Count me among the many disbelievers who didn't think the Rays stood a chance after that Game 5 debacle. But yet again the Rays proved that they are a team to be reckoned with on the big stage.
First and foremost; that was a great baseball game. Both starters were great and while the Rays provided some timely hitting the Sox provided the tightrope walking moments late in the game. Jon Lester had more left in the tank than I thought he would after he topped his career innings high by more than 50. Everyone knows it already but Lester is pretty damn good. Moving forward I think he is easily the ace of that staff.
On the other side is Matt Garza. Garza always seemed to me like he would be one of those pitchers who would never harness their ability due to their lack of mental fortitude, but he certainly showed that he is the one who deserves the moniker "Big Game" and not his teammate James Shields. (On a side note, how can you even give that nickname to someone who plays for Tampa Bay? Apparently he earned the name in single-A ball which is absurd. You can't hand out a nickname like that until someone does something in October.)
I didn't think the Rays would pull it out last night. It didn't seem like they would ever regain their footing after that ridiculous collapse in game five but I am glad I was wrong. Many will complain that most Rays fans are bandwagon fans but what team doesn't?
During the '90s the Yankees were carrying a lot of extra weight and now the ranks of Red Sox Nation are a little more bloated than they were ten years ago. Winning is what gets the fans in the seats and you can't get on the Rays fans until next season when the team can't draw 20,000 fans to a game in July against the A's.
For right now though, there is a World Series to be played and I can now watch it in peace with the Red Sox out. I like both teams and the series should be pretty competitive. The Rays have the deeper rotation but the Phillies lineup is better. Not by much but it is. The Phillies also have a better bullpen. I know, the Rays bullpen is the reason they are where they are but we all saw what happened in Game 5 when Joe Madden had no one to stop the bleeding late in the game. If Madden is smart then he needs to use David Price as the closer. He'll be their ace in a few years but right now Madden needs to learn something from Tony La Russa and Adam Wainwright and use Price as the closer.
Prediction: Rays in six. They have the starters, they have the bats and if they use him like they should then they have Price to close. Hamels could steal one for the Phillies early and then Philly might get to Sonnanstine for one more. After that there wont be much the Phillies can do to stop this magical season of the Rays.