2008 World Series

Phils counting on Philadelphia World Series crowd to perform coming off 5,483 days of rest

Although rain could give the crowd that much-needed 5,484th day, allowing them to go on their regular schedule. Could be critical.

Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71) faces righty Matt Garza (11-9, 3.70) in game three.

The 24-year-old Garza came to the Rays in a trade from the Twins in November of last year and has pitched very well for Tampa Bay this post-season, going 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.32 ratio. He was the MVP of the ALCS, holding the Red Sox to a run on two hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out nine in game seven.

Opponents hit .245 against Garza this season, and he fared well against both righties (.245) and lefties (.244). Lefties walked at a slightly higher rate and slugged .410 against him compared to just .347 for righties. He didn’t strike out a huge number of hitters, just 128 in 184 2/3 innings, but yielded just 19 home runs on the season. He struck lefties out at a higher rate than righties, striking out about 15% of the righties he faced and about 19% of the lefties.

He was much better at home this season than away from it. In 15 starts at home he went 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. In 15 starts away from home he was 4-6 with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.30 ratio.

Matt Stairs is the only Phillie to have faced Garza. He’s 1-for-10 with two walks against him.

Moyer comes off of miserable starts back-to-back in the post-season. After going just four innings and allowing a pair of runs against Milwaukee in the NLDS, Moyer got bombed by the Dodgers in game three of the NLCS. He was charged with six runs in 1 2/3 innings to puff his post-season ERA for the year to 13.50. The Phillies have lost three games in the post-season and Moyer has started two of them.

Moyer was far better away from Citizens Bank Park this year than he was at it. 4.61 ERA with a 1.47 ratio at home and 2.92 ERA and a 1.20 ratio away.

Some of the Rays have seen him a lot with good results. Pena 10-for-20 (500/545/950) with three doubles and two home runs. Crawford 9-for-19 (474/474/632) with a double and a triple. Upton 3-for-5 with three singles. Baldelli 1-for-10. In case you forget that Moyer’s old, Wade Boggs was 21-for-55 (382/414/527) with two doubles and two home runs against him. There’s a chance that Boggs won’t even be a factor in game three.

It’s not really what you’d call a dream matchup on paper for the Phils. Moyer had a fantastic year in 2008, though, and despite the miserable results in the post-season has come up huge for the Phillies in several big games over the last two years. In game three of the playoffs last year he was fantastic, holding the red-hot Rockies to a run on five hits over six innings. Twice in the last two seasons he’s come up with a huge start against the Nationals at the end of the regular season to pitch the Phillies into the playoffs — in those two starts he allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings.

Citizens Bank Park is going to be a tough place for the young Rays to hit (or pitch, think, throw or hear) in game three. You hear people say over and over that the key to hitting against Moyer is to be patient. For better or worse, the Rays have more than their share of hitters who love to be aggressive early in the count. Here’s a look at some of the key Tampa Bay hitters, how many plate appearances they’ve had this season that ended in one pitch, how many total plate appearances they had and the percentage of those plate appearances that ended in one pitch (some key Phillies are included below the Rays):

Player 1-pitch PA Total PA % 1-pitch
Iwamura 66 707 9.3
Upton 77 639 12.0
Pena 84 607 13.8
Longoria 44 508 8.7
Crawford 88 482 18.3
Navarro 43 470 9.1
Bartlett 74 494 15.0
Rollins 51 625 8.2
Werth 17 482 3.5
Utley 51 707 7.2
Howard 81 700 11.6
Burrell 70 645 10.9
Victorino 73 627 11.6
Feliz 88 463 19.0
Ruiz 33 373 8.8

Feliz is the king of the group at putting the ball into play on the first pitch, but Bartlett, Crawford, Pena and Upton all went after the first pitch aggressively this season.

And if it’s true that you have to be patient to get to Moyer, that’s a problem for Tampa Bay.

Sadly, though, there’s this: When opponents’ hitters had their plate appearance end on one pitch this year, they hit .293 and slugged .480 against Moyer. When they didn’t, they hit .257 and slugged .393. That trend has been even more dramatic if you look at his numbers over his entire career (or at least the part of his career for which Baseball Reference has splits on first pitch plate appearances) — on plate appearances that ended after one pitch, opponents have hit .331 and slugged .523 against Moyer.

In 2008, after Moyer got ahead 0-1 opposing hitters hit .214 with a .321 slugging percentage.

What I think Moyer’s career numbers suggest is that what you can’t do against the wily veteran is not swing at the first pitch but take strike one. So hopefully nobody tells the Rays hitters that what they need to do is go up there and be impatient.

No matter what they do, though, Jamie Moyer didn’t win 246 games because he doesn’t know how to pitch. Whether the Rays go after him early in the count or not, there’s a Moyer that carves up hitters regardless of their approach. Despite his recent absence, Phillies fans have seen a lot of him in big situations over the past two seasons. Just because he’s shown up more often than not when the Phillies have needed him so far, I think there’s a good chance he’s in the building whenever game three gets played.

Matt Garza ended the 2008 regular season with 19 career wins. If he wins 15 games a season forevermore, he would pass Jamie Moyer in career wins in 2024 (assuming Moyer does not get any more wins).

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Hitters make a strong case for putting someone else in charge of making sure everyone gets on the plane back to Philly

They’re having a problem with bringing people home, you see.

The Phillies season began this year with an unresolved argument about whether strikeouts matter. There’s a long way to go in the World Series, but if the Phils keep hitting like they did in game two it’s going to end with a compelling argument that they do. Last night they failed to score in the second, third and fourth innings and struck out with one out and a man on third in each frame. They lost by two runs.

Brett Myers struggled early for the Phils, allowing three runs in the first two innings, but was strong after that. He pitched well enough to win if the Phillies could only come up with the big hit they needed to break through against Rays starter James Shields. They couldn’t.

They couldn’t despite a long march of base runners. Four different Phillies left at least four men stranded in the game (Rollins, Utley, Dobbs and Feliz) after four Phillies left at least four men stranded in game one (Rollins, Howard, Victorino and Coste).

The Phillies lost to the Tampa Bay Rays last night, falling 4-2. The teams have split the first two games of the World Series and head for Philadelphia for game three on Saturday. The Phillies are 8-3 in the playoffs after finishing the regular season 13-3.

Myers got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. Only three of the runs were earned. All seven hits were singles. He struck out two.

Myers faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) BJ Upton (CF/R) (3) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (4) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (6) Cliff Floyd (DH/L) (7) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (8) Rocco Baldelli (RF/R) (9) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). The righty Baldelli starts in right with the slumping Gross on the bench.

The Rays started the game with five players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Fernando Perez (S), Willy Aybar (S), Ben Zobrist (S) and Gabe Gross (L).

Myers threw strike one to Iwamura before delivering four straight balls. Upton bunted for a hit 0-1 but the ball went foul. He ripped the next pitch into right for a single. Iwamura would have gone to third anyway, but Werth charged and the ball went off his glove for an error that allowed Upton to go to second. Pena grounded a 3-1 pitch to second, where Rollins was playing with the shift on. Rollins threw out Pena for the first out as Iwamura scored to make it 1-0. Upton took third on the ground ball. Longoria followed with a ground ball to short for the second out. Upton came in to make it 2-0. Crawford swung at the first pitch and grounded to first to end the inning. Seventeen pitches for Myers.

The Werth error in right cost the Phils a run.

Floyd led off the second with a ground ball back up the middle that Rollins took behind second and threw to first for the first out. Nice play by Rollins. Navarro was next and hit a ball past a diving Utley for a single. Baldelli checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch, but looked clearly to have gone around. Kerwin Danley, the home plate umpire, raised his arm in what looked like a strike three gesture, but may have been interpreted by the first base umpire as a request for help. The first base ump ruled no swing, ball four, and Baldelli was given first base. Very odd play, but Baldelli took first with a walk that put men on first and second with one out. Bartlett swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and dribbled a ball down the third base line. Feliz tried to barehand but didn’t field the ball cleanly and Bartlett had an infield single to load the bases. Iwamura popped a 1-2 pitch into shallow center, where Rollins took it after a short run. The runners had to hold. Upton was swinging first pitch and lined a single into right. Navarro scored to make it 3-0 and Baldelli tried to score from second. Werth’s throw was on target, though, and Ruiz did a nice job to block the plate and hold the ball as Baldelli ran him over to end the inning. Fifteen more pitches for Myers had him at 32.

He had a quick third, getting Pena to pop to short, Longoria to pop to second and Crawford flying softly to left on the first pitch of his at-bat. Just six pitches in the inning for Myers. Thirty-eight for the game.

Floyd started the fourth with a single to left. Navarro was next and he hit an 0-1 pitch into center for another single, moving Floyd to second. Baldelli was next and hit a ground ball to third. Feliz went to second for the first out, but the Phils couldn’t turn two as Baldelli just beat Utley’s relay. It brought up Bartlett with one out and men on first and third. He bunted the first pitch of his at-bat foul before getting the bunt down the first base line on the second pitch. Myers threw him out for the second out, but Floyd stormed home to put the Rays up 4-0 on the safety squeeze. Iwamura grounded to second to end the inning. Twelve pitches in the inning put Myers at 50.

Upton flew to left to start the fifth. Pena followed with a walk. After Myers delivered ball one to Longoria to even the count at 1-1, Ruiz made a snap throw to first that was bad, into the body of Pena. Howard didn’t catch it, the ball went into right for an error on Ruiz that moved Pena to second. Myers struck Longoria out swinging for the second out. Crawford grounded to second to leave Pena stranded. 13. 63.

Floyd grounded to second to start the sixth. Navarro fouled out to Feliz on a popup near the Phillies dugout for the second out. Myers struck Baldelli out swinging 1-2 to end the inning. Just eight pitches for Myers in the frame had him at 71 for the game.

Bartlett singled to center to start the seventh. Myers got Iwamura to fly to left for the first out. Bartlett was running with the 3-2 pitch as Upton hit a ground ball to short. Rollins flipped to second where Bartlett was out by a hair. Utley’s relay to first beat Upton by a ton, who wasn’t real close to first base as Howard caught the ball to end the inning. There are a lot of people looking pretty closely at how hard Upton has been running out of the box in the World Series and a lot of them are not real impressed. Fourteen pitches in the inning for Myers, nine of them to Upton, had him at 85 for the game.

Romero looked great in the eighth. He struck Pena out on four pitches for the first out. Longoria popped a 1-2 pitch to Utley for the second out. Crawford swung at the first pitch and flew to right.

Crawford is one of several Rays, including Pena, that have been swinging at the first pitch so far in the series. It will be interesting to see if Tampa Bay is able to change their approach for Moyer in game three.

One perfect inning for the pen in which Romero struck out one and threw nine pitches. So far in the series, Phillies relievers have gone three innings without allowing a run.

The Tampa Bay pen went 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk. Both runs were charged to Price and one of them was unearned due to a tough error on Longoria. Price threw 42 pitches. Tampa Bay relievers have been charged with two runs in 6 1/3 innings in the first two games.

The Phillies lineup against righty James Shields went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Feliz (9) Ruiz. Dobbs at DH against the righty with Feliz at third.

The Phils started the game with five players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins popped to second on a 3-2 pitch for the first out of the game. Werth was next and he ripped a 3-2 pitch to third. The ball went off of Longoria’s body, but he threw to first in the dirt and Pena scoped it to get the out. Utley flew to center for the third out.

Howard led off the second and hit a ball over Upton’s head in center for a double. Burrell walked in a seven-pitch at-bat to put men on first and second. Victorino was swinging at the first pitch and fouled out to Longoria. Shields delivered an 0-2 pitch to Dobbs in the dirt that Navarro couldn’t handle. The wild pitch put men on second and third with one down, but Dobbs struck out swinging on the next pitch for the second out. Feliz grounded to third to leave both men stranded.

Awful. Victorino can’t move the runners up with the first out, then the Phils get a huge break with the wild pitch but Dobbs strikes out with one out and a man on third.

Shields had thrown 39 pitches through two innings.

Ruiz led off the third and ripped a double down the third base line. Rollins moved him to third with a ground out to second. Werth struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Utley grounded to second for the third out.

Again Phils don’t bring the runner in from third with one out. Werth strikes out this time.

Howard started the fourth with a single into right. Burrell was next and hit a soft ground ball to third for the first out, moving Howard to second. Victorino was next and hit a ball to first that went off the glove of Pena and was stopped by a diving Iwamura. Howard went to third on the infield single. Again Dobbs struck out, this time swinging 1-2. Feliz grounded to third for the third out.

Dobbs doesn’t bring the runner in from third with one out.

Shields had thrown 66 pitches through four innings.

The Phillies started the fifth down 4-0. Ruiz led off and got behind 1-2 but worked a walk. Rollins swung at the first pitch and chopped it to first. Pena threw to second to force Ruiz. Werth got behind 0-2 and looking sure to strike out again, but lined a 1-2 pitch into center for a single that moved Rollins to second. Utley looped a 1-1 pitch into right. Baldelli charged, caught the ball and threw behind Werth to double him off and end the frame.

At least they didn’t leave anyone stranded at third this inning. Doubled-off of first isn’t the way to go in front of Howard.

Howard grounded to second to start the sixth. Burrell struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Victorino was next and singled into right on a 1-1 pitch. Dobbs followed and got behind 0-2, but blooped a 1-2 pitch just in front of a diving Upton for a single that sent Victorino to third. Righty Dan Wheeler came in to pitch to Feliz and Feliz stayed in the game. Feliz grounded to third for the third out.

Ruiz led off the seventh and again got behind 1-2 and came back to walk. Ruiz was stealing as Rollins struck out swinging 3-2 for the first out. Ruiz slid into second just safe. Werth struck out looking 1-2 for the second out. Lefty David Price relieved Wheeler and walked Utley on four pitches. It put men on first and second with two down for Howard. Howard struck out looking 2-2 to leave both men stranded.

Price returned to start the eighth with a four-run lead. Burrell fouled out to Longoria for the first out. Victorino got ahead 3-0 before he grounded a 3-2 pitch to Longoria for the second out. Bruntlett hit for Dobbs and hit the first pitch from Price out to left to cut the lead to 4-1. Feliz grounded to short for the third out.

Price pitched the ninth, too. Ruiz got behind 0-2 but hit a 3-2 pitch down the third base line again for another double. Rollins was next and the 0-1 pitch to him was an inside fastball. Rollins got out of the way and told the home plate umpire Danley he had been hit by the pitch. Replays showed the ball had hit his uniform, but Danley said no. It was the second time in the game the wrong call from Danley hurt the Phils, cause Rollins swung at a terrible 2-1 pitch and then popped a 3-2 offering to Bartlett in short left field for the first out. Werth was next and hammered a ball to third that went off the glove of Longoria, high into the air and then into left field. Ruiz scored from first to cut the lead to 4-2 with Werth safe at first. Tough error for Longoria as the ball was scorched. It brought Utley to the plate as the tying run, but Price struck him out on three pitches and got Howard to ground to Iwamura in shallow right field to end the game.

Rollins was 0-for-5 with four men left on base in the game. He’s 0-for-10 in the series.

Werth was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. Made an error in right and was doubled-off of first on a fly ball. Struck out with a man on third and one out in the third. 3-for-9 with two doubles and a walk.

Utley 0-for-4 with a walk. 2-for-8 with a home run and two RBI in the series.

Howard 2-for-5 with a double. 2-for-9 in the series.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk. 0-for-6 with two walks in the series.

Victorino 2-for-4 in the game and 4-for-8 in the series.

Dobbs 1-for-3 with two big strikeouts. DHs Coste and Dobbs combined to go 1-for-7 with nine men left on base in the first two games of the series.

Feliz was 0-for-4 and left six men on base. Flew to left with men on second and third and two outs in the second (2). Grounded to third with two outs and men on first and third in the fourth (4). Grounded to third with two outs and men on first and third in the sixth (6). 2-for-7 with a walk in the series.

Ruiz was very good. 2-for-2 with two doubles and two walks. Made a nice play early to tag Baldelli out at the plate. 2-for-5 with three walks in the series.

No game today. Game three is Saturday night in Philadelphia.

I created a Start Log for the Phillies post-season games in 2007 and 2008. It reminds that the Phillies have scored four runs in three post-season starts for Moyer over the last two years and just 16 in five starts by Hamels.

The Phillies need Moyer to pitch well in game three. I think he will. Even if he doesn’t, I’d be surprised if the hitters don’t snap out of it in Philadelphia.

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Hamels hoping they send him to the Galaxy Series next after Earth people prove to be amusing but a bit weak and ineffectual

I guess there’s not much to do but wait to hear from the mother ship. The waiting is the hardest part.

It sure seems like if Cole Hamels pitched enough games in the post-season one of them would have to be bad. That’s probably the case, but it hasn’t happened yet. With another brilliant start last night, Hamels pitched the Phillies to an early lead in the World Series. He’s thrown to a 1.55 ERA while going 4-0 in four starts against some of baseball’s best teams this post-season.

The Phillies needed him to be just about perfect. Their offense failed time and time again build on the slim lead Chase Utley gave them with his first inning home run. Ryan Howard had a game at the plate that stuck out like a sore thumb, and that’s saying something given that Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-5 and left five men on base.

Hamels exited after seven strong innings with the Phils clinging to a one-run lead, but they handed that lead off to the steadiest of hands. If there’s anyone on the Phillies who have been as good as Hamels this post-season, it’s the late-inning combo of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. After two more perfect innings last night, the pair has now been charged with two earned runs in 18 1/3 innings (0.98 ERA) in the playoffs while striking out 19.

The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays last night, winning 3-2. They lead the World Series one game to none.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out five.

He faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) BJ Upton (CF/R) (3) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (4) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (6) Willy Aybar (DH/S) (7) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (8) Ben Zobrist (RF/S) (9) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). The Rays lineup pretty much stays the same one through five for righties and lefties, which means against left-handed starters they have three hitters in the first five that are weak against lefties plus Upton and Longoria. Bartlett is very good against lefties and hits ninth. Zobrist starts in right after appearing there in just two games in the regular season.

The Rays started the game with five players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Rocco Baldelli (R), Fernando Perez (S), Cliff Floyd (L), Gabe Gross (L).

Hamels started the first with a 2-0 lead. Iwamura led off and hit a 3-2 pitch to first. Howard fielded it deep and Iwamura beat him to the bag for an infield single. Hamels was a little slow to cover first and Howard ran to the bag himself. Howard probably should have tossed the ball, but they may not have gotten Iwamura anyway. Upton was next and checked his swing 1-1 and hit a ground ball to second. Utley took and the Phils turned two easily to clear the bases. Pena grounded to Rollins to end the inning.

Eleven pitches in the first for Hamels.

Longoria struck out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the second. Crawford flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Hamels struck out Aybar swinging 1-2 for the third. Fourteen pitches had Hamels at 25 for the game.

Navarro popped to first for the first out of the third. Zobrist was next and hit a 2-1 pitch past a diving Feliz for a single. Bartlett was next and he drew a five-pitch walk that put men on first and second. Iwamura singled into right on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Upton smashed a 1-2 pitch, but Feliz took it at third and started the double-play to end the inning. Nineteen pitches for Hamels, 44 for the game.

Very nice play by Feliz at a big time on a ball hit hard by Upton.

Second double-play in two at-bats for Upton.

Hamels started the fourth up 3-0. Pena swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to first. Longoria grounded an 0-2 pitch to third for the second out. Crawford was next and he jumped on Hamels first pitch to him, hitting it out to right to cut the lead to 3-1. Aybar flew to center for the third out. Nine pitches in the inning had Hamels at 53.

Navarro led off the fifth and struck out trying to check his swing on a ball in the dirt. Zobrist grounded to third on a 3-2 pitch for the second out. Hamels then walked Bartlett for the second time in the game and Bartlett stole second as the count went 3-1 on a high fastball to Iwamura. Iwamura delivered a double into left-center that rolled to the wall, scoring Bartlett to make it 3-2. Upton was next and he popped a 1-2 pitch foul that Howard caught reaching into the stands to end the inning. I’m guessing you probably won’t see Carlos Pena reaching into the second row to catch the ball in any of the games in Philadelphia. Nice play by Howard, though. Thirty pitches in the inning for Hamels put him at 83 for the game.

Two RBI in the game for the Rays come from two left-handed hitters, Crawford and Iwamura, hitting off of the lefty Hamels. The Phillies handled the big righties in the Rays lineup as Longoria and Upton combined to go 0-for-8, strike out four times and hit into two double-plays.

Pena was again swinging at the first pitch to start the sixth. He hit a ground ball to first that Howard booted. He recovered and threw to Hamels covering, but not in time. Pena was safe and Howard was charged with an error. With Longoria at the plate, Pena took off for second but left too early. Hamels threw to first and Howard delivered a strong throw to second. Pena would have been safe at second, but Rollins put down a fantastic tag, sweeping Pena’s leg off the base for a big first out. Huge play in the game. Hamels’ move to first was very close to a balk (it was a balk, but the Phils got the call). Howard made a great throw to second, a play he’s had an awful time with this year. Great tag by Rollins got the Phils an out. Longoria struck out looking at a 2-2 pitch on the inside corner for the second out. Crawford grounded softly to second for the third out. Just eight pitches for Hamels in the inning. Ninety-one for the game.

Aybar popped to short on a 1-2 pitch to start the seventh. Navarro waived at a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Zobrist grounded back to the mound to end the inning. With 11 pitches in the inning, Hamels was at 102 for the game.

Madson started the eighth with the Phils still up 3-2. Bartlett was first and popped a 2-1 pitch up to Howard in foul territory for the first out. Madson got ahead of Iwamura 1-2 and then delivered two straight changeups in just about the same place outside. Iwamura fouled off a pitch and then flew softly to right for the second out. Madson threw an 0-1 fastball past a swinging Upton before striking him out 2-2. Upton is right on top of the plate and is going to have to be moved if he proves unwilling to continue to strike out and hit into double-plays.

Madson fantastic again.

Lidge started the ninth up a run. Pena struck out trying to check his swing 0-2. The Phillies got the call on the appeal to third. Longoria struck out trying to check his swing 1-2 for the second out. Lidge got ahead of Crawford 1-2, but delivered two balls to run the count full. Crawford fouled off two pitches before he hit a high foul ball down the third base line. Feliz chased and took it by the Phillies bullpen, nearly falling near the warm-up home plate, to end the game.

Lidge and Madson combine to go two perfect innings for the Phils, striking out three. Madson threw 18 pitches, Lidge 15.

The Tampa Bay pen threw three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out five. Balfour threw 27 pitches and Howell 19. Wheeler and Miller were both under six.

Kazmir did well to stay in the game after being on the ropes time after time. The Phils did have a bunch of bloop hits against him, but threatened to chase him early several times and failed to do so. They still force the cream of the Rays’ pen to throw three innings in a game Tampa Bay was trailing.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Coste (9) Ruiz. Burrell stays in left with Coste getting the nod at DH over Bruntlett or Taguchi. Victorino hits sixth with Werth in the two-hole. The switch-hitter Victorino breaks up what would have been five righties in a row for the Phils if Werth was hitting sixth.

The Phillies started the game with five players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).

Rollins took the first pitch of the game for a strike on the outside corner before lining the next offering to right for the first out. Werth got ahead 3-0, then took two called strikes before Kazmir delivered ball four. Utley was next with the Rays playing a huge shift that had nobody at third. Utley tried to bunt the first pitch of his at-bat and popped it up foul. He swung at strike two before Kazmir delivered two straight balls. Utley hit the 2-2 pitch just out to right, putting the Phils up 2-0. Howard grounded to second for the second out and Burrell went down looking at an 0-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate.

Big home run for Utley in his first World Series at-bat — Kazmir had allowed just seven extra-base hits (and just one home run) to lefties during the regular season.

Victorino started the second and hit a 2-1 pitch back through the middle. Iwamura got a glove on it behind second base, but didn’t field it cleanly and wouldn’t have gotten Victorino if he had. Feliz walked on five pitches, putting men on first and second with nobody out for Coste. Victorino was nearly picked off second on a very close play before Kazmir delivered his first pitch to Coste. Coste flew softly to right and the runners held. A walk to Ruiz loaded the bases with one out. Rollins was next and he hit a fly ball into shallow center. Upton caught it and Victorino tagged and came home. Upton’s throw was good, it reached home plate on one hop a little up the third base line. Navarro tagged out a sliding Victorino to complete the double-play.

No problem with sending Victorino there, it took a strong throw from Upton and a nice tag from Navarro to get him. Coste being unable to move the runners up with nobody out hurt the inning. Kazmir had thrown 40 pitches through two innings.

Werth led off the third and dumped a ball over Pena’s head and down the right field line for a double. Utley moved Werth to third with a ground out to second. He was stranded there, though. Howard struck out trying to check his swing 1-2 for the second out. Burrell struck out swinging 1-2.

Howard can’t bring the man in from third with one out. After failing to score with men on first and second with nobody out in the second, no run for the Phils in the third after putting a man on third with one out.

Victorino started the fourth and blooped a single into center. Upton charged but failed to glove the ball, but he was backed up nicely by Zobrist. Feliz swung at an awful 1-2 pitch before he singled into center, sending Victorino to second. Coste tried to bunt but fouled the pitch off. Victorino was running as Coste hit a slow grounder to first. Both runners moved up and the Phils had men on second and third with one out for Ruiz. Ruiz grounded a 1-1 pitch to short. Victorino scored to put the Phils up 3-0 as Feliz held second with two down. Kazmir struck Rollins out on three pitches to end the frame.

Coste did move the runners up that time and it helped the Phillies score a run. Good no-strikeout by Ruiz.

Another long inning for Kazmir, who was up to 71 for the game.

Werth flew to center to start the fifth. Utley popped a 1-2 pitch to short for the second out. Howard was next and drew a walk in a nine-pitch at-bat. Burrell was next and he had a long at-bat of his own, dribbling a 3-2 pitch towards first base. Kazmir hopped off the mound to field it with Burrell storming down the inside part of the first base line. Kazmir tossed to first, but the ball went off the heel of Pena’s glove for an error on the first baseman that put men on first and second with two outs. Victorino swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to second to leave both men stranded.

Feliz started the sixth with another bloop hit, this one into right-center. Coste popped up a 2-2 pitch to second for the first out. Five men left on base for Coste through 5 1/3 innings. Ruiz flew softly to left on a 1-0 pitch for the second out. Rollins got ahead 2-1 and lined to center, giving him five men left stranded as well.

Lefty JP Howell started the seventh for Tampa Bay and struck Werth out on four pitches for the first out with the Phils up 3-2. Utley singled back through the middle and stole second. Howell’s 1-2 delivery to Howard was wild, allowing Utley to go to third. Howell struck Howard out swinging 3-2 for the second out. The lefty Howell stayed in to pitch to the righty Burrell with two outs and a man on third. Burrell drew a walk, looking at a 3-2 pitch that was just outside. Bruntlett ran for Burrell at first. Righty Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino and overpowered him, striking him out swinging 2-2.

More offensive misery from the Phils as Howard can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. Fortunately for him, strikeouts don’t matter.

Running for Burrell as the run that puts you up 5-2 in the seventh is awful. Howell is great against righties, but I still think it’s a mistake to let Howell pitch to Burrell. Especially if you’re bringing a righty for the next batter anyway.

Balfour returned for the eighth and set the Phils down in order. Feliz flew to right. Coste shattered his bat grounding back to the mound. Ruiz lined an 0-2 pitch to right, but Zobrist took it there to set the Phillies down.

Balfour was back at it to start the ninth and struck out Rollins on three pitches, with Rollins going down swinging at a very high fastball. Werth was next and looked sure to strike out as well, getting behind 1-2 but then lining a 3-2 pitch into right. The ball landed near the line and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. The righty Balfour stayed in to walk the lefty Utley intentionally with lefty Trever Miller warming in the pen. Miller came in to pitch to Howard with one down and men on first and second. Howard saw four pitches, trying to check his swing on first offering but failing and then looking at a ball followed by a pair of strikes. Dan Wheeler came in to pitch to Bruntlett. Wheeler got ahead 0-2 and delivered a ball in the dirt as Utley and Werth pulled off a double-steal. Bruntlett popped to second for the third out.

It’s almost indefensible not to pinch-hit Dobbs or Stairs for Bruntlett against Wheeler. Don’t know what you’re saving them for. Taguchi can play left in the ninth or Jenkins can play right with Werth moving to left. Bruntlett is a career 221/286/310 hitter against righties and you’re winning by one run with a runner in scoring position. The only argument for keeping him in the game is that he is vastly superior to the other options in left, which I don’t believe is the case.

Curious that it was Miller and not lefty wunderkind David Price to pitch to Howard.

Rollins was 0-for-5, struck out twice and left five men on base. The tag he put on Pena in the sixth after Pena got picked off was a big defensive play for the Phils.

Werth was 2-for-4 with two doubles to the opposite field and a walk.

Utley 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a walk. Stole two bases.

Howard was terrible. 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and four men left on base, failing multiple times to bring a runner in from third with less than two outs. Made an error in the field, but also made two nice defensive plays. He reached into the stands to get the Upton foul ball and made a nice throw to second after Hamels’ non-balk picked off Pena.

Burrell was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts. Looked worse than that against the lefty starter.

Victorino was 2-for-4 and left four men on base.

Feliz 2-for-3 with a walk. First World Series hits for Feliz, who went 0-for-5 in the ’02 series when his Giants played the Angels.

Coste 0-for-4 with five men left on base. Coste looked awful, but was given a tough task after getting just one at-bat this month coming into the game. Hopefully he can find his swing and give the Phils the right-handed bat off the bench they need.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Nice job to make contact and bring in Victorino with a ground ball in the fourth.

The Phillies drew nine walks in the game. Four in the six innings that Kazmir pitched and five in the three innings thrown by the pen.

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55) faces righty James Shields (14-8, 3.56) tonight in game two.

Shields doesn’t walk many hitters, surrendering just 40 walks in 215 innings on the season. Righties and lefties hit about the same against him, .253 for righties and .255 for lefties. He allowed 24 home runs on the year, 12 that were hit by righties and 12 that were hit by lefties. He both struck out and walked lefties at a slightly higher rate than righties in 2008.

His strikeout rate shrunk as the season progressed. He struck out about 7.2 batters per nine innings through June and about 6.1 batters per nine innings in his starts in July, August and September.

He has made three post-season starts for the Rays and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of them. In 19 1/3 innings he’s thrown to a 3.72 ERA with a 1.40 ratio. His most recent start was the worst of the three. In game six of the ALCS he allowed four runs, only three of them earned, on nine hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. The Red Sox hit a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs off of him.

Matt Stairs has faced Shields a lot without good results. Stairs is 3-for-20 with a home run and two walks against him. Nobody else on the Phillies has more than three at-bats against Shields.

Myers has made two starts in the post-season, pitching well against the Brewers but getting hit hard by the Dodgers. Overall he’s thrown to a 5.25 ERA with a 1.25 ratio. He’s walked seven in 12 innings.

Righties hit him hard than lefties this season. Lefties hit just 235/317/423 against Myers, righties 293/341/494. Despite the fact that righties hit him harder than lefties, Myers walked lefties at a higher rate than righties. Myers walked about 10% of the left-handed batters he faced and about 6% of the right-handed batters he faced.

Cliff Floyd has seen him a ton, going 12-for-33 (364/400/697) with two doubles and three home runs. Willy Aybar is 2-for-6 against him.

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They say you gotta stay hungry, hey baby, I’m just about starving tonight

(Bruce Springsteen).

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces lefty Scott Kazmir (12-8, 3.49) tonight in Tampa Bay in game one of the World Series.

Kazmir struggled at the end of the regular season. He took a 3.04 ERA and a 1.17 ratio into the All-Star break, but went 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.38 ratio in 13 starts in the second half. September was his worst month of the year, he threw to a 5.19 ERA and a 1.46 ratio in five starts. He missed about a month of the season with an elbow problem before making his first start of the year on May 4.

Opponents hit just .220 against Kazmir on the year, righties .227 and lefties .198. Righties walked at a much hitter rate, posting a .329 on-base percentage compared to .239 for lefties. He walked 63 of the 501 right-handed batters he faced this year (about 12.6%) and just seven of the 140 left-handed batters (5%). Righties slugged .461 against him, hitting 22 of the 23 home runs he allowed. Kazmir threw just 152 1/3 innings on the year, but only one American League pitcher allowed more home runs to right-handed batters than him (Glen Perkins allowed 23 for the Twins). The flip side of that is that lefties slugged just .275 against him, with just seven extra-bases hits (five doubles) all season.

Kazmir’s vulnerability to righties accentuates the Phillies flaw that has them going into the World Series without a big right-handed bat on the bench. That problem suddenly gets an upgrade to no right-handed DH. Pat Burrell was born to DH, but the options for right-handed corner outfielder are miserable as well and Manuel was curiously unwilling to DH Burrell during inter-league games in the regular season. Coste, Taguchi or Bruntlett are the extra bat the Phils will likely be choosing from in game one. Hope it’s Coste with Burrell in left, but it could be Taguchi or Bruntlett, which would be just about the worst bat you could imagine adding to your lineup in a DH game. If it is Taguchi or Bruntlett, though, I think they should be in left with Burrell as the DH. Seems like a no-brainer, but that may not be the way that Manuel goes. The options improve with the righty Shields on the mound in game two and the chance to put Stairs or Dobbs (or, less likely, Jenkins) in the lineup.

Kazmir has made three starts in the post-season, going 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.53 ratio while striking out 13 in 15 2/3 innings. His best outing of the three was his most recent. In game five of the ALCS he held the Red Sox to a pair of singles over six shutout innings and took a 7-0 lead into the seventh. He was much worse in his first two post-season starts, throwing to a 6.52 ERA and a 1.97 ratio and not going six innings in either outing.

The Phillies and the Rays did not play each other this season. He made one start against the Phils in 2006 and allowed two runs over five innings. Sal Fasano and Abraham Nunez homered off of him in that game. No current Phillie has more than four career at-bats against him.

Cole Hamels, MVP of the NLCS, has been brilliant for the Phillies in the post-season. In three post-season starts he’s 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and an 0.86 ratio. He has struck out 22 in 22 innings.

The long layoff and all the innings for Hamels this year are the things to worry about for the Phils. The 24-year-old Hamels was second in the NL in innings pitched this season with 227 1/3. He last started on October 15, a week ago today.

He doesn’t give up a lot of walks and doesn’t surrender walks in bunches. Including three starts in the post-season he has not walked more than three batters in a game all year. He did give up 28 home runs this season, which tied him for tenth in the NL. He gave up his share of homers to both lefties and righties. Lefties curiously slugged .471 against him, hitting 12 home runs in 228 plate appearances. Hamels was simply better overall this season against righties than against lefties — righties hit .215 against him compared to .262 for lefties. They walked and struck out at a similar rate with lefties hitting for more power.

No current Ray has ever faced him, which could be a huge advantage if Hamels and his wicked changeup are on against Tampa Bay’s young hitters.

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Howell do you do to the Rays relief corps

Tampa Bay has an excellent bullpen, third best in the AL using ERA as the measure. Even playing without a DH, only two NL teams, the Phillies and the Dodgers, threw to a lower ERA than the 3.55 posted by Rays relievers.

The Tampa Bay bullpen was not overused. They threw just 484 1/3 innings, which was ninth of the 14 AL teams. Lefty JP Howell was tied with Texas’s Josh Rupe for innings pitched as a reliever in the AL, throwing 89 1/3. Nobody else on the Rays was in the top 20.

Four righties and three lefties out of the Tampa Bay bullpen look likely to impact in the World Series. Here’s a look at what the four righties did during the regular season this year:

2008 Regular Season


IP ERA Ratio K vs L vs R
Dan Wheeler 66.1 3.12 0.99 53 215/282/387 163/230/340
Chad Bradford 59.1 2.12 1.25 17 313/380/418 255/289/295
Grant Balfour 58.1 1.54 0.89 82 120/196/169 159/260/274
Edwin Jackson 183.1 4.42 1.51 108 295/379/415 268/326/471

Wheeler and Balfour were just outstanding. Eighty-two strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings for Balfour is particularly impressive. Both were good against lefties as well. Bradford split his year between the Orioles and the Rays, throwing to a 1.42 ERA with Tampa Bay. He was not as effective as Balfour and Wheeler against righties and doesn’t strike anyone out.

Jackson started 31 of the 32 games that he appeared in this season. It appears there again will be no room for him in the rotation with Kazmir, Shields, Garza and Sonnanstine taking the starts for the Rays.

Here’s what those righties have done in the post-season:

  IP ERA Ratio K
Wheeler 6.0 6.00 1.50 6
Bradford 6.0 1.50 1.17 3
Balfour 5.2 7.94 2.12 5
Jackson 2.1 0.00 0.86 4
Total 20 4.50 1.50 18

Balfour and Wheeler both got hammered in game five of the ALCS. They combined to allowed seven runs in two innings. Excluding those two innings, the group has been charged with three earned runs in 18 innings this post-season (1.50 ERA). The Balfour/Wheeler duo got combined to get just two outs in games six and seven of the ALCS.

Here are the three left-handed relievers:

2008 Regular Season


IP ERA Ratio K vs L vs R
JP Howell 89.1 2.22 1.13 92 188/286/248 197/290/315
David Price 14.0 1.93 0.93 12 158/200/158 188/270/313
Trever Miller 43.1 4.15 1.36 44 209/305/308 286/383/400

The Rays relied heavily on JP Howell this season and he was fantastic. Howell faced 138 left-handed batters this season and allowed five extra-base hits against them. Price is an elite prospect that Tampa Bay took with the first pick overall in the 2007 draft. They seem pretty comfortable with him in the game, as evidenced by his presence on the mound in the ninth inning of a 3-1 contest in game seven of the ALCS. The 35-year-old Miller serves up some walks and gets hit hard by righties. Miller hasn’t seen much action this post-season — here’s what the lefties out of the pen have done for Tampa Bay:

  IP ERA Ratio K
Howell 9.2 1.86 1.03 12
Price 2.1 0.00 0.86 4
Miller 0.2 0.00 4.50 1
Total 12.2 1.42 1.18 17

They’ve been really good. Howell, especially, although they have called on him to throw a huge number of innings, 9 2/3, in nine appearances. I think it’s safe to say we will see Price’s role expand in the World Series.

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Hello, my name is subject to change

After beating the Red Sox 3-1 in game seven of the ALCS, it’s the Tampa Bay don’t-call-me-Devil Rays that will face the Phillies in the 2008 World Series.

I kinda miss the flying manta ray, although it did seem a little random.

Here’s a look at the offense that Tampa Bay has gotten by position this year in comparison to other teams in the AL and in MLB and at some of the players we should expect to see in the World Series:

C .729 5 12

Switch-hitter Dioner Navarro seems likely to see most of the time behind the plate for the Rays in the World Series. Navarro hit 295/349/407 for Tampa Bay in the regular season. He is 11-for-41 (268/318/341) in the post-season, with three doubles and a pair of triples.

He was a better hitter against righties than lefties in the regular season, hitting 312/365/412 against righties and 257/314/413 against lefties.

1B .855 5 10

Lefty Carlos Pena played just over 80% of the innings at first base for Tampa Bay in 2008. Willy Aybar played the position about 11% of the time.

Pena hit 247/377/494 in the regular season. He is 12-for-36 (333/442/611) with a double, two home runs and seven walks in the post-season.

He struggles badly against left-handed pitching. He hit 280/418/576 against righties this year and just 190/302/352 against lefties.

2B .741 7 16

Akinori Iwamura is a fixture at second base for Tampa Bay. He played about 92% of the innings there this season. The lefty hit 274/349/380 in 627 at-bats for the season. Among the 83 AL players with at least 450 plate appearances, his .380 slugging percentage was 73rd.

He is 13-for-47 (277/358/447) in the post-season with three doubles, a triple, a home run and six walks.

The lefty Iwamura is much better against righties than lefties. In 2008 he hit 280/356/400 against righties and 260/335/333 against lefties.

3B .863 2 5

Evan Longoria gives the Rays tremendous offense out of the third base position. Aybar has also seen some time at third this year, but the position belongs to Longoria.

Longoria is a right-handed hitter who hit 272/343/531 this season. The 22-year-old rookie pumped out 27 home runs in just 448 at-bats. He has kept his power stroke up through the post-season, going 11-for-42 (262/340/762) with three doubles and six home runs.

He hit righties better than lefties this season. 284/350/540 against righties and 242/321/508 against left-handed pitching.

SS .712 6 16

Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist have shared time at short this season, with Bartlett getting the vast majority of the playing time (75% of the innings for Bartlett, 20% for Zobrist). Bartlett will almost surely get just about all the time in the World Series.

Bartlett hit 286/329/361 in 454 at-bats this season. Among the 83 AL players with at least 450 plate appearances, his .361 slugging percentage is 77th.

In the post-season he is 9-for-32 (243/317/405).

Bartlett is a right-handed hitter who is awful (248/296/301) against right-handed pitching. He fared much better against lefties, hitting 379/411/508. The switch-hitter Zobrist had just 198 at-bats for the season and hit just .239 against righties, but while batting left against right-handed pitching had 15 extra-base hits (including nine home runs) in just 134 plate appearances. He slugged .538 against righties as a left-handed hitter.

LF .719 11 24

Carl Crawford will see just about all the time in left for Tampa Bay. Crawford had his worst offensive year since 2003, hitting 273/319/400 in 443 at-bats. Eric Hinske, who also saw time in the Rays outfield and in left, was not on the roster for the ALCS.

Crawford is 13-for-43 (302/348/395) with two doubles, a triple and six stolen bases in the post-season.

A left-handed batter, Crawford was much better this season against righties than lefties. He hit 285/330/424 against righties and just 248/293/348 against lefties. Among 62 AL players with at least 150 plate appearances against lefties, Crawford’s .641 OPS was 59th.

CF .748 7 16

Red hot BJ Upton will be in center field for the Rays. Upton hit just 273/383/401 with nine home runs in 531 regular season at-bats, but has gone 14-for-46 (304/365/826) with a double, a triple, a walk and seven home runs in the post-season.

Upton and Longoria are a combined 25-for-88 (.284) with 13 home runs since the end of the regular season. At that rate they would hit about 74 home runs over 500 at-bats.

Upton is a right-handed hitter who hit about the same against lefties and righties this year. 275/369/400 against righties and 271/418/406 against lefties. He got on base a lot more against lefties, but hit to about the same average and slugging percentage.

25-year-old rookie Fernando Perez also saw some time in the outfield and in center in September for Tampa. Perez got just 60 at-bats on the year, hitting 250/348/433. The switch-hitter is 1-for-9 with a single in the post-season (111/111/111). If we see him in the World Series it’s a lot more likely it will be in right than in center.

RF .771 10 18

Gabe Gross got about 52% of the innings in right for Tampa Bay this season, with Hinske and Jonny Gomes there also factors for the Rays. Hinske and Gomes probably won’t be a factor in the series, but Rocco Baldelli started in right in game seven of the ALCS and Perez is a possibility.

Gross is a left-handed hitter who can’t hit lefties and has been terrible in the post-season. He hit 238/336/414 in 345 at-bats between Milwaukee and Tampa Bay this year. He’s just 1-for-16 (063/211/063) with a single and three walks in the post-season.

He’s miserable against lefties, just 191/247/338 on the year. Much better against right-handed pitching, 249/356/433.

Baldelli could be the answer for Tampa Bay in right against lefties. Baldelli is a right-handed hitter who missed most of ’08 and hit 263/344/475 in 80 at-bats.

Baldelli is 3-for-14 (214/313/429) with a home run in the post-season. Over his career he’s hit 296/347/494 against lefties and 276/316/427 against righties.

Zobrist also made an appearance in right in the ALCS despite playing just seven innings there during the regular season.

DH .760 8 13

Lefty Cliff Floyd likely will be getting the call when the Rays need a DH in the series. Floyd is a left-handed hitter that doesn’t do well against lefties, so Aybar or Baldelli may see time in the DH games that are started by Hamels or Moyer.

Floyd hit 268/349/455 this season. He’s 3-for-15 with a double and a home run (200/200/467) in the post-season.

He doesn’t even get a chance to hit against lefties — he had just 12 plate appearances against them this season.

Aybar is a switch-hitter who appeared most often at third for Tampa Bay this season, but also saw time at first, second and made two appearances at shortstop. He has gotten a ton of at-bats in the post-season, going 11-for-30 (367/355/633) with two doubles and two home runs (and no walks).

Aybar was better against lefties this season, hitting 266/350/444 against them and an unimpressive 245/312/390 against righties.

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