Let’s regain focus. The remainder of Game Five is upon us, and it provides wonderful opportunity for all sports fans to get a glimpse of the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies. Call it the “World Series: Cliffs Notes Edition,” if you will.
Featured in today’s game will be the “Battle of the Bullpens.” There are no dominant starters to set the tone. The Rays will be up against the best bullpen in the National League, so from the start, they will be at a disadvantage.
Also working against the Rays is the amount of at-bats they have left. While the Rays have nine remaining, the Phils will have 12 more chances at the plate.
Cole Hamels can't work his magic on the mound and must wait to see if he will be the first to win five games in five postseason opportunities.
Although this situation is a mess, many positives may come out of it.
This is a learning experience. The Boys of Summer and their game are not designed for fall. Imagine, next year, it’s possible for the World Series to be played all the way up to November. Can baseball handle the possibilities?
Another bonus is that people who are resistant to sitting through nine innings get a taste of the game. The chief complaint I hear from non-baseball fans is that baseball takes too long and there’s not enough action. Tonight’s game will be exciting, as it is do-or-die for the Rays—and even for the Phillies, who would prefer to close the series out at home.
Also with the three-and-a-half-inning game, fans will witness the character that both teams possess. Both teams are outwardly expressive, and with the pressure facing them, clutch players will have their moments. Will we see Longoria and Upton break out? Will Victorino or Stairs grace Citizens Bank Park with mammoth home runs? Will Pat Burrell finally get a hit for the Phillies?
More importantly, the bullpens will be featured. There are many unsung heroes camouflaged by the shining stars of the starting pitchers. Rays’ pitcher David Price is an exciting player who recently gained a buzz around the league because of his postseason performance. Ryan Madson, the inconspicuously menacing right-hander, has been overshadowed by the flawlessness of Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge. Tonight, it’s all hands on deck, and the flame-throwers will be the headliners.
Game Five of the World Series will be one that few will forget. Look for bats to awaken, the defense to sparkle, and the bullpens ready to charge—all in freezing temperatures.
10 games down, one to go.