You know, I was picking the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League Championship Series right up to the ninth inning of game four of the division series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Colorado Rockies.
Then Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Brad Lidge convinced me the Phillies would go on to defend their World Series championship.
I liked the way the Dodgers were playing, with clutch hitting, and their strong bullpen. It was the bullpen in particular, stacked against the Phillies woes (figured the Phillies would dispose of the Rockies and move on) in the pen that would make the difference. And it still may.
But that ninth inning comeback by Philadelphia — and the second straight strong performance of Lidge, who now seems like the Brad Lidge of 2008 — turned it for me. The Phillies have the look of champions, and now, at least they appear to have a championship closer again. When Lidge is on, he is nearly unhittable.
The Phillies have a veteran lineup that knows how to hang in there and come through at the end, like a fighter wearing the opponent down. I like them in seven games against the Dodgers — unless the “Gas Can” version of Lidge shows up again.
Now, I would love to see the Dodgers move on, for the drama of seeing Los Angeles manager Joe Torre return to Yankee Stadium to face his old team. But the Phillies present a certain drama of their own, thanks to their fans, who, like them or not, are part of the show.
Listen to “The Sports Fix,” co-hosted by me and Kevin Sheehan from noon to 2 p.m Monday through Friday on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.
For more information about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com