Tag: Carl Crawford

Bud Selig versus the tie game, round two

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.

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One for the aged

Jamie Moyer waited 22 years to get to pitch in the World Series, so when he had to wait another hour and a half he apparently was unfazed. The Phillies won game three of the World Series last night not in spite of Moyer, but in large part because of him. Years from now when you look back at his line for the game it won’t look like anything special. So we’ll just have to remember.

Moyer allowed a run in the second inning when Carl Crawford led off with a bloop double down the left field line off the glove of a sliding Burrell. Crawford stole third and came in to score on a sac fly to tie the game at 1-1. Ruiz gave the Phils another lead with a home run in the bottom of the second. Utley and Howard went back-to-back in the bottom of the sixth off of Matt Garza and Moyer took a 4-1 lead into the seventh. Crawford again got him, leading off with a pretty bunt down the first base line. Moyer made an even prettier play, though, diving for the ball, gloving and flipping to Howard at first who bare-handed, just nipping Crawford for the first out of the inning. One problem, though: Crawford was called safe and the Rays went on to score two runs in the inning they almost surely wouldn’t have had without the call.

BJ Upton used his speed in the top of the eighth to create a run off of Madson where there was none, tying the game at 4-4. The Phils won it in the bottom of a wild ninth. The inning featured a hit batter, a wild pitch, two intentional walks and finally Ruiz dribbling a ball down the third base line with five infielders playing for the Rays. None of them could do anything about the swinging bunt and the Phils had won game three.

The weak-hitting Ruiz is suddenly not so weak-hitting. After going 2-for-3 with a walk last night, Ruiz is hitting .500 in the series with three runs batted in. The Phillies have nine RBI in the first three games of the series — seven of them have been driven in by either Utley or Ruiz.

The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the World Series last night, winning 5-4. They lead the series two games to one.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both doubles. 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) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Gabe Gross (RF/L) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). The lefty Gross starts in right for Tampa Bay with the righty Baldelli and Ben Zobrist, who started game one against Hamels, on the bench.

The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Rocco Baldelli (R), Fernando Perez (S), Cliff Floyd (L), Ben Zobrist (S) and Willy Aybar (S).

The start of the game came about five minutes after ten after a rain delay of about an hour and a half.

Iwamura led off the first for the Rays and popped an 0-1 pitch into center for the first out. Moyer got two called strikes out the outside part of the plate before Upton grounded a 1-2 pitch to Rollins for the second out. Pena checked his swing at a low 1-2 pitch before walking on a 3-2 pitch that was low and outside. Longoria went down swinging 2-2 to end the frame.

Crawford started the second and popped a ball into shallow left field, near the foul line. Burrell slid for it after a long run and the ball went off his glove. Burrell picked it up and threw to second, but Crawford had a double. Navarro was next and he hit a bloop to second that Utley took for the first out. Crawford stole third on the first pitch to Gross, and Gross delivered a long fly ball to right center that Victorino took on the warning track for the second out. It was more than deep enough for Crawford, though, and he tagged and scored to tie the game at 1-1. Bartlett flew to center for the third out.

Garza led off the third and grounded to third for the first out. Iwamura was next and he popped to right for the second. Upton went down looking 1-2 and didn’t care much for the call.

Pena flew to right on a 2-2 pitch to start the fourth. Moyer got ahead of Longoria 0-2 before striking him out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Crawford flew softly to left on a 3-1 pitch to end the frame.

Navarro led off the fifth with a ground ball in the hole between short and third. Rollins tried to backhand, but the ball went off his glove. Navarro was given a single – Rollins may not have been able to throw him out even if he had fielded the ball cleanly. Gross popped a 1-2 pitch to left for the first out. Bartlett was next and he popped to short. Garza grounded to Utley to set the Rays down.

Moyer got Iwamura flailing 2-2 to start the sixth. Upton was next and he lined a 2-1 pitch into left where it fell for a single. Moyer threw over to first enough times that Upton was headed back to the base consistently as Moyer delivered to Pena, and Moyer got Pena looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Before Moyer delivered a pitch to Longoria, Upton took off for second. Moyer threw to first and Howard made an accurate throw to Utley at second, but Upton just beat the throw and was safe at second with a stolen base. Longoria absolutely hammered a ball to left, but a strong wind blowing in knocked it down and Burrell took it on the warning track right in front of the wall.

Huge break for Moyer, cause they ball is well out of the yard on most days.

Moyer started the seventh having thrown 86 pitches with a 4-1 lead and Eric Bruntlett playing left. Crawford bunted the first pitch down the first base line. Beautiful bunt, but Moyer dove for it and made a glove-flip to Howard. Howard caught the ball with his bare hand and Crawford was called safe (replays show he was out). Fantastic play by Moyer and by Howard. Navarro ripped a 1-2 pitch into the left field corner for a double, sending Crawford to third. Moyer stayed in to pitch to the lefty Gross. Gross hit a ground ball to first that Howard took to the bag for the first out as Crawford came in to score and cut the Phillies lead to 4-2 with Navarro at third and one out. Durbin came in to pitch to Bartlett. Bartlett grounded Durbin’s first pitch to short for the second out, scoring Navarro to make it 4-3. Switch-hitter Willy Aybar hit for the pitcher Matt Garza. Durbin walked Aybar on a 3-1 pitch outside. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Iwamura and quickly got ahead 0-2 before striking Iwamura out swinging 3-2.

The missed call at first base on the Crawford bunt costs the Phillies two runs — Navarro would have doubled with one out and probably gone to third on the Gross ground out, but Bartlett’s ground out would have ended the inning without any damage. The Rays do get back the two runs they lost when the wind took away Longoria’s homer in the sixth.

Crawford came into the game with great numbers against Moyer and hurt him in this game, scoring two of the three runs charged to Moyer.

Madson started the eighth with a 4-3 lead. He quickly got behind Upton 2-0, but came back with two strikes to even the count before Upton chopped a 3-2 pitch back up the middle. Rollins fielded, but didn’t get the ball out of his glove cleanly and Upton beat his throw easily for an infield single. Pena swung at a 2-0 pitch out of the strike zone and fouled it off. Madson struck him out with a ball down and in — Pena tried to check his swing but couldn’t. Upton stole second without a throw as Madson delivered ball one to Longoria. Upton took off for third on the next pitch. Ruiz’s throw to third was in the dirt, then off the body of Upton and toward the Rays’ dugout. Upton scored easily on the throwing error to tie the game at 4-4. Longoria hit a ball back up the middle that Utley made a nice play on for the second out. Romero came in to pitch to Crawford with the bases empty and two outs. Crawford swung at Romero’s first pitch and flew softly to right.

Romero came back to start the ninth and struck Navarro out with a pitch that bounced in front of the plate. He got the lefty Gross to ground softly to Utley for the second out. Romero stayed in to pitch to the righty Bartlett and Bartlett bounced a 3-2 pitch to Rollins for the third out.

I would have had Lidge start the inning, but that worked out great for the Phillies. Bartlett probably can’t hit a home run, but he hit 379/411/508 against lefties this season. I think you have to bring a righty in to pitch to him, even with two outs and nobody on. Manuel may have been thinking that the Phils were not in a great position to score in the bottom of the ninth with Bruntlett, Victorino and Feliz scheduled to hit.

The Phillies pen went 2 2/3 innings, allowing a run. Upton’s speed and a bad throw by Ruiz helps Madson cough up a run — Upton needed his wheels to beat out the hit and then stole two bases. He stole three in the game. The bullpen has allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in the series. Madson and Romero each threw 15 pitches in the game. Durbin and Eyre each threw six.

The Tampa Bay bullpen allowed a run over two innings. They walked three batters, hit another and uncorked a wild pitch. Two of the walks were intentional. As a group they have now allowed three runs in 8 1/3 innings. After an off-day on Friday, nobody in the Rays pen threw more than 16 pitches.

Pena and Longoria are a combined 0-for-22 with ten strikeouts and two walks in the first three games of the series.

The Rays scored four runs in game three and at least three of them wouldn’t have scored without their speed. Crawford stole third in the second, allowing him to score on the fly ball by Gross. He put down a beautiful bunt to start the seventh. He was out, but it wouldn’t have been close without his speed. Upton made a run out where there was none off of Madson in the eighth.

The Phillies lineup against righty Matt Garza went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz stays at third against the righty. Ruiz has been hitting well, but has made 12 straight playoff starts (with some time off in-between series) for the Phils and made his second error in three games last night.

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 led off the first for the Phils and lined a single into center for his first hit of the World Series. Werth was next and he walked on five pitches. Garza’s 0-1 pitch to Utley was in the dirt and blocked by Navarro, but the wild pitch allowed the runners to move to second and third with nobody out. Utley grounded a 3-1 pitch to first for the first out, scoring Rollins to make it 1-0 and moving Werth to third with one out. Howard got ahead 2-0, but then fouled off two pitches and struck out swinging 2-2 for the second out. Burrell swung at the first pitch and flew to left.

Phils get one run out of second and third with one out. Utley brings in a run with a ground out, but Howard strikes out with one down and a man on third. Again. The Phillies really had Garza on the ropes in the first, but he gets out with the help of the huge strikeout of Howard.

Victorino led off the second with game tied at 1-1. He hammered a 2-2 pitch on the ground, but right at Pena, who took it for the first out. Feliz was next and hit a ground ball back up the middle, but Bartlett made a nice play to get the second out. Ruiz was next and hit a 1-0 pitch out to left to put the Phillies up 2-1. Moyer struck out swinging 1-2 to end the inning.

Rollins started the third with another single, this one into right. Werth took a strike to even the count at 2-2 as Rollins took off for second. Navarro gunned him down for the first out. Werth reached out and poked an outside pitch into right field for a single. Utley drove a 1-1 pitch to center, but Upton caught it at the warning track for the second out. Howard waived at Garza’s first pitch, a breaking ball, and missed. He hit a 2-1 pitch to Bartlett, playing where you would expect the second baseman to be, to end the inning.

Not sure if the caught stealing cost the Phils a run or not. Rollins surely would have gone to third on Utley’s deep fly ball, likely putting men on first and third with one out for Howard. Not sure if the Rays would have been able to turn a double-play on Howard’s grounder or not.

Garza struck out the side in the fourth. Burrell went down swinging at a 3-2 pitch to get things started. Victorino struck out looking at a 3-2 pitch that looked high for the second out. Feliz struck out swinging at an 0-2 pitch in the dirt.

Ruiz led off the fifth and walked on a 3-2 pitch. Moyer tried to bunt, but popped the first pitch of his at-bat to the catcher for the first out. Rollins lined a 2-2 pitch to Iwamura at second for the second out. Werth flew to right on a 1-2 pitch to end the inning with Ruiz stranded.

Not a good bunt by Moyer, but the Phils still would have been turned away if Rollins and Werth had come up with the same results.

Utley led off the sixth and blasted a 2-1 pitch from Garza out to right to extend the Phillies’ lead to 3-1. Howard was next and he popped a 2-2 pitch out to right. 4-1. Burrell struck out looking at an inside fastball for the first out. Victorino popped up an 0-1 pitch in the infield. Pena took it for the second out. Feliz went down swinging to end the inning.

Chad Bradford started the seventh for the Rays and got Ruiz to chop a ball to short for the first out. Jenkins hit for Eyre against the righty Bradford and worked the count full before grounding to short. Rollins popped to short to set the Phillies down.

Bradford came back to pitch to Werth to start the eighth and walked him on four pitches. With Utley and Howard coming to the plate, the Rays called on lefty JP Howell. With the count 2-1 on Utley, Werth took off for second. The pitch was a ball and the throw down to second not in time. Utley fouled off the 3-1 pitch before Howell struck him out with a breaking ball that nearly ended up in the dirt for the first out. Howell picked Werth off of second with the count 0-1 on Howard for the second out. Howard struck out looking at a 2-2 breaking ball that swept into the strike zone.

Unbelievably awful play by Werth to get picked off.

Bruntlett led off the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at 4-4 with the lefty Howell still on the mound for Tampa Bay. Howell got behind Bruntlett 2-0 and hit him in the leg with a 2-1 pitch. Grant Balfour came in to pitch to Victorino with the Rays looking for a bunt. Victorino showed bunt and took strike one. The next pitch was wild, right at Victorino. Victorino jackknifed out of the way and the ball went to the wall as a wild pitch. It bounced off the wall and came right back to Navarro, who had no chance to get Victorino but threw to second anyway. That throw was wild as well. It went in to center field, allowing Bruntlett to go to third. Victorino was walked intentionally, putting men on first and third with nobody out for Feliz. Dobbs hit for Feliz with the righty Balfour on the mound. Tampa Bay brought the right fielder Zobrist in as a fifth infielder, playing right on top of second base. Balfour walked Dobbs intentionally, loading the bases. Balfour threw a 1-1 pitch past Ruiz to put the catcher in a 1-2 hole. Ruiz dribbled a 2-2 pitch down the third base line. Longoria charged hard and barehanded, but didn’t have a chance with his momentum taking him into foul territory. His flip went way over the head of Navarro as Bruntlett scored to give the Phillies a 5-4 win.

Yet another good no-strikeout from Ruiz.

Hugely athletic play by Victorino to get out of the way of the pitch from Balfour, which was right at his body. Changed the game.

Rollins was 2-for-4 in the game and is 2-for-14 (.143) in the series.

Werth 1-for-2 with two walks. 4-for-11 (.364) in the first three games with three walks.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer. 3-for-12 (.250) and leads the team with four RBI in the series.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a home run last night. 3-for-13 (.231) with a double and a home run in the series. He has struck out six times, which is tied with Longoria for the most for either team.

Burrell 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 0-for-9 with two walks and five strikeouts in the series.

Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk. 4-for-11 (.364) with a walk in the series.

Feliz was 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 2-for-10 (.200) with a walk in the series.

Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. He’s 4-for-8 (.500) with two doubles, a home run and three RBI in the series.

Seven of the nine RBI for the Phillies have come from Ruiz or Utley. Howard has one and Bruntlett has one.

Joe Blanton (9-12, 4.69) faces righty Andy Sonnanstine (13-9, 4.38) tonight in game four. Sonnanstine was better in the second half of the season than the first, throwing to a 4.58 ERA with a 1.37 ratio before the All-Star break and a 4.08 ERA and a 1.17 ratio after. He’s made two starts in the post-season, going 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA and an 0.85 ratio.

He walked just 37 hitters in the regular season and has walked just two in two playoff starts.

He’s been tough on lefties this season, handling them a little better than righties. Righties hit 289/319/464 against him and lefties 265/303/426.

Stairs is the only Phillie to have faced Sonnanstine, he’s 4-for-12 with a double and a home run.

Blanton still hasn’t been charged with a loss since joining the Phils. After going 4-0 in the regular season, Blanton is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.45 ratio in two post-season starts.

He has an ugly history against the Rays. In eight starts against Tampa Bay, Blanton has gone 2-3 with a 6.05 ERA and a 1.73 ratio. Carlos Pena is 4-for-7 against him. Crawford 7-for-22 (.318). Upton 3-for-11 with a home run.

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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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A tale of one city and a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the western coast of Florida

After coming back to win despite trailing 7-0 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh last night, the Boston Red Sox remain alive in the ALCS. Boston trails three games to two as the series heads to Florida where the Phillies’ opponent in the World Series will be determined.

Here’s a look at what the offenses for the two teams have done this season:

  R AL Rank R/G
Boston 845 2 5.22
Tampa Bay 774 9 4.78

Led by the big bats of Ortiz, Drew, Bay and Youkilis, the Red Sox can just hit. The DHless Phillies scored 799 runs this year, about 4.93 per game. Tampa Bay has had more trouble scoring runs and some trouble hitting lefties. Here’s what the teams have done against left and right-handed pitching this season:

  OPS vs
lefties
AL Rank OPS vs
righties
AL Rank
Boston 849 1 792 2
Tampa Bay 726 12 778 4

Akinori Iwamura (260/335/333 in 192 at-bats), Carlos Pena (190/302/352 in 179 AB) and Carl Crawford (248/293/348 in 141 AB) have all had problems against lefties this season for Tampa Bay.

I think Jamie Moyer is close to a sure thing to start game three regardless of who the Phillies play. It seems even a little more likely against the Devil Rays. The problems of some of the big hitters for Tampa with lefties also speaks to the importance of Romero, Eyre and Happ pitching out of the pen if the Phils wind up facing Tampa Bay.

Both teams have been very good at preventing runs, with the Rays a little better:

  Runs
allowed
AL Rank
Boston 694 4
Tampa Bay 671 2

Using ERA as the measure, the starting pitching for both teams has been fantastic with Tampa Bay pitching a little better out of the pen:

  Starter
ERA
AL Rank Pen ERA AL Rank
Boston 4.02 3 4.00 7
Tampa Bay 3.95 2 3.55 3

Overall, the Devil Rays have been a little better than the Red Sox at preventing runs. The Red Sox did however, play in a better place to hit (and a worse place to pitch).

One area where there is a difference is in the number of home runs that they have allowed to right-handed hitters. Both teams were good against righties. Right-handed hitters hit 245/312/405 (.717 OPS) against the Devil Rays and 249/319/385 (.705) against the Sox. Using OPS as the measure, the Red Sox pitchers were the second-best in the AL against righties and the Devil Rays pitchers were fourth-best.

With an assist to the Green Monster, no doubt, the Red Sox allowed just 78 home runs to righties this season (4th-best in the AL) while the Devil Rays, after leading the AL in home runs allowed to right-handed hitters in 2007, allowed 101 (3rd-worst in the AL).

The Phillies didn’t play Tampa Bay this year, but went 1-2 against the Red Sox in a June series in Philadelphia. The Phils won the first game of the series 8-2 on June 16, but dropped the June 17 game 3-0 and the June 18 game 7-4. A red-hot Ryan Howard hit two home runs and drove in four to lead the Phillies to a win in the opener. Lester dominated the Phils in game two and Kyle Kendrick was awful in game three.

The Phillies were 4-11 in inter-league play this season.

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