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2008 MLB Playoffs - Championship Series Recaps

An Eastern Best of Seven Awaits: Rays and Phillies Move On



The Tampa Bay Rays deflated the Red Sox like a shotgun to a life raft to claim the AL East title and a trip to the World Series. It wasn’t all cake though. With a 7-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh with two on in Game 5, David Ortiz began one of the greatest comebacks in post season history with a cannonball into the right field seats at Fenway. The Red Sox went on to win Games 5 and 6, forcing a Game 7 showdown which the Rays eked out to take the American League pennant. The series moved from an easy walk-over for the Rays, to a battle between shoe and gum trying to shake off the relentless Red Sox. The Rays’ hitting throughout the series reeked havoc on the Red Sox pitching staff, and the defending champs went down for good on a ground ball to Rays’ second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who tagged second base, pocketed the ball and ran to join the pile of Rays at the pitcher’s mound. The doubters have been heckling Tampa all season, and the reward for the Rays is not only that they are going to be a part of the Fall Classic, but the fact that they are now the favorite to win it all.

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Just up the coast to the north, the Phillies have been resting and awaiting the winner of the ALCS after making quick disposal of the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. Five games is all it took for the Phillies to advance to the Series for the first time since 1993. Great hitting silenced the Dodgers' shallow pitching rotation quickly, and the 24 runs scored against Los Angles’ 21 seems closer than what the games showed throughout the series. Philadelphia assured that they weren’t going to be eliminated two years in a row. Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell each sprayed six hits—something they didn’t do last year against the Rockies, and Shane Victorino knocked in 6 runs. On the other side of the ball, Cole Hamels retired 13 Dodger sluggers on strikes in 14 innings and only allowed three runs. How about a Nobel Prize for that masterpiece?

Game One of the 2008 World Series will feature Hamels (14-10; 3.09 ERA) for the Phillies against Scott Kazmir (12-8; 3.49 ERA) of the Rays. The pitching match-up will be complemented with two offenses that are capable of timely hitting and scoring runs. Look for both offenses playing aggressively to gain the momentum to take this game.

 

 

 

By Tim Gaffney
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer

 

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