By Barry Jeffrey Jr.,
After a dominating Game 1 no hitter thrown by uncrowned Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, the Phillies and the Reds squared off for a second game last evening. It was a return match featuring a 17 Game winner Bronson Arroyo for the young Reds VS a former Cy Young Award Winner and playoff hardened Roy Oswalt for the 2 time National League King Phillies.
Most Phillies fans were expecting another dominating performance by Oswalt, who was probably their best pitcher down the stretch run as they caught and passed the then NL East leading Atlanta Braves. After Halladay seemingly so easily wiped the slate clean with the Triple Crown Reds offense, many expected similar results in Game 2. What happened was a different story however. Roy Oswalt came out a bit rusty and if anyone thought about potential back to back no hit bids, that was ended very early. Brandon Phillips swung on Oswalt’s fourth pitch and deposited it into the CBP leftfield stands for a lead off home run to give the Reds a quick 1-0 lead. An uncharacteristic pair of errors by Chase Utley lead to another Reds run and before the Phillies knew it the Reds had built up a 4-0 lead and “lil Roy” was out of the game after 5 innings.
Then the game changed. Suspect umpiring calls, bad Reds defense, some wildness by Reds pitchers, and the Phillies never say die attitude and the Phillies were standing on the top of the mountain when the final score was tallied.
It is a usual trait for these brash blue collar Phillies to never give up and to believe that though they may be down in any game, they ALWAYS have the chance to come back. This swagger, coupled with very hard nosed play, clutch moments have lead to 4 straight NL East titles, 2 straight NL titles, and the World Series win that saved a city of perpetual heartbreak. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, and the rest not only know how to win, but they expect to win. Always. This Reds team, as it is built, has so far shown that it is a new comer to the playoff atmosphere. The last time the Reds tasted the playoffs, Ron Gant, Reggie Sanders, Barry Larkin, and Benito Santiago were patrolling the confines of Riverfront Stadium. It has been a long time. This is just the story of a certain young team in 2007. Making the playoffs for the first time since the Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves crew of 1993, after a dramatic collapse by the Mets coupled with a big surge by the Phillies at the same time, the Phillies were playoff newcomers. A sweep by the Rockies stopped that team in its young tracks. However the Phillies did not hang their heads afterwards. It made them hungrier. It made them want to not only make it back, but to excel, to conquer, which they did.
The Phillies are now up in this series, 2 games to none. Heading back to Cincinnati with Reds starting shortstop Orlando Cabrera out and Cole Hamels going in game 3, the Phillies have a great chance to wrap up this Divisional Series. If that happens, these young Reds will be going home. How they go home and what they do afterwards just may be the key however. This team does look a lot like the 07 Phillies and I expect them to be back and to be meeting the Phillies again in the future.
Barry Jeffrey Jr. writes “The Crow’s Nest” column for PSC.
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums