Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thoughts on the Series

- Congratulations, Phillies and Philly fans. It's been 28 years since your last championship, so you're right on schedule.

The history books will list this as a 4-1 victory, which looks like a blowout, but the series was anything but. Four of the games were decided by 2 runs or less, three by only one run. These were two evenly matched teams, and it could have gone seven games with just a few breaks.

- My Phillies phan phriend Kevin was very upset that umpires and the commissioner waited until after the Rays tied the score in game 4 before suspending it. If it had been a regular season game, they would have suspended it after the 5th inning, when the game became official, which would have given the game and the series to the Phillies. But I think it would have been a travesty to end the World Series with a rain-shortened game, so I think they ultimately made the right choice. It would have been really interesting to know what Selig would have done had the Rays not tied it. Lucky for him, they did, and also lucky for him, the Phils went on to win the game anyway. It was the best possible outcome for Selig in terms of saving face. (Whether his face deserves saving is another matter. I would prefer never to see his face again.)

- That wild pitch/error play in the ninth inning of game three (which led to the famous five-man infield) was clearly the turning point of the series. With the Phils at home, they still would have had the edge in winning the game, but the Rays basically giftwrapped it for them. If the Rays had won game 3, they would have had a 2-1 series lead and who knows what would have happened.

- The biggest disappointment of the series was the play of Scott Kazmir. He was the AL's strikeout leader last year, but this year he started the season on the DL and I don't think he ever fully recovered from his injury. He was inconsistent throughout the season, and in the playoffs, he just didn't have his best stuff. He was wild and threw a lot of pitches in his two short outings. I'm sure he's wishing for a mulligan.

- Cole Hamels is only 24 years old and already a World Series MVP. He played the role of Josh Beckett this year. He pitched a lot of innings this season, so the question remains whether he can avoid the injuries that seem to affect every young pitcher these days.

- The 2002 draft, which produced both Hamels and Kazmir, is looking pretty amazing right now. Among the other players drafted in the first round were B.J. Upton, Prince Fielder, Zack Greinke, Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton, and Matt Cain. (This was the famous Moneyball draft, but all the A's got out of it really were Swisher and Blanton; none of their other picks really amounted to much.*)
*They also drafted Jonathan Papelbon in the 40th round but didn't sign him.

- The Phillies will have a much easier time repeating in the NL East than the Rays will in the AL East.
That's about all I have for now about the 2008 season. Upcoming posts in the blog will include book reviews and history lessons to help us pass the time until pitchers and catchers report in early February.

No comments: