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Fall Classic?
2008-10-22 21:52
by Mike Carminati

The Phils won game one of the World Series tonight, edging out the Rays at home, 3-2. The game started off looking like the offenses could break lose at any minute, but after some wasted opportunities by both teams (but many, many more by the Phils), the game ended like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed eyeing and measuring each other up in what looks like it could be a classic bout.

My prediction was that if the Phils won tonight behind Hamels, then they would win in seven, and I see no reason to gainsay myself.

The big story was the pitching, with Hamels making a few less mistakes ( two walks to Bartlett?!?) than Kazmir and with both pens dominant. However, the first storyline might be a few struggling bats.

Ryan Howard continued his postseason miseries going 0-for-4 with three Ks and four men left on. The Rays even walked Utley to get to him. Howard looked like he had finally broken out of his slump with a 3-for-4 in the NLCS clincher, but now each of his at-bats have become as enjoyable to watch as the Bataan Death March.

On the Rays side, Upton went 0-for-5 with a strikeout and two grounded into a doubleplays with 5 men left on. Soon Tim-may will start talking about how the youngster is getting overwhelmed by the jitters. The same might be said of Longoria who went 0-for-4 with 3 Ks.

Jimmy Rollins, after jump-starting the Phils in the clincher, like Howard is back into his deep postseason slump. He went 0-for-5 with 2 Ks and five left on while Iwamura, the Rays leadoff man, went 3-for-4 and drove in a run. Maybe someone should again start chanting in his ear, "Remember Jose Reyes. Thou art mortal."

A couple of other notes: Was the pickoff of Pena in the sixth by Hamels a balk? It was close, but it did look like he was more than 45 degrees away from first. Manuel had some curious moves. First, he DH'ed Coste, which meant that the Phils had their backup catcher in the game and if he had to come in to replace Ruiz then the Phils would lose the use of the DH, but then again, he never managed in the AL. Oh, wait…Anyway, they also couldn't pinch hit for Coste since then they would have no backup catcher. And Coste went 0-for-4. He should not continue this experiment.

Manuel also pinch-ran Eric Bruntlett for Pat Burrell in the seventh as the trailing runner with the Phils leading 3-2. Essentially, it was to have Bruntelett, Burrell's caddy, PR and then replace Burrell in left for defensive purposes. However, when Burrell's spot came up in the ninth with two runners on (first and second at first and then second and third after a double steal), the Phils couldn't get the much needed insurance runs.

Tim-may (who had just pointed out that it would be helpful for the Rays for Crawford to get on base when they were doen to their last out and losing?!?) or Buck Fils pointed out that the Phils had won the first game of the 1980 Series, the only one they have ever won, by one run. It should be pointed out that they won by one run in 1983 and lost in five, and that one was on the road while 1980 was at home. They won by two runs in 1915 and lost. Here are their previous game one results:

YrTmRoundOppWLG#WinnerRLoserRHome Tm

As far as rust, it was much discussed that the Phils had a six-day layoff while the Rays had but two, but it didn't seem to make a difference on the field. It was the fourth time that two teams had that great a disparity. The team with the longer layoff won two out of three of those series:

YrRoundWinnerLoserWLTm1 WaitTm2 Wait
2008-10-22 21:57:56
1.   underdog
That was a really good game. Congrats to the Phils. I agree, Phils in 7 (or 6). Though I think Rays take the next one, then they split the next two in Philly, then that game 5 is the real decider. Good start tonight though. I also recommend watching with the TV muted for better enjoyment.

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