World Series: Phillies V. Rays Preview
ST. PETERSBURG- The Phillies arrived in St. Petersburg, Florida on Monday morning to prepare for their first World Series in 15 years. The Phillies are set to have a 6:00 PM workout and Charlie Manuel and the players have agreed to speak with the media immediately following the workout. (I will have more on that as soon as soon as they speak.)
One of the pressing questions is who will the Phils use as their DH? The first name that comes to mind is Greg Dobbs. He was the big league's best pinch-hitter for the entire season but is the weaker defensive third baseman. Assuming Dobbs is the DH here is a breakdown of the Phil's potential line-up:
1. Jimmy Rollins- J-Roll is the Phils catalyst. A stat that was presented to me by Comcast SportsnetMitch Williams read something like: the Phillies have only lost seven games that J-Roll has scored. I cannot recall the exact number but it was something extraordinary like that. J-Roll hit lead-off homeruns in both of the Phils playoff clinchers. The bottom line: If J-Roll hits and does his thing on base the Phil's should be fine otherwise it will be hard to pick up his lack of production.
2. Shane Victorino- Though Victorino has only hit .188 through the NLCS his hits have come at clutch times. Charlie has managed his spot in the line-up perfectly, flip-flopping Victorino and Werth. He has really picked up the lack of production from other areas, making himself a front-runner for the NLCS MVP (He lost to Hamels.) The bottom line: If Victorino plays the way he has through the playoffs this far he should be fine.
3. Chase Utley- Utley was a guy who really struggled last post-season. He picked it up a little this year but there is so much room for improvement in his post-season game. The bottom line: When Utley hits he makes such an impact on the team. He is such an important and scary bat in the line-up. Hopefully he can turn it on in the WS.
4. Ryan Howard- When the big man hits he gets Utley better pitch selection. His season this year was frowned upon most of the year because of a low average. However he hit 45 homers and knocked in over 140 RBIs. If he can keep this up in the post-season he could be the difference.
5. Pat Burrell- Joe Maddon will likely take the safe approach and walk Howard every chance he gets. This makes Pat the Bat huge. He needs not only RBIs but just to get on base and not make an out. I'll also have an update on whether he will be Charlie Manuel's DH. The bottom line: It will either be Werth or Victorino (both clutch) behind him so he isn't the only RBI producer in the line-up. He needs to realize that and be sure to avoid an out anyway he can.
6. Jayson Werth- Werth has been a pleasant surprise this year. He is a solid player and a terrific two strike hitter. What you saw in the playoffs is pretty much what you get from Jay. The bottom line: Werth can be a solid player and a second lead-off hitter in the bottom of the line-up.
7. Greg Dobbs- Dobbs is the most likely DH so I've penciled him into my line-up. Dobbs' teammates call him the natural because of his natural ability to hit. He never fails to disappoint and rarely has an 0 for. The Bottom Line: The ability to have both Dobbs and Feliz in your road line-up is huge. Expect Dobbs to show up to play.
8. Pedro Feliz- The better defensive third baseman feliz can still provide a little pop in the bottom of the line-up. The bottom line: don't expect much offensively but he certsinly has the potential to play long-ball.
9. Carlos Ruiz- Ruiz has been a guy who has been a big reason Brad Lidge was 41 for 41 this season. His ability to block Lidge's slider has given him all of the confidence in the world to throw it. His bat did not make headlines this year but in the post-season has really slipped through the cracks. The bottom line: Ruiz has been a post-season stud (no that's not a typo) Keep it up Carlos!
The manager- Charlie Manuel has been a huge reason the Phillies are where they are right now. Kudos to Charlie, and condolences on the passing of his mother.
As far as predictions go mine is Phillies in 6. They have a potent offence, terrific pitching and the experience it takes. Don't get me wrong the Rays look great but they have had no time to rest and have been thrown right into the fire against the steam rollin' Phillies.
Hope you have enjoyed my Line-up breakdown stay tuned tomorrow for a breakdown of the Phillies and Ray's pitching.
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