Game Two of the World Series was not pretty for the Philadelphia Phillies. The underdogs showed the world what happens when one of the cogs in the machine needs some adjustment.
The frowzy offense failed to challenge formidable Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields, who made the Phillies look like a defeated team after squandering chances in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th inning. Each inning found the Phillies with a runner on third with just one out and ended with no success.
A bright spot in the cloud of underachievement was Ryan Howard’s momentary at-bat clarity. His first at-bat birthed a double. In his second time up, he hit a single. Following the two hits, Howard couldn’t produce.
Going 2-for-5 is a good sign that the big guy is starting to come around at the plate.
Also at the plate was home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley, who played a more visible part in the game than an umpire should. His first questionable move happened in the second inning when, on a 3-2 count to Rocco Baldelli, he raised his arm as if he were to call the hitter out on strikes, then motioned to the first base umpire for assistance.
His initial motion clearly looked as if he was calling a strike three. Aside from that, Baldelli did not check his swing. This error contributed to a run being scored later in the inning.
Apparently, getting hit by a pitch is determined by the sound and not by the visual. In the ninth inning, Danley botched another call by saying he did not hear the ball skim Jimmy Rollins’ jersey. Replays showed the ball tag Rollins on his left side, but he did not get the call.
The missed calls may have been a game-changing. The “what if’s” may be frustrating, but it’s part of the game.
Fortunately, the World Series moves to Philadelphia on Saturday, weather permitting.
Overshadowed by the Phillies’ offensive woes was Brett Myers. The explosive pitcher pitched seven innings, giving up three earned runs on two hits.
With today’s off day, fans should prepare themselves for a cowbell-free three games filled with rally towels and a vocal crowd—the perfect home for the passionate Phillies.
Cinderella versus the Underdogs will continue on Saturday with Matt Garza on the mound for the Rays against the Phillies’ Moyer.
Eight games down, three to go.
Non-baseball Baseball Notes
Red in a sea of blue: It was great seeing the number of Phillies fans at Tampa Bay. I’m not going to lie, I was also a bit jealous.
The underdog: The Rays are favored in the series. I know they’re the Cinderella team, the season-long underdogs, but isn’t it time for them to shed that title? I believe it is; the Phils are this series’ underdog, thanks.