My Thoughts on Game 1…

Phillies Take Game 1 with a Score of 3-2

First, I’ll toot my own horn. This was a must win for the Phillies. They needed to win at least 1 out of 2 in Tampa Bay in order to have any chance at winning the series. This was their best chance at doing that with the match up between Kazmir and Hamels. Kazmir showed glimpses of how he pitched in past years when he was the ace of this young Rays rotation. I still say that he walked too many batter, yet only one really hurt him; that was in the first, before giving up Utley’s HR.

I admit that the Phillies surprised me with how well they played after such a long lapse of time between games. That, along with last night’s win, shows me that this will be a competitive

World Series. We haven’t seen many of those in recent years. See this post from right after last year’s World Series and this one today from Tommy Buettner Blogging Sports. It was nice to see Utleytake one deep, but they really need Howard to start hitting if they are going to beat the Rays! That is, unless their big three of Upton, Pena & Longoria keep going 0’fer throughout  the series.

Speaking about the Phillies 2B, Utley; who else thinks he has an ugly swing? Post your thoughts in the comments! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s very effective, but it doesn’t look like it would be.

Now onto the Las Vegas favored Tampa Bay Rays. Outside of the walk and the first inning hanger to Utley, I think Kazmir pitched well. Although, I don’t think he would have walked so many a year ago. He hasn’t been quite the same since those arm problems that had him start this year on the DL. I did enjoy watching Upton throw out a runner at the plate with almost no momentum. It was almost flat footed. The throw was right on the mark on a hop and in plenty of time. Not bad for someone who is a converted outfielder. Too bad he cooled off at the plate in this game. I’ll state the obvious here, in order for the Rays to keep this Cinderella story going is to get the bats of Upton, Pena and Longoria hot once again, but maybe Crawford getting hot could alleviate the burden just a bit.

**By the way, Rays SS Jason Bartlett is buying the US a Taco on Tuesday, October 28 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m after he stole the first base of the series last night. Bartlett follows in the footsteps of Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury who accomplished this feat in last year’s World Series as seen HERE.**

In closing, who would have thought in spring training that we would see Brad Lidge closing out a World Series game again after his shell shocking performance against the White Sox in 2005 when he was with the Houston Astros? Not to mention how he has converted 47 out of 47 save opportunities this year with 6 of those being in the playoffs.

Going into Game two tonight is James Shields of the Rays against the hitting pitcher, Brett Myers. Personally, I would have saved Meyers to pitch in Philly with the way he’s been swinging the bat in this post season. He has already rattled the cages of CC Sabathia in the NLDS and then had an unheard of 3 RBIs in the NLCS. In fact, no other pitcher has had 3RBIs in a playoff game since prior to 1920. You could look it up! The Rays need to win this game or they’ll have to come up with some magic of their own to win 2 out of 3 in Philly and make this a two game series. Tonight’s pitching match up favors the Rays and I personally expect them to win.

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