Part III: World Series Preview & Keys

Just hours away from the first pitch of the World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays will play at Tropicana Field. Here's our preview of the 2008 Fall Classic.

The first factor is the field. The Rays play in "The Trop," a dome with turf. The Phillies haven't played much on turf, or a dome. With the catwalk and other features, it may be hard for some of the fielders, especially in the outfield, to see the ball in the air. The Rays don't have any problem with "The Trop" as their 2008 home record is 57-24, the best home record in all of baseball.

The second factor will be the layoff. The Colorado Rockies were red hot during the postseason in 2007, however, they had a week off while waiting to see who they would play in the Fall Classic. The Phillies are in a similar situation in 2008. The Phillies have had a week off, while the Rays only had a few days off. On the bright side, many of these Phillies benefit from rest.

Here are this week's matchup's for the World Series including regular season and postseason stats:

Game 1: Wednesday, October 22, 8:00 PM at Tampa Bay

Cole Hamels (3.09 ERA), vs. Scott Kazmir (3.49 ERA)

Cole Hamels has had his best season in the big leagues in 2008. He led the league in innings pitched. He set career highs in IP and SO. Cole has been almost unhittable this postseason as he posts an ERA of 1.23.

Scott Kazmir posts a 4.02 ERA in the postseason. He got roughed up in an outing against the Boston Red Sox. Kazmir missed some of the season with an injury. When he is healthy, he is dominant and can get anybody out on his great slider.

Key Players: Carl Crawford is 2/3 off Cole Hamels including a double. Cole Hamels will be the key for the Phillies. He can set the tone for the Phillies with a good outing today. Also, Jimmy Rollins is going to be key. As JRoll goes, the team goes.

Game 2: Thursday, October 23, 8:00 PM at Tampa

Brett Myers (4.55 ERA) vs. James Shields (3.56 ERA)

The game will be played in Tampa Bay, so that means Brett Myers will not bat with the DH rule in tact. Brett had 4 hits all season, which he matched in just 2 games in the postseason. Brett will have to get the job done on the mound. As we know, Brett was sent down to the minor leagues before the All Star Break due to a rough start. He worked things out, and since his return, for the most part dominated after his recall. This postseason, Brett has posted a 5.25 ERA. He had one excellent start against the Brewers, but was a little roughed up by the Dodgers.

James Shields is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 3 games this postseason. The cousin of Aaron Rowand has had a great season, and continues to improve.

Key Players: Cliff Floyd has 3 homeruns off Brett Myers as he spent a lot of his time in the National League. Jimmy Rollins and Matt Stairs each have 2 RBI off Shields.

Game 3: Saturday, October 25 8:00 PM at Philadelphia

Matt Garza vs. Jamie Moyer

Garza was honored with the ALCS MVP. The 24 year old had a 1.38 ERA in the ALCS. He had 14 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Garza will be faced by a man who is almost twice his age, Jamie Moyer. Moyer has been around a long time, but will make his first World Series appearance. Moyer has struggled big time this postseason. However, the Rays are a young team who has never seen Moyer. Moyer usually has the advantage to hitters who never faced him. He can get guys out in front to swing and get outs.

Key Players: The Umpires. For Moyer to succeed, he'll need to get the corners called.

Game 4: Sunday, October 26, 8:00 PM at Philadelphia

Andy Sonnanstine (4.38 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (4.69 ERA)

Sonnastine has been solid this postseason for the Rays. He has an ERA of 3.46.

Joe Blanton has pitched deep into games this postseason allowing minimal runs.

Key Players: Blanton, who was acquired prior to the offseason deadline has faced the Rays as he was in the American League. The Rays as a team hit .233 off Blanton. B.J. Upton is the only Ray with a homerun off Blanton. Blanton has seen the Rays, and the Rays have seen him, so we'll find out who gets the advantage on that one.

Game 5, if necessary, will be played at Citizen's Bank Park on Monday. If there is a need for games 6 and 7, they will be played in Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Thursday.

Two of the teams have finished top in the league in pitching. As a team, the Rays posted a team ERA of 3.82. As a team, the Phillies posted an ERA of 3.88 including the best bullpen ERA in the National League.

On the other hand, the Phillies finished the season scoring 799 runs as a team with a Major League Leading 214 homeruns. The Rays scored 774 runs with 180 homeruns.

We're getting closer to the first pitch, and all that needs to be said is: "Play Ball!"


Ryan said...

100wins 3 more to go

Anonymous said...

Good Job - you are a great PHan. You might enjoy the Series blog "PHillies PHandango." Just google it to link. And comment, too.

Go Phils

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