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World Series

Here we are folks: the Cowbells versus the Liberty Bells. The Raysheads versus the Why Can’t Us crowd. Mohawks versus … well, the Phillies didn’t do any special haircuts for the postseason, but you get the idea. The Fall Classic is here as the Tampa Bay Rays try to give the Philadelphia Phillies all the devil they can handle.

Currently, the Rays are favorites, but I’m thinking a lot of that has to with them being the freshest memory out of the two teams. Not that they aren’t capable of winning the World Series. They obviously are. I just have the feeling because of the unexpected late drama in the ALCS, the Phils are the forgotten team, not that they have a problem with that.

I mean, would a Philadelphia team have it any other way?

World Series Schedule
Game 1: Wednesday, October 22, 8 p.m. Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
Game 2: Thursday, October 23, 8 p.m. Philadelphia at Tampa Bay
Game 3: Saturday, October 25, 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Philadelphia
Game 4: Sunday, October 26, 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Philadelphia
Game 5: Monday, October 27, 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at Philadelphia – (if necessary)
Game 6: Wednesday, October 29, 8 p.m. Philadelphia at Tampa Bay – (if necessary)
Game 7: Thursday, October 30, 8 p.m, Philadelphia at Tampa Bay – (if necessary)

Tonight’s Pitchers

Hamels and Kazmir

Cole Hamels for Philly and Scott Kazmir for the Rays.

Probable Starters for the Rays
Game 2: James Shields
Game 3: Matt Garza
Game 4: Andy Sonnanstine

Probable Starters for the Phillies
Game 2: Brett Myers
Game 3: Jamie Moyer
Game 4: Joe Blanton

Better Sandwich?
Philly or the Cuban?

Hotter Ball Girls
Tampa Bay or Philadelphia?

Ball Girls

Scouting Report
The 700 Level has a position-by-position breakdown, as does DRays Bay if you want both sides of the coin.

Simply put, can the Rays keep hitting the ball like they did against the Red Sox? Will B.J. Upton continue his Reggie Jackson impression while Evan Longoria tries to keep pace with him? The Rays starting pitching gets the nod over the Phillies — save Hamels — but the bullpens, even with David Price for Tampa, are pretty evenly matched. While the Rays don’t have a designated closer, Brad Lidge has rediscovered his Pujols-crushed soul, converting 41 saves during the regular season and five more during the postseason for the Phils.

The Phillies are going to rely a great deal on their defense, but let’s not forget about Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell and everybody’s favorite MVP candidate, Ryan Howard. This gives the Phillies one hell of a batting order in their own right, one that easily matches the Rays. Besides the aforementioned Upton and Longoria, Philadelphia needs to be concerned with Carlos Pena, Willy Aybar and Carl Crawford.

It’s also worth noting the Phillies haven’t settled on a designated hitter yet. I guess we’ll find out tonight.

Prediction
The Rays are the darlings of this particular World Series and considering where they came from, rightfully so. However, the Phillies have been one of the best teams in baseball the past couple of months and I’m not expecting that to stop once they get to the big stage.

Phillies in six. Maybe five.