Well that was exciting. My Evan Longoria stock on oneseason.com is skyrocketing today so i am generally in a good mood. Lets get to the matchups:
Navarro vs. Ruiz: I’ll be honest, i don’t know too much about Ruiz, but i do know that Navarro is both a solid defensive and offensive catcher. He had a few clutch hits in the ALCS and look for him to slow down Shane Victorino a bit. I’m not saying he’ll throw him out but he may have him thinking twice about going.
Pena vs. Howard: This one is pretty evenly matched. Neither one is stellar in the field but is more than capable of coming up with a big homerun at anytime. Pretty much the same player in my mind.
Iwamura vs. Utley: I mean, obviously this one is going to go to Chase Utley b/c he’s pretty much God’s gift to baseball but…it’s a closer matchup than most would be, give iwamura all the credit in the world, he’s a great second basemen with a solid bat. regardless, i cant choose him over utley.
Bartlett vs. Rollins: This is a tough matchup. Usually I would pick Jimmy but he really hasnt been doing much for me lately. The “sure handed” bartlett hasn’t really looked as such either. Each player has kind of been letting me down therefore,
Longoria vs. Feliz/Dobbs: Does it really matter who Evan Longoria is up against? The man is an animal. He is having an unbelievable postseason for a rookie (for anyone, honestly) and look for that dominance to continue in the world series.
Gross/Baldelli vs. Werth: Gross/Baldelli each are mediocre right fielders on good days. They can each hit the ball occasionally, (one of them had a big hit last night, i think it was Baldelli) and each is an average fielder. Werth is solid at the plate, good speed, great fielder.
Upton vs. Victorino: Wow, this is an incredibly even matchup. Each player brings so much to their team. Upton, absolutely punishing the ball lately. Tons of speed, great fielder. Shane Victorino, always on base, always getting big hits, always running around making plays. These two players are huge for both these teams. Whichever player steps up more in this series, their team will probably win the world series.
Crawford vs. Burrell: This is a tough matchup. Crawford has great speed but he hasnt really showed me much lately. he’s batting around .300 in the playoffs. Pat Burrell is doing the same, but obviously adds more of a long ball threat. This ones pretty even.
Shields: B+ (0-2 in the ALCS, pitched decent however)
Garza: A (Outdueled Lester TWICE, phillies fans are lucky i dont give him an A+)
RAYS Starting Pitchers: A-
Hamels: A+ (2-0 NLCS, ERA under 2)
Myers: B (Never sure what you’re gonna get from him)
Moyer: B (has not pitched well this postseason)
PHILLIES Starting Pitchers: B+
The bullpens have been pretty much a strength for both teams this postseason. In the words of James Sherrill upon being asked his opinion of the Phillies Bullpen he responded with “sick nasty…madson and lidge are on fuckin fire”. That about sums up my analysis of them. The Rays bullpen however is also just as “sick nasty”. JP Howell, Wheeler (what?), and Price, along with others were a huge part in winning the ALCS.
Wheeler vs. Lidge: Wheelers been pretty good for the Rays this postseason, but so has Lidge. And Lidge hasnt blown a save all year. So that pretty much sums up this comparison.
That makes it 3-3. IMO, the Rays will win this series in 6 and here’s why. Their starting pitching is that much better than the Phillies. Everyone has focused on the Rays hitting this year but really, they would be nothing without the tremendous work their starting pitching staff has done all season and post season. I think Victorino and Upton will each have a very solid series, so starting pitching is where the difference is going to be made. They shut down the Red Sox for the most part and i see no reason why they shouldnt do the same with the Phillies.
RAYS IN 6.