Looking Back: Phillies Beat LA in 1983 NLCS

Even with the thrill of a World Series Championship still fresh in their minds, the Phillies flashed back to an earlier time as the 1983 post-season approached. Their minds were on revenge. The Los Angeles Dodgers ended the Phillies World Series hopes in both 1977 and 1978 by beating the Phillies in the National League Championship Series in those years. In 1983, the Phillies were determined to put those memories to rest.

As the Phillies searched for revenge, their left fielder searched for redemption. Gary Mathews had one of his worst seasons in 1983, but the Phillies had overcome Mathews' shortcomings and found their way to the National League Championship Series.

Out of the National League West came the Dodgers. The sturdy, old post-season battle tested Dodgers. The boys from LA had beaten the Phillies eleven out of twelve times during the regular season and came into the post-season with a swagger.

Even though the Phillies lost Game Two of the NLCS, it was the beginning of the turnaround for Mathews. He homered for the Phillies lone run of the game. That was nothing compared to what was yet to come. In Game Three, Mathews again homered and drove in four runs in the Phillies win. Mathews continued to hammer nails into the Dodgers' coffin with a first inning three-run homerun in Game Four as the Phillies picked up a 7-2 win and sent themselves onto the World Series. In all, Mathews tallied three homeruns and eight RBI in the series and was rewarded with the series MVP Award.

Mike Schmidt received consideration for the MVP as well, going 7-15 (.467) with one homerun and two RBI. Schmidt's solo homerun off Jerry Reuss gave the Phillies the win in Game One in Los Angeles. In fact, the Phillies would beat Reuss twice in the series, pushing his post-season record to 0-7.

While games three and four saw some offense from the Phillies, the Dodgers offense never really got on track. Los Angeles scored four runs to win Game Two 4-1, but that would be the offensive highlight of the series for LA. Phillies pitchers held the Dodgers to just eight runs in the four games.

Steve Carlton, who was on both the '77 and '78 teams that lost to the Dodgers in the NLCS exacted his own bit of revenge by beating the Dodgers twice. John Denny suffered the loss in Game Two, but even then, it wasn't the result of the Dodgers offense. Errors by Ivan DeJesus and Garry Maddox helped the Dodgers offense to score three unearned runs off of Denny in LA's 4-1 win. Young Charles Hudson pitched a complete game in Game Three, leaving Carlton to lock up the series the following night.

If the starting pitching wasn't enough, the Phillies bullpen allowed just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings of work. Al Holland led the way, pitching out of an eighth inning jam in Game One and giving manager Paul Owens another 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball in the final game of the series. Ron Reed allowed a run in Game Two, but overall, pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing just the single run in the Phillies lone loss of the series.

The win over the Dodgers set up a classic World Series. It was the offense rich Phillies against the pitching rich Baltimore Orioles. The I-95 Series, as it was dubbed, would provide the Phillies with the chance to become World Champions for the second time in four seasons. Unfortunately for Phillies fans, the Baltimore Orioles would have something to say about that.

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