Friday, October 10, 2008

Myers' bat carries Phillies to 2-0 series lead

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
To win a World Series, teams need unlikely heroes to step up and make big plays. The Phillies had the most unlikely of heroes in Game Two when their pitcher led the team to an 8-5 victory over the Dodgers with his performance at the plate.

Of course, had that pitcher had a better night on the mound, the Phils wouldn't have needed him to come through at the plate like he did. Brett Myers started the game for the Phillies and gave up 5 runs in 5 innings of work, including a 3-run homer by Manny Ramirez. With the bat, Myers had as many RBIs as Manny, driving in 3 runs and scoring twice on 3 hits. Myers did his damage in three consecutive innings as he singled home a run in the second, singled in two more in the 3rd and added another single in the 4th.

This is the second time this postseason that Myers has been a hero at the plate. Against the Brewers in Game Two of the NLDS, Myers was able to have two quality at-bats against C.C. Sabathia where he worked the count and forced Sabathia to throw a ton of pitches. He earned a walk in that game that helped the Phillies beat the Brewers ace.

To put Myers' night in a little more perspective, Myers now has 3 RBIs in the playoffs which is triple the number of RBIs that Ryan Howard has been able to accumulate in 6 postseason games. Howard had 146 RBIs in the regular season but has only one so far in the playoffs.

Myers' hits were just part of a pair of big innings for the Phils, who batted around and scored 4 runs in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. Even more remarkable was the fact that, after scoring all of their runs on long balls in Game One, the Phillies scored 8 runs in Game Two without hitting a single home run.

Shane Victorino was the other hero of the night as he drove in 4 runs on a single and a triple and made a spectacular catch in the 7th inning to help prevent the Dodgers from getting back into the game. Victorino has been the Phillies best hitter in the playoffs so far, hitting .304 and driving in 9 runs. His performance has made up for the way Howard and Jimmy Rollins have been swinging the bat. Both have struggled to get going so far.

The Phillies are now riding high after taking the first two games against the Dodgers and they now travel to L.A. for the next three games of the series. For the season, both teams have won every game they have played at home so it will be up to the Phils to try to break that trend. They will be fine if they can win at least one of the games in L.A. and come back home with a 3-2 series lead. Of course, it would be more ideal if they can take care of the Dodgers as quickly as possible and wait for the winner of the ALCS, which gets under way tonight.

The Phils should revel in their victory that was brought to them by an unlikely source, but they need to start figuring out how to get Howard going at the plate. If Howard can start hitting like he did for the final month of the season, the Phillies won't need any other unlikely heroes to step forward. You have to believe it's only a matter of time before Howard crushes a few and the Phillies ride him into the World Series.


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