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10/20/09 3:42 AM ET

Postseason packed with one-run fun

Half of the 20 games played in '09 decided by a run

Is any lead safe in this postseason of lightning strikes and pitched strikes? Forget that: Is any heart safe?

How much action can be squeezed between inhale and exhale?

Half of the 20 games played in the 2009 postseason have ended in one-run decisions. And half of those 10 have been walk-off daggers -- including both League Championship Series extravaganzas Monday night, making Oct. 19, 2009, only the fifth day in MLB history with double walk-off postseason games.

Maybe you can hear Phil Rizzuto warbling in the background, "Holy cow!" More likely, you can hear Jerry Coleman calling for "Oh, doctor!"

For what thus far have been a series of one-sided series, this postseason has certainly been tough on the nerves and on the fingernails.

Dodgers left-hander George Sherrill referred to the pitch Raul Ibanez clocked for a home run the other day as a "cement mixer."

Was Sherrill talking about the spin of the hanging curveball, or about the turbulence of fans' stomachs?

Center stage of this baseball theatre of the absolute bedlam belongs to the ALCS between the Angels and the Yankees.

Ten of the 20 games played in the 2009 postseason have ended in one-run decisions:
Date Series/Game Result
Oct. 19 NLCS Game 4 PHI 5, LAD 4
Oct. 19 ALCS Game 3 LAA 5, NYY 4
Oct. 17 ALCS Game 2 NYY 4, LAA 3
Oct. 16 NLCS Game 2 LAD 2, PHI 1
Oct. 12 NLDS Game 4 PHI 5, COL 4
Oct. 11 NLDS Game 3 PHI 6, COL 5
Oct. 11 ALDS Game 3 LAA 7, BOS 6
Oct. 9 ALDS Game 2 NYY 4, MIN 3
Oct. 8 NLDS Game 2 LAD 3, STL 2
Oct. 8 NLDS Game 2 COL 5, PHI 4

Between Saturday 8:05 p.m. ET and Monday 8:34 p.m. ET, those two teams:

• Played 24 innings

• Played for nine hours, 31 minutes

• Made 784 pitches

• Scored eight runs each

• Flew 2,300 miles

• Split two games, taking turns walking off over each other

A few hours after Jeff Mathis doubled home Howard Kendrick in Anaheim, on the other coast Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins lashed -- and Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz ran -- over the Dodgers, giving the Phillies a 5-4 win and a 3-1 NLCS lead.

Rollins' huge two-out, two-run double off Jonathan Broxton completed the fifth daily-double of walk-offs in postseason history.

Interestingly, each set has included one regulation and one extra-inning game.

The game-ending doubles by Rollins and Mathis added to this postseason's walk-off lore, which already included:

• The Yankees' Jerry Hairston Jr. scampering home on second baseman Maicer Izturis' throwing error in the 12th inning to give the Yankees a 4-3 win in Game 2 of the ALCS.

• The Yankees' Mark Teixeira leading off the 11th inning with a home run off Minnesota's Jose Mijares for a 4-3 win in Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

• The Dodgers capitalizing on a drive off St. Louis left fielder Matt Holliday's gut, winning Game 2 of the NLDS, 3-2, on Mark Loretta's RBI single.

The five walk-offs are the most in one postseason since 2004, when seven of the 34 games played ended in that fashion.

Combined with the five other "routine" one-run victories, the 10 tie the 2005 total (in 30 games) as the most in any postseason since 2003, when 12 of the 38 games were one-run affairs.

Although three of this year's Division Series ended in sweeps and the other ended in four games, all were competitive affairs including last at-bat wins. The Dodgers, Angels and Yankees each needed one in their sweeps over the Cardinals, Red Sox and Twins, respectively, while the Phillies won their last two over the Rockies with ninth-inning rallies in Denver.

And, at the very least, this show still has three LCS games and the World Series in production.

Stock up on the antacid. Keeping the defibrillator within easy reach may not be a bad idea, either.

On the field, whose pulse races faster, and whose heart beats steadiest? The proverbial question of whether pitchers or hitters have the upper hand in game-changing matchups has been answered in resounding style.

Advantage, pitcher:

In the 20 postseason games to date, hitters have collectively been retired 238 of the 320 times they've batted with runners in scoring position.

Of course, they've also gotten the last word nine times. Nine last at-bat wins out of 20 games ... bet you can also hear Yogi Berra cautioning in the background, "It ain't over till ..."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Change for a Nickel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.