Mohawks and cowbells be damned, the Phils walk out of the Trop with a 1-0 series lead after a Chase Utley homer and solid pitching overcame loads of unclutch hitting as the Phils beat the Rays 3-2. Here's how I break down Game 1.
Player of the Game
King Cole continued his postseason dominance last night, allowing only two runs over seven innings. He held Upton, Pena and Longoria hitless over twelve at-bats.He's now given up only five earned runs in four playoff starts, all victories for the Phils and Hamels.
Cole Hamels takes his second award for the series opener with his "pick-off" of Carlos Pena.
The Phils had already squandered two great chances to score in the second and third before the Rays loaded the bases in the bottom of the third. If Tampa would have pushed across a few runs, the momentum would have shifted heavily to the home side. Instead, Hamels got Upton to hit into a 5-4-3 DP.
Best Philly Hitter
The Chase Utley of Game 1 looked a little like the Chase Utley of April. His two run jack in the 1st was the biggest hit of the game. Mix in two steals and he narrowly beats out Jayson Werth (2-4, SB) for Phillies offensive MVP for last night.
Best TB Hitter
I love watching Japanese hitters like Akinori Iwamura (3-4 in Game 1) slap the ball all around the field. That style of hitting limits power, but for small, speedy players like Iwamura, it's very effective.
A curveball to Ryan Howard is like a strobe light to an epileptic. They both result in wild flailing of the limbs and a lot of confusion. He's fighting it big time right now, and we can only hope he figures it out before tonight...
Most Not Clutch
All the Phils with bats share this grammatically challenged award. 0-13 with RISP and 11 LOB. Baseball expert Jeannie Zelasko said after the game that it was, "A game of missed opportunities for the Rays." The Rays left three on base. Good call Jeannie, did Kevin Kennedy tell you to say that?
Worst Part of the Game
I hate to beat a dead horse with this one, but the combination of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver is atrocious. Buck talks with the arrogance of a man who believes he is blessing the ears of America with his golden voice, although he doesn't really say anything profound, intelligent or even remotely interesting. And as for McCarver, see the next category. He's so bad I almost wish Joe Morgan was doing the game.
Most Ridiculous Description of a Hit
McCarver called Jayson Werth's first double to right a "check swing plop shot." I'm sure I could make a sexual innuendo out of that if I tried. At any rate, at least my fantasy baseball team has a name for next season.