World Series game five: Rays at Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies go into Monday night's game knowing that it is theirs to lose in their bid to become 2008 World Series champions.
As the Phillies surged ahead early in game four behind a solid outing from Joe Blanton it seemed that the World Series that nobody had wanted was destined to be the World Series that everyone will soon forget. The Phillies dismantled Andy Sonnanstine firstly, then also hammered the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen, as they ran out 10-2 winners.
The win means that Philadelphia are now one game away from winning just the second World Championship in their long and in illustrious existence and if Cole Hamels does what he has been doing throughout the post-season in game five then surely the Rays will be powerless to stop them.
Hamels has been pitching like an experienced superstar all through the play-offs. The big lefty won game one in Tampa Bay and now he has the opportunity to win game five and the World Series. It is hard to bet against him as his range of pitches makes him near impossible to hit for left handed batters and only slightly more easy for righties. A win would pretty much guarantee Hamels the World Series MVP, to go alongside his NLDS MVP.
He again faces Scott Kazmir and the Rays will be desperate for him to produce his very best. He gave a solid outing in the first game of the series and ultimately lost due to a lack of run support (a common problem for the Rays so far in the World Series). It will be a tough ask for the young lefty but he does have the ability for it.
It looks very tough to back anyone other than the Phillies in this game. They have home-field advantage along with a pitcher on top of his game and even superstar slugger Ryan Howard seems to have arrived to join in the party. The key for the Rays is to get on to Cole Hamels early but this may prove to be a step too far for the developing franchise.