Rays and Phillies Move Closer Together
- Updated: October 14, 2008
Tampa Bay Rays Lead the Series 2-1
Yesterday afternoon saw what some thought was the unthinkable in this post season. Jon Lester got hit hard and earned the loss against the Rays. Yesterday I called Lester “the Beast of the East” and if this series goes to game 7 and he pitches like he has the past three months, then I will stand by that title, but he was nothing close to that yesterday. The Rays might just be giving the Sox hitters nightmares, but they have come back from worse predicaments before (see 2004 ALCS). Tonight pits knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (10-11) against Andy Sonnanstine (13-9).
Wakefield is 17 years older and will need to use that experience to guide him through this potent Rays line up that filled with talent and attitude! The last time Wakefield pitched, he was opposed by future 2008 Cy Young Award winner and Cleveland Indians Ace, Cliff Lee. Lee was going for win # 23, but it was the crafty veteran who came out on top in that game and Boston is needing him to repeat that feat against Sonnanstine.
Sonnanstine is a part of the fresh young and very talented Rays rotation and although he isn’t consistent enough to be a # 1 or 2 pitcher, he is a solid # 3 pitching in the # 4 slot in this Rays rotation. A win by Sonnanstine tonight will bring the cinderella Rays to within 1 win away from the World Series after a 2007 season that found them in the AL East basement once again. He has the stuff to accomplish victory tonight but will his nerves prevent him from it? I think that this is where manager Joe Maddon has earned the 2008 Manager of the Year award, because I think that he will have Sonnanstine prepared, mentally for this game, but against this Red Sox club, it might only take 1 mistake to even this series at 2 games each.
The keys to this game are easy, Boston‘s big bats need to hit & Sonnanstine needs to not make mistakes and the Rays batters need to be able to hit a dancing white ball.
Philadelphia Phillies Lead their Series 3-1
The Phillies on the backs of Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs move 1 game away from the 2008 World Series and possibly the elimination of MannyWorld in LA. This was a back and forth battle won in part by not allowing Manny Ramirez to beat them with his bat when at all possible. The Phillies walked Ramirez twice and the one time Ramirez was allowed to swing, he drove in a run! He is looking more and more like a playoff hitting machine that just can’t be stopped the more you see him!
The starters, Blanton and Lowe, who was pitching on only 3 days rest, kept their team in the game for the most part. It was the heroics of another late acquisition, Matt Stairs facing Johnathan Broxton who before last night, hadn’t given up a HR in Dodger Stadium since the middle of the 2006 season. But Stairs didn’t just hit the ball over the RF fence, he crushed it!
With Cole Hamels going against Chad Billingsley in game 5 tomorrow night, I just don’t see the Dodgers making it to a game 6 unless Hamels has a game like Lester had. The Phillies should advance easily into the World Series after this win!