Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phighting Their Way to a Game One Win

It was a close thing.

In a game that was without a doubt the epitome of a pitcher's duel, the Phillies used a solid starting performance from Cole Hamels as well as a key caught stealing to pull out a 3-2 Game One win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

In doing so, they've stolen the home field advantage for themselves and now can rest a little easier going into Game Two.

Some points:

  • Ryan Howard has got to get his act together. It's one thing not to hit and quite another for the other team to walk Chase Utley to get to him. In the AL park the slump can be obscured by the DH, but the moment they get to Philadelphia, the Rays will have a phield field day with the Phillies if there are two automatic outs in the line up...
  • While I'm all for mixing and matching pitchers when the situation warrants, I didn't quite get Maddon's almost Spring Training-like approach to the ninth inning. Granted, in the World Series, everyone is available...but I don't know...I think more than anything Maddon illustrated the lack of a solid back end of the bullpen for the Rays
  • That caught stealing looms huge now, but Hamels was really, really close to a balk. The city of Philadelphia should be thanking the umpires for that ones.
  • Since the strike in 1994, a National League team has won the World Series in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2006--five times in thirteen tries. Of those five wins, only once (the Cardinals in 2006) did the National League team win it in fewer then six games. Conversley, of the eight years an American League team won, only twice did the AL team need more than five games to win the series (the Yankees in 1996 and the Angels in 2002). This might mean nothing, but I found the quirk interesting.

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