Game 3: Should we talk about the weather?

coorsDENVER—A few years ago a friend moved from the harsh cold of New England to San Francisco. Needless to say this was quite a change for the guy. Instead of shoveling snow and dressing up to fend off the bitterly cold winters, all he had to do was layer up for summer nights.

Easy.

That was until he felt his first earthquake. Actually, by California standards it was a pretty tame one, but unnerving for an easterner, nonetheless. Worse, the quake came at 2 a.m. when he was sitting at home and ready to call it a night. All of a sudden he heard a loud noise that sounded like a truck backfiring in the next room and some wobbling that sent a dish flying off a counter.

In all, it was no big deal. There was hardly any damage to the city other than a few cracked glasses and plates and most folks seemed to sleep right through it, he said.

But 3,000 miles away, the entire eastern seaboard was gripped by a deathly cold snap from Ol’ Man Winter. Apparently, when folks even considered going outside they moved quickly and stealthy like alligators. They did what they had to and went straight back indoors and spread Vaseline all over themselves as if they were about to swim across the English Channel.

Yes, it was that cold.

Interestingly, my friend got a few phone calls from his friends back east asking questions about San Francisco and the earthquake. Really, easterners just don’t know despite the fact that earthquakes are quite common throughout parts of New England and even Pennsylvania. In fact, a few months ago we even had a little rumbler of about 4.2 magnitude in Lancaster, Pa.

It sounded like a truck backfiring.

Anyway, the best question my friend was asked compared the earthquakes to the cold snap. Having been through both at different points, my friend was an expert.

“Which is worse,” he was asked. “The earthquake in California or the below-zero temperatures in the east?”

The answer was pretty comical.

“Well,” my friend said. “I never had to run screaming at 3 a.m. in my underwear looking for a doorway for protection because it was cold. I’m going to say the earthquake is worse.”

Here in Denver a bunch of us are acting as if we’re running around in our underwear looking for a doorway. It’s cold. It’s damn cold. And it’s certainly too cold to be out running around in your underwear.

But that’s it—it’s just cold. Sure, there is snow on the ground and the nighttime temperature for tonight’s scheduled Game 3 is forecast to be in the single digits. Remember how it was playing baseball when it was freezing cold and you hit a ball with an aluminum bat? That’s stinging sensation in your hands happens with wood bats, too. That’s especially the case when the pitcher purposely throws it in on the hitters’ hands with the intent on causing that feeling.

coldStill, it’s just cold. Cold happens sometimes. Football players layer up when it’s cold, golfers have certain clothes and precautions for when it’s chilly and distance runners, the toughest of the lot, just go run. They might put on some mittens.

Though the extra weight of the mittens might not be worth it.

Baseball is different. A summer rain sends players scurrying for the clubhouse because rain causes grass to get slick and then someone could fall down.

Really… someone could fall down.

Publically, the players on the Rockies and Phillies said all the right things about the prospect of playing Game 3 in record-low temps on Saturday night. Pedro Martinez, who is from the Dominican Republic, said he couldn’t wait to get out there and have fun. Cold? Whatever. Pedro even talked about the very first time he saw snow.

“When I saw snow, I actually stopped to grab a little bit and put it in my mouth and see if it felt like ice,” Pedro said. “But it’s something you get accustomed to.”

Yes, because it never got cold when Pedro was pitching in Boston. What would he do?

Pedro doesn’t have to worry about it now. Apparently, all it took was a cold day in Denver to get him off the mound. Instead, J.A. Happ, a kid from the Chicago suburbs, will pitch in Game 3 in the relatively mild climes of Sunday night. Better yet, Happ, Pedro and their teammates can breathe a faux sigh at the prospect of not going out there on Saturday night.

The funny part was that the only guy who went on record to say it would be silly to play baseball in single-digit weather with snow flurries at mid-level altitude was the dude from Canada.

“When it’s cold, you look for that sweet little spot so you can hit it on the nose every time,” Stairs said. “It’s uncomfortable for fans to sit there and watch a game. For me, I’m warm up here watching the game on TV till I have to pinch hit. I feel bad for the guys who have to play every day. There’s no advantage to either team in cold weather. You’re more patient as a hitter. It might knock down a run game a little bit with the tight muscles.”

Nevertheless, Stairs, from New Brunswick, isn’t impressed with the forecast though he says it makes for bad baseball.

“That’s short-sleeve weather,” he said. “I’ve played in games when it was 30 below.”

Maybe so, but not this time.

Game 3: Bundle up!

dawkinsLet’s just call it a brief diversion from the Broncos for a couple of hours. That’s the way it is with the folks in Colorado even when the Rockies are making a run in the playoffs. The truth is the entire state of Colorado pretty much shuts down whenever the Broncos play, and they are known to take hardcore sports participation to a degree that Philadelphians… well, don’t. But that’s just the way it is when the county due north of Denver is home to more than 60 people who were in the last Olympics.

Hell, Brian Dawkins and the Broncos play the Patriots here on Sunday afternoon to give folks time to get over to the ballpark in relative warmer weather.

That’s because a “front,” as they like to say out there, is moving in quickly and that means temperatures are going to drop to a high of 30 degrees as quickly as it takes for a room to get dark after flipping a switch. Saturday night’s game should be breezy, and snowy and bone-chilling cold, though OK for a ballgame. After all, if they deemed the weather good enough to start Game 5 of last October’s World Series, a little cold shouldn’t bother anyone.

But that happens out here all year round. In fact, I remember a time a few years ago when it was a comfortable and sunny August day with temperatures in Estes Park in the mid-80s. But after a short drive up Trail Ridge Road we had to pull over because it was snowing and hailing too hard to negotiate those tricky mountain roads.

That was August.

This was July of 2007 in the relative low altitude of Denver:

So if you’re going to Denver and can’t get tickets for the game (it’s sold out, I presume), go check out the El Chapultepec, a bar a block or two away from Coors on 1962 Market Street. It’s one of those holdovers from the pre-gentrification Denver where Kerouac and Cassady along with Sinatra and Bono have been seen having a few while eating authentic Mexican food from paper plates and listening to jazz from the stage. The music is what really drives folks in, they say.

El Chapultepec is a little trendier than it used to be, but it doesn’t look like it from the outside.

See how close it is to Coors:

map to El Chapultepec

Other than that, my wife has stopped in the Chop House for a pre-Coors lunch. She still talks about the salad she ate there four years ago.

For those looking for the old Denver of the Beats, there are tours to take.

Or, if you want to really see the mountains, drive the 60 miles up to Estes Park to the Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a Swiss-inspired little town where the elk out-number the people. Plus, Stephen King stayed at the stately Stanley Hotel for inspiration for The Shining.

Better yet, stay indoors out of the cold weather and find a warm spot and watch Pedro dial it up. That’s what I’m going to do.

Game 3: Bundle up!

dawkins.jpg Let’s just call it a brief diversion from the Broncos for a couple of hours. That’s the way it is with the folks in Colorado even when the Rockies are making a run in the playoffs. The truth is the entire state of Colorado pretty much shuts down whenever the Broncos play, and they are known to take hardcore sports participation to a degree that Philadelphians… well, don’t. But that’s just the way it is when the county due north of Denver is home to more than 60 people who were in the last Olympics.

Hell, Brian Dawkins and the Broncos play the Patriots here on Sunday afternoon to give folks time to get over to the ballpark in relative warmer weather.

That’s because a “front,” as they like to say out there, is moving in quickly and that means temperatures are going to drop to a high of 30 degrees as quickly as it takes for a room to get dark after flipping a switch. Saturday night’s game should be breezy, and snowy and bone-chilling cold, though OK for a ballgame. After all, if they deemed the weather good enough to start Game 5 of last October’s World Series, a little cold shouldn’t bother anyone.

But that happens out here all year round. In fact, I remember a time a few years ago when it was a comfortable and sunny August day with temperatures in Estes Park in the mid-80s. But after a short drive up Trail Ridge Road we had to pull over because it was snowing and hailing too hard to negotiate those tricky mountain roads.

That was August.

So if you’re going to Denver and can’t get tickets for the game (it’s sold out, I presume), go check out the El Chapultepec, a bar a block or two away from Coors on 1962 Market Street. It’s one of those holdovers from the pre-gentrification Denver where Kerouac and Cassady along with Sinatra and Bono have been seen having a few while eating authentic Mexican food from paper plates and listening to jazz from the stage. The music is what really drives folks in, they say.

El Chapultepec is a little trendier than it used to be, but it doesn’t look like it from the outside.

See how close it is to Coors:

map to El Chapultepec

Other than that, my wife has stopped in the Chop House for a pre-Coors lunch. She still talks about the salad she ate there four years ago.

For those looking for the old Denver of the Beats, there are tours to take.

Or, if you want to really see the mountains, drive the 60 miles up to Estes Park to the Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a Swiss-inspired little town where the elk out-number the people. Plus, Stephen King stayed at the stately Stanley Hotel for inspiration for The Shining.

Better yet, stay indoors out of the cold weather and find a warm spot and watch Pedro dial it up. That’s what I’m going to do.

Eighth inning: Big crowd, no bats

LOS ANGELES – I heard all the stories about Dodgers fans and their penchant for arriving to games late and leaving early. But so far tonight everyone seems to be staying until the end.

Why not? The Dodgers are playing well. Better yet, the attendance of 56,800 is the largest crowd in the history of this old joint.

And I was here…

Watching the Phillies not hit – what’s up with that?

After Chris Coste singled to start the eighth, the Phillies went down quietly.

Why don’t we just add this one into the win column for the Dodgers and call it a 2-1 series already. One more win from LA and there will be a Game 6 in Philadelphia on Friday night.

Off to work… check back later to see all the latest.

End of 8: Dodgers 7, Phillies 2

Seventh inning: Utley breaks out… anyone else?

LOS ANGELES – Chase Utley has officially ended his slump. I am making that decree. Sure, Utley could post a Golden Sombrero tomorrow night and spiral back into another funk, but based on the home run in Game 1, the four walks in Game 2 and the walk, smoked ground out to first and a double to left in the seventh, it appears as if the All-Star is back to being a threat.

Now all he needs is for the rest of the club to join him.

Ryan Howard got involved with a single to right, followed by an RBI single from Pat Burrell. After Burrell’s hit, manager Joe Torre decided Hiroki Kuroda was finished and summoned righty reliever, Cory Wade.

Torre brought Wade in to face the correct hitter in Jayson Werth, who has struggled at times against righties in the playoffs. Against Wade, Werth was punched out on a questionable check-swing call for the first out.

With two outs and runners on the corners, Charlie Manuel called on lefty Greg Dobbs to pinch hit for Carlos Ruiz. When Dobbs grounded out to short, the sell-out crowd here at Dodger Stadium let out a loud roar.

The Phillies could only get one.

A louder cheer was deserved for 12-year-old singer Ellie Smith, who nailed “God Bless America” and turned out one of the best “Star Spangled Banners” of the year.

But when they showed Tiger Woods on the jumbotron, the place really went nuts.

Does anyone cool go to Phillies’ games?

Meanwhile, Russell Martin’s body must look like a pin cushion right about now. With one out and the bases empty, Chad Durbin plunked him on the back with a curveball. Obviously, the umpires did not believe there was any intent with Durbin’s pitch because he wasn’t tossed from the game. Since warnings were issued to both clubs after Hiroki Kuroda tossed one over Shane Victorino’s head.

Nevertheless, the Phillies missed another chance.

End of 7: Dodgers 7, Phillies 2

Fifth and sixth innings: Lots of zeroes in the offense

LOS ANGELES – Having some trouble with the wireless connection again out here, which is kind of a pain, but oh well.

My trouble getting online is nothing like the Phillies’ problems in attempting to figure out Hiroki Kuroda. In two previous outings against the Phillies, the 33-year-old rookie from Japan pitched a pair of two-hitters. So far tonight in Game 3, Kuroda is again pitching a two-hitter.

After Pedro Feliz’s two-out RBI single in the second inning, Kuroda has retired 10 in a row with three strikeouts.

I wish there were something more to add, but the Phillies just can’t figure out Kuroda. Forget the third time being the charm… unless the Phillies stage some sort of wild rally, the Dodgers look like they’re going to get back in the series.

Meanwhile, the fans here at Dodger Stadium are having a good time doing the wave and batting around beach balls. Sometimes they even watch the game. That’s where they’d see everything going the Dodgers’ way.

During the sixth, Kuroda sat the Phillies down in order again to push his string to 13 straight retired hitters.

Between the top and bottom of the sixth, they showed a montage of Fernando Valenzuela highlights. The fans went nuts. On another note, I saw Fernando in the press box before the game, but he didn’t seem to remember our conversation from the other day.

Helluva of pitcher though.

Scott Eyre came on in the sixth for Happ. Who knows… maybe Happ will start the next time Moyer’s spot in the rotation comes around.

End of 6: Dodgers 7, Phillies 1

Third and fourth innings: Pay back time

LOS ANGELES – Here we go!

After Brett Myers threw one behind Manny Ramirez in Game 2, and Russell Martin got plunked by Jamie Moyer and crop dusted by Clay Condrey, Dodgers’ pitcher Hiroki Kuroda fired one over Shane Victorino’s head.

Gee, wonder what he was trying to do there?

After the purpose pitch, Victorino rightly gestured at Kuroda to drill him on the body if he’s going to do that crap and not up near his head. The conversation continued after Victorino grounded out to first base. Again, he told the pitcher to hit him instead of playing that head hunting bit.

Fine. All over, right? Message sent and received.

Or not.

As the benches spilled out onto the foul territory, Manny Ramirez exacerbated the situation by doing that chicken hold-me-back bit. Then Larry Bowa began chirping again and gesturing, which incensed things even more.

Yes, imagine that – Bowa stirring it up.

Here comes the cheap shot(s):

Hey Larry, how come Charlie could take these guys to the playoffs and you couldn’t? Go back to coaching third, tough guy.

Why can’t Davey Lopes just do the earth a favor and punch Larry Bowa in the mouth? C’mon Davey, I’m sure there are at least a few dozen guys behind you ready to pile on.

Anyway, the Phillies went quietly in the fourth. J.A. Happ has settled things down for the pitching, too. After giving up a one-out single to Matt Kemp, Happ retired four hitters in a row until he walked Manny. Happ also walked Martin, which set the table for Nomar Garciaparra’s two-out, RBI single.

End of 3: Dodgers 7, Phillies 1

Second inning: Quick night for Moyer

LOS ANGELES – there are people watching the game up on the hill next to the “Think Blue” sign beyond left field. I believe it’s called Radio Hill and we climbed up and over (in a car) on the way here this afternoon.

On another note, the wireless connection is a little spotty up here in high center. Great view though. From my perch I saw that Pat Burrell did not get enough of the pitch from Hiroki Kuroda to knock it into the seats. However, Marcus Hayes (sitting directly to my left) pointed out that Burrell long out would have been a few rows deep into the seats at the Bank.

Nevertheless, the Phillies got a run back when Ryan Howard started the inning with a double, tagged for third on a fly out by Jayson Werth and then scored on Pedro Feliz’s two-out single.

But Jamie Moyer quickly gave that run back when Rafael Furcal blasted one over the left-field fence. Clearly, this is not Moyer’s night. Of the first 10 hitters Moyer faced, six got hits and seven reached base.

One pitch after the homer to Furcal, Moyer got Andre Ethier to fly out to center and that was it. Charlie Manuel bounced out of the dugout, waved his right hand and called in Clay Condrey.

I haven’t looked it up, but I’m pretty sure it was Moyer’s worst playoff outing.

The line:

1 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP – 32 pitches, 22 strikes

J.A. Happ should be on to start the third.

End of 2: Dodgers 6, Phillies 1

First inning: Early TKO?

LOS ANGELES – The conventional wisdom around these parts is that the fans here at Dodger Stadium are loyal, friendly and laidback. Moreover, they are really into their team – they stick with the Dodgers no matter what.

However, that same conventional wisdom indicates that Dodger fans are nowhere close to being as loud as they are at the Bank. The one thing the fans in Philadelphia do well is loud.

Since I’m sitting outside high above home plate, I have to admit that it’s pretty loud. There is a Shea Stadium feel to this place (or is it that Shea had a Dodger Stadium feel since this park is/was older?), only not as loud.

The fans are prettier, too.

The Phillies’ first at-bats weren’t what anyone would call pretty. In fact, Hiroki Kuroda’s first six pitches were strikes which got him two outs. Chase Utley drew another walk (his fifth in the last two games), but made the third out of the inning when he was nailed trying to steal.

The replay appeared to show Utley sneaking in safely under the tag, but Rafael Furcal blocked the bag with his foot before slapping down the tag.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers wasted no time getting after Jamie Moyer. Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez singled on three straight pitches, with Manny driving in the first run. Moyer loaded the bases when he drilled Russell Martin on the knee with one that got a little too down and in.

Certainly Moyer was in a great spot to come undone. Instead, the old lefty battled Nomar Garciaparra for a strikeout and got ahead in the count to Casey Blake until his lined one into right for the second run.

Clearly the Dodgers have a pretty good plan for facing Moyer. Either they are looking for specific pitches or certain locations. Sometimes they jump on the first pitch or they wait. Who knows, maybe the Dodgers watched the tape from Game 3 of the NLDS where the Brewers handled Moyer and decided just to copy that.

Either way, it looked like the early knockout punch was delivered when Blake Dewitt knocked in three runs with a double (triple?).

No movement in the Phillies’ ‘pen though J.A. Happ probably should get limber.

End of 1: Dodgers 5, Phillies 0

Pregame: Celeb spotting

LOS ANGELES – Part of the fun of going to baseball games at Dodger Stadium isn’t so much about watching the home team . Oh sure, the Dodgers are very popular though maybe not as much as the Lakers. The Dodgers are even more popular now that they have Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez.

But Dodgers games are fun for people watching, but more specifically, celebrity watching. Though Los Angelinos are pretty non-plussed about seeing famous actors and starlets out in public interacting with the rabble, the visiting scribes (like the ones from Philadelphia) took a keen interest in spotting some familiar faces in the stands.

While the Dodgers and Phillies took batting practice this afternoon, Penny Marshall was on the field talking to Torre. The funny thing about that was we were just in Milwaukee where her hit show, “Laverne & Shirley” was set.

Unfortunately, no one alerted Laverne to this fact or the one in which a few of us paid homage to one of her pals by visiting the statue of The Fonz.

While Laverne and Torre chatted, Jon Lovitz took in batting practice from the seats behind home plate. A particularly funny idea about this was when one of the scribes suggested that someone walk by Lovitz, trip and fall to the ground, before jumping up in the air while yelling, “ACTING!”

Yeah, I guess you had to be there.

Meanwhile, as this was all going on, Danny Devito chatted up some TV reporters near the Dodgers dugout on the third base side of the field. Truth be told, Devito is much shorter in person.

I’m sure we’ll see a few more notable Hollywood types, but really, how much different is it than being in DC and seeing George Will or some sort of politico. That’s the way it is in an industry town.

Pregame: Lineups, lunch and notes

LOS ANGELES – We’re back here at Dodger Stadium after a morning run through Pasadena and Santa Anita. Soon it will be time to find something to eat, which looks very promising. Guys with my habits and mindset do better with the culinary choices in California than in Philadelphia. So far I have seen concession stands by Panda Express, California Pizza Kitchen, Corona and a few other progressive-styled eateries.

Yes, a guy like me could do well here in Southern California.

The big question will be if Jamie Moyer and the Phillies do well in LaLa Land. A victory tonight will be (as they say) huge. A 3-0 advantage could make this trip to California shorter than planned.

Then again, the Dodgers have been down 0-2 in the playoffs and come back to win three different times and in all instances they won four games in a row. In 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers rallied to beat the Yankees; in 1965 Sandy Koufax helped the Dodgers come back against the Twins; and in 1981 the old gang with Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey finally beat the Yankees.

But all of those comebacks were in the World Series, not the NLCS.

In the meantime, here are the lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Phillies
11 – Jimmy Rollins, ss
8 – Shane Victorino, cf
26 – Chase Utley, 2b
6 – Ryan Howard, 1b
5 – Pat Burrell, lf
28 – Jayson Werth, rf
7 – Pedro Feliz, 3b
51 – Carlos Ruiz, c
50 – Jamie Moyer, p

Dodgers
15 – Rafael Furcal, ss
16 – Andre Ethier, rf
99 – Manny Ramirez, lf
55 – Russell Martin, c
5 – Nomar Garciaparra, 1b
30 – Casey Blake, 3b
27 – Matt Kemp, cf
33 – Blake DeWitt, 2b
18 – Hiroki Kuroda, p

Game 3: Brewers 4, Phillies 1

MILWAUKEE – Ryan Howard, Greg Dobbs and Shane Victorino made it very interesting when he singled off closer Salomon Torres to start the ninth. Yet again, the Phillies put a runner in scoring position, and yet again they did so with one out or fewer.

Bases loaded with no outs in a three-run game… how do the Phillies respond?

Not well.

Pedro Feliz laced a grounder to third that was turned into a 5-4-3 to chase in a run to cut the lead to two…

Or not.

Actually, instead of sliding into second game, Victorino ducked instead and barreled into Craig Counsell. After manager Dale Sveum petitioned the umps, the run was erased when Howard was forced back to third and Dobbs to second.

If that did not typify the Phillies’ evening, nothing did.

So there we are: the series is 2-1 with big-game pitcher Jeff Suppan ready to go on Sunday morning and CC Sabathia waiting in the wings for a Game 5 start back in Philly.

Yes, this could get troublesome for the Phillies very quickly.

Heading to the clubhouse… more later.

End of 9: Brewers 4, Phillies 1

Eighth inning: Oh, those runners left on base


MILWAUKEE – Geoff Jenkins made his first post-season plate appearance to start the eighth after 10 years in the big leagues playing for the Brewers. They really like Jenkins here and some even call Miller Park, “The House that Jenk Built.”

Not quite, but it’s a nice sentiment.

Nevertheless, Jenkins lifted an easy fly to left off once-dominant closer, Eric Gagne for the first out of the eighth before Jimmy Rollins tried to beat out a bunt, but was off on the execution.

Jayson Werth helped the Phillies add to their impressive runners-left-stranded-in-scoring-position totals by ripping a double off the wall in left before Chase Utley ended the inning with a fly out.

Combined, Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell are a combined 3-for-26 in the series. That total fits nicely with the 22 runners left on base during the series, including 15 in scoring position.

Fortunately, the Brewers could not add on against Ryan Madson in the eighth as the Phillies go down to their final three outs against closer Salomon Torres.

We’ll all know what we’re doing on Sunday very soon.

End of 8: Brewers 4, Phillies 1

Seventh inning: Eyre over Madson

MILWAUKEE – Obviously, Milwaukee is filthy with media folks this weekend. Aside from the usual suspects like four writers from The Inquirer and the Daily News apiece and six folks from Comcast SportsNet, a bunch of national types have dropped in to see if the Phillies can get it done.

And since most folks are stuck here all weekend, a bunch are hoping for the Phillies to end it tonight so they can spend a leisurely Sunday writing and hanging out in Chicago, which is about 70-minutes south of Milwaukee.

Another option is the 90-minute drive north to Green Bay to watch the Packers at Lambeau Field.

My choice is Chicago. If the Phillies get this done tonight it might have to make the jaunt down there tonight.

But if the Phillies are going to make it a clean sweep they can’t have innings like the seventh where Carlos Villanueva buzzed through the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 hitters for an easy, 1-2-3 frame.

Meanwhile, Scott Eyre returned to pitch the seventh and gave up J.J. Hardy’s third hit of the game. A sacrifice bunt and an infield single from Craig Counsell put runners on the corners with one out, but manager Charlie Manuel decided to stick with the lefty Eyre to face right-handed hitter Jason Kendall.

Bad move.

Kendall’s single to left made it 4-1 and immediately got J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson up in the Phillies’ bullpen.

But why didn’t Madson start the inning? After all, Eyre is mostly a situational lefty these days and the Brewers had two straight right-handed hitters up to start the inning, followed by lefty Counsell and another righty, Kendall.

Madson quickly got out of the inning, but now the Phillies are six outs away from making us all stay in Milwaukee and show up at the ballpark for breakfast tomorrow morning.

End of 7: Brewers 4, Phillies 1

Sixth inning: Dodging bullets

MILWAUKEE – The Phillies finally caught a break when Jayson Werth pounded a long fly ball to right field that Corey Hart caught just before crashing into the fence. But when he hit the ground, the ball fell out of his glove as he was trying to make the exchange in order to show the ump that he made the catch.

Without breaking stride, Werth coasted into third with a triple. He came in with the first run when Ryan Howard grounded out to third off lefty reliever Mitch Stetter with one out.

Still, even though the Phils got a run they are 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position tonight.

Brewers’ pitcher Dave Bush’s line:

5 1/3 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 3 K – 70 pitches, 51 strikes.

Chad Durbin, a.k.a., “The Chad,” entered the game in the bottom of the sixth, promptly retired catcher Jason Kendall before giving up a single to relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva.

Yes, a relief pitcher got a hit off of a relief pitcher.

So did center fielder Mike Cameron, who made it to base safely for the fourth time in the game, but for the first time via a hit. Luckily for the Phillies the pitcher was clogging up the bases because Villanueva could not score when Bill Hall singled to load ‘em up.

After a seven-pitch strikeout for Durbin against Ryan Braun, manager Charlie Manuel summoned lefty Scott Eyre to face lefty Prince Fielder.

Good move.

Fielder popped up a 3-1 fastball to Eyre to leave the bases loaded for the second straight inning as the Phils dodged another bullet.

That’s 10 runners left on base for the Brewers – six in scoring position.

End of 6: Brewers 3, Phillies 1

Third inning: Swings and misses

MILWAUKEE – The Phillies’ ineptitude with runners in scoring position continued in the third inning when Jimmy Rollins laced a two-out double to left and remained there when Jayson Werth whiffed again.

In 10 at-bats so far this series Werth has struck out five times. Interestingly, the five strikeouts have come when Charlie Manuel put Werth in the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Actually, the fact that Werth was in at all against right-hander Dave Bush is a bit odd. Though the right fielder hit .303 against lefties this season, he batted just .255 vs. righties. Moreover, Werth slugged 16 of his 24 homers against lefties in nearly half as many at-bats.

Veteran Matt Stairs or even ex-Brewer Geoff Jenkins might have been a suitable alternative in Game 3.

In other news, Milwaukee native Todd Zolecki’s sister is at the game wearing a Ryan Braun t-shirt. During the second inning word filtered through the press box that Todd’s sister caught a foul ball… well, she didn’t catch it out of the air. After the bounced around for a bit, Todd’s sister showed the famous Zolecki quick first step and pounced like a jaguar.

As a result, Todd’s sister is going home with a souvenir from a playoff game.

Nice work.

End of 3: Brewers 2, Phillies 0

Second inning: Piling up the pitches

MILWAUKEE – Ryan Howard beat the shift with a double to left-center on the first pitch of the second to continue his hot hitting against Brewers’ pitcher Dave Bush. Heading into the game Howard was 5-for-14 with two homers against Bush.

But Howard isn’t the only Phillie with good lifetime numbers against Bush. Pat Burrell was 5-for-13 with three homers; Chase Utley was 4-for-9 with a homer; Pedro Feliz had two homers and Greg Dobbs had a pair of homers and a .462 average (6-for-13).

However, following the double to Howard, Bush retired the next three in order. As a result, the Phillies have stranded 18 runners during their 18 times at bat during the series and 12 of those in scoring position.

That kind of makes it tough.

It also gets tough when pitcher Jamie Moyer continued to work deep counts. So far, only two Brewers have gotten first-pitch strikes as the lefty’s pitch count soared to 56 after just two innings. The pitcher is clearly frustrated with the strike zone and appeared to be yapping at home-plate ump Brian Runge. After Mike Cameron walked with two outs, Moyer yelled for catcher Carlos Ruiz to get out to the mound.

Moyer got out of the inning by striking out Bill Hall, but it wasn’t until the hitter was halfway down the base line to first thinking he had walked that Runge rung him up.

End of 2: Brewers 2, Phillies 0

First inning: Tight strike zone

MILWAUKEE – Game-time temperature was 65 degrees under the dome here at Miller Park and it was a rather brisk 54 degrees outdoors. Apparently, the closed lid makes this ballpark extra loud, which was part of the reason why Charlie Manuel tabbed Jamie Moyer to start.

Another reason why Manuel wanted Moyer to start was because Moyer had a 2.92 ERA in 17 starts on the road. Still another reason is because the wily old lefty wins clinchers.

Since joining the Phillies, veteran starting pitcher Jamie Moyer has be the team’s default clinching game pitcher. Last season he was the winning pitcher in the final game in which the team locked up the NL East title and a week later he started the decisive Game 3 of the NLDS in Colorado.

Last week Moyer took the win in the NL East-clinching game again and will have a chance to nail down another win in an elimination game when he goes up against Bush on Saturday night.

But if one believes Moyer gets excited or particularly wound up for pitching in those types of big games, guess again.

Every game is important, according to Moyer.

“I honestly try not to think of any situation I’m in – whether it’s spring training, regular season or post-season – as any different type of game,” Moyer said on Friday afternoon at Miller Park. “… so when you do get into the postseason, you don’t try to turn it into something that it’s really not. It’s still a baseball game. The game tomorrow is no different than the game two months ago or three months ago.”

The Phillies went down in order in the first when Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth whiffed and Chase Utley bounced harmlessly back to the pitcher. Against righty Dave Bush, the Phils saw 10 pitches and eight of them were strikes.

Moyer, meanwhile, threw five straight balls to start the game, including two or three that probably would have been strikes with a different umpire than Brian Runge. After the fifth one, catcher Carlos Ruiz trotted out to the mound while Moyer composed himself and went back to work. However, eight pitches later Bill Hall drew a second straight walk.

A wild pitch and a full-count pop out against Ryan Braun got Moyer his first out and a sac fly vs. Prince Fielder got him out No. 2 and run No. 1 for the Brewers.

Clearly it seems as if Moyer is getting pinched on some calls by home-plate ump Runge. At the same time, he got a few low and outside pitches to righties. But a two-out, RBI single by J.J. Hardy made the pitcher pay for those back-to-back walks.

End of 1: Brewers 2, Phillies 0

Pregame: Nice ‘stache

MILWAUKEE – The series has shifted to a new city so that means the players get re-introduced before the game. The Brewers’ fans neither booed, hissed, cheered nor tossed rolls of quarters at the Phillies when they trotted out onto the third-base line. They were stoic with their indifference.

However, when Geoff Jenkins took the field he got loud hoots and hollers from his former hometown fans.

They also clapped loudly when the Brewers exited the field after batting practice, too.

Talk about polite… these people make St. Louis fans look like a bunch of devil worshippers.

The one thing that stood out the most to me when I walked through the corridors to the press box here was the giant poster of the great relief pitcher Rollie Fingers. Quite obviously I was a huge Rollie Fingers fan when I was a kid. Part of that had to do with the fact that Rollie was pretty good – he’s in the Hall of Fame after all. Plus, he had the tremendous handlebar mustache and the unfortunate last name.

So one of my goals before we leave Milwaukee is to have my picture taken beneath the poster. I’m going to make that happen.

On another note, Robin Yount also had a very serious mustache.

Phillies
11 – Rollins, ss
28 – Werth, rf
26 – Utley, 2b
6 – Howard, 1b
5 – Burrell, lf
8 – Victorino, cf
7 – Feliz, 3b
51 – Ruiz, c
50 – Moyer, p

Brewers
25 – Cameron, cf
2 – Hall, 2b
8 – Braun, lf
28 – Fielder, 1b
7 – Hardy, ss
1 – Hart, rf
23 – Weeks, 2b
18 – Kendall, c
31 – Bush, p

Hello Wisconsin!

Programming note: We are in Milwaukee and will offer the same live updates during tonight’s game from Miller Park.


MILWAUKEE – The first thing one notices about a domed stadium is that the view from the floor is very similar to that of a basketball or hockey arena. The stands feel very close to surface and pushed forward for great sight lines. Yet at the same time the coziness is also offset by wide corridors plenty of elbow room and a ceiling that seems vaster than it actually is.

Perhaps that’s because when a person looks up into an open air arena he is looking into infinity. It’s unknown and never ending so therefore the mere human mind struggles to come to grips with that vastness. He simply ignores it.

But slap a roof up there and there is context. Everyone can figure out how high the ceiling is… why it’s all the way up there, of course. It’s a really long way away.

Yet because it’s a basketball arena with a baseball diamond laid out on it, the dimensions seem tighter than they really are. Actually, the closeness of the stands and the roof up top make the place feel like the quirky wiffle ball stadium you probably built in the backyard when you were a kid.

That’s exactly what Miller Park feels like.

Better yet, it has a feel. It’s unique in a sense because the place is completely fabricated, which is a paradox. That’s it – Miller Park is a paradox. Dropped into a wide parkland section just west of downtown Milwaukee, the stadium looks as if it was dropped down from outer space. From the outside it looks like a futuristic clam with its folding retractable roof, and on the inside it looks like a scene from a snow globe.

So that’s where the Phillies will try to win their first playoff series since beating the Atlanta Braves in the 1993 NLCS. The consensus around the ballpark is that the Phillies will sew it up on Saturday to quickly turn their attention to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team in a similar position.

It won’t be easy for the Phillies. Oh sure, they seemingly cruised through the first two games of the series, but they did so despite themselves. In the 16 innings in which they came to bat, the Phillies have only scored in two of them. Moreover, they left the bases loaded twice in Game 2, once more in Game 1 and have stranded 17, including 11 runners in scoring position.

Worse, the heart of the order – Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell – is a combined 1-for-17 with eight strikeouts. If Brewers’ centerfielder Mike Cameron had gotten a better bead on a fly ball hit by Utley with two outs in the third inning of Game 1, it would be 0-for-17.

Meanwhile, the Brewers are hoping to repeat the same path from the last time they were in the playoffs back in 1982 when they dropped the first two games of the ALCS only to come back and sweep the last three games from the California Angels.

So here we are in Milwaukee waiting to see where we’ll go next.

Who turned on the heat?

Big Elk @ StanleyESTES PARK, Colo. – So I’m sitting at the tables closest to the door in Kind Coffee – my favorite coffee shop ever – with a view of the burbling Big Thompson River and the bundled up locals traipsing up Elkhorn Avenue for the October sidewalk sale with all sorts of thoughts running wild:

“Is the baseball season really over?”

“Man, I can’t believe I made that drive from Denver at 1 a.m.”

“This coffee is so #$&*@% good!”

“I can’t believe I’m in Estes Park in October and it’s 35 degrees… it’s 90 degrees in Lancaster and Philly.”

“It’s hard to believe that Colorado is on the same planet as Philadelphia.”

“Hey! Look… elk!

“That guy is wearing a funny hat. I wonder where he got it?”

You get the idea. It goes on and on and on like this – sometimes for days.

Anyway, if I had to guess, I’d say that I slept for seven hours since waking up on Saturday morning to go to the airport in Philadelphia. That part stinks because sleep is vital. If one gets the proper amount of sleep (and a little bit extra just for fun), there is no need to inject silliness like HGH into one’s bloodstream.

Be that as it may, I’ve been infused with a steady stream of coffee since arriving out here at noon (local time) on Saturday. From the airport I went to the ballpark and watched the Phillies’ season come to an end. When that ended and I turned the ignition on my car at 1:01 a.m., I drove to Estes Park.

On the way to Estes, I saw exactly four cars on the final 36 miles of the drive after exiting I-25. I was convinced an elk or coyote was going to jump out of the thick, inky blackness of the night and into the path of my car.

Instead it was just cold and windy.

Get this: when I left Philadelphia it was 90 degrees and foggy, but when I woke up on Sunday morning it was 35 degrees and windy with a few snow flurries dancing about. By 1 p.m. it was 55 degrees with a gentle breeze and the sunniest and bluest skies anyone will ever see.

ANYWAY, one of my goals in Estes Park was to spend the morning at Kind Coffee, which is where I started writing this, as well as Sunday’s (or Monday’s… I lost track) reprisal of the Phillies’ season. Check it out by clicking here.

Another goal was to see if there were more elk meandering about town than during the summertime.

Here’s how it worked out:

As far as the coffee joint went, I made it to Kind Coffee three times in less than 16 hours of which four were spent sleeping. As mentioned above, I started writing this post from the table nearest the door with a full view of the Big Thompson River flowing within spitting distance. To the table to my right sat a bearded, 27-year old seasonal employee of the National Park Service, who was discussing his existential crisis with an attentive and patient young lady. I know all of this because I heard the conversation as if I had snapped on the TV and was just listening to it as background noise. As I tap-tap-tapped away, waxing on about Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Jamie Moyer, the young man described how he was ready to retire and was sick of seasonal jobs, though he was not at all interested in working in an office where he might have to sit in a cubicle all day under set, rigid hours.

He also didn’t want to have to spend the rest of his life working only to retire and find out that he didn’t make enough money or invest properly.

Join the club, buddy. And save as much of your fire watching money as possible now – sell that top-of-the-line iMac on eBay… better yet, stay away from anything that has a small letter in front of a capital letter. That type of [stuff] is expensive. Better yet, start buying Folgers at the Safeway up the hill. Buying that Kind Coffee every day adds up.

Trust me.

Famous last words, huh?

The StanleyAs far as the elk meandering about goes, I thought there would be more, though there were a bunch just chillaxing near the Lake Estes trail as well as a big ol’ buck and his brood hanging out behind the Stanley Hotel.

Oh yeah, I also bought a weird hat that no one else likes. In fact, my sister doesn’t even like it and she’s a bit odd (eccentric?).

To shorten this up a bit, the trip was too short. All of it. Time in Colorado is always much too short, and the Phillies’ run in the playoffs was almost criminally short. I realized this as I drove past Coors Field on Sunday night and saw that it was all dark. I said out loud: “Hey, this would be about the time the first pitch would be thrown.”

I’m going to dig into the off-season this afternoon, where I’ll attempt to offer what we could expect from the club this winter. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here’s what I was writing for this site when Jeff Baker singled off J.C. Romero with two outs in the eighth inning on Saturday night at Coors:

Game 3 of the NLDS has really heated up and, yes, we mean that metaphorically. Heading into the eighth, the Rockies have turned it over to funky lefty Brian Fuentes, who whiffed Jimmy Rollins, got Chase Utley to fly out harmlessly to left, and then struck out Pat Burrell to end the inning.

To punctuate the feat, Fuentes gave a strong fist pump with his left hand and a little leg kick.

But Burrell nearly had Fuentes hanging his head. His long, loud foul ball started its flight looking like it was going to land in the seats for a homer, but instead turned out just to be strike two.

The Rockies sent the meat of their order up against Tom Gordon in the eighth. Gordon started his second inning against Matt Holliday, Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins up.

I’m betting that J.C. Romero will face Helton…

And here comes Charlie with his lineup card to pull off a double-switch. Romeo to face Helton, Jayson Werth to left to replace Burrell. I imagine Charlie will use Brett Myers to face the righty Garrett Atkins even if Romero doesn’t retire Helton.

Uh… oops.

And then there was offense… kind of

ScribesIt should be noted that there is a full Philadelphia media throng here in Denver tonight. All of the newspapers are represented in sizable numbers, including six writers from the Inquirer and a bunch from the Daily News.

And get this: The Daily News doesn’t even print an edition tomorrow and the rest of the papers are already past deadline.

Ah, but they all have web site… that’s right guys – embrace the technology.

All of a sudden the offense shows up!

With one out in the seventh Shane Victorino knifed one through the wind and into the seats atop the high, out-of-town scoreboard in right field. Just like that and the Phillies have some offense.

They might even have a little spark.

Victorino knew it was gone as soon as he hit it. He reacted with a few short fist pumps as he dashed down the first-base line and was prodding on his teammates throughout the inning. Perhaps Victorino and his home run got the Phillies going? After all, Carlos Ruiz followed it up with a single to chase rookie pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez in favor of veteran Matt Herges.

After Greg Dobbs pinch hit for Abe Nunez and grounded out, Charlie Manuel pulled back Jamie Moyer for pinch hitter Tadahito Iguchi with two outs and a runner on second. We all know that things tend to happen whenever Iguchi steps onto the field.

This time, though, all that happened was an inning-ending pop out.

Moyer’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K – 88 pitches/56 strikes

Here comes the Phillies’ bullpen. Buckle up.

Coming up empty

KazMy favorite pen finally ran out of ink.

The Rockies drew first blood in the fifth when Pat Burrell misplayed a single – or maybe even a FO-7 – into a two-out, RBI triple for Kaz Matsui.

That cinches it: Kaz Matsui is officially the Phillie Killer.

In 2007, Matsui went 3-for-9 with a homer against the Phillies, which is up from a 4-for-23 in 2006 and 6-for-33 in 2005. But in 2004 when he was with the Mets, Matsui had 22 hits against the Phillies, including a bunch of really strong games at the Bank. In one series in June of that season, Matsui picked up nine hits before adding eight more in the return matchup at Shea.

Most telling is that of Matsui’s 35 career hits against the Phillies, 10 are for extra bases.

During the Phillies’ half of the fifth they finally got a base runner when Carlos Ruiz walked. But he was quickly erased when Abe Nunez grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Phillies kicked up another bit of a fuss in the sixth by putting two on with one out (and letting Moyer lead off the inning), but Pat Burrell popped out to left and Ryan Howard grounded out.

Man… the Phillies had two on and one out with Burrell and Howard coming up and got nothing. Such a bad time for that to happen…

As it stands now, the Phillies have nine outs remaining in the season.

All quiet in the fourth

Pat BurrellEvery time I’ve seen the Phillies play a game at Coors Field, Pat Burrell homered. This afternoon he was launching some bombs during batting practice, which leads me to believe that he would probably enjoy playing in Denver more often.

I’m not saying anything, I’m just saying…

According to this site, the gusts are 39 mph here at Coors. That also seems to be the speed of the breeze generated from the swings and misses from the Phillies’ hitters against fireballer, Ubaldo Jimenez. Here in the fourth, the young right-hander has retired 10 in a row.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Moyer notched his first clean inning since the first. Interestingly, even though Moyer is pitching very deliberately, the game is moving along at a nice clip. If it hadn’t been for the lights going out, this game might be over.

Old man Moyer

Jamie MoyerThis afternoon when I got to the park (something like 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time), I noticed Jamie Moyer sitting by himself next to the backstop, quietly taking in the pre-game scene. The Rockies had just started to take the field to stretch and loosen up before batting practice, and some of the folks from the TBS and ESPN were milling about and setting up their camera angles or whatever it is they do.

Ever since Game 2 ended in defeat for the Phillies, I have been paying close attention to Jamie Moyer. In fact, I have been trying to parse his comments about how he wants to “have fun” and explaining how much “fun” it is to be in the playoffs. Anyone who asks gets told that Moyer is having fun and that the others on his team should understand that these games are fun.

It’s why you play the season, Moyer says.

Yet through it all I can’t find any deeper meaning. I even asked a few of the scribes who know the team better than me and they agreed that there isn’t more beyond what the 44-year old lefty is saying. Take his words at face value, I was told.

Or, look at them as a means to get some of the guys on his team – namely some of the pitchers and Chase Utley – to loosen up.

Perhaps Moyer’s tactic will work.

As it stands now, the last seven Phillies’ hitters have gone down in order. Moyer, meanwhile, is taking his time and being very methodical in his tactics. If a runner is on base he has been making throws to first even though there isn’t a threat of a steal, or he looks in at catcher Carlos Ruiz for a long time before coming to a set motion.

Yesterday, Clint Hurdle warned his team that Moyer would challenge their discipline at the plate. So far there haven’t been any surprises.

Wha’ happened

BlackoutWhat the…

Hey, who turned out the lights?

Just as Shane Victorino was digging in to lead off the second, all of the power went out in the ballpark. I don’t know if it’s related to the windy conditions, or if it’s in the neighborhood as well. All I know is that my cell phone won’t connect with my number back in Lancaster.

Weird, wild stuff.

OK…

I’m told it was a computer glitch and not related to the weather or whatever else. Either way, the delay lasted 14 minutes and it’s getting windier and colder. What a weird day. When I left the house this morning there was pea soup fog with reports of record-breaking temperatures and nasty humidity. Then I get here and it’s a perfect, sun-soaked day with humidity at 9 percent.

If the locusts show up, I’m gone.

Have I mentioned that it’s windy here?

Back in the baseball game, wily veteran Jamie Moyer is throwing strikes. He also threw one that Garrett Atkins normally would have smashed up to the concession stand where the sell the Rocky Mountain Oysters, but the gale-force winds knocked the blast down so that Pat Burrell could make an easy catch on the warning track.

Moyer loaded the bases on a pair of weak singles and a walk before getting out of the jam on a close play at first on a grounder hit by pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.

Oh, but it’s getting odder. I just had to move all of my stuff off of the table in front of me so that a man could walk on top of the rows here in the press box to close the windows.

Apparently, it’s cold and windy out there. I don’t know any more because the windows are closed.

John’s town

John ElwayThese fans are so polite. As the Rockies were introduced, they all waved their little rally towels, but they all stopped cheering and yelling when the P.A. announcer spoke. When he stopped saying what he had to say, the fans cheered.

So attentive.

However, when Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate, they booed. I guess it’s the same reason why Matt Holliday was booed in Philadelphia. There was a wicked cheer when Rollins whiffed, too.

They went crazy with the cheers when John Elway appeared on the video screen to implore everyone to root for the Rockies. Denver is all about the Broncos – actually, Colorado is all about the Broncos. Take the way Philadelphians feel about the Eagles and multiply it by the highest number you know and then you will begin to understand the way they feel about the Broncos.

Knowing this, it makes sense that John Elway runs the place. The old quarterback is Denver royalty and I’m pretty sure that everyone in the state buys their cars from one of his 9,857 car dealerships in the area.

Anyway, the fans are polite and loud. They like to cheer for their team and not really against the opposition.

I missed the first two hitters of the bottom of the first because I went into the press lounge to get a drink and a bag full of a really tasty snack mix. Plus, Jamie Moyer got the first two guys out really fast.

It seems as if the wind is now blowing in very hard. It’s starting to get chilly… er, cold.

The Dude abides

The DudeSince it’s the opening playoff game in Colorado, the players are being (re)introduced before the game. Jimmy Rollins started a nice little trend by going all the way to the very end of the line and shaking the hand of all of his teammates. Charlie Manuel just ambled out to home plate.

Anyway, it’s a very beautiful night here at Coors. The temperature and the conditions couldn’t be better. Nevertheless, I suggest they play fast so, a.) We can get out of here earlier because it’s already been a long day and I’m sure you folks can’t wait to read our stories, and b.) It’s going to get cold and windy.

If there is a Game 4, it most likely will played in quite cold conditions. Like maybe the mid-30s. But enough weather talk from me… that’s Dennis Deitch’s bag. All I know is that the weather is beautiful and the press box is nice and low and I have a great vantage point askew of home plate.

Meanwhile, the news from here is that Charlie Manuel revealed that the Phillies had contacted him regarding his future plans. As has been well publicized, Manuel’s contract runs out at the end of the season and there appears to be interest in bringing him back. General manager Pat Gillick wasn’t around to comment, though he is here in Denver.

Anyway, most of the wiling away time before the game was spent discussing the comedic genius of Norm McDonald and the greatest film ever produced…

The Big Lebowski.

These are important matters.

Also, it should be noted that there were no members of the Philadelphia press corps interested in trying the “Rocky Mountain Oysters” they sell at a few concession stands.

Can’t blame them.

Greetings from Blake Street

Coors FieldDENVER – Yay! I made it. Actually, I think I am the only person to be on the premises of both the Phillies and Rockies stadiums today. In order to pull off such a stunt, one has to get up early…

I’m sleepy.

Nonetheless, we have a big ballgame tonight. Apparently the weather is going to take a wild turn as a front comes in, but I will report that the wind has been fairly fierce. There have been some gusts that could knock a big, strapping fella on his duff.

I can’t believe I used those terms in that sentence.

Anyway, well be coming at you live just like in the first two games, so get ready. In the meantime, here are the lineups:

Rockies
7 – Kaz Matsui, 2b
2 – Troy Tulowitzki, ss
5 – Matt Holliday, lf
17 – Todd Helton, 1b
27 – Garrett Atkins, 3b
11 – Brad Hawpe, rf
19 – Ryan Spilborghs, cf
8 – Yorvit Torrealba, c
38 – Ubaldo, Jimenez, p

As you can see, Clint Hurdle is sticking with the same lineup that he used in the first two games. Hey, if it ain’t broke…

Phillies
11 – Jimmy Rollins, ss
26 – Chase Utley, 2b
5 – Pat Burrell, lf
6 – Ryan Howard, 1b
33 – Aaron Rowand, cf
8 – Shane Victorino, cf
51 – Carlos Ruiz, c
3 – Abraham Nunez, 3b
50 – Jamie Moyer, p

With Moyer on the mound, Charlie Manuel is going with a more defensive lineup. Those nine guys remind me of something Moyer and I chatted about the other day – I told him that 50 percent of good pitching is good defense.

He said: “Ha! In my case it’s 99.9 percent.”

What a card!