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10/20/09 3:02 AM ET
Phillies firm believers in comeback magic
Manuel has players committed to fighting until final out
PHILADELPHIA -- The preacher's son has been delivering the same sermon to the Phillies so often most of them have memorized it, especially the punch line: "It takes 27 outs to close out a baseball game."
The Phillies can wrap up a return to the World Series they won in 2008 if they can polish off the Dodgers when this series resumes here Wednesday after a day off. If the Dodgers have enough life left in them to keep that from happening, the Phillies must jet across the country. It's one thing to preach that there's always a chance for success before the last out, but I wonder what makes the players believe that. The Phillies bombed Los Angeles on Sunday night, 11-0, but typical of a long-running pattern in baseball, they had trouble scratching for hits and runs Monday. At one stage, former teammate Randy Wolf retired 12 batters in a row after Ryan Howard's two-run, first-inning homer. In short, as the game progressed, the outlook for a Philadelphia victory wasn't good. The Dodgers, with their superb bullpen, were 78-3 entering the ninth inning with a lead during the regular season. Last year in the NLCS, it was the Dodgers' Broxton who blew a lead as pinch-hitter Matt Stairs blasted a two-run homer in Game 4 to propel a 7-5 Philadelphia victory. For Rollins, the double was maybe the most important of his career. "I really haven't thought about that," he said after a brief closed-door session with his teammates who celebrated his gigantic hit. "But it doesn't get any bigger, I guess, at this moment in the LCS. Last game we had played, last at-bat I had, victory for the Phillies. So it would probably have to be at the top by far." Reliever Brad Lidge, who got his first victory of 2009, talked about the talent in the lineup. "But besides that, I think -- not just the experience of last year, but the type of guys we have on our team really believe in themselves and are borderline extremely cocky that they're going to come back every single time."
3-1 NLCS ADVANTAGE HUGE
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Hal Bodley is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.