That was evident last night as the Phils held on for an 8-6 win to move the series back up north with the Yankees owning a 3-2 lead.
His afternoon leading up to last night's pivotal game included a short session with the media. Victorino dutifully came to the interview room around 4:20 to take questions for a few minutes. And that's when his day started to get a little strange as he was told of comments made by former Phillies manager and current Los Angeles Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa, accusing the Phillies of being notorious sign stealers.
That irked the highly energized Victorino, but not so much that he didn't have some duck-duck-goose fun with a teammate later as the team did stretching drills in centerfield before batting practice.
Then, in the first inning after Jimmy Rollins' leadoff single, Victorino squared to bunt. Yankees starter A.J. Burnett came with a high-and-tight fastball that hit Victorino's right hand while it was still on the bat. He fell to the ground in pain and was attended to immediately by the Phillies' medical personnel, but got up and went to first. After the minor delay, Burnett grooved a first-pitch fastball to Chase Utley, who blasted it out to the seats in rightfield for a 3-1 lead.
After the plunking, Victorino continually looked at and flexed his injured paw, both on the basepaths and in the field during the top of the second. When he returned to the dugout during the home third, he went up the tunnel for X-rays on his right index finger, which were negative.
"Two thumbs up, guys," Victorino said from the chair at his locker stall before turning and facing reporters. "No break, no fracture."
Huge sigh of relief.
"It got stiff as the game went on, it was hard to hold the bat," Victorino said. "My throwing was fine, everything was good so, I feel fine. I couldn't find my grip [with the bat], but that still isn't any excuse for me stinking it up at the plate. Everything is fine."
Victorino stayed in the lineup until manager Charlie Manuel removed him for Ben Francisco in the top of the eighth. Victorino pleaded his case to stay in the game, asking the manager to put Francisco in left and allow him to stay in center, but to no avail.
"As the game went on, his finger kept swelling," Manuel said. "He started getting some swelling in it, and it was bruised and it started getting bigger. He was having a hard time - he couldn't grip the ball and he also couldn't grip the bat. You know, eventually he had to come out of the game."
The hope is that the diminutive centerfielder won't miss any time. Although he is only 3-for-18 (.167) in this series, Victorino has been a huge asset for the Phillies during their 3 straight years in the postseason.
He ranks second in franchise history with 23 postseason RBI, behind Ryan Howard's 25. He needs one more hit to tie Mike Schmidt for the team record of 33 postseason hits.
More important, if Phillies have any chance for two wins at Yankee Stadium to capture their second straight championship, they will need him to set the table for the red-hot Utley, who blasted two more home runs last night. Utley became only the second player to hit five home runs in a World Series, joining Reggie Jackson, who did it for the Yankees in 1977.
"It's definitely nice to have off [today] to let these little injuries heal," Victorino said. "We're ready to go. We're definitely excited to be going back to New York. It was a big win for us to take some of the momentum going back to New York."
Victorino has played that role terrifically all year, so much so that it earned him his first All-Star appearance.
"I don't want to talk about individual stats right now," he said in the interview room before the game. "It's about the team. I'm not satisfied on my year until we win. I don't care what I've done up to this point - All-Star Game, defending world champ - I want to be a champ in '09. I think we're focused on that right now. I'm not worried about anything else."
That was before he took a 90-plus mph fastball off his throwing hand. Now Victorino, and all Phillies fans, will have to worry about how his hand will react before 7:57 tomorrow night, when Game 6 will begin.