Leaving a mark in playoffs
PHILADELPHIA - There have been plenty of contributions from different players thus far in the post-season for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Cliff Lee has pitched outstanding along with certain members of the bullpen.
Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez have had clutch hits and even Carlos Ruiz has started to come around.
It's been Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth who have set the bar higher for themselves, however, as the National League Championship Series takes a break today after Game 4 last night's dramatic come-from-behind 5-4 Phillies win thanks to a two-out two RBI base hit in the gap by Rollins at Citizen's Bank Park giving the Phillies a 3-1 series lead.
Howard has a hit and RBI in every post-season game this season (8 games, 11 hits, 14 RBI) and is the Phillies all-time leader in Postseason RBI (24 in 25 games).
He has reached base safely in 17 straight post-season games (23 hits, 11 walks). His eight consecutive Postseason games with an RBI established a Major League Postseason record for consecutive games with an RBI in one Postseason.
Werth became the Phillies all-time leader in Post-season extra base hits with his homer in Game Three (14 in 86 at bats) passing Mike Schmidt who had 13 in 140 at bats.
"Ryan has been swinging real good, of course," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He's seeing the ball good, he looks real relaxed at the plate, and from a mechanics standpoint, he's loading up good and he's staying on the ball. When he's staying on the ball, he makes more consistent contact. He's hitting real good right now."
Howard seems to be in a very thoughtful state when he gets behind on a count or when he's in the on deck circle. Manuel just thinks that's his way of focusing and getting ready.
"I think that he's thinking about his at-bat and things that he has going for him and things like how he wants to feel and everything when he gets up there.
"Visualization is part of hitting and when you sit there sometimes, whether you do it, you can walk up to the plate and you can step out and look around, things like that, and kind of gather your thoughts, or you can sit in the dugout there, too, and kind of visualize things and really concentrate on what you want to do. It depends on the person and how he feels."
It showed in his first at bat against Randy Wolf last night when he patiently waited for his pitch and slugged it into the right field seats for a two-run homer to give the Phillies the lead.
"Obviously you want to get out in front and have a lead, but that doesn't always necessarily mean you're going to win," said Werth, after being asked is there anything beyond going up 2-0 so early in a game. "We're a pretty level headed team and we kind of just take things as they come. You know, obviously we want to get out in front and put the pressure on the other team. But I think we feel comfortable playing from behind as well."
With Pat Burrell leaving in the off-season, Werth has been looked at as the big right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup splitting up the left-handed hitters.
Last night, however, Werth went an unusual 0-for-4.
"Yeah, I've kind of hit fifth and sixth most of the year," Werth said. "I don't know how many times. But there was a time there at the beginning of the year when Raul (Ibanez) was hot. We were throwing three lefties 3, 4, 5 and it didn't make a difference.
"I've hit fifth a lot and I like hitting behind Howie even though it seems like there's no one on base hitting fifth. But it's exciting, I get to drive in a lot of runs and be a big part of the lineup right in the middle of it. It's a lot of fun, especially with this team."
Werth also admitted that hitting behind Howard can get contagious so he doesn't mind it at all.
"One of the things about hitting behind Ryan is the luxury of standing on deck when he is hitting," Werth noted. "You get a pretty good seat, and especially when he hits balls real far. You don't usually get to see even when you're on deck and anyone else is hitting. The ball doesn't come off the bat really like it comes off his. I find myself kind of watching more as a fan sometimes. It's exciting to hit behind him for sure."
EXTRA BASES: The National Anthem was sung by The Hooters, a Philadelphia rock band ... Former Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini threw out the first pitch ... both the Dodgers and Phillies have scheduled workouts today at Citizen's Bank Park on the off-day between games 4 and 5 ... Phillies will workout fro 1 to 2:30 and Dodgers from 3 to 4:30 ...
It was Joe Blanton's first start and third appearance in the 2009 Postseason. He made two relief appearances in the NLDS going 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA ...