Cole gets on a roll, so Phillies can celebrate themselves silly

David Brown
October 16, 2008
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And Eppa Rixey begat Robin Roberts, who begat Steve Carlton, who begat John Denny, who begat Tommy Greene, who begat Cole Hamels.

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It's a sweet roll call: Philadelphia Phillies pitchers who have led their team to a World Series.

Hamels dominated for seven innings in Game 5 of the NLCS, except for a solo home run by Manny Ramirez, and the Fightins reached their first Fall Classic since 1993 thanks to a 5-1 victory against the Dodgers on Wednesday night.

John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton and Dave Hollins, key members of the '93 club, can take a breath.

"After hearing about the '93 team over and over again, we finally have a chance to make our mark," said Jimmy Rollins, whose leadoff homer signaled another tough night ahead for Chad Billingsley.

Here are a few thoughts on how the Phillies did it and how the Dodgers, on the 20th anniversary of Kirk Gibson's home run against Dennis Eckersley in the World Series, blew it:

Over the hump: Hamels hasn't been shy about wanting the ball in a big game, and there aren't many bigger than ones that get you a World Series berth. Hamels came through, shutting the Dodgers down completely until Manny (who never came up with anyone on base) slammed a homer to the opposite field in the sixth. The TV shots of manager Charlie Manuel (pictured above by AP) and pitching coach Rich Dubee huddling to vigorously discuss whether they could keep Hamels in there when he ran into trouble in the seventh were priceless. They stuck with Hamels, who struck out Jeff Kent with two men aboard.

They had help: J-Roll led off the game with a home run, but that wasn't the only trouble Billingsley ran into. Billingsley did not redeem himself for a historically bad performance in Game 2 of the series, allowing three runs and four hits plus four walks before being pulled in the third inning by Joe Torre. Not exactly in the Hershiser tradition after winning 16 games and striking out 201 in the regular season.

E6*3 = doom: Shortstop Rafael Furcal sparked the Dodgers against the Cubs in the first round, but he sparked a meltdown with an astonishing three errors in the fifth inning, costing the Dodgers two runs. Credit Greg Maddux that it wasn't more.

Classy Pat: Phils GM Pat Gillick credited former Phillies boss Ed Wade, who was last seen defending himself from Shawn Chacon, for putting together much of the roster.

Next: Ryan Howard has six hits in his past three games. ... Brad Lidge kept on his roll and appears to go into the Series a lot more confident than he did in '05 with the Astros. ... And they wanted to fire ol' Charlie Manuel.