My money is on the tie game. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to lose home field advantage in the World Series in the bottom of the 15th in a game that otherwise doesn’t count.
This whole thing was just unusual. Still is. I would like to say I think the gravitas of the World Series can be restored with a simple change to the rules that ensures the league whose team wins game five of the World Series gets home field advantage for the All-Star game the next year. It’s simple, really, and at least some good can come out of this.
Game five of the World Series was an adventure, and it’s not over yet.
The Phils and Rays played the game through a cold, steady rain. The cold was to be expected — no doubt an environmental byproduct of hell freezing over as the Phils inched ever closer to winning the World Series. The rain was a problem, though, turning the field into a puddle-strewn, unplayable mess. They played for a while after it was unplayable.
A two-run single by Victorino put the Phillies up 2-0 in the bottom of the first. The Rays cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the fourth when Carlos Pena doubled high off the wall and came in to score on a single by Evan Longoria. The field was a mess by the end of the fifth, with players, Phillies mostly, failing to catch popups, umpires not calling the infield fly-rule cause nothing was routine and pitchers struggling with the slush where the mound ought to be. I think I saw Feliz calling for a rescue-at-sea at one point. In the top of the sixth, BJ Upton reached on an infield single, stole second and came in to score on a Pena single to the opposite field to tie the game at 2-2. And then the game was suspended.
The big issue, of course, is what would have happened if the game had been suspended after five innings (or if the Rays hadn’t scored in the top of the sixth) with the Phillies leading by a run. Pretty clearly you can’t declare the Phillies the winner and say that the season is over. At the same time, though, if there was 100% agreement and clarity that if the game was suspended after five innings it would have still been finished, regardless of whether it was on the same day or not, I don’t think there’s any reason to allow them to play the top of the sixth inning in the conditions that they did.
The whole thing felt a bit like chaos. I was a little worried that Selig might declare that in accordance with rule 293.17.U everyone needed to head over to the Wachovia Center so the players could strap on their skates for the shootout or something.
That said, though, I don’t think the Phillies got screwed or are the victims of a conspiracy. If it’s easier to hit than pitch in conditions like that, they put men on first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth and came away with nothing. Prior to the start of the sixth inning I can guarantee you that there were a huge number of Phillies fans hoping that the game would not be called because 1) the Phillies were 12 outs away from winning the World Series and 2) Cole Hamels was on the mound and whenever the game was suspended there was a good chance it meant that his season was over.
Sooner or later they are going to play again. When they do, the Phillies will play with an advantage. To win the game, they need to get nine outs and score at least one run more than the Rays. The Rays need to get 12 outs and score at least one run more than the Phillies.
The game is going to come down to the bullpens, and the suspension of the game gives Romero and Madson a day of rest after they had both pitched two days in a row. The Rays get an extra day of rest for Edwin Jackson and Dan Wheeler, each of who threw at least 22 pitches in game four. Whether they play tonight or Wednesday could be critical in terms of whether Hamels would be available to pitch game seven if it came to that — if they played Wednesday instead of tonight he almost surely would be.
If you want to worry about something I think the direction to go is clear, however: Pena and Longoria came into the game 0-for-29 and went 3-for-6 with both of the Tampa Bay RBI. The Phillies were doing a great job of keeping those guys down — hopefully they will whenever game five resumes as well.
The Phillies played 5 1/2 innings of a game last night before the game was suspended in the bottom of the sixth due to weather with the score tied at 2-2. The Phillies lead the Rays three games to one in the best-of-seven World Series.
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and is officially still in the game, although there is near zero chance he will pitch again if they resume tonight or tomorrow night. He allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.
He faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (3) BJ Upton (CF/R) (4) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (5) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) (6) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Rocco Baldelli (RF/R) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). Crawford moves up to second in the order from fifth. Upton drops to third and Pena to fourth. Baldelli starts in right after Zobrist started game one against Hamels.
The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Ben Zobrist (S), Willy Aybar (S), Fernando Perez (S), Eric Hinske (L), Gabe Gross (L).
Iwamura led off the first and flew to left on a 1-2 pitch for the first out. Crawford lined the first pitch of his at-bat to short. It popped out of Rollins’ glove, but Rollins picked it up and threw to first to nip Crawford. Upton grounded an 0-1 pitch to short to set the Rays down.
Seven pitches in the inning for Hamels.
He started the second up 2-0. Pena led off and bunted the first pitch, but too hard. Howard took it at first and beat Pena too the bag for the first out. Longoria swung at the first pitch, too, and flew to center. Navarro was next and drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, but Baldelli popped to second to leave him stranded. Ten pitches in the inning had Hamels at 17 for the game.
Bartlett started the third with a long at-bat that ended with him grounding to short. Hamels struck the pitcher Scott Kazmir out on three pitches for the second out, but Iwamura lined a single back through the middle for the first hit for the Rays. Crawford again swung at the first pitch and grounded to second. Sixteen pitches in the inning, 33 for the game.
Upton chopped a 1-1 pitch to deep short to start the fourth. Rollins made a strong throw to get Upton for the first out. Pena was next and he hit a ball high off the wall in right field that Werth nearly caught at the wall. Pena had a double and came in to score when Longoria followed with a single past a diving Rollins and into left-center. Pena’s run cut the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Navarro got ahead 3-0, but grounded a 3-1 pitch to short and the Phils turned the double-play to end the frame. Hamels threw 13 pitches in the inning and had thrown 46 for the game.
Werth had a good chance to catch Pena’s ball at the wall. He jumped high enough to catch it, just missed it with his glove.
Pena and Longoria finally break through with a pair of hits, and it gets Tampa Bay a run.
Hamels started the fifth after being hit on the hand while trying to bunt in the bottom of the fourth. Baldelli led off and popped a 2-0 pitch high to short. Rollins parked under it, but the wind blew it and Rollins had to come in. The ball went off the heel of his glove for an error. Bartlett was next and hit a broken-bat ground ball to second. Utley made a great play. He charged and made a spinning tag on Baldelli as he went past for the first out, then threw to first to double-up Bartlett. Kazmir again struck out on three pitches to set the Rays down. Nine more pitches for Hamels, 55 for the game.
Iwamura struck out looking 2-2 for the first out in the sixth. Crawford chopped a 1-0 pitch to first for the second out. Upton hit a 2-2 pitch to the left of Rollins. Rollins moved to his left and got a glove on the ball, but Upton had an infield single. It brought up Pena with the field in miserable condition and cold rain continuing to fall. Upton stole second as Hamels delivered strike one to Pena. Pena hit a 2-2 pitch the opposite way, into left field for a single. Upton came around third and slid in safe just ahead of Burrell’s throw, which was on line but a little late. The game was tied at 2-2. Longoria was next and swung at a low 1-0 pitch that Ruiz failed to catch, allowing Pena to move to second. Longoria flew to center on the next pitch, leaving Pena stranded.
Even with the field in good condition, I think Upton’s ground ball to short may have been a hit. The weather was certainly a factor in the inning, but you have to wonder if Hamels’ hand may have been as well after he was hit on the hand trying to bunt in the fourth.
Hamels threw 21 pitches in the inning and had thrown 76 for the game.
And then the game was suspended.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz.
The Phillies started the game with six players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).
Rollins flew to left for the first out in the first. Werth was next and he walked on a 3-2 pitch that was outside. Kazmir’s first pitch to Utley hit Utley in the back. It put two men on for Howard, but Howard struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Burrell walked on a close 3-1 pitch, loading the bases for Victorino. Victorino lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single, scoring Werth and Utley to put the Phils up 2-0 with men on first and second. Feliz was next and he went down and hit a low 0-1 pitch into left for another single. Everyone moved up a base and the Phils had the bases loaded again. Ruiz swung at the first pitch and flew to left.
Burrell had no chance to score on Feliz’s hit, which was right at Crawford. He may, however, have had a chance to go to third on Victorino’s single, which forced Crawford to move towards the left field corner. If he had gone to third on Victorino’s single he would have scored on Feliz’s.
Kazmir struck Hamels out on three pitches to start the second. Rollins flew to right on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Werth followed with a single into left, but Utley popped to third to end the inning.
Howard struck out again, this time on three pitches, for the first out in the third. Burrell flew softly to right on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. Victorino struck out on three pitches for the third out.
Quick nine pitch inning for Kazmir, who had thrown 57 through three innings.
Feliz struck out swinging 0-2 to start the fourth. Ruiz was next and singled into left. Hamels came to the plate and showed bunt. Kazmir’s first pitch to him was inside and hit him on a finger of his left (pitching) hand as he held the top part of the bat. Hamels did bunt the next pitch, but too hard back to the mound. Kazmir took it and threw to second to force Ruiz. Kazmir walked Rollins on a 3-2 pitch to put men on second. Werth followed with another long at-bat, walking on the tenth pitch on a 3-2 offering that was low and outside. It loaded the bases for Utley. Utley got ahead 3-1 and took strike two on the inside corner before he grounded to second to leave the runners stranded.
Ninety pitches for Kazmir through four innings.
Howard led off the fifth and walked on four pitches. Burrell was next and he walked as well, getting two calls on pitches that were very close, including the 3-2 pitch. Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino. Victorino bunted the first pitch foul, then swung away and popped to left for the first out. Feliz popped an 0-2 pitch to Pena for the second out. Ruiz popped up to Pena as well and both runners were left stranded.
No infield fly rule called on the pop-up by Feliz after Rollins was unable to field a pop-up on the infield in the top of the inning.
Nothing for the Phils after putting their first two runners on base.
Balfour has thrown nine pitches in the game.
Update: Game five has been scheduled to resume at 8:37 PM Wednesday night. That’s good news for the Phillies. Hopefully Cole Hamels doesn’t throw another pitch this season, but if they need him for a game seven you would assume he will be available (as long as they don’t cancel the travel day after a short finish Wednesday night).
Update again: They will try to play game five tonight (Wednesday). No off day tomorrow if the Phillies lose. Game six on Thursday, game seven on Friday and no Hamels on regular rest in game seven. Go Phils.
Ad: TicketCity has Phillies World Series tickets.