Baseball Daily News: Oct. 24
Shields, small ball help Rays even World Series vs. Phillies
History was made in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday as the Rays, in the first World Series for the franchise, won their first game of the Fall Classic to even their October matchup with the Phillies at a game apiece. The Rays underscored the meaning of productive outs in Game 2 by scoring three of their four runs without a hit. Friday is an off-day with Game 3 of the World Series set for Saturday, when Philadelphia hosts its first World Series game in 15 years.
James Shields lived up to his moniker of "Big Game" with 5 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the victory in Game 2 of the World Series as the Rays downed the Phillies, 4-2. Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria drove in runs on groundouts, B.J. Upton singled home another and Jason Bartlett laid down a safety squeeze as the Rays gained a split.
Rays get even
Brett Myers allowed three early runs to put the Phillies in a hole while his teammates stranded 11 baserunners to go 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. That followed an 0-for-13 RISP effort Wednesday night. Jayson Werth made two costly mistakes, booting a ball in the field to allow baserunners to advance for an error and later getting doubled off first.
Phillies fall flat
The 21st century has seen some World Series surprises with the D-backs (2001) and Angels (2002) winning their first titles. The Red Sox ('04) and White Sox ('05) broke near century-long droughts. The Rays pulled out a victory in Game 2 on Thursday and threw their hat in the ring as candidates to turn the sport on its ear by going from perennial doormat to champion.
Rays legitimate contenders
The Rays needed a solid outing from their starter Thursday night to even the series and Shields delivered. He didn't get past the sixth inning, but the Phillies were unable to capitalize on their opportunities, giving greater credence to Shield's nickname.
On Wednesday night, the Rays did not benefit from a potential balk call and Pena was hung up at second base. In Game 2, Rocco Baldelli got a break, though, when he was awarded a walk instead of being rung up by home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley on a check swing. The Rays scored a run in the inning.
The Rays got another break in the ninth, when David Price appeared to catch the jersey of Jimmy Rollins with an inside pitch but Danley saw it differently and Rollins stayed in the box. Rollins eventually popped up and a potentially big inning was lost.
Close, but no call
Joe Maddon has never been one to shy away from making a gutsy call even when it doesn't work. So when Bartlett's bunt went foul on a suicide squeeze, Maddon was unconcerned. He called for it again. This time, Bartlett got the bunt down, Cliff Floyd scored and the Rays evened the Series.
Small ball aficionado
It's certainly not surprising that the Rays won Game 2. No, what's surprising is the way they did it -- without any hint of the offensive firepower that helped them advance in the first place.
Rays find a different way
The Phillies have a lineup that can send chills through an opposing pitching staff, but they're the ones positively cold through the first two games of the World Series. They're putting runners on base, but they're simply not driving them in and will head back to Philadelphia with a split.
Phils looking for fire
A lot is written and reported about the Phillies bullpen and its role in the club reaching the World Series, but the Rays are every bit as confident in theirs. In Game 1, four Rays relievers combined to toss three scoreless innings and keep the game close.
Rays 'pen ready
Carlos Ruiz was behind the plate for Game 1 but at some point became ill and wondered if he had had one too many Red Bulls. Concerned for his catching depth, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel left Ruiz in the game with backup catcher Chris Coste also in the lineup as the designated hitter. Ruiz went 0-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
I don't feel so good
He was untouchable during the variety of rumors that surrounded the Rays leading up to the Trade Deadline and David Price is showing the baseball world why. The No. 1 pick of 2007 will likely start in the future, but he's holding down the back end of the Rays bullpen in the postseason with a save in Game 7 of the ALCS and 2 1/3 innings in Game 2 of the World Series that included two big outs against Ryan Howard.
Price is right
Price wins big battle
Jamie Moyer is 45, and after 22 years in the bigs, he's getting his first World Series start, second oldest to 46-year-old Jack Quinn in 1929. The left-hander has lost twice in the postseason and allowed eight runs in 5 1/3 innings. The Rays will counter with Matt Garza, the ALCS MVP. Garza went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Red Sox.
The World Series was treated to balmy weather, an indoor stadium and an enthusiastic Tropicana Field crowd for the first two games. The proceedings now shift to Philadelphia where the temperature is expected to drop considerably and the atmosphere will likely be more intense.
Not in Florida anymore
Baseball can form tight bonds for many players -- once a teammate, always a teammate -- and so it is for Scott Eyre and Chad Bradford. Former teammates, the two exchanged pleasantries as the Phillies and Rays each advanced to the postseason, ensuring a friendly rivalry.
Diehard fan Sam Gvozdenovich made the short hop from his campus of Central Florida in Orlando to The Trop in St. Petersburg to see his Phillies. His ticket courtesy of an MLB.com raffle produced dividends: a Phillies victory and a Chase Utley home run ball.
It was wet outside Tropicana Field on Thursday but dry inside thanks to the dome's roof. But weather could be a factor when the World Series moves to Philadelphia, where rain could threaten Game 3.
Commissioner Bud Selig was in attendance for Game 2 and said he was pleased with the TV ratings for Game 1 of the World Series but is having concerns about next year's schedule. With 2009 getting started April 6 due to the World Baseball Classic, a World Series Game 7 could be in November. Selig said he might consider fewer days off during the postseason.
Selig mulls schedule shift
The Rays' presence in the World Series has prompted a generation of fans to rediscover and gain an appreciation for and a perspective on the World Series champion Mets of 1969. The most endearing and celebrated losers in the game's history, the Mets moved from ninth place in the NL to the World Series in one year. And the Rays have moved from last in the AL East to the Fall Classic, following a path that seemingly has intersected with the one the Mets took 39 years ago.
They hail from Texas and prefer football to baseball, but Los Lonely Boys were ecstatic to sing the national anthem prior to Game 2 on Thursday at Tropicana Field. The band is in the middle of a 13-city tour through Florida and Texas.
Carl Crawford helped to welcome a group from Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities prior to Game 2. The Rays outfielder was part of RBI as a youngster in Houston. With groups from Los Angeles, Detroit and Santo Domingo at The Trop, RBI was presented with a $1 million check from KPMG.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.