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Dodgers even up NLCS at 1-1

Vicente Padialla has become the pride of Nicaragua now as a Dodger. Facing his former team the Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. Going 7 and 1/3 innings allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 run on a solo home run and 6 strikeouts. He pitched well enough to earn the win, but left the game in the 8th trailing by a score of 1-0.

Yesterday's game was one of pins and needles. It didn't help that I began my morning with coffee to give me the caffeine infused jittery anxiety. I knew that facing the amazing Pedro Martinez who started his career 17 years ago as a Dodger before being traded to post an incredible career as one of the most dominant pitchers of our era.

Padilla managed to go toe-to-toe with a loaded Phillies line up and keep pace with Martinez. Pedro would have been on track to be the game winner and taking the Phils back home with a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. However, things turned south rather quickly in a turn of events that would deny him the win.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decided to take out Pedro Martinez and insert Chan Ho Park, (another former Dodger) in the top of the 8th. A decision that is being questioned by many since Pedro was dominating the whole game to that point.

Park gave up a single to Casey Blake who was then removed in favor of pinch runner Juan Pierre. Ronnie Belliard came up to try and bunt Pierre to 2nd, but poorly bunted the ball to the right side of the pitcher's mound, but because both Park and 1st baseman Howard were charging towards home they both missed fielding the ball and Belliard was safe on first. Russell Martin comes up and awkwardly tries to bunt to no avail and then swings away only to ground out to 3rd and having Belliard forced out at 2nd. However, a throwing error to 1st base by 2nd baseman Chase Utley, his second in as many days sends the ball towards the Philly dugout. Martin is safe on 1st and Pierre, after reaching 3rd on the botched double play is sent home to tie the game up at 1 and 1.

With Martin on 1st Jim Thome comes in to pinch hit and Charlie Manuel counters by removing Park and placing in Scott Eyre for a lefty/lefty match up. This fails and Thome singles up right field sending Manuel back to the mound to send Eyre packing.

Juan Castro pinch runs for Thome on 1st and Ryan Madson comes in to pitch to Rafael Furcal who eventually walks to load the bases up for Andre Ethier. This prompts yet another pitching change by Manuel to put lefty A.J. Happ to face the left handed threat of Ethier. This duel fails yet again as Ethier works an 8 pitch walk to force in Martin for the go ahead run and put the Dodgers in a 2-1 lead. After which Manny Ramirez popped up to end the innig, but the damge already done to the Phillies. Broxton entered in the 9th and sat down the Phils 1-2-3 for the Dodgers victory.

My hat's off to #44 for going 7+ innings in Game 2 of the NLCS, his longest start as Dodger since being picked up in late August from the Texas Rangers. He's been undefeated in in 8 season starts going 4-0. Definitely a contributing factor in helping the Dodgers reach the post season and retaining the best record of the NL League in addition to securing a NL West pennant.

On his final start of the season he struck out 10 Rockies on his way to giving the Dodgers their 95th win. He continued to establish dominance be earning the Game 3 start in St. Louis for the NLDS and beating the Cardinals 5-1 in his 1st post season appearance for the Dodgers.
He is hands down one of the best pickups made in the second half of the season and has been more than rising to the occasion to show that he has what it takes to compete against formidable opponents in post season play. He's been a great asset and fits well in Los Angeles despite what his former team the Rangers say in letting him go for being a bad team mate.

Padilla began his career as a Diamondback in 1999 then went to Philadelphia in 2000 in a trade that sent Curt Schilling to Arizona. His time with Philly was from 2000 to 2005 in which he became an All Star in 2002 which was his first full season with the Phillies. After the 2005 season he was traded to the Rangers where he stayed until late August this year before being picked up Los Angeles.

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