Tagged: Grant Balfour

The Phillies lose another interleague play game as Antonio Bastardo leaves the game with an injury, as they fall to the Rays, 10-4.

After an explosive start, the Phils watch the game slip out of their hands, and see another pitcher go down, as they lose to the Rays, 10-4, their first road series lost in a while.

The Phillies took a quick lead in the first as, with two men on, and one out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run double, scoring Greg Dobbs, who had earlier singled and had gone to second on Chase Utley’s single, and Utley, who had just singled, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, with two men out, the Phils made it 3-0 as Matt Stairs followed with a double, knocking in Howard. It then became 4-0 Phils as Pedro Feliz hits an RBI single, scoring Stairs. The Rays would come back in their half of the first, as, with one man on and two outs, Carlos Pena hits an RBI double, knocking in Pat Burrell, who had earlier doubled, making it a 4-1 Phils’ lead. Ben Zobrist then made it a 4-3 Phils’ lead as he hits a two-run home run, his sixteenth home run of the season, scoring Pena. The Rays would tie the game up at four-all in the second, as Willy Aybar hits a lead-off home run, his sixth home run of the season. Four batters later, with runners on the corners, and one man out, the Rays took the lead as Carl Crawford hits an RBI double, scoring Gabe Kapler, who had earlier doubled and had gone to third on Dioner Navarro’s single, giving the Rays a 5-4 lead, while sending Navarro, who had just singled, over to third base. One batter later, Burrell would hit into an RBI ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out, scoring Navarro from third to make it 6-4 Rays, while sending Crawford on to third. In the fourth, the Rays tried to add to their lead, with two men on, Kapler and Crawford via walks, and two men out, as the Phillies took their starter Antonio Bastardo out of the game because of a strained left shoulder. The Phils replaced him with Chad Durbin, who then proceeded to end the threat by striking out Burrell. The Phils then threathen to score in the sixth, as they had runners on the corners, Stairs on third, after getting on base by being hit by the pitch, and then going to third on Feliz’s infield single and a throwing error by Rays’ shortstop Jason Bartlett, after originally being unable to handle the ball, with one man out, as Eric Bruntlett hits a fly ball to center field, which would’ve been deep enough to score Stairs, and make it a 6-5 Rays’  lead. But, in a baserunning blunder, Feliz had run up to second base, and was thus doubled up when Rays’ centerfielder B.J. Upton’s throw beat him back to first, 8-3, before Stairs could cross the plate, denying the Phils a run, and leaving the score at 6-4 Rays. The Rays then proceeded to bust the game open in their half of the sixth as, with the bases loaded via a Crawford double, later going to third on a Durbin wild pitch, and then walks to both Burrell and Zobrist, and two men out, Bartlett hits an RBI single, scoring Crawford, making it 7-4 Rays, while both Burrell and Zobrist moved up a base, leaving them loaded. Aybar then followed with a two-run single, scoring both Burrell and Zobrist, giving the Rays a 9-4 lead, and sending Bartlett to third, before Aybar is thrown out trying to go to second, 8-4, ending the inning. The Rays made it 10-4 in the seventh as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Crawford hits into a RBI force out, scoring Upton, who had earlier tripled, as Gabe Gross, who had earlier walked, was thrown out at second, 4-6, for the inning’s second out. That would end up being the final score, as the Phils’ offensive would be unable to mount any attack during the last two innings.

Antonio Bastardo took the lost, pitching only three and two-thirds innings because of an injury to his left shoulder, as he gave up six runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out two. His record is now 2-3 with an ERA of 6.75. Chad Durbin pitched two innings of relief, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks, while striking out three. Tyler Walker pitched a third of an inning, giving up two hits. Jack Taschner pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one. Ryan Madson also pitched an inning, giving up a hit and a walk, while striking out one. Andy Sonnanstine got the win, as he pitched five and one third innings, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk, and striking out seven. His record is now 6-7 with a 6.61 ERA. Grant Balfour pitched one and two-thirds innings, recording his ten hold of the year, as he give up a hit, while he struck out two. Randy Choate pitched an inning, striking out a batter. Dan Wheeler also pitched an inning, giving up a hit.

The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Greg Dobbs and Pedro Feliz both leading the team with two hits a piece. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Matt Stairs and John Mayberry, Jr. had the other four hits, as the Phils got shut down after such a promising start in the first inning. Howard knocked in two of the Phils’ runs, while Stairs and Feliz both knocked in a run.

The Phillies (37-33, 1st National League East) will conclude Interleague Play this weekend with a three-games series against the Blue Jays (40-34, 3rd American League East). The game will start at 7:07 pm Eastern time, and will be played in Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Phils starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (4-3. 4.24), who is coming off a lost to the Orioles on June 21, as he went eight strong innings, giving up just two runs on nine hits, as he struck out ten, in the Phils’ 2-1 lost. In a previous start against the Blue Jays, on June 16, he pitched a no-decision, as he went six innings, also giving up just two runs, on seven hits and two walks, as he struck out two, in the Phils’ 8-3 lost. He will be trying for his fifth win of the year, while trying to start the series on a very positive note for the Phils. He will be opposed by Ricky Romero (4-3, 3.59), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on June 21, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only two runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out six, in the Blue Jays’ 9-4 win. In a previous start against the Phils, also on June 16, he also received a no-decision as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out nine, in the Blue Jays’ 8-3 win. He will also be looking for his fifth win of the season, while trying to continue the Phils’ Interleague Play woes.


2008 World Series: Game 5.5: The Phillies are the 2008 World Champions of the Baseball World.

The Phillies have won the 2008 World Series, winning the series four games to one, as they would outscore the Rays in the final three and a half innings of this past Monday’s suspended game five, 4-3. As play resumed, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon would decide to leave Grant Balfour in the game. Pinch hitter Geoff Jenkins would be the first batter to face him in the Phillies’ half of the sixth, and he would greet him with a hard hit double to center. Jimmy Rollins would follow with an excellent sacrifice bunt, that would go 5-3 for the inning’s first out, as he would move Jenkins over to third base. Then, with the Rays’ infield pulled in to prevent a run, Jayson Werth would hit a pop up into shallow center field. Ray’s second baseman Akinori Iwamura would be unable to make an over-the-shoulder basket catch of the ball, as it would drop in for a RBI single, scoring Jenkins, and giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Balfour is then taken out of the ballgame by Maddon and is replaced on the mound by J.P. Howell. Howell would then end the inning by first getting Utley to strike out swinging for the inning’s second out, and after Werth would steal second, he would get Ryan Howard to pop out to third for the final out of the inning. Charlie Manuel would then put out in place of Cole Hamels, who is now in line to be the game’s winning pitching, Ryan Madson. Madson would proceed to strike out Dioner Navarro looking for the inning’s first out. But then he would give up a solo home run to Rocco Baldelli to left, tying the game up at three apiece, and thus denying Hamels his chance to make World Series history by winning all five of his starts. Jason Bartlett would then follow with a single. The next batter, Howell, would sacrifice the runner over to second, 1-4, for the inning’s second out, as he put a runner in scoring position. Madson is then replaced by J.C. Romero. Iwamura would then hit a ground ball towards second base, that Utley would be able to grab, but would then have no play to make at first, as Iwamura would get an infield single. But, Utley would then throw a strike towards home plate as he would see Bartlett trying to score from second on the play. His throw would beat Bartlett to home plate and then Carlos Ruiz would tag out a sliding Bartlett to keep the game tied at three all. In the Phillies’ half of the seventh, Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a double to left center field. As he would be replaced on second base by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett, the Rays would replace Howell on the mound with Chad Bradford. Shane Victorino would then hit the ball to the right side of the infield, after being unable to put down a bunt, for the inning’s first out, 4-3, while Bruntlett would move on over to third base. This move would once again force the Rays to bring in their infield. Pedro Feliz would take advantage of this move as he would hit a RBI single to center, scoring Bruntlett and giving the Phillies’ a 4-3 lead. Ruiz would then follow Feliz by hitting into a force out, 4-6, wiping out Feliz at second for the second out. Romero would then bat for himself and proceed to hit into a force out, 4-6, for the inning’s final out. Romero would then stay in to pitch the eighth. Chris Crawford would start the inning off with a single. B.J. Upton would then hit into a 6-4-3 double play, doubling up Crawford at second base, putting no one on base with two men out. Romero would then end the inning by getting Carlos Pena to fly out to left for the final out. In the Phillies’ eighth, the Rays would send out David Price to keep the game close. Prince would proceed to get Rollins to fly out to left for the inning’s first out and then would strike out Werth for out number two. Utley would then get on base with a walk. After Utley would steal second, Howard would end the inning by striking out. In the Rays’ ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to end the game. Lidge would get Evan Longorio to pop out to Utley for the first out of the inning. Navarro would then get on base with a single. Navarro would be replaced at first by pinch runner Fernando Perez, while pinch hitter Ben Zobrist would come to the plate. After Perez would steal second base, Lidge would get Zobrist out as he lines out directly to the right fielder for the second out of the inning. Maddon would then send out pinch hitter Eric Hinske to try and take the lead with one swing of the bat. Instead, Lidge would strike Hinske out for the game’s final out, as he would record his forty-eighth straight save in forty-eight attempts and his seventh save of the post-season, and lead to the start of a celebration among the Phillies, as they would win their second World Championship in the team’s 126 years of existance.

Cole Hamels would get a no-decision, as he would pitch six strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thrids of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits, while striking out one. J.C. Romero would get the win as he pitches a scoreless inning and a third, giving up only two hits. His series’ record is now 2-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Brad Lidge would record his second save of the series, pitching a scoreless inning, as he would give up just a hit, while striking out one, as he records his forty-eighth straight save, and his seventh in the post-season. Scott Kazmir would also get a no-decision, as he would go only four innings plus two batters, giving up two earned runs on four hits, six walks and a hit batsman, while striking out five. Grant Balfour would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. J.P. Howell would get the lost as he would pitch two-thirds of an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit, while striking out one. His series’ record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 7.71. Chad Bradford would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. David Price would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just a walk, while striking out two.

During the celebration, which would include Bud Selig giving David Montgomery, Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel the World Series Trophy, Cole Hamels would be announced as being the 2008 World Series MVP. It would later be announced that the city of Philadelphia plans to hold its World Series parade on Friday. And it would appear that the parade wouldl be shown on at least one of the local networks. I can’t wait. 🙂

Now that the Phillies have won the series, I would like to first apologize for the number of times that I’ve shown a lack faith in the guys actually being able to get into the World Series. Next, I would like to laugh in the face of the so-called experts who during the post-season have never given the Phillies the chance to win the Series, including FOX. Ha-HA, in your face, experts. Lastly, I would like to congratulate the Tampa Bay Rays for doing as well as they did this season to get into the World Series as well. I am sure that they’ll be back in the series at some point during the next few years.

Next stop, the victory parade. I love a parade, etc. etc. 🙂

2008 World Series: Game 5: The Phillies have….what the…a suspended game??? Selig, you are a bum!!!!

The fifth game of the 2008 World Series has now entered the history books as the first game in World Series history to be suspended, as Bud ‘I’m a moron’ Selig suspends the game before the start of the Phillies’ sixth, after B.J. Upton of the Rays scored the tying run on a Carlos Pena single, tying the game at 2-2. After Cole Hamels would pitch a quick 1-2-3 first, the Phillies’ bat would go after Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir. After Jimmy Rollins would fly out for the inning’s first out, Jayson Werth would get on base with a walk. Chase Utley would then be hit by the pitch, sending Werth over to second base. After Kazmir strikes out Ryan Howard swinging for the second out, Pat Burrell would take a walk to load the bases, moving up both Werth and Utley to third and second respectively. Shane Victorino would follow with a two-run single, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead, scoring both Werth and Utley, while sending Burrell over to second. Pedro Feliz would follow up with a single of his own, reloading the bases, as third base coach Steve Smith would stop Burrell at third base, so that he wouldn’t possibily being thrown out at home plate, while Victorino would stop at second. Carlos Ruiz would then end the inning by flying out. Neither team would be able to do anything in either the second or third innings as the mist that the two teams were playing in started to come down as rain. The Rays would cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1 as, with a runner on second and one out, Evan Longorio would hit a RBI single, scoring Carlos Pena, who has earlier doubled. The Phillies would then get out of the inning as Dioner Navarro would hit into a 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Longorio at second. In the Phils half of the fourth, they would threaten to score. After Feliz would stike out for the inning’s first out, Ruiz would reach base with a single. Hamels would then attempt to bunt him over to second. Kazmir would have other ideas as he would grab the bunt and fires to second, forcing out Ruiz easily for the second out, as Hamels would reach first safely. Rollins would follow with a walk, sending Hamels to second. Werth would then follow with a walk, loading the bases, as Hamels and Rollins would both move on to second and third. But the threat would end as Utley would ground out, 4-3 for the final out. During the time, the ground crew would try to work on the field as the rains proceed to come down even harder, but the umpires would refuse to call a rain delay at this point. In the fifth, Rocco Baldelli would reach first base as Rollins would be unable to catch a high pop up because of the rain and the winds, which would be called an error. But the Phillies would bite the bullet as Jason Bartlett would hit into a 4-3 double play, as Utley would make a spectacular play, tagging Baldelli on the foot as he ran pass him and would then throw to first to beat out Bartlett. In the Phillies half of the fifth, as the field was getting worse, the first two Phillies’ batters (Howard and Burrell) would both get on base via walks. This would be the end for Kazmir, as he would be taken out of the game by Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and be replaced on a getting bad mound by Grant Balfour. Balfour would then proceed to get the next three Phillies’ batter, all looking to be a bit too eager to swing, to either fly out or pop out. Victorino would start by flying out to left for out number one. Then Feliz would hit a high pop that would barely be caught by first baseman Pena for the second out, although the Infield Fly Rule should’ve been evoked by the umpires before then. Ruiz would then follow by also poping out to Pena for the inning’s final out. In the top of the sixth, with things only getting worst, and with Hamels forced to throw only mostly fastballs as he couldn’t get a frim enough grip on the slippery ball so that he can throw his curveball, he would start the inning off by striking out Akinori Iwamura for out number one. He would then get Carl Crawford to ground out to Howard for out number two. The next batter, B.J. Upton would then hit a ground ball to Jimmy Rollins, who would be unable to make the play, as Upton is given a single. Upton would then, after four straight throws to first, steal second base, as Ruiz is unable to throw him out. Pena would then hit a single to left, as Upton would score the tying run as he beat out the throw from Burrell. A pass ball by Ruiz would then allow Pena to reach second base. But the inning would finally end as Longorio would fly out to center. Then the umpires ordered the field to be covered. After a rain delay, Bud Selig would finally suspend the game at 2-2, calling for it to be continued on Tuesday night after 8 pm Eastern. But, after 1 pm today, it has been announced that the game, because of the continuing rain and the possibility of heavy winds, it will instead be continued after 8 pm Wednesday, with the Phillies up in the bottom of the sixth.

Folks, I’m pissed. This game should never have been played in the first place, since MLB knew that the weather was going to get worst as it progressed and that the rain would have not ended until sometimes Wednesday. Bud Selig, MLB and their FOX overlords (let’s be frank people, FOX was the real ones calling the shots here) decided to try to sneak this one in, believing in the optimistic reports from the three weather bureaus that MLB uses, because of their greed for money and whatever ratings they thought they could get from this series. So, tell me Bud, how did that work out for? I’m just saying. GGGRRRR!!! And then, when he finally does call for it to be suspended, he waited until after the Rays had scored a run in the sixth, in foul weather that only a duck would love and say that he did this for the health of the players. Hello!!! Bud Homer, would that include B.J. Upton, who stole second in that slop? What would MLB has done if he’d slide the wrong way, or slip and fall flat on his face trying to steal second. Continue to play the game or finally called for it to be put in a rain delay? I call BS on your worrying about the players’ health, you tool. If you did care, you should’ve called it in the fourth, or the fifth at the latest. JERK! I’m starting to have more respect for Bowie Kuhn at this point, and that’s saying a lot as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, the game is suppose to continue tomorrow with the Phillies’ batting. The Phillies has a chance to win this. They have at the least nine or at the most twelve outs to get just one run across and do it against a Rays’ bullpen that they have been able to score runs on since game two. The Rays, on the other hand, have nine outs within which to plate one run, and they have to do it against a Phillies’ bullpen that has been almost spotless during the post-season, and they start it off with the bottom of their lineup while the Phillies will start their inning with almost the top half of their lineup. Come on people, the Phillies still have a chance to do this. They just need to suck it up, get over the feeling that someone is trying to rob them of a championship, and just go about their business. If they’re going to be the World Champs, they should be able to overcome this just as they have overcome everything else that has been thrown at them this year. As the Tugger once said, “You Gotta Believe!!” and I believe that this team can get past this and WIN. GO PHILLIES!!!

Oh, and Charlie Manuel, I think you did the right thing by not having a postgame conference when there was really no reason for it. I salute you on doing that, ‘Uncle’ Charlie.

2008 World Series: Game 3: The Phillies win Game 3 on a Walk-Off Single by Carlos Ruiz with the Bases Loaded in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies take a two games to one lead in the series.

The Phillies have now taken a two games to one lead in the 2008 World Series on a bases loaded, no one out, walk-off single down the third base line by Carlos Ruiz, as the Phillies would defeat the Rays, 5-4.

After a long rain delay, the game would start around 10 pm Eastern time. The Phillies would take a quick 1-0 lead in the first, as, with runners on second and third, and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI ground out to first, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, moved up to second on Jayson Werth’s walk, and would both move up to third and second on Rays’ starter Matt Garza’s wild pitch, and send Werth on to third. The Rays would tie the game up in the second when, with a runner on third and one out, Gabe Gross would hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Carl Crawford, who has earlier doubled and would then steal third. The Phillies would retake the lead in their half of the second when, with two outs and no one on, Carlos Ruiz would hit a home run to left, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Garza and Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer, who would both refuse to give up another run for the next three innings. The Rays, in the top of the sixth, would come close to taking the lead, as, with a runner on second (B.J. Upton (single and stolen base)), and two men out, Evan Longoria would hit a deep fly ball to left that would be caught by Pat Burrell in front of the left field wall for the inning’s final out, as the winds would help keep the ball in the field of play. Then, in the Phillies’ half of the sixth, they would increase their lead as Utley would hit a lead-off home run, his second home run of the series, to give the Phils a 3-1 lead. Ryan Howard would then follow with a solo home run of his own, his first of the post-season, to make it 4-1 Phillies. But the Rays would come back in the seventh. The inning would start with a bunt single by Crawford, who was actually out, as shown in various instant replays, as Moyer, after catching the ball in the air, would throw it over to Howard, who would catch the ball barehanded before Crawford would actually touch the base, but an out of position first base umpire Tom Hallion would instead call him safe. Dioner Navarro would then follow with a double to left, sending Crawford over to third. Gross would follow with a sharp grounder to first that Howard would make a spectacular catch on and would then beat Gross to first base for the inning’s first out, as Crawford would score, cutting the Phillies’ lead down to 4-2, while Navarro would move on over to third. That would be the ballgame for Moyer as Charlie Manuel would come out of the dugout and take him out to the cheers of the crowd, and then replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then give up a RBI ground out to Jason Bartlett, 4-3, which would knock in Navarro, making it a 4-3 Phils’ lead. After pinch hitter Willy Aybar walks, Manuel would come back out and take out Durbin and replace him with Scott Eyre to face Akinori Iwamura. Eyre would proceed to strike out Iwamura swinging on a 3-2 fastball. The Rays would then tie the game in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and one man out, Upton, who has earlier singled and then stole second, would try to steal third. He would reach third with the stolen base, and then head for home with the tying run, as Ruiz’s throw would hit him and bounce towards the Phils’s third base dug out for an error. Ryan Madson, who was on the mound at the time, would then get Longoria to ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out. Manuel would then replace him with J.C. Romero, who would end the inning by getting Crawford to fly out to right on one pitch. The Phillies would attempt to retake the lead in their half of the eighth, as Werth would start the inning off with a walk, and would then steal second. After Utley would strike out swinging, Werth would be picked off second by Rays’ reliever J.P. Howell. Howell would then end the inning by striking out Howard looking. Madson would then proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, as he woukd first strike out Navarro, get Gross to ground out, 4-3, and then get Bartlett to also ground out, 6-3. In the Phillies’ ninth, Eric Bruntlett, a late inning replacement for Burrell, would bd hit by a pitch from Howell, taking first base. The Rays would then proceed to replace Howell with Grant Balfour. Balfour would then throw a wild pitch, which would quickly come back to Rays’ catcher Navarro. But, Navarro, as he tried to throw out Bruntlett at second, would instead throw the ball into right center field for an error, allowing Bruntlett to reach third base with nobody out. The Rays would then intentionally walk both Shane Victornio and pitch hitter Greg Dobbs to load the bases, while the Rays would bring in right fielder Gross to set up a five men infield, while leaving only two men in the outfield, with both of them playing shallow, to face Ruiz. On a 2-2 fastball, Ruiz would hit a slow roller down the third base line. The Rays’ third baseman Longoria, after grabbing the ball, would try to flip to Navarro to force out Bruntlett at home plate. But Longoria’s throw would fly past Novarro, allowing Bruntlett to score the winning run for the Phillies’ 5-4 walk-off win.

Jamie Moyer would get a no-decision as he would pitch six and one-third strong innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits and a walk. Scott Eyre would also pitch a third of an inning, striking out the only man he would face. Ryan Madson would get a blown save as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit, while striking out one. J.C. Romero would get the win as he would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs or hits, while striking out one. His series record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Matt Garza would also get a no-decision as he would pitch six innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Chad Bradford would pitch an inning plus one batter, giving up no runs and no hits and a walk. J.P. Howell would get the lost as he would also pitch an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on no hits and a hit batsman, while striking out two. His series record is now 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. Grant Balfour would face three batters, getting none of them out, as he would give up no runs on one hit and two intentional walks.

Jamie Moyer would pitch a strong game, returning to his second half form, as he constantly outpitched the Rays’ batters, before finally being taken out of the game in the seventh, thanks in part to first base umpire Tom Hallion’s blown call at first base that would help lead to two runs scoring later in the inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ bat, while they would still do very little scoring, would produce three solo shots by Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard off of the Rays’ starter Matt Garza, who would get very upset after Howard’s solo shot, while they would also score a run via a ground out in the first, before Ruiz’s slow single down the third base line would bring in the final run. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollin would finally get on base with two singles, scoring a run shortly after getting his first hit of the series, while Howard would finally do some post-season damage with the long ball.

The 2008 World Series will continued later tonight with the fourth game of the series from Philadelphia. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 8:29 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a no-decision against the Dodgers in the NLCS on October 13, as he would go just five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four, in the Phillies’ 7-5 win. In the post-season, his record is 1-0 with an ERA of 3.27, as he would pitch eleven innings, giving up four earned runs on twelve hits and four walks, while striking out eleven. His regular season record is 9-12 (4-0) with a 4.69 (4.20) ERA in thirty-three starts, where he would give up 110 runs, 103 of which were earned, on 211 hits and 66 walks, while striking out 111 batters in 197 and two-thirds innings. He will be trying for his second post-season win and to put the Phillies in position for clinching the crown at home. The Rays’ starter will be Andy Sonnanstine (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a win against the Red Sox in the ALCS on October 14, as he would pitch seven and one-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Rays’ 13-4 win. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA, as he would pitch thirteen innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six. His regular season record is 13-9 with a 4.28 ERA in thirty-two starts, where he would give up 105 runs, 94 of which would be earned, on 212 hits and 37 walks, while striking out 124 in 193 and one-third innings. He will be trying for his third post-season win while trying to even the series up at two games apiece.

The keys in this game will be for the Phillies to find some way to get to Sonnanstine with their bats, especially since he seems to give up very few walks. At the same time, Joe Blanton will need to use whatever knowledge he will have from pitching against the Rays’ batters in the past to his best advantage. The Phillies have a chance to take a commanding three games to one lead and giving the ball back to Cole Hamels to possibily clinch the crown on Monday with a win in game four.

2008 World Series: Game 1: The Phillies takes a 1-0 lead behind the strong pitching of Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from the bullpen as they defeated the Rays, 3-2.

Seven strong innings from Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Rays, 3-2, to take the first game of the World Series. The Phils would jump into the lead in the top of the first, when, with a runner on first and one man out, Chase Utley would hit a two-run home run into the right field seats, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phillies would threaten to increase their lead in the second, when, with the bases loaded via a single (Shane Victorino) and two walks (Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz) and with one man out, Victorino would try to score on a shallow fly ball to left center field by Jimmy Rollins that was caught by Rays’ centerfielder B.J. Upton for the inning’s second out. Victornio, who would later admit that he ran home on a miscommunication with third base coach Steve Smith, who was telling him not to go home, would be tagged out at home plate by Rays’ catcher Dioner Navarro for the inning’s final out. In the top of the third, the Phillies would threaten to score again after Werth would reach third base via a lead-off double and a Utley ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out. But Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir would get out of the inning by getting first Ryan Howard and then Pat Burrell to strike out swinging. The Rays would then mount a threat of their own in their half of the third as they would load up the bases with only one out via two singles (Ben Zobrist and Akinori Iwamura) and a walk (Jason Bartlett). But Cole Hamels would end the threat by getting Upton to ground into a 5-4-3 double play on a sharp grounder hit to Feliz. The Phillies would finally add another run in the fourth as, with runners on second and third and one man out, Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move to second on Feliz’s single, and who would both move up a base on Chris Coste’s ground out to first, would cross the plate on Ruiz’s ground out, 6-3, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The Rays would finally get on the scoreboard as, with two outs, Carl Crawford would hit a solo home run on a Hamels’ curveball, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 3-1. The Rays would then cut the Phils’ lead down further in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two men out, Iwamura would hit a RBI double, scoring Bartlett, who has earlier walked and then stole second, to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by getting Upton to foul out to Howard, who would make a spectular catch just inside the stands behind the first base foul line. The Rays would try to threaten again in the sixth as Howard would boot Carlos Pena’s ground ball for a fielding error. But, when Pena tried to steal second, he would be picked off by Hamels, who would throw over to Howard, who would then throw to Rollins, would would just barely tag out Pena for the inning’s first out, although the Rays’ bench would claim that Hamels had actually balked, a claim that first base umpire Kerwin Danley would ignore. Hamels would then proceed to strike out Evan Longoria and then get Crawford to ground out, 4-3, to end the inning. The Phillies would make another threat to score an extra run in the seventh, as, with runners on third (Utley (single, stolen base and wild pitch (J.P. Howell)) and first (Burrell (walk), who was then replaced by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett) and two outs, Rays’ reliever Grant Balfour, the second Rays’ reliever for the inning, would end the inning by striking out Victornio. Hamels’ seventh would be an easy eleven-pitch 1-2-3 inning. After the Phillies would go down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Ryan Madson would come out in relief of Hamels and proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 inning of his own. In the Phillies’ ninth, the Phils would make one final attempt to get an insurance run as they would get runners on second (Werth (ground-rule double) and first (Utley (intentional walk)) and one out. But, the Rays would get out of the inning as first Howard would strike out looking and then Bruntlett would pop out to the second baseman. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to close it. Lidge would proceed to strike out Pena and Longoria on seven pitches before ending the game by getting Crawford to foul out to Feliz for the final out, recording the save.

Cole Hamels would get the win as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 4-0 record in the post-season. Ryan Madson would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Brad Lidge would also pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two, as he would record his fifth save in the post-season and his forty-sixth save in forty-six tries. Scott Kazmir would receive the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.50. J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour, Trever Miller and Dan Wheeler would combine for three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Howell and Balfour one hit apiece) and two walks (Howell and Balfour would each give up a walk), while striking out five (Howell and Balfour two each and Miller one).

The Phillies would win last night’s game thanks to the bullpen shutting down the Rays’ offense in the last two innings, while Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine to get the last eleven Ray batters out, after Hamels had picked off Carlos Pena trying to steal second in the sixth inning. Speaking of the pick off, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and the Rays’ bench all thought that Hamels had balked before he threw to first base after Pena had started to run towards second base. The first base umpire, Kerwin Danley, would ignore their argument, but before the start of the Phillies’ seventh, home plate umpire Tim Welke told Maddon that he would look into the matter. Quite frankly, I don’t know what the point of all this is. If it was a balk, Danley should’ve called it right then and there. I just hope this wasn’t an attempt by Maddon to influence things later in the series as it could backfire on his team since the umpires could decide to look closely at the pitchers of both teams when their pitchers throw towards first when there is someone on base who is a basestealing threat. I guess time will tell. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense would once again in the post-season be unable to hit an early knockout blow against their opponent as they would leave eleven men on base, thanks mainly to Ryan Howard being unable to stop chasing junk out of the strike zone. Hey big guy, lay off the junk pitches will you? As long as you keep swinging at them, they’re going to keep throwing them to you. Please follow Charlie Manuel’s advice, just relax at the plate and let the ball come to you. Even if it means hitting into an out, it’ll at least be a lot better than being made to look like a fool with your constant swing and misses at off-speed junk.

The 2008 World Series continues tonight with the series’ second game, being played tonight at Tropicana Field. The game will begin at 8:29 pm Easten time. The Phillies will send to the mound Brett Myers (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his victory over the Dodgers on October 10, where he went five innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 8-5 win, thanks in part to his going 3 for 3 at the plate, knocking in three runs and scoring two. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA, as he pitched twelve innings, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and seven walks, while striking out ten. During the regular season, his record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA, as he pitched in thirty games, giving up 103 runs, 96 of which were earned, on 197 hits and 65 walks, while striking out 163 batters in 190 innings of work. But, he was a better pitcher in the second half, after his return from a minor league reassignment, as he would go 7-4 with two no-decisions. Myers will be pitching his first start on the road during the post-season, and hoping to stake the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the series, while hoping to avoid a repeat of his last road start back on September 19 against the Marlins where he got bombed for ten earned runs. The Rays will be countering with James Shields (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his second straight bad start in the ALCS against the Red Sox on October 18, as he would last just five and two-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Rays’ 4-2 lost. In the post-season, his record is 1-2 in three starts, as he would pitch ninteen and a third innings, giving up nine runs, eight of which were earned, on twenty-one hits and six walks, while striking out thirteen. His regular season record was 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA, as he would pitch in 33 games, going 215 innings, giving up 94 runs, 85 of which were earned, on 208 hits and 40 walks, while striking out 160. Shields will be going out to even the series at a game a piece, while trying to avoid getting hurt for the third straight game in the post-season. The Phillies will once again be trying to be patient with another Rays’ starter who have had even worst recent luck in the post-season than has last night’s starter Kazmir before striking the major blow, while hoping that Myers will be able to do well on the road for at least this game, before heading back home to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and its very loud, screaming fans.