Philadelphia is One Win Away from Baseball Euphoria!

After this weekend the Phillies have taken a commanding 3 games to 1 lead over the Rays going into tonight’s game at home at Citizen’s Bank Park.

In game 3, the Phillies 45 year old starter Jamie Moyer pitched better than anyone thought was possible against the Rays Matt Garza (MVP of the ALCS). He pitched 6.1 innings and allowed only 3 runs in a 5-4 9th inning win by the Phillies.

This one wasn’t pretty as each team had late inning errors and bad calls by the umpires once again. This time it was on a bang bang play at 1B where the nearly 46 year old pitcher dove and flipped the ball to Howard at 1B who caught it barehanded before the runner’s foot hit the bag. At least that”s what the replay clearly showed. By the way, kudos goes out to FOX for their new picture in picture instant replay that showed this call as an error in a freeze frame. This runner came around to score the game tying run at 4 all in the top of the 8th.

In the bottom of the 9th, you saw defensive replacement for LF Pat Burrell, Eric Bruntlett get hit by a pitch, then with the Flyin’ Hawaiian, CF Shane Victorino at bat looking to bunt the runner along only to see the new pitcher Grant Balfour throw a wild pitch inside that almost hits the Hawaiian. Bruntlett scampers to second and then to third on an errant throw by Navarro (Rays catcher) that landed in CF. Victorino is then walked as was pinch hitter Dobbs who hot for 3B Feliz. Then with the bases loaded and no on out, up stepped hot hitting Phillies catcher, Carlos Ruiz. Rays manager Joe Maddon then brings in RF Ben Zobrist (the Rays SS a year ago who became a super utility man in 2008) to play as a 5th infielder directly behind the 2B bag. When play resumes, Ruiz hits a slow chopper half way down 3B that Longoria barehanded, but has no chance to get Bruntlett who scored from 3B. What a finish and a bold and correct move by losing manager Joe Maddon none-the-less.

Game 4 is the only blowout of this series as the Phillies won 10-2. The Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine was just a little off his game, but the Phillies bats came alive with a thunderous series of blasts off the bats of Howard (2), Werth and Blanton (yes, the Phillies starting pitcher). This was Blanton’s first career HR and the first by a pitcher in the World Series since Ken Holtzman of the A’s hit one in 1974. He hit it off of Edwin Jackson who came in after Sonnanstine.

The Rays just haven’t played up to the hype they built for themselves this magical year. BJ Upton has cooled off and their pitching hasn’t been as effective as it was in the LDS or the LCS. Not to mention that the biggest part of the Rays offense, their number 3 and 4 hitters, 1B Carlos Pena and 3B Evan Longoria have yet to get their first hits of the series. At least one of these two has to get hot if they are going to have a chance in beating the determined Phillies. So far, the Rays just haven’t played well enough, all around, to win this series.

Game 5 is tonight in the city of brotherly love and if the Phillies win, it will be their first World Series victory since 1980 and I believe, only the third such victory in franchise history. The match up is a repeat of game 1 between the Rays Scott Kazmir who pitched well, going up against the Phillies Ace of their staff, Cole Hamels. Hamels is 4-0 in the playoffs this year and the Phillies have not lost at home this post season. This may be all she wrote as the fat lady get’s ready to possibly sing tonight in Philadelphia.

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