Dusty Baker’s first World Series game was a heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Phillies who rebounded from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5 in 10 innings. Baker’s hard luck in the postseason continues right out of the gate. Phillies win was the franchise’s first in a World Series since 2009 and the comeback was the largest for a National League team in the World Series since 1986.
Things started masterfully for Dusty. Kyle Tucker hit two homers, one in the second and the third, to boost Houston to what seemed to be an unsurmountable 5-0 lead with probable 2022 AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander on the hill.
KYLE TUCKER HITS HIS SECOND HOMER IN JUST THREE INNINGS 🤯 🚀
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 29, 2022
It was looking like a cakewalk for Dusty. A game where he could relax and not have to make crucial decisions and be on his Ps & Qs for every pitch through nine innings. That kind of mental energy can get tiring over a seven-game series. However, Once the Stros took that 5-0 lead a bunch of questions started entering my baseball dome.
5-0 Lead Brings More Questions For Dusty Baker
Most people would think that Dusty would be sitting pretty and calm with a 5-0 lead in the third inning at home. But the pressure probably ramped up a notch because you don’t want to fall into a trap of complacency. The OG has been on the bench long enough to know that the hardest out to get in a game is the last out. So with such a lead, more questions arise.
1. How long does he pitch Verlander? If Dusty can get a big enough lead to get his ace out early, that could prove valuable later in the series
2. How is Dusty going to piece together his bullpen to ensure that his team doesn’t get comfortable and relax because there’s six more innings left in the game?
3. How will Dusty go about keeping his team focused and not letting down after putting up an early lead with their ace on the mound?
Dusty’s Cy Young Ace Fails Him, Can’t Hold Lead
Yeah. This game was far from over and the true test of Dusty’s baseball acumen would be on display early in the World Series.
Philly didn’t give Dusty much time to bask in the glory of the early lead. And Verlander didn’t give Dusty’s bullpen much more time to rest. Bryce Harper’s Philly funksters answered with three runs off Verlander in the top of the fourth inning. Then, the gritty committee from Philly scratched its way to two more runs in the fifth inning to tie the game (5-5).
Unfortunately for Dusty, Verlander’s World Series failure held true. Despite his regular season dominance, entering this game, Verlander pitched in seven previous World Series games during his illustrious career. He’s 0-6 with an ERA of 5.68, and he’s given up 9 home runs.
Dusty Masterfully Works The Bullpen
At that point the game was reset, and it was a battle of the bullpens with Phillies starter Aaron Nola and Verlander already headed to the showers. Thompson and Baker batted the bullpens to a standoff through nine innings, with both escaping a few close calls along the way. The two managers matched each other move for move. Thompson even got super aggressive and brought in starting pitcher Ranger Suarez in the bottom of the seventh inning to face Yordan Alvarez with two outs in a huge spot. Suarez struck him out and then pitched into the 8th until Kyle Tucker’s base hit with one out chased him.
Extra Innings Finally Caught Dusty Looking
The game reset in the 10th inning, still tied at 5-5 when Dusty made his first mistake of the game. It turned out to be costly.
Dusty chooses to bring in Luis Garcia who surrendered just two hits over five innings in an epic 18-inning win over the Seattle Mariners that completed a sweep and lifted Houston into the ALCS.
JT REALMUTO PUTTING THE CITY OF PHILLY ON HIS DAMN BACK PHILLIES TAKE THE LEAD IN THE 10TH!!
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 29, 2022
Unfortunately, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto blasted an opposite field homer off Garcia to give the Phillies the lead in the 10th inning. The Astros threatened in the bottom of the 10th with a double by Alex Bregman, but the offense ran out of gas and the Phillies handed Dusty Baker his first loss of the 2022 playoffs. With six games to go, Baker will have a chance to pull the right strings in Game 2. He was masterful for most of Game 1.