Phillies Thanksgiving 2015

The Philadelphia Phillies organization and fan base have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

That statement might seem a bit misguided considering that the Phillies finished with the worst overall record in Major League Baseball during the 2015 season.
The Fightin’ Phils finished in last place in the NL East for a 2nd straight season, and finished with a losing record for a 3rd straight season.
However, there are very real signs that the organization problems may have bottomed out. While real, measurable, on-field improvement may still take another year, there is now hope for the future.
First, consider the major changes in the management and ownership situations. 
We began the 2015 season with Pat Gillick still in charge on behalf of an old-school mentality ownership. Ruben Amaro Jr, who had overseen the demise of the club at the Major League level, was still the general manager. Ryne Sandberg, who seemed unable to make a real connection with his players, was still in the dugout.
Flash forward to the end of the season, and the two months since it drew to a close. 
New, aggressive ownership has stepped forward with the public emergence of John Middleton as the face and voice of the group. 
Andy MacPhail has taken control as team president. Matt Klentak has been hired as a young, new-wave, Ivy League educated general manager. 
Pete Mackanin has been given the opportunity to skipper a team into spring training for the first time in his career.
Every one of these developments is a positive one for fans to bank on moving forward. We will no longer see the same old mentality. 

Performance and production will rule the day, not who you may know, or how long you may have been around, or what you may have done in the past, no matter how glorious.
But the changes in the front office and in field management are not the only reason for fans to be excited. 
On the field, there is real, observable young talent emerging, and even more promising to come over the next couple of years from a vastly improved minor league situation, as well as a strong draft position.
Maikel Franco is just 23 years old, is the 3rd baseman now, and should be a strong corner infielder with big offensive production for years to come. 
Odubel Herrera turns 24 years old as the year ends, and is a speedy, exciting, naturally gifted hitter who could be the long term answer at either center field or 2nd base.
On the mound out of the bullpen, Ken Giles is 25 years old, and already one of the most exciting young closers in baseball. 
He is likely to stay, despite growing trade rumors. But even if he is dealt away, it would be a for a couple of players who would bring measurable upgrade to the minors system.
In the starting rotation, Aaron Nola is 22 years old, and looks like he will be at least a strong #3 starter, possibly a #2 for years to come. 
Jerad Eickhoff is 25 years old and was a revelation after coming in the Cole Hamels deal from Texas. He looks to have at least the same ceiling as Nola. 
Adam Morgan finally was healthy and emerged as a solid back-end option, and turns just 26 prior to spring training.
In the minors, top prospect shortstop J.P. Crawford turns 21 years old in January, and should be ready by later in the 2016 season. 
Outfielder Roman Quinn is 22 years old, has speed to burn, and could force Odubel back into the infield next season at some point. 
Nick Williams is 22 years old, and should push for a big league corner outfield job in 2016.
Jake Thompson turns 21 in January, and should push for a rotation role at some point next summer. 
Andrew Knapp turned 24 years old this month. The catcher and Paul Owens Award winner should be in the big leagues during the 2016 season. 
Franklyn Kilome is just 20 years old, but if he continues to develop at the pace that he has been, he could push for Philly by the end of next season.
The Phillies farm system is greatly improved, the club owns the top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, there is new management in place, a new controlling owner calling the shots, and the new Comcast cable contract kicking in soon.
These are not yet the heady days of the mid-late 2000’s by any means. But after a couple of seasons wandering in the dark through the wilderness at the bottom of baseball, the fans of the Phillies can be thankful that their organization is finally on the right track.

Phillies Fall Classics X: 2008 World Series Game Three

After the Philadelphia Phillies had gotten off to a good start by taking the opener of the 2008 World Series against the host Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in a tight 3-2 decision, the host Rays evened things up, holding off the Phils for a 4-2 win in Game Two.
With their backs to the wall in that 2nd game, Tampa had scratched out four early runs off Phillies’ starter Brett Myers
Holding a 4-0 lead, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon turned to rookie lefty David Price with two outs in the top of the 7th.
Just a year earlier, Tampa had made Price the top overall pick in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He quickly rose to become the best pitching prospect in the game, and made his big league debut that year on September 14th, pitching in five games down the stretch as Tampa held off the Boston Red Sox to win their first AL East crown by two games.
In the ALCS, Price had pitched in three games. He got the win in Game Two with a clutch 11th inning performance as Tampa tied that series with the Red Sox. 
Then in the decisive 7th game, Price pitched 1.1 innings to get the Save in a dramatic 3-1 win that moved the 1998 expansion franchise into their first-ever World Series appearance.
The Phils would get to the talented rookie with a two-out solo home run by Eric Bruntlett to cut the lead to 4-1, and then put two of the first three runners on in the 9th, scoring another run on a Tampa error to make it 4-2. 
But Price had toughened up, striking out Chase Utley swinging and getting Ryan Howard on an easy grounder to 2nd to tie up the World Series at a game apiece.

This was the setup to the pivotal Game Three as the 2008 World Series headed north from the indoor climate-controlled dome of the Trop in sunny Florida to the late October cold of Citizens Bank Park.
For Game Three, Maddon would send out 24-year old righthander Matt Garza. Considered one of the game’s better up-n-coming pitchers, Garza had appeared in the two previous seasons with his original team, the Minnesota Twins.
In late November of 2007, Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett had been dealt to Tampa as part of a 6-player deal, with Delmon Young highlighting the package back to the Twins. In his first full season, Garza had gone 11-9 over 30 starts with the Rays.
At the polar opposite end of the age spectrum, Phillies’ skipper Charlie Manuel was opting for his 45-year old lefty, the apparently ageless Jamie Moyer
A local product who had played his college ball at Saint Joseph’s University in Philly during the 1980’s, Moyer was in his 23rd MLB season, his 3rd with the Phils after coming in a late-season 2006 trade with the Seattle Mariners.
In 2008, Moyer had really seemed to discover the Fountain of Youth. That year he fashioned a 16-7 record over 33 starts in which he tossed 196.1 innings with a solid 3.71 ERA. He was the definition of a grizzled veteran.
Jimmy Rollins got the rally towel-waving crowd whipped up into an early frenzy with a leadoff single in the bottom of the 1st. 
That frenzied crowd let out a roar when Jayson Werth followed with a walk, and then a Garza wild pitch allowed the runners to move up to 2nd and 3rd as the heart of the Phillies’ order was due up.
Garza settled down admirably in the madhouse. Rollins scored when Utley grounded out to 1st base as Werth moved to 3rd base. 
But then Garza struck Howard out swinging and retired Pat Burrell on a fly to center. The Phillies had a 1-0 lead, but Garza and the Rays had dodged a major bullet.
Tampa would even it up right away in the top of the 2nd inning. Carl Crawford led off with a double, then stole 3rd base with one out, and scored when right fielder Gabe Gross followed with a sacrifice fly to center.
Garza quickly retired the first two Phillies’ batters in the bottom of the 2nd, but then catcher Carlos Ruiz ripped a solo homer to put the Phils back on top by 2-1. 
That would remain the score as the veteran Moyer and the young Garza battled into the bottom of the 6th inning.
In that home 6th, the crowd would get not just one, but two opportunities to roar again. Both Utley and Howard, the Phillies’ #3 and 4 hitters in their batting order, slammed solo homers to start the inning, pushing the lead up to 4-1.
Moyer wouldn’t be able to hold that lead fully. In the top of the 7th, the Rays immediately began a rally that would drive him from the game. 
Crawford got it started again, this time with a perfectly placed drag-bunt single between the pitcher’s mound and 1st base. 
Tampa catcher Dioner Navarro then doubled to left field, and Gross followed with an RBI ground out to cut the Phillies lead down to 4-2.
That was all for Moyer, who threw 96 pitches over his 6.1 innings, striking out five and walking one while allowing just five hits. 
Chad Durbin came on in relief. He got Bartlett to ground out to shortstop, but Navarro came in to score on the play, cutting the lead down to a slim 4-3 margin.
With both teams into their bullpens into the top of the 8th, Manuel went to his setup man, righthander Ryan Madson, who allowed a leadoff single to the speedy B.J. Upton. 
The Rays’ 23-year old center fielder, who is now known as ‘Melvin Upton’, had stolen 44 bases during the regular season. With one out, Upton stole 2nd base, then 3rd base, and scored the tying run when Ruiz threw the ball away on the latter.
The Phillies’ late-inning lefty, J.C. Romero, retired Tampa in order in the top of the 9th, and the two teams moved into the bottom of the 9th with the game knotted at 4-4 and the World Series tied at a game apiece.
Maddon had brought in reliever J.P. Howell in the 8th, and the tough righty had struck out two batters surrounding a big pick-off of Werth to keep the Phillies off the board after the Rays had evened the score. 
Still in the game to start the 9th, Howell hit Bruntlett on a 2-1 pitch to put the potential winning run aboard.
That prompted Maddon to make the move to his fiery Australian reliever Grant Balfour
After getting ahead of Shane Victorino with a first strike, Balfour uncorked a wild pitch. Bruntlett took off for 2nd base, and Navarro retrieved and threw to try to nail him. Instead, the throw went wild, allowing Bruntlett to advance all the way to 3rd base.
Now the Phillies had that potential game-winner just 90 feet away with nobody out. Maddon chose to make the strategic decision to intentionally walk Victorino. 
When Manuel sent up lefty Greg Dobbs to pinch-hit for Pedro Feliz, Maddon had him intentionally walked as well to load the bases.
The plan, of course, was to set up a force out at any base, including home plate, as the slow-footed Ruiz came to the plate. Balfour and ‘Chooch’ battled to a 2-2 count. 
Then with the crowd on its feet and roaring with every pitch, Ruiz topped a slow roller towards 3rd baseman Evan Longoria.
The Rays’ star raced in to field the ball as Bruntlett broke well from 3rd base and got a great jump towards the plate. Longoria fielded and threw home as Bruntlett slid in, but the throw went high.
The throw wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Bruntlett’s great jump and the slow speed of the ball off the bat combined to give the Phillies’ baserunner an advantage that the Rays’ 3rd baseman could not overcome. 
As Bruntlett slid in safe with the game-winning run, teammates mobbed both he and Ruiz, and the Phillies had not only a 5-4 walkoff win, but more importantly had pushed ahead by two games to one in the World Series.
The two teams would have to quickly recover from the emotionally draining game, as the next installment in this Fall Classics series would come the following night. That Sunday night in South Philly would contain none of the drama of this one.

Should Phillies Odubel Herrera Have Won a Gold Glove Award?

Winners of the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced tonight, and no Philadelphia Phillies players were honored. 
That might be expected for a team that finished with the worst overall record in baseball – but were any of the Phils’ players overlooked in the selection process?
Voting by Major League Baseball managers and coaches makes up 75% of that selection process. However, the remaining 25% comes from the SABR Defensive Index.
The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is one of the most respected institutions in the game today, and their Defensive Index has been used for the last three seasons to help select the Gold Glove winners.
That Defensive Index from the group is compiled by the SABR Defensive Committee, currently made up of SABR President Vince Gennaro, Sean Forman of Baseball-Reference, Ben Jedlovec of Baseball Info Solutions, SABR Director F.X. Flinn, author and defensive metrics expert Chris Dial, and author Michael Humphreys.
Not only did no Phillies player win a Gold Glove, but when finalists were announced two weeks ago, none were even nominated. 

However, a glance at the SABR Defensive Index leaderboard for the 2015 season shows that perhaps at least one Phillies player should have been considered more seriously, and at least received a nomination.
Rookie center fielder Odubel Herrera finished as the 12th-highest National League player overall in this year’s SDI. He was also the top ranked center fielder, the 2nd ranked overall outfielder in the senior circuit.
Among the NL’s pitchers, Cole Hamels finished 26th and Aaron Harang 38th in the 2015 SDI. 
Phillies’ veterans Ryan Howard (12th) and Carlos Ruiz (14th) were way back in the pack at their respective 1st base and catching positions. 
Cesar Hernandez finished in 12th among NL 2nd basemen, while Freddy Galvis finished 13th at shortstop. As an interesting side note here, Jimmy Rollins finished in 11th position among shortstops.
Joining Herrera in being ranked by the SABR Defensive Index in the outfield, Ben Revere finished in 3rd position among left fielders for his work while with the Phillies, and Cody Asche finished in 11th place.
No Phillies finished among the Top 10 or so at their positions at either 3rd base or right field, where Maikel Franco and Jeff Francoeur might have been expected by some fans of the team to have finished well. Franco was not called up until mid-May, and then missed a couple of months due to injury.
According to the SABR website, their Defensive Index “draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based date, and those collected from play-by-play accounts.
While Herrera finished at the top of the SDI, he was passed over for a nomination as one of three NL finalists. 
Of those three, only the Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton finished close in the SABR rankings. 
The other two nominees were the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock, the latter of whom was announced tonight as the 2015 Gold Glove winner.
While some Phillies fans might scoff at the idea that Herrera was deserving of a Gold Glove Award, the statistics show that at the very least, he should have been considered as a finalist.
In his first season as an outfielder, Herrera got better and better as the year went along. 
Turning 24 years old at the end of next month, ‘El Torito’ showed that he should be an important part of the club’s rebuilding plans moving forward.

Phillies Fall Classics IX: 2008 World Series Game One

The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies were an explosive offensive juggernaut that had been playing together for a few years, with most of their key players just entering the prime of their careers.
The previous season of 2007, the club had gotten over a bit of a hump when they ran down the New York Mets in September to take the franchise’ first NL East crown in almost a decade and a half.
For the previous half-dozen seasons, stretching back to the dying days of Veteran’s Stadium and moving on through the 2004 christening of Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies had been consistent winners. 
However, prior to that ’07 squad, which team leader and shortstop Jimmy Rollins had declared in the beginning were “the team to beat” in the division, the Phils had kept falling a few games short of a postseason berth.
‘J-Roll’ had been around since the turn of the century. He, left fielder Pat Burrell, known since his college days as ‘Pat the Bat’, and pitcher Brett Myers were the lineup’s still-young senior citizens and cornerstones.
A trio of even younger players had come along over the previous 2-3 years, and were beginning to emerge as superstars in their own right. Together they would help supply much of the final push towards an actual world championship.

Cole Hamels was a tall, lanky lefthander with a Bugs Bunny changeup. “Hollywood”, as he would become known for his outward cool, calm demeanor and movie star good looks, was one of the game’s best young starting pitchers.
Chase Utley was a fiery, supremely talented, athletic 2nd baseman who may have hailed from the same southern California as Hamels, but who played the game with an open intensity and passion that all of Philly’s favorite pro athletes throughout the city’s sporting history have possessed. 
Utley, baptized as “The Man” for a particular hustling play by beloved broadcaster Harry Kalas, was just that to the Phillies’ fan base.
Ryan Howard was ‘The Big Piece’ as the dynamic bat in the middle of the lineup. The most feared slugger in the game, the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year and 2006 NL Most Valuable Player was at the height of his awesome power. Howard would become the 2nd greatest home run hitter in franchise history, behind only Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
The homegrown core of the team also included hard-throwing setup man Ryan Madson. A converted righthanded starter, Madson proved an electric shutdown arm for the Phillies in the 8th inning as the final component in the team’s “Bridge to Lidge” bullpen that year.
That phrase referred to closer Brad Lidge, one of the best in the game, imported via trade from a Houston Astros team that he had helped get to the 2005 World Series. “Lights Out” Lidge would go a perfect 48 for 48 in Save opportunities that season.
Other key players brought in to help push the club forward were right fielder Jayson Werth and center fielder Shane Victorino. Both were talented all-around ballplayers who had been underestimated by their previous organizations, and who would each become pivotal, productive All-Star caliber players with the Phillies.
Carlos Ruiz was an up-and-coming, defense-first catcher who was getting his first shot that year as a starter. 
Pedro Feliz was signed as a free agent to provide stability and a veteran presence at 3rd base. He also happened to be one of the best defensive players at ‘the hot corner’ in the game at that time.
Ageless lefthander and local hero Jamie Moyer, trade deadline acquisition righty Joe Blanton, and the homegrown Kyle Kendrick had all played key roles in the pitching rotation. 
Relievers J.C. RomeroClay CondreyChad Durbin, and Scott Eyre joined Madson and Lidge in a strong bullpen.
The bench had versatile, mentally tough pieces with super pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, longball threat Matt Stairs, infielder Eric Bruntlett, outfielder Geoff Jenkins, and “The 34-Year Old Rookie” feel good story, catcher Chris Coste.
This talented group was led by a hitting guru named Charlie Manuel, who had managed the mid-late 1990’s Cleveland Indians powerhouse team. 
‘Uncle Charlie’ had been written off on his hiring a couple of years earlier as a country bumpkin by many fans and some in the media. 
But Manuel proved to be a perfect fit for this group, building a strong rapport with the players, teaching them as much about being men as he did about the game of baseball.
These were the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies who again held off the Mets in September to win a second consecutive NL East crown. 
They plowed through the Milwaukee Brewers and hired-gun ace C.C. Sabathia in the NLDS, and then overcame hired-gun Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS to reach the franchise’ first World Series since the 1993 ‘Macho Row’ team had electrified the town.
With all their talent and experience, those Phillies were still somehow considered as underdogs to the young Tampa Bay Rays, who most baseball experts saw as the up-and-coming future power in the game. 
Led by offbeat manager Joe Maddon, the Rays had rallied past the defending world champions and their AL East rival Boston Red Sox to reach this point.
The Rays were led on the field by a quintet of young talents in 3rd baseman Evan Longoria, outfielders B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford, 1st baseman Carlos Pena, and the versatile swingman Ben Zobrist.
But perhaps more of a hurdle than navigating the Rays’ athletic lineup would be producing against their talented pitching staff. 
Featuring arms such as Scott KazmirJames ShieldsMatt GarzaTroy PercivalGrant Balfour, and recent draftee David Price, the Tampa Bay pitching was highly regarded.
This was the setup to the next installment in our TBOH Phillies Fall Classics: the 2008 World Series, which would begin indoors on Wednesday night, October 22nd at Tampa’s Tropicana Field in front of a crowd of more than 40,000 fans.
On the mound to start this pivotal game, it would be a matchup between two of baseball’s most talented young lefthanders in Hamels and Kazmir, both just 24 years of age.
For the Phillies, Hamels was already the best pitcher on the staff. An emerging ace, he had already come up huge in this postseason with a 3-0 record, including wins in Games One and Five of the NLCS.
Kazmir was already a 2-time AL All-Star who had started Game Two of both the ALDS and ALCS, each wins for the Rays, and had pitched well in a tough Game Six loss to Boston in the ALCS.

The Phillies would strike the first blow, and it would be a big one. After Werth worked Kazmir for a one-out walk on a full count pitch, Utley stepped to the plate. 

‘The Man’ delivered on his nickname once again, ripping a two-run home run to put the Phils on top by 2-0.

In the top of the 4th, Victorino and Feliz led off with back-to-back base hits. When Coste, who was serving as the DH for Hamels in the American League park, grounded softly to first base, both runners advanced into scoring position. 
A ground out to shortstop by Ruiz followed, scoring ‘The Flyin’ Hawaiian’ Victorino with a run that made it a 3-0 game.
Meanwhile, Hamels was benefiting from a pitcher’s best friend, the doubleplay ball. After allowing a leadoff single to the first batter of the game, a doubleplay immediately erased that before it could become a threat. 
Then with one out in the bottom of the 3rd, two singles surrounding a walk had loaded the bases. But yet another doubleplay ended that very real threat.
Now in the bottom of the 4th, trailing by 3-0, the Rays would finally break through. With two outs and nobody on, it appeared as if Hamels was getting through another shutout inning. 
But then Crawford drilled a solo homer out to right center, and the Phillies’ lead was down to 3-1.
A similar scene played out in the bottom of the 5th to draw the Rays even closer. Again with two outs and nobody on base, they broke through. 
This time, Hamels walked shortstop Jason Bartlett, who promptly stole 2nd base. When 2nd baseman Akinori Iwamura followed with a double, Bartlett came around to score the run that made it a 3-2 ball game.
That score held through the 6th inning, with both starters still in the game. Kazmir was replaced by J.P. Howell in the 7th as the first of four relievers who Maddon would parade out to hold the Phillies’ bats at bay over the balance of the contest.
Hamels battled through the 7th before yielding to Madson in the 8th inning. The righty mowed the Tampa bats down in order, and this World Series opener moved to the top of the 9th as a taut, one-run affair.
The Phillies put serious pressure on the Rays’ bullpen in their half, but left runners at 2nd and 3rd, and the game moved to the bottom of the 9th inning with the home team needing a run to tie, two to win. 
Manuel then made the obvious move to Lidge, who would have to face the heart of the Tampa order. The righty closer would live up to every bit of his ‘Lights Out’ nickname. 
Lidge struck out Pena on three pitches to start it off, then got Longoria on four to record the 2ndout. Finally, Crawford popped a full-count offering to Feliz in foul territory, and the 3rdbaseman easily squeezed the final out.
The Phillies had done what every team opening a best-of-seven games series on the road looks to do as a minimum: win one game on the road. 
It was hard fought, and would be the only one they would win in Tampa. But it would also prove to be the only one they would need to win in the Sunshine State.
Following one more game indoors, a Rays’ win to even the series, the World Series and this Phillies Fall Classics series would move north, to the far less favorable late-October confines and weather of Philadelphia.

Phillies Fall Classics VIII: 1993 World Series Game Five

It appeared as if the clock was about to strike midnight on the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies worst-to-first Cinderella season. 
After splitting the first two games in Toronto, the Blue Jays had won the next two games at Veteran’s Stadium to take a 3-1 stranglehold on the World Series.
In Game Three, the Jays’ powerful lineup had laid waste to the Phillies, demolishing them by a 10-3 final. 
But what happened in Game Four was even more debilitating to the Phils’ collective spirit.
After the Blue Jays scored three times in the top of the first off Tommy Greene, the Phillies bats decided that they were not going to let Toronto run away and hide again, answering with four of their own off Jays’ starter Todd Stottlemyre.
Through four innings, the Phillies led 8-7 in what was developing as a slugfest. Little did the fans that night at The Vet know, they hadn’t seen anything yet. 
Over the next three innings, the Phils powered their way to a 6-2 advantage, taking an overall lead of 14-9 on the scoreboard.
Up by five runs going to the top of the 8th inning, the Phillies were just six outs away from tying the World Series at 2-2. 
And then the Blue Jays’ bats, silent for most of the previous four innings, finally awoke, and with a vengeance.
Toronto scored six times in that top of the 8th to re-take the lead at 15-14. Just as suddenly, perhaps demoralized by the unrelenting pressure, the Phillies’ bats went silent and scoreless. 
ESPN would rank this 9th on their “10 Greatest World Series Games” list.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, they ended up on the losing end, and so entered Game Five needing to win just to stay alive.

Phillies’ manager Jim Fregosi would send Game One loser Curt Schilling to the mound, where he would be facing off in a rematch with Toronto’s Juan Guzman
In that series opener at SkyDome, Schilling had been staked to leads of 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3, but he was unable to hold any of them.
During the 2013 regular season, the 26-year old power righty had finally begun to emerge as the big-time starting pitcher that he would become over the next decade or so. 
He led the Phillies’ staff with 34 starts, 7 complete games, 235.1 innings, and 186 strikeouts in what was the second of nine seasons in red pinstripes.
On the exact 13th anniversary of the only World Series championship clincher in Phillies’ franchise history, Schilling would deliver the next chapter in my Phillies Fall Classics series.
On a damp, unseasonably mild night in South Philly, Schilling was in command almost from start to finish. He would get in a bit of a jam in the top of the 8th innings, but pitched his way out of it. Almost single-handedly, he would will the Phillies back into this series.
With their young ace firing on all cylinders, it was up to the Phils’ offense to find a way to get to Guzman. 
In the bottom of the 1st, they manufactured a run for an early lead. Lenny Dykstra, the team catalyst all season, led off with a walk and then took off to steal 2nd base. When Toronto catcher Pat Borders threw the ball away, Dykstra ended up on 3rd. He would score one batter later on a ground out by John Kruk, and the Phillies had a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Darren Daulton led off with a double into the left center gap, and came around on a two-out RBI double off the bat of rookie shortstop Kevin Stocker
That lead held, and held, and held, as Schilling and Guzman battled into the 8th with that same 2-0 sitting on the scoreboard.
In that top of the 8th, the Jays’ bats, held to just three scattered hits and three walks to that point by Schilling, finally got to him. 
It was the bottom of the order that got the big righty in trouble, as Borders and Rob Butler each singled to start things off. 
Jays’ skipper Cito Gaston had sent speedy Willie Canate in to pinch-run for Borders, and he had zipped to third base on Butler’s hit.
Now the top of the order came up in the form of future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson
With runners at first and third and nobody out, Henderson grounded back towards Schilling with Canate breaking for the plate. Schilling quickly threw home to Daulton, and Canate was caught in a rundown, Daulton exchanged throws with 3rd baseman Dave Hollins, and Canate was out at the plate.
Schilling still had the tying runs on base. But he first struck out veteran center fielder Devon White swinging, and then got another future Hall of Famer, 2nd baseman Roberto Alomar, on a grounder to Phils’ 2nd baseman Mariano Duncan to end the threat.
In the top of the 9th, with the score still just 2-0 in favor of the Phillies, the Blue Jays would send a trio of dangerous hitters to the plate. 
With Schilling already having thrown more than 130 pitches, Fregosi chose to try to ride his big horse all the way home.
Schilling began by getting Joe Carter on a fly ball to short center field that was handled easily by Duncan. Then he retired John Olerud on an easy grounder to short, Stocker firing to 1st baseman Kruk for the second out. 
The last chance for Toronto was yet another future Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor, and Schilling got him to punch a liner to Dykstra for the final out of the ball game.
The Phillies had cut the Toronto Blue Jays lead in the World Series down to 3-2. They were back in the series, but were still kicking themselves over the big blown 8th inning lead a day earlier. 
Had they put that one away, they would now lead the series. Instead, despite this Schilling gem, the Jays would go home to Toronto just a win away from a 2nd consecutive world championship.
These never-say-die Phillies would not simply shrink away in that Game Six, and would in fact take a lead into the bottom of the 9th. 
However, as every baseball fan now knows, Joe Carter beat Mitch Williams, and Toronto beat the Phillies in the World Series.
But before that happened, Curt Schilling delivered the first in what would be a career full of memorable postseason performances that may some day help him become the only member of that wonderful 1993 Phillies team to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame.