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.
If the cover of Tropicana Field were ever to come off its hinges, it would have happened last night when the Tampa Bay Rays finally knocked off the defending champion Red Sox in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series. Have you ever heard that place that loud? Unreal. What a series. From the epic back-and-forth, five-hours-plus Game 2 to the sick comeback by the Sox in Game 5 to the nail-biter of a Game 7 pitchers’ duel with Matt Garza outpitching Jon Lester and rookie David Price closing it out, there was something for everyone.
And now the Rays go from worst to first to the World Series, with the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies heading to St. Pete for a Wednesday night Game 1 date.
Before we get those blog posts started, here’s a quick rundown of Game 7:
* I wonder how many Boston fans thought it was going to be a rout when they saw my AL MVP this year, Dustin Pedroia, do this to Garza in the first inning:
* I wonder how many Rays fans, including Dick Vitale, breathed a huge sigh of relief when they saw Evan Longoria tie it up:
* And what about Willy Aybar? Seriously … the dude has been raking all October, bringing to mind countless unsung heroes that spring to life at the right time of year.
* Two words. David. Price.
So … let’s get the World Series started already!
Give me your picks and let’s get some discussions going. Only two more days until showtime!
The Red Sox just won’t go away, and their heart, character and ability — not to mention the very good Tampa Bay Rays — is making this American League Championship Series one of the best ever. Saturday night’s Game 6 was tense and tight, with long balls providing the bulk of the scoring and Red Sox starter Josh Beckett doing just enough to get to his dominant bullpen in Boston’s 4-2 win that forces tonight’s winner-take-all Game 7.
Here are a few blog-servations:
* The Rays’ bullpen needs a big rebound, but if starter Matt Garza can tap into the talent that makes him almost unhittable from time to time, the Rays won’t need the bullpen at all.
* Kevin Youkilis is starting to look like he did in the 2007 postseason. Even when he makes an out, which is rare these days, the ball is usually crushed. Expect big things from him in Game 7.
* Jason Varitek might have finally gotten into a groove with that home run, but more important for the Sox is the fact that David Ortiz looks like his swing is back. I’m still waiting for that magic Big Papi moment.
* Regardless of what happens in Game 7, we’ve got ourselves a heck of an American League East rivalry for years to come. Win or lose, the Rays have more than proved they’re for real.
What are your thoughts about Game 7 and beyond? Does the AL have what it takes to beat the Phillies in the World Series?
Two games Monday night and two statements made by the visiting teams, who now lead the Championship Series (the Phillies are up 3-1 on the Dodgers and the Rays are up 2-1 on the Red Sox). Here are some thoughts:
PHILLIES 7, DODGERS 5
It amazes me how the Phillies keep getting the job done without Ryan Howard as their main run-producing source throughout the postseason. Last night the pitching was good enough, but the power game made Dodger Stadium look like Citizens Bank Park. That huge eighth-inning rally with the line-drive, game-tying homer by Shane Victorino and that absolute monster of a game-winner by Matt Stairs showed that this team can almost taste the World Series. A different guy gets it done for them every night.
You can’t take anything away from Manny Ramirez, though. What an October he’s having. It leads me to believe that the Dodgers might have a serious interest in re-signing him, and why not? He might not have had a happy ending in Boston, but it seems like he really fits the Dodgers well and his teammates like playing with him.
RAYS 9, RED SOX 1
The Rays continue to impress me and just about everybody else who didn’t think they’d do much of anything in the American League East this year. Not only did they make their first postseason game in Fenway Park a laugher from the start, but good signs continue to pop up for this club, like B.J. Upton hitting everything in sight out of the ballpark and Matt Garza channeling his emotion in a dominant pitching performance that gave his bullpen some much-needed rest.
Everyone knows it would be silly to count out the Red Sox. They came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians in last year’s AL Championship Series and they’ve got the knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, going tonight. He’s tortured Tampa Bay throughout his career.
Let’s hear your predictions and thoughts about tonight, the LCS play moving forward, and how the World Series might set up.
The Dodgers needed to win Sunday’s game in a huge way in their return to Chavez Ravine, and they showed some serious passion and power to get it done and cut the Phillies’ National League Championship Series lead to 2-1. Here are some random thoughts on Game 3:
DODGERS 7, PHILLIES 2
Blake DeWitt’s been a surprising key for the Dodgers at various times this year, and his first hit of the series was the triple that broke it open right away. He has a big-time future but seems comfortable in the here and now.
Hiroki Kuroda might not speak English very well, but he speaks the language of the unwritten code of baseball just fine, apparently. Just ask Shane Victorino.
The importance of a healthy Rafael Furcal can’t be underestimated for this team. If he can continue what he did Sunday at the top of the Dodgers’ order, the boys in blue could run the table in this series.
Today’s a big day, with Derek Lowe pitching on three days of rest for the Dodgers in Game 4 tonight, and Game 3 of the American League Series in the Fenway Park shadows, with Matt Garza pitching for the Rays against Jon Lester of the Red Sox.
How’s everything going to shake down today?
I want your predictions.
I hope you all stayed up late to watch that epic game between the Red Sox and Angels. L.A. finally showed why they had the best record in baseball, breaking their winless streak against the Sox and getting one more shot in Fenway Park as they try to take that American League Division Series back to Anaheim.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day the White Sox did the same thing in their home park. Here’s a quick recap:
WHITE SOX 5, RAYS 3
Rays starter Matt Garza is young, talented and very emotional, and we saw that yesterday. We also saw that the White Sox are no joke. This is a team that won it all only three years ago and a team that’s always tough to beat at home. Monday’s game brings a lot of intrigue, as the Rays need to show they can win on the road when it counts. We all know how good they are at the Trop, but can they bring it at the Cell? And the White Sox, well, they’re just trying to stay alive. And they’re good at that.
ANGELS 5, RED SOX 4 (12)
Wow. What else can you say? There was so much going on that you could write a whole blog about this game alone. This series just got a lot more interesting, too. The Red Sox look banged up, with J.D. Drew, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell all playing hurt, but that 2-1 series lead and another game at Fenway make them seem a lot healthier in a hurry. The Angels just want to win one and get another shot at home. A rested and revenge-minded John Lackey should help.
How are your predictions turning out? What will the AL Championship Series look like?
Tell me what you think.