Phillies-Rays Breakdown

The Phillies will begin play against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. Let's break down how these two teams stack up in some key areas--


Both of these teams feature very good offenses, which rely heavily on the home run ball to generate runs. The Rays have been smashing the ball this postseason, especially in their series against the Red Sox. The Rays hit 17 home runs in that series, an ALCS record. With guys like B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and Phillie killer Cliff Floyd, the Rays are not going to be an easy offense to contend with. The Phillies also have speed at the top of the order, and power in the middle. We still have really yet to see Rollins, Utley, and Howard all play well offensively at the same time this postseason. We expect Shane Victorino to bat 2nd most of the series, and Greg Dobbs to be the extra man in the order. The Phillies will need to find a way to keep getting big hits in big moments to win this series.
Advantage: PUSH


The Rays come into the series with 4 good starting pitchers. The Phillies feature probably the best starting pitcher in the series in Cole Hamels, and then a lot of question marks. Brett Myers has been solid late in the season, but struggles on the road, where he will be the Game 2 starter. Jaime Moyer has looked awful in his 2 postseason starts, and while Joe Blanton has still yet to lose a game as a Phillie, he isn't anything more than a slightly above average pitcher. It looks like the Phillies will go with their 4-man rotation that they have used so far in the playoffs in both previous rounds. This means that Cole Hamels has to win both games he pitches, and Brett Myers needs to win at least one. It is very important for the Phillies to take the lead early in all of these games, as they are much better when playing from ahead.
Advantage: RAYS


The Phillies bullpen is probably a little deeper, with guys such as Romero, Madson, Durbin, and Eyre, any of which can come into a critical situation and get a big out. Everyone knows the numbers on Lidge, and what you will get when he comes into the game, that goes without saying. The Rays, however, have three left-handers in their bullpen, which will help them in a series against a team that struggles against left-handed pitching. One of those left-handers the Rays have is David Price, the former #1 overall pick last season. The less we see of David Price, the better for the Phillies.
Advantage: PHILLIES

The matchups appear to be fairly even, and again it will come down to who makes the critical plays at the big moments.

On a side note, Philly’s own, Jayson Stark is the man.

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