If this is the way the World Series will go, I'll take it.
The much ballyhooed “World Series Preview” matchup between the Phillies and Red Sox has gone the way of The Fightins thus far, as they dropped the Sox, 2-1, behind a strong start from Vance Worley on Wednesday night to take the first two games of the three game set.
While Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett looked to be the marquee pitching matchup of the series, it was Worley's duel with Boston starter John Lackey that saw both teams combine for three runs, as both pitchers had it going early and often to stifle the opposing offense.
The Phillies got on the board first, when Raul Ibanez stroked a double in the bottom half of the second to score Shane Victorino, who led off the inning with a double, to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. It would hold until the fifth inning, when Worley allowed a two-out, RBI double to Lackey, of all people, that scored Josh Reddick to even the game at one apiece.
It was zeroes the rest of the way for both pitchers, until the bottom of the seventh, when Ibanez, who was 19-for-54 (.352) off Lackey for his career, got his third hit of the ball game when he lifted a ball deep into the right field seats for his ninth home run of the year, a solo shot, to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
With Worley in line for the win, the Phils turned to Michael Stutes in the eighth inning. He responded by setting down the Sox in order, before handing the ball to Antonio Bastardo in the ninth inning, where the newest Phillie closer got a 1-2-3 inning to earn his third save of the season.
It's been a strange series so far, with the Phillies tuning up Josh Beckett, who has been lights-out this season, only to get shut down by John Lackey, who has been anything but. That's baseball, as they say.
Pitching has definitely been the story for the Phillies so far, and between Cliff Lee in the series opener and Vance Worley in the middle game, they've allowed a combined one run in 16 innings to a vaunted Red Sox offense.
The series finale will bring another pair of Aces to the hill, when Cole Hamels (9-4, 2.49) looks to lead the Phillies to the series sweep opposite Boston lefty Jon Lester (9-4, 3.66).