We all know the Phillies have their backs against the wall. One loss and it’s over… As crazy as it sounds, maybe it’s exactly where they need to be.
If you know the history of this team, you’re well aware that nothing comes easy.
1980 was a great year for the Phillies as they won their only World Series. They weren’t handed any trophy. They fought just to get in the World Series.
In the NLCS (which was a five-game series then), the Phillies won the first game, coming from behind (on a Greg Luzinski home run), but dropped the next two. Facing elimination, the Phillies had no choice but to win or go home.
In Game 4, the Phillies were trailing 2-0, but scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead. That lead was short lived as the Astros tied it in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies won it in the tenth inning, with Pete Rose mauling Astro’s catcher Bruce Bochy, scoring the go-ahead run. Tug McGraw earned the save as the Phillies won 5-3 in ten innings.
With the series tied two, it would come down to a one game winner take all. After blowing a 2-1 lead the Phillies were down 5-2 in the eighth with Nolan Ryan on the mound. To this point Ryan was cruising, allowing five hits and eight strikeouts over seven innings, so it didn’t look good for the Phillies. That was until they loaded the bases on three straight singles. Ryan was replaced after he walked Rose, scoring Larry Bowa.
The Phillies would tack on four more runs that inning and take a 7-5 lead in the eighth, only for McGraw to give up. Back two back RBI singles with two outs knotted the game at seven. It would be another extra inning battle. In the tenth inning, Garry Maddox doubled home Del Unser, to take an 8-7 lead. **** Ruthven pitched a perfect tenth inning, and the Phillies won, advancing to the World Series.
With their backs against the wall, the Phillies beat the odds.
The other time the Phillies were in a five game series and had to rally was in 1981. It wasn’t the NLCS, but the first NLDS. Due to a players strike, the division champs of each half of the season played each other, to see who went to the NLCS. The Phillies played the Montreal Expos. The Phillies were down two games to none.
The Phillies won Game 3 easily 6-2. In Game 4 the Phillies blew a 4-0 lead, but won the game in the tenth inning on a George Vuckovich pinch-hit home run. This forced a fifth and final game.
Unfortunately they lost that game as Steve Rogers out-dueled Steve Carlton for a 3-0 victory. Although they lost the series, they proved they could crawl out of a 2-0 hole.
So if you think the Phillies are out of it, they’re not. It’s all about taking one game at a time.
When Tugger said “Ya gotta believe”, he meant it…