Climbing the Stairs
Matt Stairs was one of those transactions “acquired for a player to be named later.” The Phillies were looking for an experienced, left-handed hitter with pop that could come off the bench and win a game somewhere along the baseball trail. He was acquired just prior to September 1 which meant he would be eligible for the postseason.
That move paid off big time as he capped a 4-run eighth inning that lifted the Phillies to a huge win in Dodger Stadium last night, giving them a commanding 3-1 NLCS edge.
Shane accounted for half of that 4-some with a two-run homer. He now has 11 postseason RBI, a new club record. Lenny Dykstra had the old mark (10) in 1993. Chances are Shane will pad that number before the final 2008 baseball out is recorded.
Six outs. That’s what the Dodgers needed from their bullpen, which ranked second to the Phillies in ERA (3.33 to 3.19) during the season. LA had used all three lefties when Charley picked Stairs to bat against Broxton. Power against power. Stairs worked a 3-1 count and then belted one half-way up the right field bleachers, silencing a record Dodger Stadium crowd.
The quietness was not the same in Suite 218 where Gillick, Amaro, Arbuckle, Green, Noworyta watched the game with their wives. High fives and cheers dominatged.
Now, six outs were needed by the Phillies pen. It wasn’t easy but J. C. got two and Brad the last four. Lidge has 8 LCS saves. Only Dennis Eckersley (11) as more.
Hall of Famer Robin Roberts offers his views of Game 4:
“What a game. I tell you this year’s Phillies team is a really complete team. All 25 members contribute to their wins and that was really evident last night.
“When I played, Leo Durocher of the NY Giants, always had a couple of pinch hitters available at the end of the game who could hit home runs, a right-handed hitter named Hoffman and a lefty named Taylor. Durocher figured he could steal 4 of 5 games in a season with those type of hitters on the bench.
“Matt is an example of a game-changing pinch-hitter. His homer is one of the most memorable in Phillies history. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a more memorable pinch homer. If anybody can name a greater one, let me know.
“When Shane came to bat in that same inning, the Dodger fans were quite vocal. The silence as he ran around the bases was deafening.
“A day off today and a chance to advance to the World Series tomorrow. It is a long season and it’s great to be playing well at this time. The Phillies don’t need to play another home game to advance. Home or away, it doesn’t matter. We just want them in a World Series.”
The Phillies will work out for 90 minutes this afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Charley felt there were too many potential distractions and he wanted to keep the team focused.
Joe Torre, on the other hand, closed the doors after the loss last night and told his team to stay away from baseball today. Idea was to get away from the game for a day.