Closer Jonathan Broxton was called upon to get four outs last night for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, Broxton was only able to record three outs.
Jimmy Rollins’ double off of Broxton with two-on and two-out in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Philadelphia Phillies a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Dodgers last night and sent the 46, 157 fans who packed Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy.
The Phillies now lead their best-of-seven series with the Dodgers 3-1.
The Phillies are a unique bunch because their superstars are their gamers. Their superstars are their girtty, dirtdogs, who not only do the little things to win, but get the big hits when the moment is presented.
That is very rare in baseball. The New York Yankees had that in the mid-90’s, the Boston Red Sox have it now with Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedrioia, and the Phillies certainly have it now with Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley.
As soon as Rollins stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth inning, you just had that feeling that he was going to come through. But the reality is–Rollins should have never had that chance to begin with.
With one out and nobody on, Charlie Manuel called on Matt Stairs to pinch-hit for Pedro Feliz. It’s amazing how one moment can scar a franchise for life.
Stairs is clearly in the Dodgers’ heads. He is the reason the Dodgers went out and got Jim Thome and his HR off of Broxton in Game 5 of last year’s NLCS has turned him into Ted Williams in the Dodgers’ eyes.
Why Broxton, one of the best closers in the game is pitching around Stairs with nobody on base is beyond me. I understand Stairs can tie the game with one swing of the bat and he beat you last year with a HR. But last year is last year and if you are supposed to be a top-five closer, you shouldn’t fear anyone–period.
Stairs was a .194 hitter during the season for a reason.
Worst case scenario for the Dodgers is that Stairs hits a HR and the game is tied. Now you have a runner on base and with one swing of the bat, you can lose the game.
Then things start to unravel for Broxton and the Dodgers.
Broxton then plunks Carlos Ruiz and then the crowd really got into it. The fans at Citizens Bank Park really make it hard for an opposing pitcher. They are right on top of him.
Broxton got Greg Dobbs to pop out to third and that is when Rollins came to the plate. Like I said earlier, as soon as Rollins came to the plate you just had a feeling he was going to do something.
On a 1-1 pitch, Rollins took a 99 mph fastball and ripped it into the right-center field gap. The ball rolled to the wall, Eric Bruntlet, who was running for Stairs and Ruiz scored, and just like that the Dodgers had their hearts ripped out from their chests.
This was just a crushing loss for the Dodgers. They had done everything to win this game.
Randy Wolf pitched very well for 5 1/3 innings, they got some good clutch hitting from James Loney and Casey Blake, and Hong-Chih Kuo pitched really well in relief.
But at the end of the day, Broxton couldn’t get the job done. Now the Dodgers’ season is on life support.
I think today’s day off actually helps the Dodgers. I think if they would have come back and played today, they would have been crushed in Game 5.
The day off will allow the Dodgers to catch their breath a little bit and give them a chance to regroup.
I expect the Dodgers to play well in Game 5, but I don’t see them coming out of Philadelphia with a win.
Hero for Game 4 – Jimmy Rollins
Goat for Game 4 – Jonathan Broxton
Series MVP – Ryan Howard
Game 5 is Wednesday at 8:07
Tags: Carlos Ruiz, Casey Blake, Greg Dobbs, Hong, Hong-Chih Kuo, James Loney, Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Stairs, National League C, National League Championship Series, Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Phillies, Randy Wolf, Ryan Howard