The Tampa Bay Rays have won all season on good pitching and solid defense, mixed with speed and timely hitting. They got that for the most part in game 3, however, when they needed it most, the bullpen and defense didn’t come through. Howell hitting the lead off hitter in the 9th was a sign of things to come. Wild pitch by Balfour, throwing error by Navarro and over anxious play by Longoria gave Philly the game, just as Tampa was gaining the momentum back from the home town team.
Garza pitched a decent game in my opinion, considering he was on the road, and had an hour and half delay. Obviously Moyer’s experience helped him be better prepared for the delay. That said, if the wind had been blowing in from right field instead of left, the outcome would most likely have been different. How Longoria’s blast to left didn’t get out, even with the wind, is still a mystery to me.
If Tampa is going to climb back in game 4, Pena and Longoria must find their swing and start putting the ball into play at least. The Rays can’t keep relying on “small ball” and ground ball outs if they want to win the World Series. The good news is that Tampa has faced Blanton earlier in the season, a game against the A’s, in which Longoria had a good game, winning it with a homer in extra innings. Tampa was able to get 6 hits and 4 earned runs against Blanton in 6 innings, so hopefully that experience and scouting report will aid them in game 4.