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THE GOOD: Stella Got Her Groove Back. We don’t know if the Rays are going to win the World Series but the Rays are clearly the better ball club. This is the team that won 97 games during the regular season. Not the team that hit 37 kazillion thousand home runs in the ACLS. Even though the Rays were once again outplayed and outhit, there was never a moment when we worried about the outcome of this game…James Shields’ changeup. When Shields is on he gets swing-and-misses on the changeup and doesn’t have a lot of called balls out of the zone. In game 6 of the ALCS, Shields through 29 changeups with only 4 swing-and-misses. 15 were balls out of the strike zone. Last night Shields threw 31 changeups with 7 swing-and-misses and only 11 called balls…Domes. It was pouring outside of the Trop during the game…Dan Wheeler looked as good as we have seen him in a long time. His breaking balls were crisp with good movement and he was keeping them down in the zone…A split. The Rays were able to win one at home even though 2 of the big 3 hitters (Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria) were a combined 0-15 with 6 strikeouts…Defense. On 2 occasions the Rays made a non-out defensive play that saved a run. In the 4th with a runner on 2nd, a ground ball to first base is deflected by Carlos Pena. Aki Iwamura dives and keeps the ball in the infield keeping Ryan Howard at third. In the 6th with 2 outs and runner on first, BJ Upton dives for a soft single and stops the ball on a short hop. If the ball gets by Upton, the runner likely scores…Rocco Baldelli. At the plate, Rocco beat out a double-play with 2 on and no outs. His hustle left a runner at third with only 1 out. Joe Maddon answered with a safety squeeze for the Rays 4th run. In the field, the Phillies were again threatening in the 5th with runners on first and second with 1 out. Rocco ended the threat when he doubled Jayson Werth off of first base…We touched on this yesterday, but the DH is a huge advantage for the Rays. The Phillies just don’t have a legit bat to DH. Phillies DHs are now 1-7 with 9 runners left on base and they didn’t even look that good…David Price. Once again, like the Rays, we end with King David who did give up 2 runs (1 earned) but recorded the final 7 outs to close the door. With 2 on in the 7th, Price got Ryan Howard looking to end the inning. Got another big K in the 9th on Chase Utley for the 2nd out and then got Ryan Howard to ground into the shift for the final out.

THE BAD: Power outage. The Rays have to be happy to have split the first two games with such an anemic offense. Of course the offense was just good enough most of the season. Still, it is hard to imagine the Rays will win this series without seeing some of the offense that carried the team through the first 2 rounds…Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria are 0-15 with 6 strikeouts in the first 2 games combined…Whether it is luck or execution, the Rays are playing with fire allowing so many runners into scoring position. The Phillies had a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs 3 straight innings early in the game and failed to score. And overall, the Phillies are 1-28 with runners in scoring position.

THE TELLING: Rocco Baldelli got a rare start in RF against a right-handed pitcher. Joe Maddon went with Rocco as Brett Myers has actually been tougher on lefties this season with an OPS against of .738 (.833 versus LHB). Even more rare was Rocco playing all 9 innings, as he did last night for the first time since May 13, 2007 at Toronto…Why is everybody so convinced the Rays are going to be intimidated by the atmosphere in Philly? It can’t be any tougher than games 3,4,5 of the ALCS at Fenway, in which the Rays won 2…According to CoolStandings.com the chances of the Rays winning the World Series is now 51.0% with the most likely scenario having the Rays win in 7.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Big League Stew wonders if Kerwin Danley should recuse himself from the rest of the World Series after his questionable calls in both games 1 and 2. [Big League Stew]
  • The Futon Report is not worried about the Phillies, noting that the team is capable of hitting 3 straight home runs at any time and the bullpen is well-rested. [The Futon Report]
  • After Phillies fans poo-poo’d Rays fans for complaining about the umpiring in game 1, as they say, the shoe is now on the other foot when it comes to complaining. [Beerleaguer]
  • Joe Maddon reacts to being named Manager of the Year as voted on by his fellow managers…Also, the Rays take care of their own. The team is chartering a plane and flying 175 employees up to Philadelphia and providing them with hotels and tickets to 2 of the games. [St. Pete Times]
  • Joe Posnanski analyzes Joe Maddon’s managerial style and says there is never anything tentative about the Rays and that they are never cautious or timid, all of which is a reflection of the manager. And while other managers have failed at “changing the culture” of a team, Maddon has succeeded with “imagination” and a “deep belief in [himself]“. [Kansas City Star]
  • David Price admitted to being nervous, noting that he usually doesn’t sweat but his hat was soaked…On a side note, it is not unusual to see Price be emotional and yell into his glove while walking back to the dugout, but last night we saw emotion from the rookie on the mound for the first time. No yelling, but you could see some genuine disappointment at times that bordered on anger. It was telling in that he never seemed to lose control of his emotions on the mound, even though he was upset. [St. Pete Times]
  • Phil Sheriden of the Philadelphia Inquirer says the Phillies are playing tight and that the lack of offense is not a one-night blip on the radar. Rather the numbers suggest that this is a trend throughout the postseason, as the Phillies are now hitting .158 (18 for 114) in the postseason. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer says if the Phillies are going to win this series they need Jimmy Rollins on base and scoring, something he has yet to do. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • He may never be the old Rocco Baldelli but for one night Baldelli was back. [Babes Love Baseball]
  • Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces baby Joe Maddon, new born, not even spoken a word yet. [IMAGE] [via SportsByBrooks]
  • This one isn’t as good as the one earlier in the week, but still pretty good. [Big League Stew]
  • David Price became the fastest player to go from being drafted #1 overall to appearing in the World Series. He shattered the previous record of 5 years. [Baseball Prospectus]
  • At least fans in Philadelphia will be able to see one Phillies World Series clinching moment. A local TV station is going to air game 6 of the 1980 World Series…Have fun with that. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
  • Tom Jones has a list of reasons to love every member of the Rays roster. [St. Pete Times]
  • Transcript from Joe Maddon’s postgame press conference…[MLB]

 
 

20 Comments

  1. DirtbagFan says:

    *I think that overall Price looked good. I also think that ppl are expecting him to come out like Mariano Rivera every game which will result in “let-down” performances in the opinions of the exuberant fans…

    *Wheeler looked really good, which leads me back to my “dance with who brung ya” mentality.

    *If the “beef” of the Rays lineup doesn’t wake up real soon this series is going to be a whole lot scarier than it should be…

    *Great point by Ron and Ian on 620 wdae this morning:
    “BJ Upton needs to learn to hustle like Rocco more often and Rocco needs to learn to “glide” like Upton more often”

    Prof:
    If tomorrow’s game is rained-out do they just eliminate travel day between games 5 and 6?
    And do we see Shields again in game 6 and Garza in 7?

  2. The Professor says:

    i’m going to address this in a little bit. basically a rainout screws the Rays because they will play 5 games in 5 days. They will either need Edwin to start a game or Garza is going to have to come back in game 7 on 3 days rest.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Prof, why do you say that we got our groove back, when the bats were silent, we got some lucky breaks from the Umps, and we gave the Phillies pitcher a couple really easy innings?

  4. The Professor says:

    This is how the Rays played all year long. They were not an offensive juggernaut during the regular season. they got timely hitting and strong pitching. And they did what it takes to win the ballgame.

  5. DirtbagFan says:

    Could Papa Joe (in the event of a rain-out) put the ixnay on Price out of the pen and save him for a potential game 7- or do you think that’s entirely out of the question?

  6. Brendan says:

    In Response to the Phillies homefield advantage. I don’t think for the players it will be any different than fenway but if your a fan i would recommend being as subtle as possible. I went to a bar in my rays gear up here and that was enough to tell me i won’t be rocking my longoria jersey shirt at citizens bank for game 5. i was practically stoned and had to stay sober to ensure i wouldnt be mobbed (bummer) as awful as it is the fans will cuss you out, and throw things at you at the ballpark. ive seen it before. they are easily the most obnoxious and impolite fans in the game. rollins went as far as to say players won’t sign there because they don’t want their family in the stands.

  7. The Professor says:

    the guy is good but he hasn’t started a game in a long time. i think it i smore likely to go with Garza on short rest and have Price ready to go in the 4th/5th

  8. cyl says:

    yup, philly fans are horrible. I watched the mets play there and the fans cheered when Jose Reyes was writhing on the ground in pain

  9. MikeD says:

    I’m thinking that it’s likely we’ll see Hamels twice more, if it goes to seven. For some reason, I’m thinking that if there’s a one day rain delay, it’s more likely.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, after getting booted from Fenway for using my cowbell (I stopped when they asked me to, but the cops literally dragged me out anyway), I will forever be really subtle at opposing team games.

    I would not suggest cowbells in Philly.

  11. The Professor says:

    Mike. that only happens if they bring Hamels back for game 4 on 3 days rest (or game 3 on 3 days rest with a rainout) and then again in game 7 on 3 days rest.

    Rainout or no rainout. that is 2 starts on 3 days rest (rainout eliminates the offday)

  12. cyl says:

    What was that deal last night with “hearing” the ball hit his uniform? How does that make a noise?

  13. Brendan says:

    i missed the reyes bit. but have seen them cheer as m. irvin was carried off on a stretcher. i’m not calling irvin the most classy of human beings but there is something inherently wrong with cheering at the thought of someone being paralyzed. i’m around phillie’s fans constantly and one of their flaws is their preference to talk trash on other teams instead of cheer for their own. and if the rays win this series, there will be more excuses than ever from the philly bunch. none of which will include their lack of a bottom half of the lineup or solid start pitching beyond hamels/myers.

  14. MikeD says:

    True, Prof. Do you think Manuel would do something like that, if Hamels and the pitching coach are down with it? I’m not worried about it, since I think the Rays have seen him once, and things will be different the second time. BTW, just ordered a “Fat Catcher” shirt from your store. Navi don’t get enough love.

  15. The Professor says:

    I guess I would say it would not surprise me if Manuel did it, and I agree. I think seeing one pitcher potentially 3 times bodes very well for the Rays especially since he didnt really dominate them in game 1 despite the win.

  16. Brendan says:

    hamels is the real deal though. he has been really tough to hit these playoffs. i think manuel would pitch him three times. theres a whole back story to this. hamels has done the opposite of longoria and opted not to sign an extension in favor of arbitration and testing the free agent market. this seems to have inspired a front office movement to throw his arm off and ride him till the end of the line. he is their only true #1 and represents their best chance to win. if its game 7 he will be in the game i’d bet.

  17. Anonymous says:

    as a phils fan, Brutal game….1-28 with RISP is inexcusable…myers wasn’t bad, but the first inning troubles continued…werth had quite possibly the worst game anyones played in the WS in a long time

    shields was not that impressive…to his credit, he got huge strikeouts but seemed to go to full counts on every hitter

    rays bullpen was very good, but overall, if they continue to hit poorly, are absolutely beatable…as long as we dont have to rely on eric bruntlett to be our offensive hero

    and kerwin danley was atrocious…i can see missing the ball that clearly hit rollins jersey, but butchering baldellis would be strikeout so badly is inexcusable

    hope we see some baseball tomorrow night…looks like it will rain here most of the day…i think MLB will have to decide whether theyre comfortable starting the game at 945-10 range

  18. Luis says:

    “as a phils fan”

    would u happen to be the same phil fan who came on here all day yesterday trying to rile ray fans up, i couldn’t tell since you decided to hide behind the “anonymous” mask

    lose or win the series i think it’ll be over in 6 and that the game 3 winner will probably end up winning the series

  19. Scot says:

    Yes – the Rays were fortunate on some plays last night – and I agree, unlike the White Sox or particularly the Red Sox series, I have little worries that the Rays will not win.

    However disagree about legit DH – Matt Stairs is essentially to Floyd. However if one’s manager isn’t smart enough to use Stairs, there is nothing Philly fans can do. If game 3 is rained out, Manual has to start Hamels for game 3 and later game 7 (assuming no game gets pushed back.) If he doesn’t, again an example of shooting oneself. IMO, of course.

    To return to the DH issue though, Joe Sheehan looked at how teams in the AL used the DH and felt that other than the Rays, Sox and A’s, many teams don’t know how to employ a true DH and use it rather as a point to rest people. So most AL teams are at a disadvantage against the Rays with regard to the DH.

    Baseball Prospectus computer simulation suggests Rays chance of winning at 44% – past performance against lefties the problem.

  20. Scot says:

    Follow up comment – I forgot how uninteresting and shallow ballplayers and managers receive for questions. I give Joe credit for putting up with them. I’m also glad he can say, “no, I will not talk about my strategy.”

    The squeeze worked out. I doubt we will see it again the entire series. Like with Utley, Joe appears to be messing with the mind of Manual.

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