Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phillies hold on for World Series Game 1 win

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Phillies players warm up for Game 1 of the 2008 World Series.

They got what everyone said they needed: a game 1 win. After all, 10 out of the last 11 World Series winners have taken game 1. However, besides history, the biggest reason Philadelphia needed this game more than Tampa Bay was due to the drop off in pitching.

Tampa Bay is relatively steady. They have 3 good, young pitchers in Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and Matt Garza. Andy Sonnanstine is their 4th. On the flip side, the Phillies have the best starting pitcher in the playoffs, World Series game 1 winner and NLCS MVP Cole Hamels, but suffer a significant drop off after him. Which Brett Myers will show up tonight? Can Jamie Moyer revert to regular season form on Saturday? Can Joe Blanton stay perfect as a Phillie on Sunday? About the only certainty is Hamels. And if the Phillies lost with him on the mound, the outlook was bleak.

(Ron Cortes/
Starting pitcher Cole Hamels gave Philadelphia another dominant performance, in which he picked up his 4th win of the postseason.

But they won. With King Cole on the mound. The nerve-racking 3-2 victory is in the books; no one can take it away. The Phillies lead the best-of-seven World Series 1-0. As has become a staple in the playoffs, it is because of the pitching. Good luck with the inconsistent offense. The Phillies stranded 11 players. They were 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position. A 3-2 game should have been more like a 6-2 game. But it wasn't. You deal with it. And they did.

Chase Utley gave the Phillies an early 2-0 lead on a 2-run shot to right field in the 1st inning. Jayson Werth had drawn a walk right before Utley went deep. The final run for the Phillies - the game winner - came off the bat of light-hitting catcher Carlos Ruiz. His RBI ground out in the 4th scored Shane Victorino and gave Hamels and the bullpen just what they needed.

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Chase Utley belts a 2-2 pitch from Rays starting pitcher Scott Kazmir deep to right field for a 2-run home run in the 1st inning last night.

The relief consisted of just 2 men: Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. What more could you want? Madson mowed down the 8th. He struck out one and was reaching 96-97 MPH on most of his fastballs. Then the rock solid closer Lidge did what he is supposed to do: seal the deal. He did. 1-2-3. Lidge struck out two and controlled the bottom of the 9th. Game over, Phillies win.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino scores on Carlos Ruiz's RBI ground out in the 4th inning Wednesday.

(Yong Kim/
Phillies closer Brad Lidge celebrates after he got Carl Crawford to foul out to end Game 1 of the 2008 World Series.

Up next is the aforementioned Brett Myers facing off against James Shields in game 2 of the World Series tonight on FOX. First pitch is scheduled for 8:29pm.

And remember, Why Can't Us?

No comments: