There’s A New Beast in the AL East

The Tampa Bay Rays Advance to the 2008 World Series

After being beaten in game 6 by Josh Beckett and the Red Sox, a game the Rays should have won, the Rays beat Jon Lester in game 7, a game they should have lost. Bottom line: the Rays played better in 4 of the 7 games played and that’s all that really matters.

Both sides had injuries to key players. Boston was missing SP Curt Schilling who was out for the whole year and then lost 3B and 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell to a torn labrum in his hip during the post season. For the Rays, they have gone through two rounds of the playoffs without their closer, Troy Percival, which is probably a bigger loss than the Red Sox seeing that they won 95 games without Schilling and even more than the loss of Lowell, too.

Taking a look back at game 6, Beckett vs. Shields, the Red Sox won 4-2. They have got to stop calling Shields “Big Game” until he wins some big games. H went 0-2 in his two big games pitched in the ALCS. In game 1 he lost to Matsuzaka and he lost game 6 to Beckett who wasn’t even his usual post-season dominant self. Beckett did; however, pitch like a veteran. He didn’t have his best stuff, probably due to some injury (oblique or otherwise) and he knew better than to try to overpower hitters. He has learned how to pitch rather than just throw, which relies on having excellant stuff.

Game 7 was a 3-1 victory by the Rays in which both starting pitchers pitched well. One, Matt Garza, just pitched better than the other , Jon Lester who had  a no hitter going for the first 3 innings. The Rays just out played the Red Sox! Even the Red Sox players have admitted this much. They did so on the mound, the basepaths and at the plate. You just gotta like this Rays team. They’ve got spirit and they have a great manager, unorthodox at times, but effective, especially given the make up of his team.

I guess 9 really does equal  8 and it must also equal 2.

This ought to be a great World Series match up, I just hope that it will be viewed as such and reflects in the ratings.

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