Raul Ibanez has been an animal for the Phillies this postseason. I had actually forgotten that he had postseason experience with the Mariners, playing on the 2000 team that lost in the ALCS to the Yankees. Ibanez was 0-for-9 in that series after going 3-for-8 in the Division Series against the White Sox.
After that, he ended up signing with the Royals in 2001 and proceeded to play on teams that went 65-97, 62-100, 83-79, 63-99 (back with Seattle), 69-93, 78-84, 88-74 (promising) and 61-101 (oops) before joining the powerhouse Phillies as a free agent this past offseason.
That three-run homer Ibanez hit off his old Mariners’ teammate, George Sherrill, last night in the Phillies’ 8-6 win over the Dodgers gives him eight RBIs in his first five playoff games in 2009. In 21 plate appearances against Colorado and Los Angeles, he has six hits and four walks for a .476 on-base percentage.
As for Sherrill, he was brought in by the Dodgers in July precisely to get out left-handed hitters like Ibanez in big games. The Phillies, in fact, tried to acquire him from the Orioles to fill the same role. He was brilliant for the Dodgers in the regular season with a 0.65 ERA in 30 games (he allowed just two runs), but he faltered in his first postseason outing, walking two (including another lefty, Ryan Howard) and giving up the Ibanez homer in the fateful eighth.
That’s Sherrill suffering in the dugout after the inning. Ibanez was the first left-handed hitter to homer off Sherrill all season. Lefties hit .128 off him during the season. In this L.A. Times story, Sherrill describes the pitch to Ibanez as “a cement mixer.”
Jeff Weaver, by the way, was left off the Dodgers’ LCS roster so they could add a third left-handed reliever, Scott Elbert.
(Photos by Associated Press)