Two games into the 2008 World Series, the Phillies are not looking good. They are 1 for 28 with runners in scoring position, the worst in Fall Classic history. They lost last night 4-2, when James Shields completely shut down the Phillies pathetic offense.
The Phillies are in a good position, however. They went into to Tropicana Field and took one of two games. The Rays are a terrific at home, so it was important to take a game there. Even with the cow bells ringing, Cole Hamels was still dominant on the hill in Game 1.
Speaking of the cow bells, I wonder why the Rays organization has to give them out to make noise. Up here in Philly, we don't need loud and annoying giveaways to make the Bank rock with the intensity of a low grade earthquake. We'll take care of the loud and annoying part ourselves.
The Phillies bats have been silent (although I don't think it has anything to do with the cow bells). If the Phillies hope to win another game in this series, they have to hit with runners in scoring position. Had any other pitcher on the face of the Earth had pitched Game 1 except for Cole Hamels, the Phillies would be down 2-0 in the series.
If I was Charle Manuel, I would alter the pitching rotation in this way (starting from Game 1): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Hamels, Moyer, Myers, Hamels. I think this rotation would make perfect sense. You have your best pitcher Hamels on the mound for three games if the series extends to seven games. Cole would pitch Games 1,4, and 7. Frankly, I wouldn't want Jamie Moyer pitching Game 7 because he has been horrible in the playoffs. Manuel has already said that excluding Moyer from the rotation was not an option, and I agree with him. I wouldn't want him to pitch with the series on the line, however.
Charlie Manuel would never consider this rotation because he is too stubborn to change anything about his team. I know what he's going to say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I agree with him, but Hamels has been sensational and he should pitch in as many games as his arm allows him. Manuel has babied Hamels all year by never pitching him on short rest. But come on! I know he is only 24, but this is the World Series and he is your best player. Get him out on the field as much as possible.
Now, let's talk about the hitting (or lack their of). The Phillies bats need to wake up in a hurry. Maybe the madness that will be the stands in Citizens Bank Park will wake them from their slump. Charlie Manuel needs to go around the clubhouse and pinch every player and tell him,"Yes, you're in the World Series, but that doesn't mean you play any different than April and May."
I think all the hitters are trying to do too much. Shane Victorino looked like he was trying to hit one through the roof every time. Ryan Howard (upper right) feels he should be hitting homers every other at-bat. They need to calm down and just try to make contact, not hit one out of the stadium. Howard also needs to get his head out of the clouds (or domes) in the field. One time, that may cost the Phils a run.
I will stay with my prediction of Phillies in 6. They need to win at least two games at the Bank before returning to the Trop for that to happen.