Phillies focused on ultimate goal
When it ended, there were no massive dog piles, no exuberant displays of over-the-top-excitement and no outward sign that their second consecutive National League pennant signified anything more than what they had said it would be all week long: just another step on their journey to what they, and a growing number of others, are envisioning as a second straight World Series championship.
"I think it was just everybody's mindset," said
To get back there, they first had to get past the Dodgers, a task many expected to be unlikely, or at least far tougher than it actually was. "We weren't the better team this week, I don't think that's any secret," said Dodgers manager
He shouldn't have been. The Phillies outplayed the Dodgers in nearly every possible way in this series. Even the vaunted Dodgers bullpen was badly outpitched, surrendering 14 runs in 21 innings for a 6.00 ERA, with an 18:12 K/BB ratio. The Phillies, meanwhile, surrendered just five earned runs in 15 2/3 innings, for a 2.87 ERA. "You can take all those [stats] and drop-kick them out the door in postseason," said lefty
Yet for all their back-end brilliance, this series was really won with their overwhelming offensive onslaught. While the batting averages were nearly identical (.232 for the Dodgers, .231 for the Phillies), Philadelphia outscored Los Angeles 35-16, outhomered them 10-6, had 19 extra-base hits to L.A.'s nine, and had much higher on-base (.348 to .287) and slugging percentages (.500 versus .360). Along the way, they served notice that whomever they face in the World Series, they will have an American League-style offense to keep them in games.
"The AL is supposed to be a slugging league, but this offense fits right in," postseason ace
After the way they bludgeoned the Dodgers, that is both difficult and frightening to imagine. Six of the eight Phillies position players in their never-changing lineup hit home runs in this series, and of the two that didn't, one (
"You didn't have the soft touch" in their lineup, Torre explained after it was over. "You see Werth, he doesn't get any hits and all of a sudden he explodes."
At the All-Star Game, Torre told Werth he was a "pain in the ass," an ultimate compliment coming from an opposing manager, and it was never more true than in Game 5, when Werth hit a pair of home runs, two of the four that the Phillies hit on the night. The first was indicative of just why Werth and the Phillies are so tough to pitch to. Dodgers starter
The ball landed in the right-field seats, giving the Phillies a lead they would not relinquish. By the time Werth smacked his second home run of the night, the advantage had swelled to 9-3 and the Phillies fans began a chant of "hit the showers."
Soon enough, the Dodgers would, and by the time they did, the Phillies were showering each other with champagne in their clubhouse. If the celebration was muted on the field, it finally picked up when they reached their own clubhouse. The first Phillie through the doors to attack the 13 cases filled with champagne was
The rest of the team soon followed, mockingly chanting, "What time is stretch tomorrow?" knowing full well that they will have the day off. In fact, they will have six days off as they prepare for the series that they expected to be in all season long. Their opponent remains undetermined -- though judging by the signs that read "Bring On The Bronx" and chants of "Yankees suck!" it's clear who their fans want to face -- but that is just about the only question facing this team at the moment. Which may be why when Hamels was asked if he expected his team to successfully defend their title, no matter who it was against, his face held its incredulous pose. His answer was the same, too.