World Series Games 3, 4, and 5October 28, 2008 at 12:52 am | Posted in Baseball, Rays, World Series | 2 Comments
So here it is Monday night and I haven’t posted anything since late Thursday night. I’ve been busy, but the reality is that I haven’t wanted to write any recap posts because I wanted to forget about the last couple of games as soon as they ended. But, in case you were wondering what my thoughts have been, here you go…
- Jamie Moyer pitched a lot better than I thought he would, and Matt Garza was worse than I thought he’d be, but I think that the home plate umpire had a lot to do with it. It was horribly frustrating to watch the umpire, some schmoe named Fieldin Culbreth, call a strike for every Moyer pitch that was anywhere near the strike zone, and then call a ball when Garza would throw a pitch to the exact same location.
- Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria continued to frustrate me. Not only did neither of them have a hit through the first three games of the series, but they both looked totally clueless in their strikeouts. It was clear that the Rays would not be able to win this series unless their #3 and #4 hitters could somehow wake up.
- B.J. Upton was carrying the team on his back. He seemed to be the only player who was playing with any competitive spark. I really wish he could transfer that to his teammates. I’ll always remember how amazing it was when he single-handedly tied the game with his baserunning in the 8th inning. First, he runs out an infield single with his hustle to get on base. Then he steals second. And then he steals third, and winds up scoring on a throwing error on the play! It’s hard to believe that it was only a few months ago that he was benched by Joe Maddon for not hustling!
- My happy memories from the top of the 8th inning were wiped out by the events of the bottom of the 9th. It’s hard to score a run by having to do less than what the Phillies had to do. First, J.P. Howell hits Eric Bruntlett with a pitch to put him on first. Grant Balfour replaces Howell, and he throws a wild pitch, on which Bruntlett advances to second. Dioner Navarro throws the ball into the outfield, moving Bruntlett to third. At this point, there are no outs, and it’s likely only a matter of time before Bruntlett crosses the plate for the winning run. But Joe Maddon goes crazy with some sort of “strategy”. He has the next two hitters intentionally walked to get to Carlos Ruiz, who has been swinging a hot bat. He moves Ben Zobrist from right field to the infield and goes with a five-man infield. That’s OK since any ball hit into the outfield is going to score Bruntlett anyway. But none of that matters when Ruiz hits a grounder to third, and Evan Longoria throws it over Navarro’s head as Bruntlett scores.
- I wanted to strangle Joe Buck to death in the 4th inning. It wasn’t because of his horrible announcing, or because he dislikes baseball, but because he decided to give away the outcome of the Penn State vs. Ohio State football game for no reason. As a huge Penn State fan and alumnus, I had decided earlier in the day to record the football game and watch the baseball game live. The only reason was that on ABC during football games, they show the World Series score on the bottom of the screen. I knew that Fox did not show football scores during its baseball coverage. Anyway, during the rain delay I watched the first half of the football game. It was tied 3-3 going into half time. I couldn’t wait to watch the second half after the end of the baseball game. And then in the 4th inning, out of nowhere, Joe Buck says “well, the football game just ended and Penn State won”. That was all he said. I was obviously happy that Penn State won, but the second half was completely undramatic for me when I watched it. I have no idea why Buck had to give away the result. It was almost like he was intentionally trying to piss me off. And there are a ton of Phillies fans who are also Penn State fans, so he probably pissed off a lot of people.
- Game 4 was an absolute nightmare for me.
- Again, the umpire was horrible at calling balls and strikes. This time it was Tom Hallion. Perfect strikes thrown by Andy Sonnanstine were being called balls. In all seriousness, Sonnanstine’s control is so good that almost any time he walks someone, it’s because of a bad home plate umpire.
- It hurts that it was Joe Blanton who beat the Rays in this game. He really is a horrible pitcher, and the Rays should have beaten him. To top it off, Blanton hits a home run. That was the lowest point of the series so far.
- Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria continued to frustrate me. Not only did neither of them have a hit through the first four games of the series, but they both looked totally clueless in their strikeouts. It was clear that the Rays would not be able to win this series unless their #3 and #4 hitters could somehow wake up. Sound familiar?
- There were very few bright spots for the Rays. Carl Crawford and Eric Hinske (nice to see him back) both hit solo home runs. Sonnanstine, who always hits well in inter-league play, hit a single. That was it.
- I think the weather was a factor in the game. The temperature dipped below 50 degrees, and I know that the Rays are not comfortable playing in that kind of weather. Let’s face it, they play their home games in a dome in Florida. Most of their players were born and raised in warm climates. It had to be tough for them to endure the lopsided score and the cold weather.
- It’s obvious that the Rays aren’t playing with the same passion that they had in the ALCS and for most of the season. Defeating Boston and winning the American League pennant was such a huge accomplishment and such an emotional high. I guess it’s tough to follow that up.
- I’ll admit that I was not excited at all for the start of Game 5. In fact, I dreaded it. I had pretty much given up hope that the Rays could win the series. If they couldn’t beat Jamie Moyer or Joe Blanton, how could they beat Cole Hamels? And it was even colder than the night before. It was only a matter of time before the Phillies would be crowned champions.
- Another game, another horrible umpire behind the plate. This time it’s Jeff Kellogg. He should have stayed in his family’s cereal business instead of becoming an umpire. I understand that every umpire has a different interpretation of the strike zone, but all I ask is that they’re consistent. If two pitchers throw a pitch to the same location, the call should be the same for both of them. But too many times in this series, a pitch that’s a strike for the Phillies pitcher is a ball for the Rays pitcher. It’s awful.
- Holy crap! In the 4th inning, Carlos Pena hits a double (although it looked like Werth could have caught it) and then Evan Longoria drives him in! I had forgotten what it looked like for either of them to be on base.
- I think I fell asleep in the bottom of the 4th inning and slept through the entire 5th inning. It doesn’t look like I missed much. When I woke up, there was a downpour of rain. I’ve never seen a game continue through rain like that. They really should have delayed it earlier than they did. With the temperature in the 40s and the rain coming down, the conditions were horrible for both the players and the fans. But B.J. Upton reaches first on what I thought should have been an error by Jimmy Rollins. Then he runs through the mud to steal second, and ties the game on a single by Carlos Pena. Yes, another hit for Carlos Pena! Now I’m happy that the Rays were able to tie it before they did stop the game in the middle of the 6th.
- So the game will resume tomorrow night in Philly. I have to think that this is a break for the Rays. They were able to come back and tie this game 2-2, and now they have new life. If they can pull out a win in the last three and a half innings tomorrow night, it’s back to St. Pete for the last two games. With the home field advantage in the climate controlled Tropicana Field, and Shields and Garza on the mound, they might be able to win this thing after all…