Thursday, October 23, 2008
Cole Hamels continued his playoff dominance as he went 7 innings and allowed a pair of runs and struck out 5 batters. Hamels wasn't phased by the long layoff and continues to prove that he should be mentioned amongst the best pitchers in the game. No matter the stage or the importance of the game, Hamels rises to the challenge. He had a few instances in Game One where he got into trouble but more often than not he fought out of it, like the double play he used to get out of the 3rd after he loaded the bases.
The bullpen came through with it's usual performance tonight as Ryan Madsen locked things down in the 8th and Brad Lidge saved yet another playoff game by taking care of the Rays in order in the 9th. Every lead, no matter how small, is safe with this pen.
Offensively the Phillies didn't do too much, but they still had a few big hits. Chase Utley hit a 2-run shot in the first inning to help the Phils jump out to an early lead. The other run scored by the Phillies came on a Carlos Ruiz ground out. The Phils had plenty of other opportunities to tack on more runs with runners in scoring position but you have to credit Scott Kazmir and the Rays bullpen as they fought their way out of jams.
Game One is in the books and the Phillies are one step closer to a title. Game Two is in Tampa Bay tomorrow night with Brett Myers taking the hill against James Shields. The Phillies have already accomplished a lot by earning at least a split in Tampa against a team that is great at home, but it's not like they will let up because of that. You never know what can happen later in the series, so they need to earn wins wherever they can get them.
Three more to go, GO PHILS!