In 2008 the Philadelphia Phillies traveled to Tampa Bay for games one and two of the World Series. The Phillies took a 1-0 lead on the road winning the first game in the series. Winning game one is crucial.
How did that Phillies team win game one? First, they took an early lead. Chase Utley hit a first inning two run home run to give their ace, Cole Hamels, an early lead. Now your starting pitcher can relax and pitch confidently with the lead. You also have to make big pitches. Hamels was able to work out of multiple jams by forcing double plays. Those types of plays start to deflate a team and its home fans. Then tack on. The Phillies added a third run in the fourth inning to extend the lead. From there, they never lost the lead.
Another key to winning game one was Cole Hamels going seven innings. If the starter can work deep into a game with the lead, you can use your two shut-down guys for the 8th and 9th inning. Not only does it save your bullpen, but it also gives you your best chance at winning.
Although a different result in the series, the Phillies also took game one against the Yankees.
Like in Tampa, the Phillies took an early lead through a Chase Utley home run, this time in the third inning. But again, the Phillies gave their ace an early lead. Cliff Lee pitched brilliantly. Lee went all nine innings, allowing six hits and one unearned run. He also finished the game with ten strike-outs. It truly was an all-time World Series appearance.
The Phillies offense tacked on runs late. Utley added his second home run of the game in the sixth, and then they added two in the eighth and ninth inning.
Once again, the Phillies are on the road for game one of the World Series. Winning game one has been important for this club during this run. They won the first game against St. Louis in the wildcard round, then took game one in Atlanta, and after that they took game one in San Diego.
The Phillies had clutch pitching and timely hitting in all of the games. The Phillies once again won the game on dominant pitching in each match-up. Zach Wheeler pitched 6.1 shutout innings, striking out four and only allowing two hits. Although the Phillies fell behind on a two-run home run in the seventh, the bats were able to battle back and put up six runs in the ninth inning.
In Atlanta, the Phillies took an early lead scoring two in the first. Although Ranger Suarez wasn’t sharp, he battled out of two bases loaded jams, including one in the first inning. The Phillies tacked on in the fourth, fifth, and sixth, which was enough to hold off Atlanta.
In San Diego, Harper homered in the fourth, and from there, the Phillies never looked back. Wheeler dominated, going seven innings and only allowing one hit. A true ace. In the sixth, Schwarber demolished a ball to the second deck in right field. Dominguez and Alvarado were able to shut the door late.
2022 World Series
Now the Phillies will try to take game one in Houston. Two aces will be on the bump with Verlander and Nola. If the Phillies can strike early and ride Nola’s pitching, they have a shot at taking game one. This would give the Phillies momentum, especially with Wheeler ready to pitch game two. Now you have three in a row at home. Of course, the ideal situation is to win the next three and celebrate at home, but that is easier said than done. Hopefully, the Phillies can continue their postseason trend of winning game one on the road.
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