Phillies Escape With Victory

Thursday, October 23, 2008


It doesn't matter how it gets done, as long as it gets done.

That statement could not be any more true when it comes to the World Series. Last night the Phillies jumped a number of hurdles in the form of stranded runners and a first baseman named Ryan Howard to take game one of the World Series from the Tampa Bay Rays, winning 3-2.

Getting things started early was Chase Utley, swinging for a two run home run in the first inning after Jayson Werth had walked. Cole Hamels was much appreciative of the early lead. Extending the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning with Shane Victorino scoring from third on a Carlos Ruiz groundout would be all Hamels needed. The Rays would score a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Carl Crawford smacked a home run off of Hamels. In the bottom of the fifth inning the Rays would put together one more run when Jason Bartlett scored from second off of an Akinori Iwamura double. Iwamura was the only Rays batter who could seem to find some effectiveness against Hamels, notching three of the five hits Hamels allowed.

Hamels, once again, was fantastic. This Rays team came in as hot as anybody and their offense is very explosive. To only allow two runs in seven innings is darn good. When he did get in some trouble he found ways out of it. To think his outing would have been even better if Ryan Howard could play a semi-decent first base. While Hamels and Utley had memorable debuts in the Fall Classic, Howard had one he would love to forget.

Howard went 0-4 on the night with three strike outs, leaving four on base. He did walk once but his struggles continued in the field. Only credited for one error either he or Hamels made a mistake in the first inning when Iwamura was the beneficiary of a gaffe on someone's behalf of not covering the base in time. Hamels was beat to the bag, but he had let up as Howard appeared to be charging to take it himself.

Jimmy Rollins went 0-5. Chris Coste, inserted as the designated hitter, went 0-4. Pat Burrell was 0-3. Ruiz was 0-3 but he knocked in a run so he is forgiven. All in all the Phillies left eleven batters, including way too many men at third and lead off base runners. This is truly an area of concern and why I believe the Phillies were lucky to escape with a victory in game one.

Don't get me wrong, the Phillies earned this victory. They proved to be the better team in game one against the favored Rays and game one is huge. The Phillies take control of the home field advantage and prove that they can win in Tampa. The Phillies are now three games away from bring a championship to Philadelphia so there is plenty of reasons to be happy today, and I am. The Phillies are still a long way from where they want to be there and there is still massive work to be done.

Tonight in game two Brett Myers takes the mound for the Phillies. On offense the batters will have to continue showing patience I felt they had in game one (for the most part). Winning game one definitely will ease the tension in the Philadelphia club house and may make the Rays a little more eager to get some big hits. That could bode well for Myers. Hopefully Myers shows up with the same controlled intensity he has at home. Getting through the first inning unscathed will be the key for Myers.

---------------------- Random Thoughts ----------------------
  • Howard needs to calm down at first. I think his error was caused because he was too antsy to get the out. He had plenty of time.
  • Victorino, I love you, but please refrain from swinging at first pitches when the pitcher is struggling and walking guys in front of you.
  • What is B.J. Upton doing staring down Hamels? You want some of this?
  • This game should have been 8-1 Phillies.
  • Mike Schmidt doing the starting line up for the Phillies was a great omen.
  • Ryan Madson continues to impress.
  • Brad Lidge was awesome once again.
  • I didn't think Victorino should have run home from third, testing Upton, but part of me was ok with it. You have to test the arm once since you haven't seen the Rays all year. If you're going to test the "cannon" then Victorino is the one you want running.

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