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One stinking out. That’s all the Dodgers needed.
The Dodgers had closer Jonathan Broxton who has been one of the more reliable players they had to hold a slim 4-3 lead.
He came in the eighth inning to get out of a two-on, two-out jam and got Jayson Werth to fly out to right field.
Good going so far.
In the bottom of the ninth, he started by getting Raul Ibanez to ground out. Two more outs.
Pinch hitter Matt Stairs came in to pinch hit, and Broxton must have had flashbacks to last season’s game four of the NLCS. He walked Stairs. That’s fine. All they needed was a double play.
Eric Bruntlett came in to pinch run for Stairs. Fine. Then Broxton hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch.
Ok. A little more unease, but still doable.
Then Greg Dobbs comes in to pinch hit and lined out to third. Two outs.
There’s still some uneasiness, but all Broxton needed was one more out.
Jimmy Rollins came in to bat and there was a small sigh. In nine plate appearances lifetime against Broxton, Rollins had only gotten one hit.
First pitch: 98 mph fastball fouled off. One strike.
Second pitch: 99 mph ball taken way outside.
Third pitch: 99 mph fastball pitched right down the middle of the plate. Rollins whacked that offering to the gap in right center field that rolled to the wall.
In came Bruntlett. In came Ruiz.
5-4 Phillies win.
And with that double to the gap, all hopes for the Dodgers to win the series evaporated.
This was a punch to the gut. A castration. A flagellation. The finish line was in sight for a 2-2 tie in the series. The Dodgers were one stinking out away from guaranteeing another game at Dodger Stadium.
But Rollins tore all of that away.
And with everything going on with Frank and Jamie McCourt, there goes any hope for the Dodgers to win the World Series any time in the near future.
I have held steadfastly with my preseason prediction that the Dodgers would win the World Series against the Yankees this season. When the Dodgers stunk in the second half of the season and scoffed me, I stayed with it. When everyone questioned the Dodgers at the end of the season, I told everyone not to worry about it. Hell I was reassuring people last night after the 11-0 rout.
I know Atlanta came back from a 3-1 deficit in 1996 against the St. Louis Cardinals. I know the Florida Marlins did it in 2003 against the Chicago Cubs in the Steve Bartman NLCS en route to their World Series victory against the Yankees.
But I’m sorry. The Dodgers are neither the 1996 Braves nor are the Phillies the 2003 Cubs. This gut punch just seems insurmountable. Here’s the part where I would say that there’s always next year, but with the McCourts’ impending divorce starting to get nasty I see the nadir of the FOX years coming back.