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Phillies rout the Dodgers as Cliff Lee pitches gem

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This one was a laugher, and the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't have a prayer.

After Friday afternoon's debacle in L.A., and with their last three playoff victories extremely intense to say the least, the Fightins coasted to an 11-0 rout of the Dodgers, giving them a 2-1 series lead in the 2009 NLCS. The win was the largest margin of victory for a Phillies team in postseason history. Oddly enough, they outscored the Eagles on this day, but more on that in "The Morning After" and "On the Mark" with Mark Eckel.

Where would the Phillies be right now without Cliff Lee? Truth be told, probably not very far. I know we weren't exactly singing his praises as the year ended, but so far Lee has stepped up beyond anybody's expectations (are you listening Cole?) Speaking of Cole Hamels, it is obvious that Lee is clearly enjoying his role as "The New Cole Hamels of Postseason Play," scattering only three hits over eight innings while walking none and striking out 10 Sunday night. One of his strikeout victims was Manny Ramirez, who was loudly greeted by the chant "YOU TOOK STEROIDS!" by the Philly faithful. Absolutely classic. And to anyone outside the Philly area who "doesn't get what we're about," THAT moment is a prime example of what makes Phillies fans the greatest fans on the planet.

Then there is Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda, whom oddly enough I called the "dark horse" of the Dodgers pitching rotation  when the series began. This was due to his usually uncanny ability to get the Phillies out. If you would have told me that the Phillies would pound Kuroda, but score only one run off Vicente Padilla, I'd say you were crazy. Either that, or you've got a pretty damn nice crystal ball. But then again, if you told me that both Ryan Howard AND Pedro Feliz would have triples in Sunday night's win...................

The Phillies will never say this publicly, but I'm sure it felt extremely nice to exact revenge on the "head hunter" Kuroda for his antics involving Shane Victorino in Game Three of the NLCS last year at Dodger Stadium.

This game was reminiscent of the 10-2 victory in Game Four of last year's World Series. The Phillies offense finally woke up in both of these games. This team hasn't put out a whooping like this in probably a month or more. The Phillies have shown time and time again in the playoffs that they can win by playing small ball, so the fact that they are now launching moon shots again is just another weapon in their already well-stacked arsenal. Chad Durbin was the only reliever used in the ninth inning, so the bullpen will be well rested when Joe Blanton takes the mound for tomorrow night. Heavy B is usually good for six solid, so chances are the pen will be making an appearance tomorrow around the seventh inning.

Let's be honest here for a minute if I may. The Dodgers look dead. Their pitching staff is one big gigantic question mark, and their bats didn't even sniff Cliff Lee last night let alone Pedro Martinez in Game Two. Yeah yeah, I know they technically won on Friday. Fact of the matter is, L.A. didn't win that game, the Phillies lost it. This team should really be up 3-0, so tomorrow's game is huge. If the Phils can take Game Four, the series doesn't return to Los Angeles.

photo: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/baseball/phillies-cruise-past-dodgers/article1328665/