There’s been a lot of talk about the u30ws, a.k.a. the Under-30 World Series, because 24 players in this Fall Classic are under the age of 30 — and because a new breed of young fans who weren’t even alive when the Phillies last won the World Series (1980) are pumped up about the new team from Philadephia and the upstart Tampa Bay Rays.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the key players in Tampa Bay’s 4-2 win in Game 2 that knotted this World Series with the Phillies at a game apiece were all about u30ws, from Rays starter “Big Game” James Shields to 23-year-old reliever David Price to 20-something RBI men Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Jason Bartlett.
Shields put a stop to the momentum the Phillies gained in their road win in Game 1, killing rally after rally with big outs like this one:
Upton didn’t have to hit a homer on this night – he set up the big two-run first inning right here:
And Price bent a little but didn’t break, going more than two innings to close out the first World Series win in Tampa Bay history:
The u30ws hits the road tomorrow, so we can get a little bit of rest before Game 3 — American League Championship Series MVP Matt Garza takes the hill against crafty vet Jamie Moyer — at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night.
Let’s get some serious conversation going before then.
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.
Sometimes not much needs to be said to describe incredible, almost miraculous moments. Here’s one you might have seen, oh, early this morning:
Not since 1929 has a team been seven or more runs down in a postseason game and still rallied to win. But we shouldn’t be surprised by the Boston Red Sox anymore, should we? Many of these players were on the 2004 team that was down 3-0 to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series and won. Many of these players were on last year’s team that was down 3-1 to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS and won. Terry Francona managed all three clubs. There’s history there. And heart, which is the most important thing of all.
I’m not sure what the day off does to the surging Red Sox, who have the momentum, or the dazed Rays, who have to be devastated that they couldn’t close out a game in which they had a 7-0 lead in the seventh inning with one of the best bullpens in the game all lined up. We’ll see what these young guys are made of.
Will Joe Maddon’s strategy of pitching Scott Kazmir on Thursday and having James Shields ready for a possible — and now definite — Game 6 back at Tropicana Field pay off?
Will the Red Sox defy the odds yet again and win two in a row on the road to make it to their second straight World Series?
Let’s hear your predictions.