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THE GOOD: Three games in Philly. Rays only have to win one. Winning two would be gravy but again, not necessary. The Rays now have 2 chances to get that one win in Philly…Bars in NYC are open until 4:00. And even then, 4:00am is more of a suggestion than a rule. With game 3 not ending until 2:00, it was nice and much needed to get out for a bit…Defense. Over he course of 5 outs in the 2nd and 3rd, the Rays made 4 incredible plays to keep the game close. A snag on a hot shot by Carlos Pena and a nice play up the middle by Jason Bartlett started the 2nd and then an inning later it was the Fat Catcher with a perfect throw to second to nail Jimmy Rollins who was 47-50 prior to this game followed by BJ Upton making one of his trademark “gliding” over-the-shoulder catches…JP Howell. Typical JP. Howell came in after a leadoff walk with the score tied in the 8th. He strikes out Chase Utley, picks Jayson Werth off second and gets Ryan Howard looking. He has been the Rays best and most consistent reliever all year and nothing has changed in the playoffs.

THE BAD: Dioner Navarro’s golden brain fart. Ya gotta win that game. After being down 4-1 late, the Rays battled back to tie the game in the 8th. At that point you gotta find a way to win the game. And yet, in the top of the 9th the Rays go down 1-2-3 with an easy strike out, and two weak ground outs. And the bottom of the 9th? Don’t get us started. Absolutely awful. We don’t care how quickly that ball bounces back to Navarro on the wild pitch. He is not getting the runner at second if he tries a thousand times. So why take a chance on throwing one into the outfield when Navi doesn’t even get a chance to get his body into throwing position? You can’t let a runner go from first to third with no outs. What happens after that means nothing. The Rays lost the game on Navarro’s brain fart…Getting beat by Carlos Ruiz. We don’t mind the Chase Utley and Ryan Howard home runs. Great hitters. Tip your cap. But how does Matt Garza let a guy that hit 4 home runs in the regular season beat him for a home run in the World Series. You can’t get beat by Ruiz. It just can’t happen…Leadoff hitters. Phillies hitters leading off an inning were on base 10 times in the first 2 games. Last night it was worse. Batters that led off an inning were on base 6 times. 3 of those runners scored…The wind. With the Rays trailing 2-1 in the 6th, Evan Longoria hit a ball to left field that would have been 50 feet past the fence on a normal day, but last night, the ball stayed in the park…The Rays 1 extra base hit in the first two games was doubled in game 3. In other words, the Rays bats are quickly becoming the “Blackout of ’08″.

THE TELLING: Carl Crawford reached on a bunt single in the 7th. It was his first bunt attempt of any kind in 2008. He would later score. The Rays now have 22 stolen bases this postseason, 2 more than the previous record.

ONE MORE BAD: Can we stop with the umpiring bitch-fest please? After game 1 we noted that the Phillies caught some “breaks” in their win. Missed calls happen. It is part of the game. Did the umpire miss the call on Carl Crawford? Sure did. Was it a horrible call? Not even close. CC is out by about 6 inches. On TV in super-duper-HD-slow-mo-mo the distance looked bigger than the gap between John Kruk’s ears. But in reality it was a bang-bang play in which the umpire got caught in a bad spot.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The Phillies were more than a little upset when the backups were not introduced prior to game 1. It should be noted that the Rays backups were not introduced either and did not have issue. This is a decision made by the TV network and backups have not been introduced since 2004. [ESPN]
  • A season ticket holder since 1998 stands to win a lot of money if the Rays win the World Series. [The Big Lead]
  • We find it just a little strange that a story on the disappearance of “The Heckler” is found in the Wall Street Journal…Is this where our economy is right now? [Wall Street Journal]
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18 Comments

  1. MikeD says:

    OK, tough loss last night. I'm trying to stay positive about things. I was a little overconfident about our chances against Moyer, discounting his 16 wins this year in favor of his poor postseason performance. And I thought Garza would have a better game - he was rattled and just WRONG from the beginning. Can they not get his sports psychologist to make a mound visit? This "unconventional runs" stuff is fun to watch from a detached baseball fan's perspective, but ENOUGH, guys! Let's get some, whaddaya call them, HITS, preferably from Mssrs. Pena and Longoria. There are some piss poor at bats there. Carlos has been redeeming himself, a little, in the field. Not so much for Evan. BJ Upton IS the Bossman, coming to a theater near you. It could be argued that we might not even really be in this Series still if not for him. And Gabe, honey, come back. All is forgiven. Don't want to see you start anymore, but your two no-hit RBIs kept us in the game. And you did fine in the field. Tonight's another game, no rain delay, and the Rays game will be on. Or so I hope. The Rays aren't going down in flames yet by any stretch, but they do need to pull out of this tailspin. And I believe they will. There's another miracle in there somewhere.

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  2. Jordi says:

    MikeD is right. Garza was not good last night.

    Balfour should not be allowed to pitch again unless the Rays are up by 5. He has that bug Percival had, where he has to give up a run everytime out.

    Regarding the CC play, what Drs. Buck and McCarver did not say is that umps usually rely on the sound of the ball hitting the first baseman's glove as they watch the runner's foot hit the base. Whichever happens first gets the call. With CC's play, there was no impact from the ball and the ump couldn't see Howard's hand. The home plate ump should have made that call. But its irrelevant now anyway.

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  3. Possum Avenger says:

    Jordi --

    How can you say that run is on Balfour? He came in with a runner on first and no outs. Navi let a ball he could have stopped get by then made a stupid throw to let the runner get to third. Then there was a wimpy grounder hit to third -- game over.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    this is shaping up to be an awesome series...tonight is huge, no doubt

    i find it interesting that you call for an end to the umpire bitch fest when you devoted two paragraphs of a blog to it after game 1...clearly, the rays got the better of the calls the last two games...but youre right, blown calls happen...

    that was vintage moyer last night...as a hitter theres nothing more frustrating than seeing that ball come in like a balloon and not be able to do anything with it

    i wonder if rocco baldelli still thinks fenway is a tougher place to play...i will be down there tonight...eagles at 1, phils at 8...should be a wild time down at the complex

    the rays are a good team...and theres a long way to go...i just think this is the phils time...you guys will be in the hunt for years to come

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  5. The Professor says:

    Asper the umpiring. I may have understated my point. It is not that I think nobody should discuss them or their importance but too many people look at one bad call as the one play that decides a game and are ready to lay all the blame on one umpire.

    During and after the game some neutral observes we're ready to brand that one play as one of the worst calls in world series history. This was not the 85 series where a call was blown by 5 feet late in the series. It was a very close play that slo mo replay showed to be wrong.

    It was an important event but no more important than 20 other horrible calls and decisions made by the players coaches and umpires

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  6. Scot says:

    Clearly the Rays failure to score runs can be directly attributed to the lack of live blog on this website and contributions by the usual suspects of inarticulate and clueless participants. [sarcasm off]

    Other than that, Rays probability of winning the series is down to 30% - like with the Red Sox - just where the Rays want them.

    Miked - a new participant - says it best - productive outs are way overrated - the Rays win by walks and hitting dingers and keeping the other folks off base. The pitching and defense have done their job, hitting will need to arrive soon. (I suggest no batter swing at a pitch unless they are down to 2 strikes.)

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  7. Pugh says:

    appreciate your crisp, to the point analysis of game 3. No need to elaborate. well done.

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  8. TP says:

    Must win, must win, must win.

    Cole Hamels in Philly with a 3-1 lead does not inspire confidence.

    Also, I'm sick of people bashing Longoria. If it wasn't so windy last night, he's got a 2 run homer and is a hero.

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  9. Charles says:

    HE WAS OUT BY A *&^#*(^^)$^)^# MILE!!!!!

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  10. TP says:

    Yeah, that run is a gift, what an unbelievable call by the ump there. At least it's early, and we've got eight innings to make it up.

    It's Joe Blanton, we will.

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  11. Hazleton Jason says:

    We are unwatchable right now

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  12. TP says:

    Hinske? Where did that come from? I didn't think he was on the roster?

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  13. The Professor says:

    you are apparently not checking the Twitter "breaking news" updates in the sidebar

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  14. Charles says:

    When "Babe" Blanton starts hitting them out, it is not good.

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  15. TP says:

    Ugh, I'm considering abandoning the game and catching the 11PM Mad Men.

    Sorry about that Prof, I don't understand "twitter", I'm a little afraid of technology.

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  16. Luis says:

    told you all, we came up short and philly gave us a reality check, SERIES OVER

    start making those 2nd placerings and reflect on an amazing though heartbreaking at the end run

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  17. Charles says:

    Sorry Luis, they may look like crap tonight, but I'm not giving up until the Phillies actually win 4. Right now, they've only won 2. Maybe they'll win #3 tonight, maybe they won't - scoring 4 runs in 2 innings is not impossible. But it's too early to give up on the season.

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