Part II: Tampa vs. Philly

In Part I: So We're Playing the Rays, we took a quick glance at the team the Phillies will be playing in the World Series. In this edition we look back and some Philadelphia and Tampa Bay games.

It was 2004 when the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was 2002 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game. The Lightning went on to win the Stanley Cup, and the Buccaneers went on to win the Superbowl.

Philadelphia and Tampa Bay have some brief history with each other when it comes to sports. This time, the Phillies and Rays meet, and Philly is going to try their best to win the World Series for the first time since 1980.

The last time the Rays and Phillies met was back in 2006 at Citizen's Bank Park.

The two teams are a lot different now, but still have many of the same players and coaches.

2006 was the first year that Joe Maddon managed the Devil Rays. The Rays finished the year 61-101, the worst record in the league.

In 2006 behind Ryan Howard's MVP year, the Phillies made a playoff run in the second half of the year, but failed to reach the postseason.

The Phillies and Rays met one weekend in June, and the Rays took 2/3 games.

Cole Hamels will take the hill for game one of the World Series. Hamels faced the Devil Rays in game the 2006 regular season series, and it was not pretty for Hamels. Hamels lasted 3.2 innings, allowing 5 earned runs.

Julio Lugo hit 2 homeruns off Hamels. The good news for Hamels is that Lugo is no longer a Ray. The bad news, Carl Crawford still is. Crawford went 4/5 in that game.

James Shields started that game for the Devil Rays pitching 6 innings allowing 3 earned runs as the D-Rays went onto in 10-4.

In game 2, Scott Kazmir earned the win in the D-Rays 7-2 victory. Kazmir pitched 5 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs. He struck out 9. Former Phillies Sal Fasano and Abraham Nunez each hit solo homeruns of Kazmir.

Ryan Madson was a starter during the third game as the Phillies avoided the sweep. He pitched 6.2 innings and allowed 4 runs, 2 earned. Carl Crawford hit a solo homerun off Madson, but the Phillies won 8-5.

The Rays that did the most damage to the Phillies back then were the young guys. Now a few years later, those same guys, Crawford, Sheilds, and Kazmir will try to do the same with the help of their 2008 team.

On the other hand, the Phillies are a whole new team as well. Hamels has established himself as a top pitcher in the game. The lineup 1-9 is a different outlook in 2008 with a combination of speed and power. The pitching is a thousand times better, especially the bullpen.

Spring Training is meaningless especially with most of the starters not playing much, but the Rays were 3-1 against the Phillies in 2008 Spring Training.

There are only two teams left in baseball. Two of the teams who in the past have who have been in the bottom of the standings are now in the top, and battling to be World Series Champions. Who would of thought?

Look out for Part III: World Series Preview & Keys, as we will be telling you the matchups and keys for the Phillies to become World Champions.


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