Sunday, October 26, 2008

Phillies Make The Rays Uncomfortable, Take 2-1 Lead in World Series

It looks like no one in America is really watching this World Series; however, if you're missing it – you're missing some interesting baseball. The Phillies are now up 2-1 in the 2008 World Series as they beat the Rays, 5-4, thanks to a weak infield single – a dribbler along third bases – with the bases loaded by Carlos Ruiz that plated Eric Bruntlett.

The frame started as J.P. Howell hit Bruntlett, and then he was relieved of by Grant Balfour. Only a minute later, Balfour would throw a wild pitch and Bruntlett advanced to second. After two intentional walks to both Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs, the game would end a few minutes later.

With the score tied at four, Evan Longoria tried in vain to scoop the ball and throw it home; but the ball sailed over Dioner Navarro's head and Bruntlett tapped home plate.

The matchup on Saturday featured the sometimes overly emotional 24-year old Matt Garza versus Jamie Moyer, who should at 45 years old be considered a living legend. The matchup did not look good on paper – in fact, I thought the Rays would take advantage of Moyer – however, the elder fellow showed why he was 16-7 and still effective in the big leagues.

If you counter Moyer with Matt Garza, who looked fidgety and never comfortable on the mound on Saturday – it's even more remarkable what he did. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on three hits; meanwhile, Garza went six innings and gave up four runs – three of them solo home runs to Carlos Ruiz (second inning), Chase Utley (sixth), Ryan Howard (sixth) – but, J.P. Howell took the loss as he and the Rays just fell apart in the ninth inning.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Chase Utley plated Jimmy Rollins with a groundout; thereafter, in the next frame, Carl Crawford -- who'd gotten on base via a double, and then stole third – scored off a Gabe Gross sacrifice fly to tie things at one.

The Phillies took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning, but the train came off the tracks thanks to bizzare a play – a missed call – that open things ups for Tampa. Carl Crawford reached a on a bunt single; however, it looked like he was out as Jamie Moyer mad an acrobatic throw from the dirt and it seemed the Ryan Howard caught the ball – with his bare hand! – before Crawford hit the bag, but umpire Tom Hallion called him safe.

The next batter, Dioner Navarro doubled; thereafter, Gross would plate Crawford with a groundout and then Navarro would be plated by Jason Bartlett.

Tampa tied the game at four in the eighth inning thanks to some aggressive base running by B.J. Upton. The Tampa center fielder reached on a infield single, and then promptly stole second and third. Upon stealing third, the ball thrown by the Phillies' Ruiz hit Upton in the back, and careened away from third base allowing him to score.

Last night's game showed why Tampa may lose – as it is not for a lack of talent – but because of their inexperience. Like I said prior, Garza looked uncomfortable and at times the team looked real shaky in the field.

Philadelphia has not been good, but lucky and if Tampa keeps giving them opportunities like they had in game three, they will win the World Series.

One more thing, boy did the Philadelphia fans go out of their way to make the Rays uncomfortable – from the silly song that they had the Tampa team run out in the pre-game celebrations to the fans calling Evan Longoria “Eva” – last night America got to see why they are the most infamous, crude, but passionate fans anywhere.

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