Revisiting top 10 moments of '08 NLCS
Stairs, Victorino, Hamels, Myers among Phils' standouts
PHILADELPHIA -- Matt Stairs has hit plenty of memorable home runs in his Major League Baseball career.
But none have been bigger than the one he hit in October against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series. The blast won the game, and propelled the Phillies to their first World Series championship in 28 years. But just because the Dodgers are in town this week at Citizens Bank Park doesn't mean Stairs will have warm, fuzzy memories of his pinch-hit at-bat in Game 4.
"Will I think about it? No. Will the fans think about it?" Stairs said. "Yes."
Oh, they will.
But while the atmosphere this week won't compare to the atmosphere in October, it doesn't mean we can't take a look back at the most memorable moments of the 2008 NLCS:
10. Rollins gets it started. One victory away from their first trip to the World Series since 1993, and Jimmy Rollins hits a leadoff home run in the first inning in Game 5 to give the Phils the early lead. It was a sign of things to come in the 5-1 victory.
9. Victorino honors his grandmother. Before Shane Victorino learned his grandmother, Irene Victorino, died earlier that day in Hawaii, Victorino had four RBIs in an 8-5 victory in Game 2. He knocked in two runs with a two-out single in the second inning and knocked in two more with a two-out triple in the third inning. Victorino also made a nice catch against the wall in the seventh inning to save a couple runs. "Maybe she helped me make the catch," Victorino said.
8. Myers hits in Game 2. Brett Myers, one of the worst hitters in the NL in recent seasons, went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. He became the first pitcher in LCS history to have three hits in a game and the first pitcher to have three RBIs in an LCS game since the Braves' Tom Glavine in 1996. Even more impressive, no pitcher had had three hits and three RBIs in a postseason game since the Reds' Dutch Ruether against the White Sox in the 1919 World Series. "I actually looked in the dugout and shrugged my shoulders like I didn't know what was going on," Myers said.
7. Hamels in Game 1. Left-hander Cole Hamels further established himself as a big-game pitcher with an impressive performance in a 3-2 victory in Game 1. After he threw eight shutout innings in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Brewers, he allowed two runs in seven innings against the Dodgers. He retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced.
6. Don't throw at my head. Myers knocked down Russell Martin with a high and inside fastball in Game 2. Myers followed that by throwing behind Manny Ramirez's head. Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda responded when he threw at Victorino's head in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium. Victorino and Kuroda exchanged words after Victorino grounded out to first base. Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. "That's part of the game," Ramirez said. "That's the way it is. You've got to protect your players." The Phillies lost Game 3, 7-2.
5. Hamels is the MVP. The Dodgers had two on and two out and Jeff Kent coming to the plate when manager Charlie Manuel visited Hamels in the seventh. Hamels, who struck out Kent on a changeup in the fifth, threw a 2-2 fastball for a strike to get Kent looking to end the inning. Hamels threw another gem, allowing just five hits and one run in seven innings. He went 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in the series to earn NLCS MVP honors.
4. Utley and Burrell homer in Game 1. Dodgers right-hander Derek Lowe had thrown five scoreless innings when Victorino reached base on a Rafael Furcal error to start the sixth inning. Chase Utley followed Victorino and hit a first-pitch sinker for a two-run homer to tie the game, 2-2. Two batters later, Pat Burrell hit a 2-1 fastball for a solo homer to give the Phils the lead. "I don't think either one of ours goes out at Dodger Stadium," Burrell said.
3. Victorino ties it. The Phils trailed the Dodgers, 5-3, in the eighth inning of Game 4, when Ryan Howard singled to start the inning. Victorino followed two batters later and hit a first-pitch breaking ball over the right-field fence for a two-run homer to tie it. It gave Victorino 11 RBIs in the postseason.
2. The final out. Phillies closer Brad Lidge had been perfect all season, and Game 5 would be no different. Pitching with a four-run lead in the ninth, only Nomar Garciaparra separated the Phils from the NL championship. The battle didn't last long. Lidge got Garciaparra to pop up in foul territory with Carlos Ruiz making the catch to clinch the pennant. "I can't even describe it," Lidge said afterward.
1. The Shot. Matt Stairs hit one of the most memorable home runs in Phillies history in the eighth inning in Game 4. Victorino had just tied the game with a two-run homer to right field when Stairs stepped in with a runner on and absolutely crushed a homer to deep right field. "You've been here for a month and you want to get that one big hit where you really feel like you're part of the team," Stairs said. "Not that I don't feel like I'm part of the team, but when you get that nice celebration coming in the dugout and you're getting your ass hammered by guys, there's no better feeling than to have that done."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.