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Soap opera? Manny: Bring on hot water

Soap opera? Manny: Bring on hot water

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Dodgers were leading the Phillies, 4-3, in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS. Manny Ramirez had been pulled for defensive purposes. Juan Pierre was playing left field for the Dodgers when Jimmy Rollins hit a two-out double into the right-center field gap off Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton to give the Phillies a 5-4 win and a 3-1 lead in the series.

And where was Ramirez?

"I was taking a shower," Ramirez said. "I came out and I saw it on television. Then everybody started coming in and they turned off the television."

One might wonder what Ramirez was doing taking a shower during the bottom of the ninth, but it didn't seem to bother manager Joe Torre, who often sees Ramirez in street clothes afterward if he's come out before the game is over.

"So it's really nothing different than he's done before," Torre said. "I don't think it's disrespect of anything. He wasn't going anywhere until the game was over, and we can't put him back in the game.

"As we say, Manny is Manny. He's a cool customer. But he certainly didn't have any lack of respect because of that. I think the way it turned out, it probably doesn't look good. But it's nothing different than he had done before."

It's that coolness that could aid Ramirez and his teammates as they try to win three straight to save their season, win the pennant and move on to the World Series.

The following day, Tuesday, Ramirez was calm and relaxed in the Dodgers clubhouse. He sat at his locker with his feet propped up on Rafael Furcal's chair and across the room, the movie "Anchorman" was on television.

"I slept like a baby [last night]," Ramirez told the assembled media.

The Dodgers have to win Game 5 on Wednesday night to get the series back to Los Angeles.

"It's like I always say," Ramirez said. "You've got to keep grinding it out and see what happens. That's the key, until they get the 27th out, you don't know what will happen."

PERFECTLY TIMED STREAK
Six times a team rallying from 3-1 has taken the LCS in seven games, most recently the 2007 Red Sox.
Series After Gm 4 Gm 5 Gm 6 Gm 7
'07 ALCS CLE, 3-1 BOS, 7-1 BOS, 12-2 BOS, 11-2
'04 ALCS NYY, 3-1 BOS, 5-4 BOS, 4-2 BOS, 10-3
'03 NLCS CHC, 3-1 FLA, 4-0 FLA, 8-3 FLA, 9-6
'96 NLCS STL, 3-1 ATL, 14-0 ATL, 3-1 ATL, 15-0
'86 ALCS CAL, 3-1 BOS, 7-6 BOS, 10-4 BOS, 8-1
'85 ALCS TOR, 3-1 KC, 2-0 KC, 5-3 KC, 6-2

This is the 74th time a team has been down 3-1 in a best-of-seven baseball postseason series. Only 10 times in the previous 73 has the team down been able to win three straight.

Ramirez was on two of those teams while with the Red Sox. They were down 3-0 to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and came back to win the series. They were down 3-1 to the Indians in the 2007 ALCS and were able to win three straight.

"It's never easy," outfielder Andre Ethier said. "We'll give it a shot and see what happens."

Ramirez seemed to inspire the Red Sox in 2007. On an off-day before Game 5, he stirred things up by saying there was no pressure on the Red Sox.

"We're confident every day," said Ramirez back then. "It doesn't matter how things go for you. We're not going to give up. We're just going to go and play the game, like I've said, and move on. If it doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like the end of the world or something. Why should we panic?"

And now?

"This is baseball," Ramirez said. "That game is over. All we can control is go out and give 100 percent. That's what we've been doing. The Phillies have just been playing better. They're pitching great, they're playing good, they're getting big hits. That's part of the game."

Ramirez didn't want to talk about 2007 or 2004, but he's not the only member of the Dodgers who has previously been a part of a team that was able to overcome a 3-1 deficit.

First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who missed most of the season with a dislocated shoulder and is inactive for the series, was with the Red Sox when they pulled off the ultimate comeback against the Yankees in 2004.

"We were too dumb to realize what we were up against," Mientkiewicz said. "Sometimes not having knowledge is a good thing. We were never accused of being bright. This group has got some youth and got some swagger, and you need that. Nothing fazes us, now we need to go out tomorrow and prove that.

"Teams that worry about outcomes don't get here. Teams that just focus on the daily grind are the ones that win. You go hard on every pitch and every inning. You break it down into segments and don't worry about outcomes. The hardest game to win is the last one. There is an urgency on both sides to get it done."

The Dodgers will send Vicente Padilla to the mound. He will be opposed by Cole Hamels for the Phillies. Padilla was on the mound in Game 2 when the Dodgers pulled out their only win of this series. That was in Los Angeles. The Dodgers' simple goal right now is get the NLCS back to their home park.

"The unique part about our situation, we win one game and we go home," Torre said. "That to me is a momentum switch, and the fact that Philadelphia has to come with us.

Well, I mean, it's tough, there's no question. But again, you're in postseason because you're tough-minded. We were tested a lot of times during the season ... and I anticipate we'll have the same guys. It's not guaranteeing we're going to win, but it's guaranteeing that we're certainly not going to roll over."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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