What’s another couple nights when you’ve waited 28 years?
That’s what Phillies fans had to be thinking as they watched their team win the World Series last night, completing the suspended Game 5 by outlasting the tough Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, and capping off another memorable October.
Here are my final, or should I say Phinal, thoughts:
* The hallmark of this Philadelphia team has to be its resilience, and they showed it right away, getting the go-ahead run in the sixth, answering right back after Rocco Baldelli’s game-tying homer, and leaving it up to Brad Lidge, who has been spectacular all year.
* Can’t say enough about Cole Hamels, a deserving Series MVP. He didn’t get the win in Game 5, but four wins in one postseason is fantastic, and he set the tone for the whole Fall Classic with his pitching in Game 1.
* The Rays are a scary-good team when you consider that most of these guys were in their first October and a lot of the talent in the organization hasn’t even made it to the Major Leagues yet. Boston and the Yankees have a lot to worry about in 2009 and beyond.
Well, that’s it for me. Thanks for participating in my blog throughout October.
I’m going to take a little time off before I start thinking about baseball again.
After all, the Winter Meetings are in less than two months …
I know we’ve all been saying all along that October never fails to bring things we don’t expect. Well, last night’s Game 5 was a new one for everyone involved.
For the first time in history, a World Series game was suspended, and you have to wonder how the Phillies and Rays feel about it considering where things stand.
Things were looking great for Philly early, with Cole Hamels dealing as usual and Shane Victorino’s first-inning single giving the home team a lead it didn’t look like it would give up:
But the Rays aren’t ready to give up and want to win a game away from home to extend the Series, even if it might take them two days to win that game. They clawed back against Hamels, got a gutsy start from Scott Kazmir, and tied the game up right here:
So now we’ve got at least three more innings of Game 5 at some point, and that’s about all we can figure out at this point.
What time will the game start?
Can the Rays win and take this Fall Classic back to Florida?
The fun part is watching to see what happens.
The Phillies dominated the Rays in Game 4 on Sunday night, and they’ve the huge World Series lead and all the momentum on their side with their best starting pitcher, Cole Hamels, all lined up for what Phillie fans hope will be a home clincher on Monday.
Hard to name the biggest moment for the Phillies on Sunday, so here’s two:
And here’s a third:
There was one more home run by Jayson Werth, but the way the Phillies pitched it didn’t matter at that point.
The bottom line is that the Rays have gotten absolutely nothing in this Series from Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria, and if those two don’t start hitting against Hamels, it’s over.
Then again, the Phillies have three wins, not four, so, as we all know, it’s not over yet. It isn’t over in October until the final out.
Can the Rays come back? Let me hear your thoughts.
Finally … the World Series!
And this one was a perfect way to get it started. Nine tight, tense innings of October baseball, with pitching, key defensive plays and a few big hits giving the Phillies all they needed to take a 1-0 lead over the Rays. Here are some of my thoughts:
Cole Hamels keeps getting it done, and he didn’t only do it with his pitching, which was obviously spectacular. This pickoff of Carlos Pena stopped some Tampa Bay momentum, which is a big deal in Tropicana Field.
Chase Utley let Scott Kazmir and the baseball world know right away that the Phillies would not let a lot of rest between series cool them off. His huge two-run homer came on an impressive swing against a left-hander and took the crowd out of the game for a while.
What more can be said about Brad Lidge? The guy is looking positively Mariano Rivera-like in his quick ninth innings. Wednesday was no exception.
What do you expect Thursday night from James Shields and Brett Myers? Will the Phillies sweep? I want to hear your thoughts on Game 1 and beyond.
For the first time in 15 years, the Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series, and if you don’t believe it, watch this:
When Carlos Ruiz squeezed that final out in Dodger Stadium last night, the Phils had beaten the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 5, and locked up the National League pennant for the first time since 1993, when they lost a true Fall Classic to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Whoever the Phillies end up playing will have a lot to deal with: Jimmy Rollins showed how dangerous he can be last night, setting the tone for Game 5 with a leadoff homer.
And with NL Championship Series MVP Cole Hamels set to start Game 1 of the World Series, the American League team will have its hands full right away, just like the Dodgers did Wednesday night.
Then there’s the Phillies offense, with table-setters Rollins and Shane Victorino and the heart of the powerful order, with Chase Utley, Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard. Oh, and then there’s Brad Lidge, the closer who hasn’t blown a save all year.
In other words, a lot to think about for the AL manager once he gets his team to where the Phillies are right now.
How do you think the Phillies stack up against the Rays or Red Sox? And will the Rays wrap it up tonight in Boston?
Three Division Series Game 1s yesterday and already more than a few surprises. And isn’t that typical of October?
Let’s go game by game.
PHILLIES 3, BREWERS 1
It isn’t surprising that Cole Hamels dealt the way he did, but the Brewers, particularly Yovani Gallardo, showed a lot of poise for a young team that has practically no postseason experience to speak of. If the Brew Crew can clean up a few mistakes, this might become a very competitive series very quickly — especially when CC gets his say. Here’s Chase Utley’s big hit in the third inning.
DODGERS 7, CUBS 2
Now I didn’t expect this one. Who would have thought the best team in the National League would go down at home in Game 1 in the 100th anniversary year of their last World Series title? But James Loney had the big hit, the grand slam in the fifth inning, Manny and Russell Martin homered later, and that was all she wrote. The Cubs will have to regroup in a hurry tonight, but their big horse, the Big Z, is on the hill, so Cubs Nation has to be feeling good about that.
RED SOX 4, ANGELS 1
The Angels had the best record in all of baseball this year and were at home with their ace, John Lackey, in Game 1, but the same old same old happened again — the Red Sox beat them in October. This time it was lefty Jon Lester giving the Angels hitters fits and the newest member of the defending world champs’ outfield doing most of the damage.
Almost too much to blog about, but I want to hear your thoughts. What was the best moment of the first day of October baseball in 2008?
And what’s going to happen tonight as the Rays-White Sox series starts and two other series continue?
Let me know.