The Los Angeles Dodgers punched their ticket to the Fall Classic with Saturday night’s 5-1 victory in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series over the host Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
The Dodgers will now open the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park in Boston tonight against the host Red Sox. Boston eliminated the 2017 world champion Houston Astros in five games in the American League Championship Series.
This is a return trip for the Dodgers, who a year ago advanced to the 2017 World Series. Los Angeles was edged out in seven games by the Astros last October.
While Utley and Madson are under contract with and have played with the club this season, only Madson will actually be seeing action in the Fall Classic roster that was submitted today.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 23, 2018
Madson began this season with the Washington Nationals. He was dealt to the Dodgers on August 31, three days after his 38th birthday.
He would make nine appearances for Los Angeles in September and was particularly effective over the final two weeks of the season. Madson allowed just one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in five innings down the stretch as the Dodgers battled for a sixth straight National League West Division crown.
Madson was on the Dodgers roster and made two appearances in the NLDS win over the Atlanta Braves. He was then included on the NLCS roster in the victory over the Brewers.
All total, the right-hander has seven postseason appearances so far this year. He has allowed just one run on six hits over 6.1 innings across seven 2018 postseason games with a 6/1 K:BB ratio.
Utley has not appeared at all in this postseason for the Dodgers, though he has been given credit by players such as Matt Kemp and Enrique ‘Kike’ Hernandez for helping them to prepare both mentally and physically.
A decade ago, Utley and Madson were each pivotal players in their prime when the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in five games to win the club’s second-ever and most recent World Series championship.
Over 13 seasons in Philadelphia, Utley became the greatest second baseman in the history of the franchise. The six-time National League All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner received National League Most Valuable Player votes on five occasions. He will surely be inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame sometime in the next few years.
Madson was with the Phillies for the first nine of the 13 big-league seasons thus far in his career. He tossed 630 innings for the club, the vast majority of those as a key arm out of the bullpen.
Madson appeared on the mound in 491 games with the Phillies, with 478 of those coming in relief. He made another 33 relief appearances for the Phillies in the postseason from 2008-11.
In the championship-clinching victory over the Rays he was touched for a game-tying home run off the bat of Rocco Baldelli in the top of the 7th inning. But that moment was not indicative of his tremendous contributions as the righty setup man in manager Charlie Manuel‘s “Bridge to Lidge” bullpen.
A truly remarkable comeback story, Madson was out of baseball with various injuries for three full seasons after leaving Philadelphia. He returned to baseball in 2015 in surprisingly dominant form, becoming a vital member of the Kansas City Royals bullpen and winning a second World Series ring.
Utley will turn 40-years-old a week before Christmas and has announced that this will be his final season as an active player in Major League Baseball. Madson has made no formal announcement on his 2019 status. But his continuing effectiveness should allow him to catch on with a team next season, should he so desire.
Time stands still for no one, and that includes our sports heroes. Utley – warmly remembered by Phillies fans as “The Man” for his heroics here – will be rooting on his current Dodgers teammates from the stands as the events of the 2018 World Series unfold without his direct participation.
No matter what happens as this October battle winds down the 2018 season to an end, the two will always be cherished and feted in Philadelphia for their contributions to the Phillies teams of the 2000’s.
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