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Sunday, October 19, 2008

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Go Phillies!

I am sure the Rays' fans with their newly-bough hats and merchandise will be out in force.

Question - Is it possible the Rays don't even sell-out Game 1? I bet they do just because their is a going to be a decent contingent of Philly fans that travels to St. Pete even with the current economic situation.

The happiest guy on the Phillies right now is Brett Myers, who now won't have to talk about his last visit to Boston in any press conferences.

At least now we know who to worry about.

Well, once again Cole's start in Game 1 will be the key. I like the way he's pitching and I like the Phils in 6.

best-case scenario. rays momentum was slowed a bit after a couple of demoralizing losses. sox in 7 would have been the worst, rays in 7 the best. i am very pleased with the way this has worked itself out.

and i agree. phils in 6

Not only will they not sell out game 1, but the fans that do show will have Bucs jerseys on because they still don't know what's going on, the bandwagon sign up sheet wasn't specific.

Not only will they not sell out game 1, but the fans that do show will have Bucs jerseys on because they still don't know what's going on, the bandwagon sign up sheet wasn't specific.

The Rays should be favored because of homefield advantage. But they are facing one of the best Road teams in the league.

The Rays were one game under .500 on the road this year. The Phillies were 7 games over .500.

We will win at least one game in Tampa. They will probably need to win two to win it all.

I'd like to think the Phillies hold serve at home. They've done it so far in these playoffs. But this is a good young team, and they are very dangerous. I dont' think they are a "happy to be there" team. I think they don't understand it. When they were losing that game in Boston, it seemed like that had no affect on them. Although, I'd like to see how they react to the first World Series crowd ever at CBP, and the first in philly in 15 years.

I just feel in my gut, that this is OUR time.

It begins with Cole. Although, technically it will be Jimmy setting the tone in the first at bat.

BRING on the Rays.

MG: In fairness to the Rays, they've had no problem selling out playoff games.

They may have just jumped on the bandwagon, but at least it's not like Atlanta where they can't even drum up enough interest to fill the stadium for a playoff game.

Winning game 1 with Cole on the mound will be paramount.

Lidge saves a nailbiter to close it out - Phils in 6! BOOYAH!

Of course they will sell out. I had to sign up on the internet for the chance to buy tickets, just the same as the Phillies did.

Granted, tickets are much less expensive. You could fly down to TPA and back and buy a ticket all for the same cost of just going to CBP. Plus you could go to the beach!

Steve: The Rays first playoff sellout was game 6 of the ALCS

Phils in 6 and Lidge stays perfect.

LA Jeff: Where did you here that? I was at Game 1 and didn't see empty seats. Everyone has jumped on board for the October bandwagon ride.

Game 6 is the first game they took the tarps off the view-obstructed seats.

I like the Phillies in 5. Myers will be the only loss. Love the Moyer/Rays matchup. Tampa is the best possible option for Moyer.

Bullpen will be the key. The Phils advantage there will be the difference in the series.

My biggest worry is Kazmir going in Game 1 and shutting down the Phils left-handed bats and those bats staying in hibernation the rest of the series.

Vonderful: Any lefty worries me, but Kazmir is pitching hurt. They really need that game.

Everyone on TBS picked the Rays over the Phils just now.

I obviously hope the Phillies win the world series, but the Phils struggles in interleague play worry me. Of course we had Eaton/Kendrick/Bad Myers pitching, but we didn't hit much then. Hopefully our momentum will continue even with the off week.

As much as I would of loved to bring down the nation, I would much rather prefer to play the Rays. The Rays success lies in their 1-5 hitters, who are very good, but they are not better than the Phillies 1-5 hitters. Hamels sets the tone Game 1. We hit Shields (Howard homers) in Game 2 and Myers does enough to bring the series back to Philly 2-0 in our favor. Moyer pitches well in Game 3 but Garza continues his hot pitching shutting down our offense, series at 2-1. Blanton pitches the game of his life with the crowd behind him, series MVP Jimmy Rollins gets on base all night and causes trouble, Phils win Game 4 taking the series 3-1. And finally, Cole becomes a legend in Philadelphia sports history with a shutdown performance against an anxious Rays team.

PHILS in 5.

@tutspu -- that's correct Eck "They're the best team in baseball", Reynolds, Iron Man all picked the rays. Rob Neyer picked the Rays in 6 on his ESPN chat, but reserved the right to change his mind. He was the only ESPN head to pick the Phillies to beat the Dodgers.

I'll expect a unanimous Rays selection from the National Media. And I don't care.

Phils in five. W-L-W-W-W.

Phils in 6. The Rays are a better matchup for the Phils with just one lefthanded SP. Their top of the rotation, Shields and Kazmir, are not quite Lester and Dice-K. They struggle with LHPs and were 25-24 against them. Hamels should be dominate. Our position players are better than theirs. The bullpens are more or less equal. The only real advatage for the Rays is the homefield and the fact that their #3 and #4 SPs are better than ours. If Howard and Rollins step it up, we win hands down. I just hope that if Moyer implodes again, that Cholly gets Happ into the game fast. We can't afford to give games away.

Like I said, Tampa in 7.

Jeltz-Your exactly right. Game 1 is crucial. A dominant Hamels performance will allow the whole team to exhale.

I just don't want our hitters jumping out of their shoes swinging at Kazmir if his control is suspect. Patience hitters, patience.

9=8 DOESNT EVEN MAKE SENSE! There are 25 players on a team, AL teams play 10 at any one time and games go a full 9 innings less than 2/3rds of the time. (from what I could tell on b-r)

I will give Longoria credit for correcting TBS by saying that now "9=1" instead of "9=2".

I think the Rays are a better matchup too. They're young and inexperienced,and experience counts for something in the World Series.

Also, teams from Tampa Bay have caused teams from Philly at least as much postseason grief as teams from Boston, so there's still a bit of a rivalry thing there.

Rays in 6. Phils split in TB

Guy the Phils are leaning on the most - Hamels. Only Phils' starter who has really been anywhere near dominant this postseason and winning a game outright due to his pitching dominance.

Key vet - Moyer. From Cholly's comments the last few days, the Gut thinks Moyer has good start left in him. I hope so because if the Phils have to blow out their pen in Game 3 (with 3 consecutive games) they are going to be in big trouble. Here is hoping the Old Man can muster just a bit more mojo.

Wildcard - Madson. His performance the past month has altered the complexion of the Phils' pen. He has been dominant and more importantly allows Cholly to use his bullpen by numbers approach of Madson in the 8th and Lidge in the 9th. Phils need him to continue his dominance if they are going to win this Series and I hope Cholly is willing to utilize him in high leverage situations and just not want until the 8th inning.

Biggest potential underachiever - Howard. The Big Man finally started to make some adjustments in his swing the last 2 games of the Dodgers' series to go with the offspeed stuff. Rays only have 1 starter who is a lefty but they have 3 lefties (Miller, Price, Howell) in the pen to neutralize Howard late in games. I hope that Howard realizes that taking BBs and singles will be fine because this offense has enough firepower to win this series if Howard isn't hitting bombs.

I also wonder what JRoll does. Hasn't been amazing this postseason but generally been pretty steady with a couple of really key HRs and his usual solid performance in the field.

I like the matchup too, TB's youth will hopefully play to our advantage. I think we take Cole's start on Wednesday and really hoping that Jamie can put together a solid outing in Game 3. If we can take 2 out of those first 3, then I think the Phils can take it in 5 or more likely 6. Let's go Phils!

What I see in the Phillies is a drive to win it all. I don't think they will be dazzled by simply being in the World Series. I hope TB has that dazzle and reacts the way the Phillies reacted last year vs the Rockies. If TB makes the rookie mistakes, and the Phillies continue capitalizing on mistakes like they have all post season, TB will find themselves in a hole looking up.

Still, I can't get over how the AL has dominated the NL this year. Particularly against the Phillies. If there is really that drastic of a ramp between the two leagues we could see Philly start looking like a AA team all of a sudden.

At this point I don't want to predict. I'm just going to sit back on Wednesday and see what happens.

When was the last time the Phils played on Turf? They should head down to Franklin Field (the only local place I can think of with astroturf) and practice fielding and bunting.

Todd Zolecki just said the Phils will work out tonight at Tropicana Field. That makes much more sense than what I suggested.

Phils in 6

http://espn.inside-edge.com/reportcardrosters.aspx?enc=CsNdTaN2SU4lzc+zAjHPy12akj/7oqEKvwwqU7iolV8=

Very, very cool numbers on the Phils' players. I wish I had time to pour over this stuff in more details since some great stuff here. Few things that stick out:

- JRoll's stellar plate discipline. Basically gives a nice partial explanation on why JRoll had the slight uptick in OBP this year and generally showed more "leadoff" skills this year than previous years. Bowa would be proud looking at these numbers.

- Howard's utterly pathetic performance on offspeed pitches this offseason. Makes sense on why he basically isn't seeing any fastballs this offseason even when he gets ahead in the count.

- Werth's weak numbers on fastballs which doesn't surprise me because RHP with a decent fastball generally overpower him and make him look foolish at times.

- Taguchi's complete inability to handle fastballs. Big shock.

- The horrid performance of Jenkins this year who arguably was the biggest offensive bust this year for the Phils.

- Feliz's generally poor plate discipline but his ability to hit fastballs.

- The maddening performances of Romero that almost have managed to turn out positively for the Phils including preventing runs from scoring.

- The dominance of Hamels who really stands out in several respects.

- Surprising effective numbers by Myers but his inability to get his fastball over strikes compared to MLB average. Ditto for Lidge who was plagued with this problem at times in the 2nd time.

- Effectiveness of Madson who really had a nice solid season even before his stellar postseason run.

I definitely like playing the Rays as opposed to the Red Sox. I have actually seen quite a bit of the Rays this year on MLB Extra Innings. I also made a trip to the Trop this year and boy does that place suck. Just a word of advice to anyone going: give yourself a ton of time for traffic and parking as they are very unorganized there. Then prepare to feel like you were walking through a sterile mall and came upon a baseball game.

Anywway, they are a team that won't quit or stumble under pressure. Everytime you think they are down and out this year they have comeback. It is similar to how you can never count out the Phillies either.

There has been a lot of debate about whether the off time will help or hurt the Phillies. I think it will help as lets face it, they were playing excellent ball, but not red hot like the Rockies were last year before the off time killed all their momentum. More importantly, this seemed like a team that needed its rest. The bullpen was used hard. The starters went hard. The Utleys and Victorinos and Rollins of the world had to have some aches and bangs that a week would do wonders for. Even more importantly, this Phillies team is poised and focused and knew how to handle the off time.

The Rays will probably be coming off a tiring emotional high. Advantage Phillies here.

After the Fox execs are done crying that there is no Manny or Red Sox to boost their ratings, they will find a breath-taking, super competitive, excellent world series on their hands.

I'll take the Phillies in 7 and no team will win by more than 3 runs in any single game.

How about we celebrate at home this time. Phillies in 5! Not so much a prediction but a hope.

Rays do have a couple of good matchups against us. Mainly they have young pitching we haven't seen before. There could be some Tim Redding-esque frustration here. Also, they have a ton of speed and more power than one would expect, especially from the right side.
David Price also ensures that Cholly must break up Utley and Howard...not that he will.
Bottom line though, if Rollins and Howard show up the Rays don't stand a chance. We've made it this far in the playoffs with only slight contributions from Howard. Let's see what we can do when he turns it on. Also, if there is a game 7, and I hope there isn't (I wanna see them win at home!), I can't wait to see Hamels pitch some perfect relief and go down in phillies lore and shed that ill-deserved, over-hyped by Ken Rosenthal "soft" perception.

Wonder if they have any trolls?

I think there's a little underestimation of the Rays going on here. they didn't win 97 games on a fluke. their bullpen is (save that game 5 implosion) stellar, Upton is ridiculously hot right now, and Shields/Kazmir should be a very intimidating 1-2 combination.

I do think that this is a fairly good matchup for the Phils, but it's hard to argue that the Rays aren't objectively a better team. fortunately Philadelphia only has to win four games.

mike cunningham: What was the Phillies record vs. AL teams this season?

Looking at the raw stats, these teams are evenly matched:

PHI ERA+ 115
TB ERA+ 114

PHI OPS+ 103
TB OPS+ 103

The Phillies have more power, the Rays have better OB.

Pitchingwise, the Phils have a better bullpen, the Rays a better rotation. But Hamels is the best starter on either team.

I also think the Phillies can win this in 6. Cole Hamels seems like the best choice for the MVP, but Howard could have an absolutely huge series.

i hope they get kevin stocker to throw out the first pitch in game 1.

Phillies in 6.

W,L,W,L,W,W

Phils in 5, Campaign Cheer baby!

Got an e-mail from the Rays that I can purchase tickets through the lottery. At 5:00 today I will be buying my PHILLIES WORLD SERIES TICKETS!!!!! (And at face value!)

Good Myers = Phils in six.

Bad Myers = Rays in six.

Mediocre Myers = pick 'em in game seven

Rays in 6. Phils win 2 on heart. The AL is easily the better league, and the Rays in particular have a pitching staff we can only dream about.

Phils in 5! Split Tampa and stay undefeated at home in the playoffs.

Rays will be missing Aybar(DH) in Philly, who had a very clutch ALCS. Also, adding a ninth batter to our lineup should make us even better in Tampa.

Since I have tickets for game 5, I'm hoping all you guys who predicted Phils in 5 are correct. I, on the other hand, am an eternal pessimist, so I'm not so sure.

So Taguchi would be completely useless against David Price and the Rays' hard-throwing starters. I doubt we'd see him, but Lou Marson would probably fare better.

Did Lou Marson or Greg Golson face David Price in the minors? How did they do?

I'm not going to predict, but I feel confident about this Phillies team. The one intangible that scares me is that the Rays are too young and inexperienced to realize that they are supposed to lose. They didn't realize it in August and September. This should be an interesting series. I think all the games will be exciting nailbiters. Stock up on the antacids and strap yourself in, its going to be a bumpy, yet exhilarating ride!

The way that series ended will actually be a huge help to the Rays. They grew up a lot getting through the huge disappointment of Game 5 and showing they can win in the pressure of Game 7. David Price finishing the game like that isn't good news. He'll be facing Utley and Howard in every tight spot late and he is nasty. I think the layoff will hurt the Phils some, at least for a game.

Rays in 6. I hope I'm wrong.

That's not due to lack of faith in the Phils but the Rays are REALLY REALLY good. They're definitely the better team. Of course if the Phils bats are all going, they could win four games.

I am really pulling for Moyer, who is my favorite player on the team, but hope he really brings his stuff during this series. I think the Rays lit up Wakefield during the ALCS. Either way, go Moyer, you-can-do-it!!!!

The Phils have not gotten everything clicking together yet this whole season. They had enough talent to beat out the slightly-better-than-mediocre Mets, the slightly-better-than-mediocre Brewers, and the slightly-better-than-mediocre Dodgers.

The Rays are much better than these teams. The Phils will need to have everything clicking together to beat them; and I see no evidence that this will happen.

Rays in 6.

I can't even hazard a prediction, I'm too wrapped up in this emotionally. I will say this, though--I feel completely confident in Hamels and Blanton (yes, Blanton). I think the Phils have a good chance to win every game those two pitch, which amounts to three games, basically.

So, echoing what others have said, it comes down to Moyer and Myers. Myers has to pitch better, because we won't be winning any more games on the strength of his bat. And I'm worried that Moyer is basically done--my only hope is that he can fool the overeager young Rays for five or six innings (agains the experienced Sox I think he would have certainly gotten shelled).

I'm getting nervous just thinking about it. Can't wait until Wednesday!

The Phils would have struggled mightily against a healthy Kazmir in the two outings (gms 1 & 5) he will most likely pitch in the series. A young, deceptive, hard-throwing lefty who also possesses an excellent change-up to keep hitters honest? Sounds like the Phils kryptonite to me.
Since he's not healthy, though, the Phils have a real chance in this series.

I also think the biggest advantage the Phils have will be in the bullpen department, and in the 4th starters for both teams. David Price is a phenomenal talent but how would you feel if the only trustworthy arm in your pen was a 21 year old Rookie who has all of 1 month of MLB experience under his belt? Also the remainder of their bullpen looked shaky to say the least - Balfour has become a 1-pitch pitcher, Bradford had no control in the ALCS, Howell is simply a LOOGY at this point, and Wheeler is extremely hittable.

And for the life of me I dont understand how Andy Sonnanstine gets anyone out - righty with a straight 90 mph fastball and a mediocre curve? I say get him down to the ballpark and let the Phils hitters tee off against him.

Well me and my friends just booked our flight for Tampa today and I am so excited I can't even believe what's going on right now. I'd be worried about a layoff if anyone but Hamels was pitching game 1, assuming the layoff doesn't affect him. As long as we don't get shutout I think Cole will keep it close enough where we can pull one out. I'm picking the Phillies in 6, with us winning both Hamels starts, and doing whatever it takes to split the other 4 games.

For my points mentioned above, I say the Phils split in Tampa (probably get stymied by Kazmir in game 1), win 2/3 in Philly (game 4 and either 3 or 5), and then win game 6 in Tampa.

People need to bear in mind that, though the DH rule usually benefits the AL team enormously, in this case the Phils are benfitted as well - at least in games 2 and 6 against Shields. Dobbs or Stairs in the lineup adds a huge amount of pop in the lineup - they are both arguably a better option than Tampa's options (Cliff Floyd/Baldelli/Erick Aybar).

Phils in 6. Can't wait til Wednesday.

diggity - Against Shields, it looks like you are assuming that Cholly will start Feliz at 3B, and DH either Dobbs or Stairs. Knowing our Cholly, that seems like a good assumption.

Wouldn't it be great, though, if Cholly would start Dobbs at 3B and Stairs at DH?
What a lineup that would be. Unlikely, but a boy can dream.

@clout -- Hey clout... who cares.

Is this team playing differently now than it did in June? We had Eaton and an Eaton-like Myers in the rotation. And one of the losses was against our 4th starter.

Different team right now.

I agree with timr's assessment of the Phillies starting rotation.

When I was a teenager, I used to play Strat-o-Matic Baseball. It was a cards and dice game. You rolled three dice, one which was a different color. That was the die that determined if the outcome came off the hitter's or the pitcher's card. If you were batting and the die pointed to the pitcher, you could have the best hitter in the world and it meant nothing, because a good pitcher would get him out. Likewise, you could be pitching, and the die would point to the hitter's card, negating your pitcher's skill. I think this Series will be like Strat-o-Matic. We're all focused on our players, but half the time, the die will point to their player's card and our fate will be in the roll of the other two dice! In other words, this Series will be a real crapshoot!

@Bonehead:
I posted a few days ago that it would be an insane lineup-
Rollins, Werth, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Victorino, Dobbs, Stairs, Ruiz

There's only 1 automatic out (Ruiz - even though his hitting is much improved of late), and 6 or 7 hitters have a realistic chance of going yard every time they step to the plate.

You're right, that would be a hell of a lineup... in fantasy-land...

"What a lineup the Rays have. How do you get through Upton-Pena-Longoria-Crawford unscathed? You don't, often, which is why I think the Rays will handle the Phils in six."

This, from Peter King's MMQB. Like everyone else, I am happy to be underestimated in this series. Those four players, no doubt, are all studs. But where's the love for Rollins, Utley, Howard and Burrell + Vic?

Yo, new thread.

To no one's surprise I'm sure, I believe our Fightins' will prevail in six. Howard and Myers are the keys to the Series... if they perform up to their potential, this will actually be easier than it now looks. Our guys are hungry, rested, and ready. The decibel level of our support at CBP will be the stuff of legends.

Bottom line: After 28 years, our hope, faith and affection for this franchise will again be rewarded. I told you all in August that I had a hunch we were going to witness a "shining moment" in 2008. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Red October. It's gonna be a fun finish, and the good guys will prevail.

"Not only will they not sell out game 1, but the fans that do show will have Bucs jerseys on because they still don't know what's going on"

Relax a little bit now. How many clowns in Philly wear Iggles jerseys to the game? And there is nothing wrong with that.

The Rays are a good team. It will be a hard test for us. Who cares how "new" their fan base is.

Those Rays "fans" don't deserve to win this. Let them get their hearts broken at least once. We're pulling for you guys in Boston. Phillies in 5!

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