The Philadelphia Phillies made the improbable happen in the first game in the series against Houston Astros.
After falling 5-0 in the third, predominantly because of two home runs hit by Astros fielder Kyle Tucker, the Phillies got their feet down and tried to get back on track and tied it up with the J.T. Realmuto single in the sixth. The teams were unable to score during the final four innings, but the Astros were close in the ninth inning with Jose Altuve in scoring position with two outs. Nick Castellanos made an incredible catch to put the game in extra innings.
Realmuto returned in the 10th inning, hitting his home run into right field, putting his Phillies in front by one. Philadelphia continued to hold on following the Alex Bregman double in the 10th and took game that appeared as if it was already over.
The team will repeat the feat on Saturday night in Game 2. In the meantime, here are the top highlights and lessons learned from an instantly iconic World Series opener.
Game 1 Takeaways
That’s why it’s impossible to forecast baseball, or even this World Series. Two things we could not have anticipated in Game 1 The Phillies winning a game of the bullpens as well as Nick Castellanos making a game-saving catch for the Phillies in the right field. We definitely would not have anticipated the Astros losing a 5-0 lead. There are only five occasions during World Series history had a team overcome a deficit of five runs.
J.T. Realmuto was the greatest Hero for the Phillies by hitting the game-winning home hit in the first inning of the 10th and a tie-breaking double that scored two runs prior to the start of the contest. However, it was an evening full of heros for Philadelphia as well as the five relief pitchers that together tossed five 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching.
The Astros were 5-0 ahead after three innings. This was after 2 Kyle Tucker home runs and Justin Verlander looked great in 3 perfect innings. Their chances of winning: 95 percent. The constant Phillies offense sped up against Verlander and scored three runs in just two batters out in the 4th inning and two after the fifth. Castellanos was able to save the day with a 2-out diving catch during the ninth inning on Jeremy Pena’s blooper that put Jose Altuve on second base. Castellanos was among the most ineffective outfielders in in the Statcast outs above average fielding measure and the catch had an expected hitting rate of .480. In what happened, possibly the biggest catch of Castellanos career. However, Castellanos made a similar saver capture in the ninth innings of the game against the Braves in Game 1 of the division series.
The game was extended which is when Dusty Baker turned to starter Luis Garcia over relievers Ryne Stanek and Hunter Brown — not the most logical choice, given Garcia’s five innings of scoreless pitching in the 18-inning victory over the Mariners at the ALDS However, it’s not without doubt when you have two effective, hard-throwing relievers remaining on the bench. Realmuto welcomed him with an oblique homer that flew over the glove of a soaring Tucker and over the right-field stands. David Robertson then gutted out the save, allowing Aledmys Diaz out with runners on the third and second.
Whew. Are there any more of this?
It was Game 1 managing edge went to Rob Thomson in a big way. Rob Thomson masterfully utilized right-handed Jose Alvarado in the fifth and sixth innings to push over the Yordan Alvarez/Alex Bruggman/Kyle Tucker trio. He then made the same move in the seventh with lefty pitcher Ranger Suarez. Baker did not let Verlander in too long , and it is possible that he picked the wrong reliever for the 10th. The game doesn’t belong to Baker but. The credit must go to the Phillies for being adroit in their approach and creating clutch hit and clutch plays in the right moment. There’s definitely going to be a fresh narrative to follow that is in the works: Verlander, the future Hall of Famer, is without a win in his eight seasons of World Series starts (0-6 with an 6.07 ERA). If the Phillies sweep, he’ll be given another shot during Game 5.
Oh, the team that was the last to lose a five-run lead during the World Series: Baker’s Giants to the Angels in that crucial Game 6. — David Schoenfield
As long as this match continues …
After a fantastic defensive play in the ninth inning by Nick Castellanos, we’re into extra innings of what has turned into a battle between the bullpens. I am impressed with the approach Phillies director Rob Thomson has managed this game by bringing in high leverage left-handed pitcher Jose Alvarado in the fifth innings to take on Yordan Alvarez, and then predicting Game 3 pitcher Ranger Suarez in the same scenario at the end of the seventh. The closers then came out in the ninth innings: Ryan Pressly for the Astros and Seranthony Dominguez from the Phillies (who ended with the ninth). Then it was the Astros remain with Ryne Stanek, the hard-throwing newcomer Hunter Brown and lefty Will Smith to be a potential important Kyle Schwarber or Bryce Harper at-bat. The Phillies could be able to count on experienced David Robertson … and then the roster thins rapidly. Advantage, Astros. Schoenfield
A brand new ballgame
The Astros included the lefty Will Smith — the closer for the champion Atlanta Braves a year ago — to their lineup for today’s round. Dusty Baker had a perfect scenario to play him alongside righties Brandon Marsh and Kyle Schwarber in the fifth inning against a tired Justin Verlander. Marsh scored .188 against lefties, while Schwarber hit .193 during the current season.
However, there was Verlander on the mound and Marsh hit a double, Schwarber walked and J.T. Realmuto won the game with an RBI double. The Phillies aren’t going to give up, it’s true. In our forecast file leading to the game, I advised that Baker would likely to be an opening pitcher for too long at the time — and we’ve just seen the same thing occur. There’s a lot of baseball is still to be played however, a 5-0 loss has turned out to be an excellent game. Schoenfield
Phillies in the blue
Like that, the Phillies return to the game the game with three runs scored off Justin Verlander in just two left in the fourth in the fourth. Verlander seemed to get the break after Rhys Hoskins held up at third base following Bryce Harper’s line-drive single with two outs to right field, however Nick Castellanos rescued Hoskins with the base hit to left, and Alec Bohm doubled down the left-field line to score two runs.
The big question is What will be the length of time Dusty Baker stick with Verlander? Houston has a strong, deep bullpen that has only allowed three runs in just 33 innings during the postseason. Verlander was issued an uninvolved 10-pitch walk to the lightweight hitter Bryson Stott after three runs had been scored in addition to throwing 31 pitches during the inning, Baker might want to consider going to the bullpen for the fifth pitch and the 9-1-2 hitters who are coming to the plate. They Astros are equipped with the arms of their bullpen to last five innings. Schoenfield
Kyle Tucker Game Kyle Tucker Game
The game has gone not in the cards when Kyle Tucker unloads on a 3-1 sinker from Aaron Nola for a three-run homer and a 5-1 victory in favor of the Astros in the third inning’s bottom. John Smoltz made a great observation on the radio that Nola seemed to be reluctant to switch to his changeup because Tucker hit a home run off it in the 2nd innings. Even when Nola was ahead by in the game 2-0, he stayed with curveballs and fastballs. Tucker was able to lock in on the fastball and smashed it with 105.3 speed and 395 feet right-center and became one of the few Astros player to have a multi-homer contest at the World Series. There’s plenty of time to find out whether Tucker is able to beat Babe Ruth (twice), Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval with a three-homer World Series game. – Schoenfield
Verlander is dealing
Justin Verlander has a reputation for being a big-game pitcher during the postseason – mostly because of two impressive games with his fellow Yankees at the time of the 2017 ALCS. The rest of his World Series history, however is a different story: He started this game 0-6 and an 5.68 ERA in seven career games. It’s the third worst ERA among pitchers who’ve played at more than 5 World Series games. In the beginning, however, Schoenfield is cruising: nine to nine and nine back over three innings and four strikeouts. One of them was the strikeout of three pitches by Bryce Harper when he got Harper to hit and miss with three straight fastballs at near the very top. Schoenfield
Tucker starts scoring
Kyle Tucker, the under-appreciated star of Houston, the under-appreciated star in Houston lineup, put the first game in the World Series on the board by hitting a homer to right field following an unintentionally placed 1-1 changeup by Aaron Nola. This is a negative indicator for Nola. He was fantastic during his first two postseason games, only allowing one unearned run in 12.2 innings. However, he gave two home runs in the second game of the NLCS defeat to the Padres and blew a lead of 4-0 in the process. In addition, the Astros are also increasing his pitch count throughout the first two innings which is a bad signal for the Phillies as they do not have the depth of their bullpen that the Astros have in the event Nola cannot last for six or seven innings. Another piece of negative information to The Phillies: Martin Maldonado singles in a run, making it 2-0. Astros have been able to win 22 games in a row with the first run scored since their regular-season. Schoenfield
Harper channels Mike Schmidt
Bryce Harper walked into Game 1 sporting the uniform of Philadelphia Phillies legend and Hall of Fame Mike Schmidt. This isn’t the first opportunity Harper pays tribute to Schmidt — earlier in the season, he took part in an photoshoot that recreated Schmidt’s famous cover from 1987. Phillies Media guide cover.