HOUSTON – JT Realmuto waited nine years and 1,005 regular season games to play in his first World Series game. And when it was over, after pitching one of the best World Series games ever by a catcher, Realmuto was unable to participate in the postgame broadcast.
“I don’t think I can chew,” Rilmuto said. “My jaw really hurts. But that’s okay, as long as it’s not my head, I’m good.
In the sixth inning of Game 1 of the World Series on Friday, the Phyllis The catcher pretends to take a powerful punch and pulls a menacing ball off his mask.
“Did he feel as bad as he looked?” he says, repeating the question. “I’m not going to lie. yes. It was really bad.”
That imaginary haymaker story will be just a footnote when Realmuto remembers what he did in Game 1. But the footnote grabs your attention, without it Realmuto’s value and heroism cannot be fully appreciated.
Realmuto in 2010. Astros group. Here’s what happened before that swing: After catching all 1,690 pitches, Philadelphia pitchers’ 143th streak this postseason, including 143 through nine games, Verlander led off a 1-and-2 in the 10th inning after leading off a 1-and-2 run in the fifth inning by Houston ace Justin. After he fell and pitched a never-before-seen pot to Luis Garcia two cutters down and away, the number was completely filled. Bat to go into full two-hit mode … only then did Realmuto go all Carlton Fisk on the Astros.
“He’s the absolute best player in baseball,” pitching coach Caleb Cottam said. “His performance is outstanding. It is given. But what he doesn’t get enough credit for is the amount of work he does. It does it all. It’s a rock for every pot on this stick.
Fisk hit a home run It sent “Hallelujah” choruses over the Fenway Park organ and church bells ringing in New England’s nightly celebration. Realmuto’s homer should sound a loud wake-up call in the Astros’ heads. Houston lost a 5-0 lead to Vereland. The bullpen exited the Philadelphia bullpen.
“They counted us out and thought the game was won,” says Fili. But if you’ve been paying attention, you know this group is special. If they don’t, well, we can shock the world.
Every night the fates seem to hang in the balance for the Phillies: base sacks, the sun getting into the eyes of an outfielder, opposing managers not using their best arm in the bigs, Alec Bohm and Nick Castellanos suddenly turning into Gold Gloves. Non-stick in pitcher’s gloves. Realmuto hit Verlander’s glove in the fourth in what should have been an easy inning-ending double play, as runner Rhys Hoskins was too far off the bag at first.
But the ball didn’t stick in Verlander’s glove. He rolled over. He recovered to get Realmuto on first base, but the inning still had a pulse. Three beats later – single, single, double; Instead of going down 5–0, the Phillies came back in the game at 5–3 when Verlander gave up his fastball in anticipation. Realmuto led off the next inning with a double.
Now, the Phillies believe they are invincible, going 10–2 against teams that have won 93, 101, 89 and 106 games this season. 87-win teams so far are dangerous. But more than fate, grit carried them. The Phillies are stacked with players ages 24–32—the sweet spot for the job, especially when they’ve never won anything. Only four players on the 26-man roster have never played in a World Series before. They are motivated by one common goal: to win. Many have been waiting for the opportunity for a long time. As second baseman Jean Segura put it, “I’m at a point where I feel like I’ve gotten everything I want in my career. Financially, I’m good. I just want to win.
That commonality is what makes Philadelphia so dangerous. And no one is more interested in this team than Realmuto, who until last year had never played on a winning team.
“He should be given the MVP,” left fielder Kyle Schwarber said. “He’s done everything for us this year.”
Game 1 of the World Series was Realmuto’s 151st game of the year and his 145th in the backfield.
“My body feels better now than it has all year,” he said. “I’ve never felt so good at the end of a season. I have found a good program to take care of my body. I always change things and add things every year, but this is the program I keep.
Rilmuto’s routine begins with massaging his legs every day after pregame batting practice. He does strength training after games. Depending on whether it’s a lower or upper body day, he alternates three exercises – he does three exercises.
“I literally take my shirt off and head straight to the practice room.” “In the past, I would wait until I had a rest day, and then I would go into a full workout. But when you do that, you lose the idea of a full day off to recover. By doing all three exercises—no less—I’m working when my body is warm and not pounding my body the way a full workout can.
As the Astros can attest, it’s working. After posting a .949 OPS in the second half, he is putting up an .842 OPS in the postseason. With three RBIs in Game 1 and six total bases in a World Series, he joined a very short but impressive group of catchers: Gary Carter, Tim McCarver, Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella. No one has done it from third place in line like Realmuto did.
After what was previously known as the Realmuto Game, the Phillies dominated the series and sent their best pitcher, Zach Wheeler, to the mound in Game 2. Halloween night at the bank. Scary stuff for Houston.
Of course, Realmuto will not only take bad balls to the jaw, but he will lead the pitcher in the game behind the plate. Wheeler needs very little scouting information when it comes to the World Series and the Astros, a team he’s never faced before. All he needs is basic information about which Houston hitter will swing at the start of the count and which pitches are likely to create a chase swing.
“I don’t want all the information,” says Wheeler. “I trust JT, he’s good back there, game-planning and reading changes. I’ve always had a lot of faith in my chasers, but especially JT.”
Astros, 2007 The Rockies And 2014 Royals The only teams in the wild-card era entered the tournament undefeated. All Lost Game 1. The Rockies and Royals wound up losing the series. Now the Houston Phillies know they can take a punch, as Realmuto’s iron jaw has proven. They should know, too, that with their unbreakable bait, Phillies are dangerous.
Long after the game and Realmuto reminiscing about the night for several interviews and press conferences, his jaw was still smarting. But some things never change. When asked if he attended his three daily postgame practices, Realmuto smiled and said, “Yeah, yeah. I got in my workout before I spoke to you.
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