The Tampa Bay Rays Are in The World Series

If someone had told me before the season started that the Rays would be in the World Series this season, I would have said that was crack-induced.  Never in a million years would I have guessed it.  Yet here they are, having their first winning season and their first trip to the World Series, beating Boston 3-1 in Game 7 of the ALCS.  In the process, they did what the Yankees in 2004 and the Indians in 2007 could not do–stave off Boston’s enormous comeback bid.  Although Pedroia homered off Garza in the first, Garza settled in and allowed only two hits in 7+ innings.  The Rays tied it in the fourth when Longoria’s double drove in Pena, took the lead in the fifth when Baldelli drove in Aybar, and added important insurance in the seventh with Aybar’s homer.

Tampa escaped a big jam in the eighth when Cora reached on Bartlett’s error and Crisp singled.  But with lots of bullpen juggling, Tampa held off Boston, with rookie David Price getting Drew on a check-swing K with the bases loaded to end the eighth.  Price pitched the ninth, working around a lead-off walk to Bay to eventually get PH Jed Lowrie on a force to second to send the Rays to the Series and end Boston’s season and reign as World Series champs.  Kudos to the Rays for getting to the series, holding off Boston, and having a remarkable season.

All those high draft picks (Price #1 overall in 2007, Longoria in the 1st round of 2006, Upton in the 1st round of 2002, Crawford in the 2nd round of 1999, the oft-injured Baldelli in the 1st round of 2000) paying off, all that young talent mixed with the experienced players, finally coming together to propel the Rays to heights no one but perhaps the Rays players themselves saw coming.  I never did.

Amazing.

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Published in: on October 19, 2008 at 11:22 pm  Comments (9)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The Sox gave it all they had, but injuries were the difference and the Rays deserve to be called the best team in the American League. Gotta admit, though, those Red Sox are an entertaining bunch, if nothing else.

    So is the AL East a three team league? Will either Boston or New York (or both) miss the 2009 playoffs because of the Rays?

  2. A good point here in why Cashman wants those draft picks. To do what Tampa did and build like they did. (Not to mention financial control over the salaries for a while).

    Of course that takes patience and good scouting.

    Steve, the AL East is a FOUR-team division. Toronto won 86 games, which certainly isn’t shabby. 86 wins and FOURTH? That’s tough.

  3. I predicted that the Rays would be the most improved team in the AL this year, but was expecting .500 or a game or two above. Not this.

  4. I think Toronto may take a step back when Burnett opts out of his deal (and he will–they all do.) If Boston can pick up Burnett or trade for Peavy they’ll be right back in the thick of it. I’ll concede CC to NY.

  5. Tampa was the best. Burnett may opt out, and Marcum and Macgowan are both done for the year, or most of it I heard.

    http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

  6. I think this year showed what a tough division the AL East was and is–the best in baseball by far–four teams with at least 86 wins. On the Rays Mike, I thought anywhere from 75-85 wins was possible for Tampa, but didn’t think their pitching, especially starting pitching would be as good as it was this season. That made a huge difference.

    I think Peavy is high on everyone’s wish lists Steve, but the five teams to which he’d want to be traded are all NL teams and he seems to want to stay there. I find that interesting from pitchers such as Peavy and to a lesser degree Sabathia–they’re to some extent admitting that they’d rather face easier competition by staying in the NL. It’s a tacit acknowledgment that the AL is pretty rough on pitchers.

  7. I agree with Jason on the AL East. The Rays just proved how tough the division is and will be. All our teams (well, maybe not the Orioles) have our work cut out for them. Of course, now that I said that, the O’s will probably go from worst to best just like TB!

    http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

  8. i feared the rays from the beginning of may–lets remember how driven they were in ST. i wished i had placved a bet in vegas instead of just goading BPS on how real the rays were.

    maybe having to go 7 against the red sox was the ultimate character building experience to top off their incredible season. i have nothing but respect for those guys–and maddon–and jason please pass me the crow–you know how i felt after the cervelli incident as well as some of his other comments during the season–but that man knows how to manage men. inspire them-keep them going after a 7 game losing streak after the break-from what i’ve heard his modus operandi in the clubhouse isn’t unlike torre ( if you take away maddon’s inspirational signs posted) i’m sure torre never quoted camus…

    they have indeed have gotten the pick of the litter for years–but so have pittsburgh and the royals and they are still awful- its more about their scouting and development. i fear their people are far superior to ours.

    anyway–i’m sure we are all agreed the rays will roll over the phils–the only X factor is hamels of course. still hard to imagine them pulling it out over the rays-especially they will have to deal with “the trop” and the cowbells…

  9. Yes, there are the injuries with the Jays for 2009, and the defection of AJ. I was just thinking of this year and the 86 wins being only good enough for 4th. I still don’t think CC will come to NY. West coast and NL is where I hear he is headed.


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