I was two-years old the last time the Philadelphia Phillies won a playoff game.
So, honestly, the Phillies might as well have not won a playoff game in my existence, seeing that I have no memory of the 1993 team.
Now, thanks to the 2008 team, the Phillies finally have won a postseason game in my 17-year existence that I will be able to remember.
Cole Hamels showed that he is truly the ace of this pitching staff, opening up Game One by retiring the first 14 batters he faced, before surrendering a single to Corey Hart in the top of the fifth.
Hamels also got some support from his lineup, which capitalized on the defensive miscues of the Milwaukee Brewers and the control issues of Yovani Gallardo.
In the bottom of the third, Carlos Ruiz hit a leadoff single off of Gallardo.
Cole Hamels came up to bunt. Upon laying down a bunt, Brewers' third baseman Bill Hall bobbled the ball, eliminating his option at second, and on his throw to first, Rickie Weeks dropped the ball, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.
Gallardo got an impatient Jimmy Rollins to pop up, and struck out Jayson Werth to get to Chase Utley.
Utley lined a high fastball to center field, where gold-glover Mike Cameron misplayed it, ultimately dropping the Utley liner, allowing Ruiz and Hamels to score, making it 2-0 Phils.
Gallardo lacked control of his fastball, and it showed in this inning, as he walked the bases loaded for Shane Victorino with two outs.
Gallardo then walked Victorino to plate Utley, making it a 3-0 game for the Phillies.
Hamels continued his dominance, allowing just two more baserunners for the rest of the game.
He exploited the Brewers' inexperience and impatience by utilizing his fastball and changeup.
The Brewers' lineup flailed helplessly like fish out of water at Hamels' changeup, who ultimately striking out nine.
Hamels pitched eight great innings, surrendering just two hits, one BB, and striking out nine with just 100 pitches.
In the ninth, Charlie Manuel handed the ball to "Mr. Perfection," Brad Lidge, to close out the game.
After a leadoff strikeout by Mike Cameron, pinch-hitter Ray Durham laced a fastball to right-center.
The other Brewers' hero, Ryan Braun, came up and laced a double down the right-field line, moving Durham to third. Durham then scored after Chase Utley slipped after leaping to cut off the throw from Jayson Werth.
With Prince Fielder at the plate, the pressure mounted for Brad Lidge. Fans had visions of Albert Pujols in their minds, but Lidge put those thoughts to rest with a 3-2 fastball to strikeout Fielder.
Lidge was not out of the woods yet, as he walked JJ Hardy and then saw Hardy and Braun move to second and third after a wild pitch.
With Corey Hart at the plate, the man who broke up Hamels' 14-straight outs in the fifth, Lidge focused in once more, and struck out Hart to seal the deal.
The keys to Game One were:
- Cole Hamels kept the Brewers off balance over eight innings.
- The Brewers' not-so-hot defense allowed the third inning to continue.
- The Phillies' lineup capitalized on the Brewers' defensive mistakes and the wildness of Yovani Gallardo.
With a 1-0 lead in the series, the Phils can now approach Game Two in a more relaxed matter.
The potential of a CC Sabathia-Brett Myers showdown is huge, but I would not expect Myers to burst out back into his August self.
First pitch of Game Two is at 6:07 PM EDT.
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