Heroes and goats is supposed to be fun. I pick five heroes and five goats per game and explain my thinking.

But for Game 1 of the World Series, just the latest epic in this postseason chock full of them, I’m having a hard time trimming by Hero list to five.

So, I’m gonna cheat a little.

I’m still only going to name five heroes, BUT…

I’m going to add a few more that were under serious consideration. Just because.

So, without further ado…



How about the BCIB? (That’s an acronym for Best Catcher in Baseball for those of you who don’t frequent Twitter). Dude did just about everything in this game.

Two-run double. Game-winning home run. Threw Altuve out stealing second (even if the ump and replay got it wrong), managed five relievers through the Astros lineup like an expert playing the toughest levels of Abe’s Oddworld:

Really, it was a virtuoso performance by a player who, prior to Bryce Harper fracturing his thumb on June 25, many pundits insisted was done, only to serve as the team’s MVP from that point forward.

When Disney makes the movie about this wholesome collection of loveable baseball characters, it will have a tremendous story arc. And it will have it’s peak moments include this game:


Topper managed his ass off. He made all the right moves with his bullpen. Jose Alvarado first out of the ‘pen in the fifth inning was a statement. Ranger Suarez out of the pen in the seventh inning was a statement. Managing to win now and not worry about the next day is the way to go. He’s outmanaged everyone so far. The wildly overmatched Oliver Marmol. The defending World Series-winning manager, Brian Snitker. The two-time Manager of the Year award-winner Bob Melvin, and for one game, the three-time Manager of the Year award-winning Dusty Baker.

Three more wins and there should be a statue of him outside Citizens Bank Park holding a champagne bottle as he gives his pep talks to the team.

We’ve talked a lot over the past few years about managers losing games in Philadelphia, well, the current manager just won the biggest game of the season:


Talk about another guy who is starting to cement cult hero status – and not for the reasons we thought when he signed here back in the Winter.

Castellanos may have disappointed this season without hitting for power or average, or many extra base hits in general. He’s been too much of a free-swinger, chasing more balls than any hitter in baseball. He had a blow up with the media. He looked lost in the outfield defensively. He was injured and most fans were happier with his replacements.

Then came the playoffs.

Castellanos had another clutch hit – maybe forgotten a little as it drove in the first run for the Phillies when they were down 5-0. But third base coach Dusty Wathan held Rhys Hoskins on a single by Bryce Harper that should have easily scored him. Castellanos followed with a 2-out, 2-strike single that plated Hoskins to kick off a three-run inning that got the Phillies back in the game.

Then, he makes a sliding catch in the bottom of the ninth to save the game from going the other way. That bloop falls and the Phillies lose 6-5. Instead, he sets up the Realmuto crowning moment.

What a turnaround for him as well.

Oh, and then this response to the Houston dugout after the catch was an all-timer:


A couple more nice plays at third base as his defense has continued to improve in the playoffs and this clutch hit that showed that the worm had officially turned back in the Phillies favor and there was nothing Houston could have done about it:


As much as I want to avoid crediting Houston with anything, Tucker had a monster game. He hit two homers off of Aaron Nola and drove in four of the Astros five runs.

There were some honorable mentions:

  • Like Bryce Harper extending his Phillies record postseason hitting streak to 11 games
  • Like Bryson Stott working a walk on a 10-pitch at bat against Verlander to really blow up his pitch count
  • Like Nola pitching a shut down inning in the fourth after the Phillies trimmed the lead to 5-3
  • Like Hoskins getting the first hit off of Verlander after he retired the first 10 batter he faced, thus opening the flood gates.

But they didn’t make the cut. Alas, on to the goats.




This is an all-timer. Dude didn’t want to hit in the spot he came up in during the bottom of the 10th. Not only did he lean into a pitch and have it called on him, but he tried to lean into the pitch before and missed having it plunk him in the back of his shoulder:

But if that wasn’t bad enough, he tried to tell everyone afterwards that he didn’t lean into the pitch:

Aledmys… GTFO.


Hall of Fame Pitcher. The Likely Cy Young winner in the American League this year. Never personally blew a 5-run lead in his 17-year career. Until last night. You can’t blow that game. Ever. No matter who you are. He’s now winless in the World Series in eight starts. It’s the worst World Series record of any pitcher.

Let’s see how he handles Citizens Bank Park next.


You have Ryne Stanek in the bullpen. He set an Astros record with a 1.14 ERA this season. Dude is really good. And yet, come the 10th inning, Baker opted for usual starter, postseason long man, Luis Garcia. If Dusty wants to win his first World Series as a manager after 25 years on the bench, decisions like that can not happen.


The two pitches he threw Tucker were poor selections and even  more poorly located. You can’t get away with that in the postseason. Otherwise he was OK and battled, but that’s just unacceptable and you can’t put the team in a hole. Especially a 5-0 hole. His teammates bailed him out.


Alvarez was the best left-handed hitter against left-handed pitching in baseball this season. He was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in key spots against lefties and was 0-for-2 with a walk against righties. He may be “Juan Soto lite” but he was simply “light work” against the Phillies in Game 1.



Not much more than a simple list. I promise.




  1. Zack Wheeler – 6 1/3 shutout innings in his first postseason start.
  2. Jean Segura – Game-winning hit in wild ninth inning comeback.
  3. Juan Yepez – Pinch hit homer that should have won the game for the Cardinals.
  4. Jose Quintana – 5 1/3 shutout innings and should have had more were it not for poor management.
  5. Alec Bohm – Took a fastball to the shoulder in the ninth, stood right up and fired up the bench, keeping momentum going.


  1. Oliver Marmol – You can’t fuck up managing your pitching and bullpen more than the youngest manager in baseball did here.
  2. Andre Pallante – Shriveled under the pressure of pitching in high leverage situation in the playoffs.
  3. Jose Alvarado – As good as he’s been, gave up Yepez’s homer and nearly cost the Phillies the game.
  4. Ryan Helsley – Going more than one inning in the playoffs is a whole different animal, even if you can throw 105 MPH gas.
  5. St. Louis Fans – “Supposedly” the best in the sport, Baseball Heaven took the express cloud out of Busch before the game was over.



  1. Aaron Nola – 6 2/3 innings of beautifully pitched baseball, continuing to bury the naysayers.
  2. Seranthony Dominguez – Two huge strikeouts (Goldschmidt, Arenado) with two men on in the bottom of the eighth.
  3. Bryce Harper – The home run that set the table early was all Nola and his bullpen friends needed.
  4. Zach Eflin – Earning just his second career save (first in the playoffs) to send the Phillies to the NLDS.
  5. Albert Pujols – Two hits, including his last at bat, in the final game of a Hall of Fame career.


  1. Paul Goldschmidt – The probable NL MVP did nothing in these two games and came up small in a big spot in the eighth.
  2. Nolan Arenado – The probable runner-up to NL MVP and the rest of the note is the same as Goldschmidt.
  3. Tommy Edman – Had a chance to keep a ninth inning rally going, instead sent his team home for the winter with a lame popup.
  4. Brendan Donovan – 0-for-4 and 0-for-the series for the next guy the Cardinals were counting on after their two studs.
  5. Nick Castellanos – 0-for-4 and really looked lost at the plate again for the Phillies.




  1. Nick Castellanos – Atoned for his last game with three hits, three RBI and a potential game-saving diving catch in the ninth inning.
  2. Matt Olson – Got the Braves back into the game with the big homer in the ninth.
  3. Ronald Acuna Jr. – Three hits and wreaked havoc on base for Phillies pitchers the whole game.
  4. Alec Bohm – An RBI hit and a sac fly – and the Phillies needed both of them to win.
  5. Bryce Harper – Ho hum, just a three-hit game.


  1. Max Fried – Supposed to be the ace for the Braves, got shelled.
  2. William Contreras – Double play with the bases load in the bottom of the first left his team with a zero on the scoreboard.
  3. Connor Brogdon – lacked confidence and nearly cost the Phillies, giving up a pair of runs in the fifth.
  4. Austin Riley – Struck out three times and popped out – you expect more from the No. 3 hitter.
  5. Michael Harris – Probable NL Rookie of the Year – also took the collar.



  1. Kyle Wright – Pitched a masterful game for Atlanta. The best by any starter in the playoffs against the Phillies thus far.
  2. Matt Olson
  3. Austin Riley
  4. Travis d’Arnaud – These three guys all got hits off of Wheeler in a row to score the three runs for the Braves. Key hits all.
  5. A.J. Minter – Had the shutdown inning the Braves needed after they scored the three runs.


  1. Kyle Schwarber – Struck out three times and wasn’t heard from the entire game.
  2. Rhys Hoskins – Also 0-for-4. At least he didn’t strike out.
  3. Zack Wheeler – Was pitching brilliantly until two out in the sixth. He hit Acuna and walked Swanson then gave up those three hits.
  4. Alec Bohm – Empty day at the plate for him too.
  5. Bryson Stott – Has been so clutch for the Phillies – just not this game.



  1. Rhys Hoskins – The bat slam alone makes him No. 1.
  2. Aaron Nola – Another big game gem.
  3. Bryson Stott – Without his nine-pitch at bat and eventual RBI double to score the first run, Hoskins’ homer never happens.
  4. Phillies Fans – Could seriously be listed for every home game, but they got to Spencer Strider, and Marcel Ozuna, and Acuna…
  5. Rob Thomson – Despite questions about juggling his lineup, Philly Rob stuck to his guns, and his offense delivered.


  1. Brian Snitker – Did you really think that saying Philly was “not too hostile” an environment was smart?
  2. Spencer Strider – Crumbled under the pressure of Philly’s hostility.
  3. Marcel Ozuna – The “DUI” chants resulted in three strikeouts.
  4. Austin Riley – From MVP contender to almost invisible in the playoffs.
  5. Braves Bullpen – Couldn’t keep the score in the respectable range.




  1. Zack Wheeler – allowed just one hit and one walk over seven scoreless innings, striking out eight.
  2. Kyle Schwarber – with the longest home run ever hit in PETCO PARK (488 feet).
  3. Bryce Harper – a solo homer early to give the Phillies a lead they would never relinquish.
  4. Seranthony Dominguez
  5. Jose Alvarado – The two back end of the bullpen guys had two hitless innings to close out the game, with three Ks.


  1. Padres offense – One hit. One measly hit.
  2. Yu Darvish – Honestly he pitched well, but if you are going to win a showdown with Wheeler, you can’t make mistakes. Darvish made two, and that’s two too many.
  3. Manny Machado – O-fer. Sittin’ on that hefty salary, eh?
  4. Juan Soto – Wasn’t he supposed to be the kind of generational talent to make a difference in close games? 0-for-3 with 2 Ks.
  5. Josh Bell – Guy used to be a Phillie-killer. No more. 0-for-4 with 2 Ks.



  1. Brandon Drury – Dude just gives off Cody Ross vibes. And when he hits a big homer like this, it’s even worse.
  2. Juan Soto – That double was pure talent. It was a good pitch by Nola. To recognize it and get your hands through in time is special.
  3. Josh Bell – OK, maybe he still is a Phillie-killer.
  4. Austin Nola – Got the hit to knock his brother completely off his game.
  5. Rhys Hoskins – Hitting the homer late was window dressing, but proved that Suarez was susceptible to big hits. Hmmm.


  1. Brad Hand – He could have kept the score tied with any efficiency. He had none, and the lead got too far away from the Phillies for a comeback.
  2. Aaron Nola – The pitching line looks worse than the actual performance was, but you can’t blow a 4-0 lead in the playoffs. Just can’t.
  3. David Robertson – Giving up another run late really didn’t help.
  4. Bryce Harper – Hoskins homers to cut it to three then Realmuto singles. With no outs, you ground into a double play. Needed that rally.
  5. Blake Snell – Lucky your team came back to win, because getting behind 4-0 in the first inning isn’t the way to start a must-win playoff game.



  1. Jean Segura – Such a roller coaster game for the Phils’ 2B, but he came through both offensively and defensively when it mattered most. Definitely the player of the game.
  2. Alec Bohm – His double in the bottom of the sixth to give the Phillies an insurance run was huge.
  3. Kyle Schwarber – Leading off the game with a homer set the temp for what the next three games in Philly would be like.
  4. Seranthony Dominguez – The first six-out save by a Phillies reliever in a playoff game in 42 years (to the day). Stellar performance.
  5. Ranger Suarez – Under the radar performance. He allowed just two infield singles (one trickled onto the outfield grass), in five innings of work.


  1. Joe Musgrove – He pitched a one-hitter in an elimination game in New York. But this isn’t Citi Field, friend/
  2. Manny Machado – Was invisible again, and was hearing it from the fans after choosing San Diego over Philly in 2019
  3. Austin Nola – Was the tying run at the plate in the ninth, and whiffed. This was just a precursor, though.
  4. Josh Bell  – Runners on first and second with one out. Bell called on to pinch hit against a pitcher he’s had great success against, and grounded into a double play.
  5. Juan Soto – Somehow he’s a gold glove finalist in RF. Must have left the gold one on the plane and replaced it with his cement one.


You can read heroes and goats from this game in more detail here.


You can read heroes and goats from this game in more detail here.