By Ron Griffitts
In the 106th World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays 97-65 managed by Joe Maddon with general manger Andrew Friedman faced the Philadelphia Phillies 92-70 managed by Charlie Manuel with general manager Pat Gillick.
The Phillies were led on offense by Ryan Howard 48 HR, 146 RBI, 105 RS, Chase Utley 33 HR, 104 RBI, .292 BA, 113 RS, Jimmy Rollins 47 SB, Jayson Werth 24 HR, 20 SB, and Shane Victorino 36 SB, .293 BA 102 RS.
Their pitching staff was led by Cole Hamels 14-10, Jamie Moyer 16-7, Kyle Hendrick 11-9 and Brad Lidge in the bullpen 41 SV, 1.95 ERA with Chad Durbin 5-4. 2.87 ERA.
The Rays were led on offense by Carlos Pena 31 HR, 102 ERA, Evan Longoria 27 HR, 85 RBI, Akinori Iwamura 91 RS, Dioner Navarro .295 BA. B. T. Upton 44 SB and Carl Crawford 25 SB.
Their pitching staff was led by James Shields 14-8, Andy Sonnanshine 13-9, Matt Garza 11-9, Edwin Jackson 14-11, Scott Kazmir 12-8 and in the bullpen Troy Percival 2-1, 28 SV, Dan Wheeler 13 SV, and Grant Balfour 6-2, 1.54 ERA and 4 SV.
The series opened in St. Petersburg, Fla. as the first World Series game ever played there, with Cole Hamels facing Scott Kazmir in what proved to be a tightly pitched game. Chase Utley got the Phillies off to good start with a two-run home run in the first inning to give them a lead they did not surrender.
They added a run in the top of the fourth on a groundout RBI by Carlos Ruiz scoring Shane Victorino with what proved to be the winning run in a 3-2 Philadelphia victory. Carl Crawford contributed a solo home run for the Rays.
The Rays bounced back in game two scoring two runs in the first inning on RBI’s by Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria to go on to a 4-0 lead after seven innings and a 4-2 win to even the series at one game each.
For game three, the teams switched to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Phils got off to a good start and built a 4-1 lead with the help of solo home runs by Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. But the Rays tied it up 4-4 going into the ninth inning.
Carlos Ruiz drove in his second run of the game singling in Eric Bruntlett in the bottom of the ninth and the Phils take a 2-1 lead in the series with a 5-4 victory.
In game four, the Phils erupted for 10 runs with the help of home runs by Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and the starting pitcher, Joe Blanton for a 10-2 win. When you get a home run from the pitcher you know things are going your way despite of solo home runs by Carl Crawford and Eric Hinske for the Rays, the Phillies take 3-1 series lead.
In game five, Philadelphia again got out to an early lead as Shane Victorino singled in Jayson Werth and Chase Utley in the first inning, and in spite of a solo home run by Rocco Baldelli for the Rays to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning, Pedro Feliz singled in Eric Bruntlett running for Pat Burrell for the winning run in the bottom of the inning and the Phils win the game 4-3 and the Word Series title.
Cole Hamels won the series MVP and Tampa Bay returned to the Fall Classic in 2020 while Philadelphia has not been back to the Wrold Series since 2008.
It was a series where the Phillies consistently got out to an early lead forcing the Rays to play catchup. The Rays manager Joe Maddon got back to the Wrold Series with the Cubs in 2016 in which they defeated Cleveland in seven games.
Evan Longoria is still playing as he was the San Francisco Giants’ third baseman in the just-completed 2021 regular season.
Statistics for this article came from baseball-reference.com.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.