Ten years ago this month, the Phillies won their second World Series title in franchise history. Over the next few weeks, Jim Salisbury will look back at the team’s run through the NLCS and World Series.
With Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge and others, the 2008 Phillies were clearly a talented bunch.
But they also had some toughness, some grit, some don’t-mess-with-us swagger.
Feisty, high-energy centerfielder Shane Victorino embodied those qualities throughout the 2008 postseason — remember the grand slam against CC Sabathia in the NLDS? — and they came out again in Game 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. Sure, the Phillies lost the game, 7-2, as the Dodgers shaved the Phils’ series lead in half, but it was the last game that the Phillies would lose in the series and Victorino would play a huge role the rest of the way — starting the very next night.
The Phillies were never in Game 3 as Jamie Moyer was tagged for six runs and did not get out of the second inning. He gave up a three-run triple to Blake DeWitt in the first inning as the crowd at Dodger Stadium became loud and electric.
The Dodgers were cruising when their starter, Hiroki Kuroda, threw a purpose pitch over Victorino’s head in the third inning. There had been bad blood brewing after Brett Myers fired a pitch up and in on Russell Martin and one behind Manny Ramirez in Game 2.
Kuroda was clearly standing up for his mates, but the fiery Victorino, a former Dodgers’ draft pick let go twice by that team, wasn’t taking it. He backed out of the box and pointed to his head then his ribs, telling Kuroda it’s OK to retaliate with a rib shot, but stay away from the noggin.
Victorino ended up grounding out but after he crossed first base he said something to Kuroda and the benches cleared. Ramirez was red-hot and had to be restrained. Worlds collided as Phillies-turned-Dodgers and Dodgers-turned-Phillies tried to get at each other. Dodgers bench coach Larry Bowa could be seen shouting at Myers. Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes, a mentor to Victorino, had heated words with Dodgers first base coach Mariano Duncan.
Eventually order was restrained and Kuroda retired the next nine batters he faced as the Phillies went away quietly.
But they did not stay quiet for long.
They came back with one of the memorable wins of the postseason the next night and Victorino was in the middle of it again.