Phillies, Rays go toe to toe in 2008 World Series

By Eric Carlstrom

The Phillies will win the World Series because…. Well, why
not?

They’ve already beat the odds multiple times to get here, and
their biggest stars haven’t begun to shine.

The Phillies, in their first World Series in 15 years, had to
win 13 of their final 16 regular season games to edge out the New
York Mets to even make the post season. Since the playoffs began,
the Phillies have continued to be nothing short of spectacular,
combining the regular season and playoffs, the Phillies have won 21
of their last 25 games.

They went up 2-0 on the playoff-powered Brewers, including a 5-2
win over C.C. Sabathia. They dropped game three, before closing the
series in Milwuakee in game four.

The men in red then they jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the
Dodgers, dropped game three, and closed the series with two more
wins in Los Angeles.

Playing, and winning on the road, is nothing new to these
guys.

Ryan Howard, the Phillies first basemen and potential National
League Most Valuable Player, hasn’t even hit a home run in the
playoffs. He led Major League Baseball with 48 in the regular
season.

Chase Utley, who led all National League second basemen in
average and power, is only hitting .250 in the playoffs after
hitting close to .300 in the regular season. Since the regular
season ended Utley’s only hit one ball out of the park, something
he did 33 times before.

The Phillies lead off man, shortstop Jimmy Rollins is also
hitting more than 30 points lower than his regular season
average.

But in case you didn’t see it, Rollins led off game five against
the Dodgers with a home run. Howard also finally found a groove,
going 3-4.

If these guys finally heat up like they appear to be, how can’t
the Phillies win? Bad pitching you’re thinking? Sorry guys.

Led by 24-year old Cole Hamels’ 3.09 ERA, Philadelphia’s solid
pitching hasn’t reached full potential, but it certainly hasn’t let
up.

The teams 3.88 ERA in the regular season was good enough for 4th
best in the National League. Their rotation also owns a NL 2nd best
92 wins, 16 of them coming from veteran Jamie Moyer, the only
Philly pitcher who hasn’t delivered.

It’s also notable that the Phillies were enjoying a nice
vacation while the Rays and Red Sox were battling in seven
games.

I’ve heard numerous columnists and analysts debate whether or
not the “layoff” will affect how they perform in the World Series.
Statistics say it will, but I still say absolutely not; these guys
are professional athletes, preparing for the biggest moment of
their careers.

I say Phillies in six games.

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