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Top Moment No. 2: “Get Me to the Plate”

http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0coT4Cf5A0bfh/610x.jpgTop Moment No. 2: Ryan Howard Locks Up NLDS Game 4 With a Two-Out Double

Ryan Howard is a dangerous man. At 6’4″ and 230 lbs. with a swooping, left-handed power stroke, it’s easy to see why, but what made Howard that much more fearsome in Colorado last October had nothing to do with a home run or his middle linebacker frame. No, it was what he said that night that should have struck immediate fear into all those in attendance at Coors Field.

“Just get me to the plate, fellas.”

The Phillies had a two games to one lead over Colorado in the NLDS, and had the opportunity to head back to the League Championship Series for the second straight year. The Rockies, however, weren’t exactly rolling over. Heading into the top of the ninth, Colorado held a 4-2 lead with their best reliever, Huston Street, on the mound. The Rockies had taken that lead in the previous half-inning, after Dexter Fowler’s giant leap over Jimmy Rollins led to Cliff Lee’s departure and a three-run surge that sucked the life out of the tri-state area.

“Just get me to the plate, fellas.”

Howard was due up fifth in the top of the ninth, so he’d need a little help from the hitters in front of him. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs couldn’t oblige, as he struck out, but Rollins followed up with an infield single to keep hope alive with one out. A ground out from Shane Victorino swapped he and Rollins at first, now with two outs, and things were in the hands of Chase Utley. In a full count, Utley drew a walk, prolonging the inning just far enough for Howard to finally get his shot.

“Just get me to the plate, fellas.”

Pitch one, ball one. A walk would be beneficial, as Jayson Werth stood on deck. Anything but that final out. Pitch two, fouled away. For all his power, Howard’s swing came with a high strikeout price. That certainly wasn’t out of the question, here. Pitch three, ball two. Howard was back in the driver’s seat in a slight hitter’s count. He knew Street didn’t want to be forced to throw a 3-1 fastball, so he’d want to get one over and catch Howard waiting for ball three.

On the twenty-fourth pitch of the inning, Street left a fat, 91 MPH fastball over the plate on the inner half that Howard sent to the wall in right field. Victorino scored on a jog, and Utley, in an act of base running that may forever go unheralded, blazed a path from first to home on a gallop that nearly caught Victorino from behind. It took six seconds from contact to Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez’s throw to the infield, and Utley was already around third, gaining ground on Victorino.

Howard got to the plate once more in that ninth inning, as Jayson Werth followed up with a tie-breaking, bloop single past second base that gave the Phillies the lead. Brad Lidge would close out the ninth, and a new legend was born. The Phils were on their way to defending their National League crown.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Manny

    January 21, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    No.1 HAS to be J-rolls 2-run game-winning double against the Dodgers. That moment was CRAZY.

  2. 1993 vs 2009

    January 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    What a great moment that was! I still watch that and the J-Roll game- winner along with Utley’s 5hrs/Cliff Lee Game 1 performance in the WS over and over on MLB.com…. They didn’t win it all but still some damn good memories that will last a life time!

  3. Bob in Bucks

    January 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Howard was a monster in the playoffs. Great games with Colorado.

  4. Mike Bishop

    January 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    That gave me goosebumps. I love this stuff.

    I CANNOT WAIT to get this season going!

  5. Dick

    January 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Please, please, Phillies Nation guys, post the video of Rollins Double with your article for #1… Jus wanna savor the moment right along with you telling me how awesome it was

  6. Chuck

    January 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    If #1 is indeed J-Roll’s double….then please include a link of Scott Franske’s call…THAT has to be the most amazing radio call I have ever heard from anyone..

  7. Pat Gallen

    January 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Are you guys even positive J-Roll’s play will be #1?

  8. Phillygirl17

    January 21, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I was panicking that night… My roommate thought I lost my mind (I live in DC and she’s from Kansas). I couldn’t sit down for the last two innings…

  9. joe

    January 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    if J-roll isn’t #1…
    this whole list was a failure

  10. joe

    January 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    oh… how PATHETIC was that TBS call by the way?

    god awful

  11. Chuck

    January 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Had the sound down and Franske and LA on the radio….couldn’t even listen to those bozos on TBS

  12. shipsass

    January 22, 2010 at 9:28 am

    You can see the video of the projected #1 moment with Franske’s call here: http://mlb.mlb.com/fan_forum/greeting_card.jsp?c_id=phi

  13. Jake

    January 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

    The Barkan/Bottalico reaction is the best

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3xbw1OnSA4

  14. Georgie

    January 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

    gives me chills even now….

  15. shipsass

    January 22, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Oh geez, number one isn’t the little girl chucking the ball over the railing, is it?

  16. Pingback: The Dip: Two Men Enter. 1 Man Leaves. | Phillies Nation

  17. Amanda Orr

    January 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    You guys seem so sure about #1. How do you know it’s not Jason donald’s spring training walkoff?

  18. ice and heat therapy

    June 29, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Simply because individuals like you do not consider it.

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