Major League Baseball has once again brought us another exciting World Series between two teams that were not expected to be making an appearance in this year’s championship. The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the most exciting stories to follow this year as they went from being one of the worst teams in the Majors to making it all the way to the World Series. Through a nice core of young players and a solid pitching staff, they were able to beat out the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees to claim the American League East title. On the other hand, the Philadelphia Phillies have been knocking at the door of success for a number of years, but have come up short many times. These two teams are both exciting teams to watch and they have already begun to square off against each other in baseball’s biggest series.
I will start out with the Phillies. Their lineup revolves around three of their big name players, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard. Howard and Rollins have each won Most Valuable Player awards in recent years, and are a big reason why the team is where they are. Utley on the other hand, is one of those guys who can do it all, he plays solid defense and he can get on base in front of Howard which lets him get many runs. The rest of the lineup is no walk in the park as it includes Shane Victorino, who has been tearing it up in the playoffs, and Pat Burrell, who is solid all around. Their pitching staff is led by their ace Cole Hamels. Their ace has been lights out for the majority of the playoffs as they were hoping he would be. The pitchers behind Hamels are very questionable, it starts with the inconsistent Brett Myers and ends with the fossil Jamie Moyer. I guess it is not always a terrible thing to throw out a guy like Myers out in one game, then come back the next with Moyer, who has much less velocity and confuses the batters. At the end of the game, the Phillies know they can count on their closer Brad Lidge as he finished the regular season without blowing a save, which is a very impressive feat.
Now onto the Rays, this team has been one of the best stories in recent sports history. In one of the toughest divisions, they were able to stick it out and win it against the powerhouse Red Sox and Yankees. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles was no walk in the park either for the majority of the season, but the Rays managed to hold on and claim division title. This team is led by two young players in BJ Upton and Evan Longoria. These two absolutely tore apart the Red Sox in the playoffs crushing home runs left and right. The batters in the lineup are extremely fun to watch as many of them do the little things such as sacrifice and steal bases to beat their opponents. Their pitching staff has been a big surprise this season as it basically includes a bunch of average pitchers who all improved over the season. Scott Kazmir has been their ace but even he has struggled throughout the regular season and playoffs as he tries to regain his dominant form. The Rays have hoisted the load on the backs of James Shields and former Minnesota Twin Matt Garza for much of these playoffs, and the two have come through for the team. So with a small ball mentality and a group of players that can come through in the clutch, this young team has shocked the sports world and has made it to the World Series.
A rain delay has postponed the finish to an exciting World Series, and with the Phillies leading three games to one, it will be interesting to see if the Rays can regain the magic and finish their season with a championship. However, many factors go into having a few extra days off, both team’s pitchers get extra rest and should be able to pitch if needed, batters can be thrown off, or regain form from the rest that they have received. This all adds to the excitement and it is shaping out to be a memorable World Series.