PHILADELPHIA -- As one of the 12 Major League clubs that have had four different players hit 30 homers in the same season, it's easy to primarily describe this year's Phillies lineup as powerful.More
"You aren't going to hit a home run every game," Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said. "So you've got to find other ways to get runs in, and that's what we did." While it proved inconsequential, the most memorable of those stolen bases was produced by Cliff Lee, who actually proved much more consequential while limiting the Rockies to one run and tossing a complete game during what was his first career playoff appearance. Lee provided the element of surprise with two outs in the third inning when he took advantage of an unsuspecting Ubaldo Jimenez and strolled into second base uncontested. The 31-year-old southpaw became just the fourth pitcher in Major League history to record a stolen base during a postseason game. The most recent pitcher to create this rarity was John Smoltz, when he notched his record third postseason stolen base during the 1995 National League Championship Series. "That was totally [first-base coach] Davey Lopes," Lee said. "By no means was I out there thinking I was going to steal a base. He told me a little pointer, I saw what was going on and he said, 'If you think you can get it, go ahead and go.'" When Rockies manager Jim Tracy evaluated how speed affected his club's loss, he chose to point out that just one of the three steals -- Chase Utley's in the sixth -- led to a run. "I was fairly certain that they were going to test [their speed]," Tracy said. "You can understand maybe why they would do that. But as you look back at the game, the one stolen base obviously put them in a good position and the others didn't end up helping to correlate into any runs." Utley's steal provided a spark to what evolved into a three-run sixth inning. But more importantly, it might have proved to be a sign of things to come from the Phillies, who were well aware of what they could do against Jimenez's delivery and Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who threw out just eight of the 57 opponents who attempted to steal against him this year. "We watched some video today on [Jimenez] and tried to figure out what he was doing," said Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino. "We saw some things that allowed us to take advantage and get some guys in scoring position."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less