Last year I wrote a series of posts chronicling 2007’s 20 greatest moments in Phillies Phandom. Each game had a special “wow” factor, whether it was an insane comeback, an awesome feat or a trademark moment. And each game was a Phillies win, of course.
For this year, clearly, you know the top moment. But ranking the rest was very difficult. Do I rank the NLCS second just because? Is the NL East clinching victory as important as other postseason moments? I used some heavy discretion, but I believe I came up with a pretty solid list.
Each moment has an attached video link, if you’d like to go back and reminisce.
Like the 100 Greatest Phillies countdown, I’ll be posting one per day. I swear, you won’t get any more countdowns this offseason.
16. Oh happy day!
Date: Aug. 24, 2008
Picking up steam back at home, the Phillies met the Dodgers for a crucial four-game series. In Los Angeles, the Dodgers had swept the Phils, so the good guys were searching for revenge. With a 2-0 lead in the series, game three would be won solely by one man: Pete Happy.
“Sunday Night Baseball” was in town again, and they got a treat between the two future combatants in the National League Championship Series. Scoring came at a premium early, with Joe Blanton’s moxie helping him only surrender one run in the first inning, despite a bases-loaded threat. Meanwhile, the Phils were being shut down by Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who had the Phils’ number throughout 2008. But in the sixth, with a Carlos Ruiz on second, Chase Utley broke through, poking a single into the outfield to score Ruiz.
Blanton wouldn’t get to the seventh, however, turning the game to the usually reliable Phils bullpen. This time, however, they weren’t so reliable.
JC Romero started and gave up a tough infield single to the speedy Juan Pierre, but he was caught stealing right away, erasing him from the sheet. A strikeout to Matt Kemp brought the seventh to a quick two outs. But Romero walked Andre Either, sending Charlie Manuel in to bring in right-handed Ryan Madson as part of a double switch. The other player brought in? Feliz.
So it did work.
But not right away, as Jeff Kent singled after seeing a wild pitch, allowing Ethier to score from second. With a 2-1 lead, Chan Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo took the Phils down in the seventh and eighth, making the game a very short three outs.
In that ninth, Shane Victorino — complete with Victobeard — led off with a single off Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton. Eric Bruntlett was selected to pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot, and Bruntlett sacrificed the speedy center fielder to second. Jayson Werth stepped up with the game on the line, but the usually sure-batting Werth struck out swinging. That brought up another pinch hitter spot, and all that was left was Andy Tracy.
Tracy had four plate appearances all season, and this was unquestionably his biggest. Somehow, someway, he worked a walk. Now, it was up to Feliz, and he delivered, striking a ball into right centerfield, scoring Victorino and tying the game.
The 10th was as nailbiting as the ninth, with Chad Durbin surrendering two singles and a walk before you could scream for mercy. When it looked as if the game was clearly over, up stepped Casey Blake, and somehow, someway, Durbin unfurled a pitch that was smacked right to … of course … Feliz.
Step on third. Out. Throw home. Out. Double play. Breathe out.
Russell Martin flew out to end the inning, allowing the Phils to get an easy crack at a one-run win. The big boys couldn’t deliver, however, especially when Ryan Howard was caught straying off first base. So back to Durbin, who again gave up a leadoff single, but settled in and recorded three consecutive outs.
That brought the bottom of the 11th. As he had done all second half, Victorino led the charge with a big smack — a base hit to Manny Ramirez. But Ramirez played it so lazily that Vic busted for second, and … he beat it. The hustle gave the Phils all the momentum. Chris Coste walked, but Jayson Werth grounded out. That brought up pinch hitter Cole Hamels. Hero? No. Pop out.
So it was up to, again, Feliz. And there would be no disappointment:
“That ball is hammered! Deep left-center field! And … adios!”
Feliz’s walkoff came on the first pitch by Joe Beimel. No need to delay the inevitable.
Feliz’s line read like this: 5 Inn., 2-for-3, HR, 4 RBI. He was the main catalyst of the three biggest plays of the game, with both offense and defense playing a tremendous part. Moreover, he was the reason the Phils were able to find themselves a game from a four-game sweep, a game they’d easily win.
Somehow, someway, it was a happy day in Philadelphia.
The video: Feliz hits the game-winning home run
From the comments:
Tyler: .111 AVG, 9 AB, 3 K’s against Broxton in Feliz’s career.
danny: Casey Blake may have a strong chin, but DOUBLE PLAY BABY!
Manny: Pedro Feliz…can he do it again?? Ehhh I’ll keep my mouth shut
Jamie: Okay, back to Pedro. A Feliz walk-off would be not quite the same “titties,” but since they’re titties, they’re still pretty sweet.
that guy: Feliz just shoved a three foot piece of maple up tyler’s ass. Sideways.