Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

World Series Game Two: A Nice “Shield”

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Although I admit I did not watch Game Two of the World Series from first pitch to last-I mostly tuned in and out while doing other household tasks-the thing that caught my eye the most was the solid pitching of Rays starting pitcher James “Big Game” Shields, who held a crafty Philadelphia Phillies lineup to zero runs over five and two-thirds innings.

Shields’ pitching performance may not be the stuff that legends (Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, etc.) are made of, but it is something the Rays have not seen since the inception of the franchise.  To this day, Rolando Arrojo either holds or is dangerously close to holding nearly all of the key Rays franchise pitching records.  Point being, the Rays have never, in the history of their organization, had a shut-down pitcher that could be counted on to win a game, but throughout this postseason James Shields has been exactly that.

After today’s travel day, the Series will continue on Saturday night in Philadelphia (barring the inclement weather that is forecast).  I will preview that matchup later.
 

World Series Game Two Preview: Digging Themselves A Hole

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Although before last night’s opening game of the World Series I predicted that Tampa Bay would beat Philadelphia’s ace Cole Hamels, I knew that there was a pretty good possibility that Hamels would still win, as I was just playing a momentum-based hunch.  However, now down 1-0 in the Series on their home turf, Game Two of the WS tonight is almost a must-win game for the Rays, as they don’t want to dig themselves too deep of a whole and be forced to fight their way out of it while in Philly.

Tonight’s starters (with their 2008 postseason stats) are James Shields (TB, RHP, 2-0, 19.1 IP, 3.72 ERA) vs. Brett Myers (PHI, RHP, 2-0, 12 IP, 5.25 ERA).  Shields has been pretty dominant this postseason, while Myers can be gotten to, so I think this series has a very good chance of being evened up heading into Citizen’s Bank Park on Saturday.

World Series Game One Preview

Hamels.jpgTomorrow night, October 22, the World Series will commence at roughly 7:00 p.m. on FOX.  Pitching matchups for Game 1 are: Cole Hamels (PHI; LHP, 3-0, 22 IP, 1.23 ERA in postseason) vs. Scott Kazmir (TB; LHP, 2-0, 15.2 IP, 4.02).

To me, this is the key game of the series.  While the Phillies seem to have the advantage because of the brilliant ace Hamels, I think that the Rays will knock him off (due to their home field mojo that has propelled them to victory all season long) and thus set the tone for the entire series.

Of course, if Philly does succeed, it would really put the pressure on the Rays to win Game Two before heading to the City of Brotherly Love.

World Series Prediction: The Magic Continues

WorldSeriesTrophy.jpgThe entire season, I have doubted the Tampa Bay Rays, first thinking they would never win the division, and secondly, thinking they would not advance deep in the postseason.  However, now that the Rays have proven me wrong time and time again (and beaten the playoff-savvy Red Sox), they are my pick to host the Commissioner’s Trophy in about a week.

I think both teams are very evenly matched (as pitching is the strong suit of either side), but I’m giving the series to Tampa Bay because of their home field advantage at the Trop.  In a shocking upset, I think that the Rays will defeat Philadelphia Phillies ace starter Cole Hamels in Game One and shake up the Phils a bit.  However, I also see the series advancing to at least a sixth game (as Philly plays well at home too), but likely no further, as the home-town magic will be enough to propel the Phils into the promised land.

So, because of the home field advantage and enough talent to beat Philly’s ace, I predict a Rays world championship in six games.  I’m excited to see what happens…

I Don’t Believe What I Just Saw

MattGarza.jpgLast night, as I sat down to watch the Boston Red Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 7 of the ALCS, I was rooting for the Sawx to win the AL pennant.  I just know a lot more about the Sox and figured it would be more interesting to see them back in the World Series then the upstart Rays.  When the final out was recorded (remarkably, in favor of Tampa Bay), however, I found myself feeling good for the improbable Rays franchise for two reasons: seeing former Twins succeed, and seeing a franchise that never should have been winning something significant.

I have been closely following major league baseball since 1998 (the whole McGwire-Sosa thing, you know), the same year the then Devil Rays (along with the Arizona Diamondbacks) were introduced into the game.  Within a few years, once the Rays organization had time to prove to me how inept they were, I made the prediction that the Rays would never win a significant championship in the history of their franchise.  I though this for two reasons: First, the Tampa Bay area really isn’t suited for a major league baseball franchise, as the fan support is terrible (too much sun in Florida, I think).  Second, they play in what amounts to the high-rollers division of the American League…the AL East.  While the Yankees, Sox, and Orioles (although you would never know it considering how many bad decisions they make with it) have incredible streams of revenue, the Blue Jays and Rays are pretty much left in their dust.  To me, the chances of someone other than New York or Boston winning the AL East were as good as someone knocking the New England Patriots off the top of their weak NFL division the last few years.

So, as the final out was recorded last night, I was glad to see the Rays bring at least some happiness to the few fans in TB who follow them with a passion (like I do my Twins).  Also, I was happy for former Twins Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett (and Grant Balfour, I guess) for their winning performance.  Garza clashed with enough Twins coaches to make his departure imminent, but I don’t begrudge him for that, as the Twins have a very strict organizational stance on pitchers that Garza didn’t feel he could work within.  I liken it to the Twins telling David Ortiz to push the ball into an often wide-open left field, something he wasn’t going to do and thus needed a new team to start fresh with.  As for Bartlett, he never really played up to his true potential for the Twins, so I’m glad to see him step up and become a leader for another club.

Finally, I was wondering throughout last night’s game what team the Twins (and specifically manager Ron Gardenhire) were cheering for.  At first, I thought that perhaps the bitterness at losing Garza and Bartlett would have them leaning towards Boston, but then I consider things further and reached a different conclusion.  Being a Little League coach for three years in my home town, my face always lit up when a former player experienced success elsewhere, so I bet a guy like Gardy (and a close-knit team like the Twins) were rooting for their old pals.

All season long I doubted the Rays.  First, their ability to win the AL East, and second their ability to advance deep into the postseason.  They have proven me wrong at every turn, and I now finally believe they have a shot at accomplishing the unthinkable…winning a World Series championship.  If I were the Devil right now, I’d start getting the heaters installed, as things could get a bit chilly down there if the Rays have their way this week.

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