The 2008 World Series started unfavorably for our Tampa Bay Rays, but has now been evened up. The series is tied at one as it heads north to Philadelphia. It was very refreshing to see the Rays come back, just as they did against the Red Sox, and avenge a game one home loss to make things easier on themselves.
Game one of this World Series was started by the Rays’ Scott Kazmir and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels. Kazmir was quickly tagged in the first inning by a two run home run from Chase Utley. This sent the Rays to the plate in a manner in which they are accustomed: down. They were dominated, with the exception of a Carl Crawford home run and a two out RBI from Akinori Iwamura. Hamels brought his Agame, but while Kazmir pitched well and the bullpen held down the fort, the Phillies never surrendered their early lead. Brad Lidge made a save against the 345 hitters look like a Class A rehab stint. They held on to defeat the Rays 32 and steal a big road game at Tropicana Field.
Game two, meanwhile, would be a very different story. James Shields took the ball against Brett Myers. Almost everyone expected this one to go the Rays’ way and tie the series. From the first inning on, this sentiment proved accurate. Tampa Bay took its turn at attacking in the first inning, going up 20 on a walk, a single and a critical onebase error that allowed the next two groundouts to score runs. There you have it, Phillies fans: Blame Jayson Werth for bobbling the ball. They would manufacture two more runs to go up 40. The Rays actually caught a huge umpiring break from Kerwin Danley when he allowed Rocco Baldelli to walk rather than striking out on a check swing. He would later score. Big Game James left surprisingly early, after 5.2 shutout innings, but he certainly did his job in keeping his team ahead. Dan Wheeler came in and scared me before escaping a sixth inning jam without a run scoring on his way to one full scoreless inning. After he struck out Werth with a runner on base, Joe Maddon boldly and wisely summoned David Price in for the long haul. He escaped that jam with the 40 lead. He gave up a home run to, of all people, extremely lighthitting Eric Bruntlett, then a ninth inning run on an error by Evan Longoria. (Sidenote: What is it with all the infield errors lately? What are they, the Bad News Rays?) However, Price struck out Chase Utley on three sliders, then induced a Ryan Howard groundout to end the game. The Rays won their first World Series game, 42, and tied the series.
Game three will feature a battle of opposites as Matt Garza faces Jamie Moyer. Garza = Young hardthrowing right hander. Moyer = 45yearold soft left hander. By the way, the first game drew a 9.2 broadcast rating on FOX, winning the night against stiff competition. Who says the Rays can’t draw? Everyone? Well, as Lewis Black says, “Once again, the masses are wrong.” So until next time, go ratings winning Rays.