The Fightins'
Apr
03
2009
Top 11 Moments of the 2008 Postseason: Number 4
Posted by at 6:38 am ET 6 Comments

In October, everything is magnified. This was definitely the case for the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. A small knubber from Carlos Ruiz in May could have been just another infield single. But when that same knubber happens in the early hours of a Sunday morning in October, it suddenly turns into the game winning hit of Game Three of the World Series.

The same can be said for a lot of players. Matt Stairs’ monster shot. Brett Myers’ at-bat against C.C.
For Chase Utley, his October Moment came during part two of Game Five of the World Series.

With a one-run lead heading into the top of the 7th, the Phillies were just nine defensive outs away
from their first title in nearly three decades. With Ryan Madson on the mound to start the Bridge to Lidge, things were looking awfully bright on this cold, October evening. But after Rocco Baldelli muscled a Madson offering into the left field stands, things were back to zero, and the Phils could only hope to not fall behind.

Jason Bartlett singled and was moved to second on a sacrifice from pitcher J.P. Howell, setting the stage for J.C. Romero to face the pesky Akinora Iwamura with two outs and the go-ahead run on second. After a short battle with Romero, Aki hit a slow chopper up the middle and to the right of Chase Utley. Utley fielded it cleanly, but had no shot at the speedy Iwamura. After faking the throw to first base, Utley alertly fired a strike to Carlos Ruiz, who made a diving tag to nail Bartlett, who had rounded third and was heading home.

If not for Utley’s heads up play, the Rays would have taken the lead into the bottom of the eighth inning, with the Philles then having to play catch-up against an equally solid Tampa Bay bullpen. But that didn’t happen, and Utley made one of the greatest plays in World Series history.

  • Albert

    This is one of those plays that kind of gets lost in hoopla of the World Series and the playoffs. Definitely a huge play, wow.

  • Mike P

    Only number 4? For me, this was the defining play of the World Series. I was shouting like crazy when Ruiz made the tag–which was a bit of a problem for my neighbors, as it was something like 4:30 AM Moscow time. I’m looking forward to seeing how you fill out the rest of the list!

  • CarlosBeltransexual

    I still don’t believe this play actually happened. It’s insane.

  • Freddmoney

    I watched the beginning of Game 5 Part 2 in a crowded bar. I saw Utley fake the throw and make the best defensive play I’ve ever seen, and realized the importance of it before anyone else even reacted. I think Utley is the best second baseman in the game. To paraphrase Iron Mike, “His offense is impetuous, his defense is impregnable, he will eat your children… Praise be to Allah!”

  • Manny

    SICK PLAY! No.2 on my list (right below Lidge’s last strike)

  • $CD$

    Please, does anyone know where I can find a video of this play online?

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