Dodgers capitalize on Utley’s error, win Game 2 of NLCS


A higher power is trying to propel the Dodgers into the 2009 World Series. The Cardinals had Game 2 of the NLDS in the bag. When Matt Holliday — a outfielder who had committed one error all season — misplayed a routine pop fly, the Dodgers caught their first whiff of lady luck. With that win, the Cardinals would have had some momentum entering their homestand. They were subsequently swept.

The Dodgers should have lost today’s game. Pedro Martinez pitched a fantastic seven innings, keeping the Dodgers scoreless on two hits. Come the eighth inning, Pedro’s gem quickly fell apart. After giving up two consecutive singles, Chan Ho Park faced a struggling Russell Martin, a guy who seems to ground into a double play once a game. With a full count, Martin hit a routine grounder to third baseman Pedro Feliz, who then flung it over to second. Chase Utley committed a brutal throwing error in last night’s game and, as luck would have it, he had one more in his system. He fired the ball way out of Ryan Howard’s reach, allowing Juan Pierre to easily score and Russell Martin to advance to second. See ya later, Chan Ho Park. Jim Thome then contributed a pinch-hit single. Hit the showers, Scott Eyre. After walking Rafael Furcal, Ryan Madson managed to strike out Matt Kemp. Still, Manuel wanted a left-hander to face Andre Ethier. Enter J.A. Happ, a rookie who had an unbelievable year. It looked like Happ had Ethier figured out, but the Dodgers clutch right fielder still drew the walk, forcing in Russell Martin and the winning run.

This game was the first pitchers’ duel of these playoffs. Pedro Martinez was near-perfect, shutting down Manny Ramirez, Andre Ethier, and Rafael Furcal. If this were the Pedro Martinez from years of yore, Charlie Manuel would have let him go a full nine. Unfortunately, Martinez is 37. Even worse, the Phillies don’t have a bullpen. Manuel sent five pitchers out to the mound during the eighth inning and pulled each of them after a single mistake. Chase Utley’s error may have cost the Phillies the lead, but their bullpen cost them the game.

Nevertheless, we can’t overlook Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla, who tossed seven and a third innings on four hits and one run. His only blunder came in the fourth, when Ryan Howard hit a towering solo shot into the left field stands. Padilla was acquired late into the season, but he’s already become the Dodgers number two starter.

On paper, the Phillies have the better starting rotation with Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton ready to go and J.A. Happ and Jamie Moyer waiting in the wings. Their fans should still feel good about the rest of this series. So far, the Dodgers have depended on an overworked Clayton Kershaw, Vicente Padilla, and Randy Wolf. A shaky Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound in Game 3. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Dodgers manager Joe Torre might look to Chad Billingsley or Jon Garland. If not, 21 year-old Clayton Kershaw will again get the call.

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