Game One - A Look Back
David Pinto offers a good look at how Philadelphia took down Tampa Bay in Game One last night.
The Phillies dominated game one much more than the 3-2 score indicates. Hamels and the bullpen shut down the Rays offense, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out eight. The Phillies picked up plenty of hits, but the Rays pitching was in bend, don't break mode. They allowed no hits with runners in scoring position, but one of those ground outs scored a run. That was the difference maker. One or two big hits and the Phillies win this game in a blow out.
I decided I would use Game One as an historical jumping-off point of sorts. Thank goodness for Baseball Reference.
Chase Utley became only the third second baseman to homer in the first inning of Game One of the World Series. Joe Morgan did it against the Yanks in 1976, Craig Counsell homered off of Mike Mussina in the 2001 Fall Classic and in a game I attended, Dustin Pedroia took Jeff Francis deep last year at Fenway.
Looking closer, or rather altering the parameters, a second baseman has homered just 18 times in Game One of the Series and on just three occasions has a second baseman playing for the visitors homered. The last time a second baseman homered for the road team in Game One of the World Series? Why it was none other than Joe Morgan, this time playing for the very same franchise as Utley in the 1983 Series off of Baltimore's Scott McGregor. And damn, now that I look, McGregor was very good in 1983; 260 innings, 3.18 ERA. As Larry David would say, PRETT-AYY, PRETT-AYY good.
None of this is particularly earth shattering. But it's the World Series, an event whose significance needs no further explanation. The World Series! And it doesn't matter if the Yankees or Dodgers or Red Sox or Cubs or Rays or Robins or Athletics or Senators or Phillies are participating. It's a big deal, and worthy of its own historical backdrop.
As I write this, Carl Crawford just homered. He is the sixth left fielder in history to go yard for a home team trailing Game One of the World Series. The last one to do it with two outs? Tom Tresh, who passed away just last week, in 1963.
The following season, Tresh was a monster against the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic. He hit .273/.414/.636 and launched what might have been one of the biggest home runs in World Series history. The Series was tied heading into Game 5 and in the top of the ninth with two outs, Mickey Mantle at second and his team trailing Bob Gibson and the Cards 2-0, Tresh hit a two-run home run to spoil Gibson's shutout and send the game into extras. Unfortunately, the Yanks gave up three in the top of the tenth. Who was the hero for St. Louis? 2008 World Series color commentator for FOX, Tim McCarver, who hit a three-run home run off of Pete Mikkelsen to send the Cards back home with a 3-2 series lead. St. Louis would win it in seven.
See what I did there? I closed the loop. Tied it all back. Seriously, B-Ref's Play Index is more fun than anyone should be allowed.