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The Day After: The Phils, Mathis Mania and a bad day for Joes

Big League Stew

As we revel in all the drama that both of Monday's games brought, here are a few takes on the contests from America's bards and bloggers.

Rich Hofmann, Philly Daily News: "They have this quality about them — cool, cojones, whatever. Everybody can see it, everybody who has watched the Phillies through the last few summers. It is what separates them from every team in every franchise in this city in most of our memories. The Phillies can read a scoreboard with the best of them, and act accordingly. They can read a calendar better than almost any of them, and turn it on in the money months of September and October. We all can see it. It will always mark this group as special and identify this epoch. And now, this. They just keep doing it. Amazing, stunningly, etc."

Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer: When tiny Jimmy Rollins(notes) stepped into the batter's box against righthanded sequoia Jonathan Broxton(notes) last night, with runners on first and second and two out, you knew something good was coming. Didn't you? The thrill-ride Phillies certainly did, and that's where it starts. 'The type of guys we have, they really believe in themselves," said Brad Lidge(notes), who suddenly has three saves and a win in this postseason. "They're borderline extremely cocky that they're going to come back.'"

Amanda Orr, Phillies Nation: "This game will go down as one of the most unbelievable endings in postseason history. Jonathan Broxton blew game four of the National League Championship Series, and Cole Hamels(notes) will be on the mound for game five. Sound familiar? This is what October is all about."

The 700 Level: "MLB.com jumps the gun."

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Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports: "Whether the atmosphere Torre has built in Los Angeles is conducive to anything more than division titles is iffy. The Dodgers are bombing out against the Phillies this year just as they did last. If Cole Hamels doesn't finish them off Wednesday night, they return to Los Angeles to face Cliff Lee(notes) and Pedro Martinez(notes) — 15 scoreless innings between them already this series. Save for the Phillies' meltdown at the end of Game 2, this series would be over, the Dodgers heading back to Los Angeles bathed in more disappointment. For a team that, because of its resources and fan base, should be Yankees West, the expectations — win, but not necessarily win a World Series — are frighteningly shallow.

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Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times: "Jeff Mathis would be coming up (in the 10th), but surely he would not hit. This would have been why the Angels carried three catchers on their playoff roster, so they would not have to use a career .200 hitter with the game on the line, and perhaps with the season on the line. They could have used Willits, a better bet for a walk, or a bunt single. They could have used Gary Matthews Jr.(notes) Scioscia thought about both, but he did not push the pinch-hit button. In the New York bullpen, he had spied Mariano Rivera(notes), preparing to enter at the first sign of trouble. 'If we get by Mariano, the game sets up a little differently,' Scioscia said. 'If we don't score there, you'll want Jeff's defensive presence behind the plate.'"

Anthony Castrovince, MLB.com: "Cameras were positioned around his locker, reporters thrust microphones and tape recorders in his face and the questions that followed sounded a bit like back-handed compliments. Everybody with a press pass wanted to ask Jeff Mathis(notes) some version of the same thing Monday: How did you do that?"

Mike Vaccaro, NY Post: "Well, this was bound to happen, wasn't it? Joe Girardi had spent his first five games as an October manager running from pitcher to pitcher, from move to move, as if he were a 7-year-old opening presents on Christmas morning. Cool, an X-Box! Awesome, Transformers! Yay, a new football! Wow, Damaso Marte(notes)!"

Joe DeLessio, New York Magazine: "Joe Girardi pulling a pitcher with two outs when he doesn't need to is nothing new. He's done it plenty of times this year, and truth be told, it's worked for him more often than it hasn't. But usually, there's a logic to it: a one-off lefty-righty matchup, a starter who's out of gas, or trying to squeeze an extra third of an inning out of one of his better relief pitchers. None of that came into play last night."

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