would be incorrect. Myers knocked in two runs on a grounder to right field, once again allowing the Phillies' best hitters to get to the plate with the chance to increase their lead. And once again, the team's bats came through, as they've done all season. Shane Victorino tripled, scoring two more runs, and blowing this thing open at 8-2.
Each time the Phillies scored, the Dodgers bounced back and scored the very next inning, just not as much as their opponent just had. In the top of the third, Manny Ramirez continued his stellar post-season by blasting a three-run homer to left, giving the Dodgers some hope and cutting the lead to 8-5. L.A. threatened a couple more times -- just enough to keep the Phillies' faithful nervous -- but were unable to break through with any more runs. Their best chance came in the seventh inning, when, with two out and two on, Casey Blake sent a fly ball to deep center field. But Shane Victorino chased it down and made a dramatic, leaping catch on the warning track, which ended the inning with the Phillies' lead intact. Phillies' closer Brad Lidge made things interested in the ninth by walking two, but then made up for it by striking out Nomar Garciaparra to end the game.
One bright spot for the Dodgers' was the team's middle relief that they got from James McDonald and Clayton Kershaw. Both were dominant in their short outings, and that could be a factor for the Dodgers if they're able to get a lead that these guys can protect.
At the end of the day, all the Phillies did was what they were supposed to do, and that's win their games at home. For the Dodgers to do the same and make this a series again, they'll have to have more effective starting pitching, and get some consistent clutch hitting for someone other than Manny Ramirez. They have until Sunday night to figure out just how they're going to do that.