Surprise team Rays will overpower Phillies in first World Series appearance

Alex Entz/Business Manager
Last Thursday night, Red Sox Nation stood on edge. Seven outs from elimination, the young Rays fireballers trotting out to the mound seemed to promise a short night for the Sox vaunted lineup, still bristling with lumber. The Rays led 7-0 at the time.

The young Rays didn’t listen to the criticism. They didn’t think about the past, and they certainly didn’t understand how the comeback had been drawn up. They came out firing after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning. The Rays prevailed 3-1 and moved on to the World Series, where they’ll face the patient Phillies.

So which team will prevail? The Rays appear to be the team of destiny, especially after they stopped the Red Sox cold.
The Phillies have a power lineup featuring Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth. This lineup provides them the ability to hit lots of home runs in the bandbox that is Citizens Bank Park.

But at Tropicana, it will be a different story; Tropicana is less homer-prone and has a deeper centerfield wall. Will the Phillies be able to score runs? They have a rock solid bullpen, and their rotation has a couple of strong points in Cole Hamels and the surprising Brett Myers, who will probably start game three. Beyond those two, the rotation is weak and vulnerable to the young, fast, homer-prone Rays.

The Rays have a strong rotation, a steady (if young) lineup, and a consistent bullpen—especially now that David Price has revealed himself as a consistent closer. They will take this series: they will be fresh coming off the strenuous series with the Red Sox whereas the Phillies will be too well-rested (re: the Rockies).

The Rays are young, though, and the Phillies are avid winners in Citizens Bank Park. The Rays will take this series in six games. Look for a strong contribution Garza, Kazmir, Longoria and Upton from the Rays. From the Phillies, look for contributions from the usual cast of characters. I believe the Rays will be on top of the sports world in St. Petersburg after six.

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