Inquirer Daily News

World Series Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 23rd (All times eastern)

Philadelphia Phillies (8-2) at Tampa Bay Rays (7-5), 8:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Brett Myers (2-0, 5.25) Tampa Bay - James Shields (1-2, 3.72)

(Sports Network) - Brett Myers tries to give the Philadelphia Phillies a commanding two games-to-none lead in the 104th World Series this evening, when they play Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Philadelphia snatched home-field advantage in the series with a thrilling Game 1 victory in this best-of-seven set on Wednesday, as Chase Utley belted a two- run homer in the opening inning and Cole Hamels threw seven strong frames to help the Phillies to a 3-2 win.

Shane Victorino scored on a Carlos Ruiz groundout in the fourth inning for what proved to be the winning run, and the Phillies were victorious despite going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 men on base.

Hamels (1-0), the MVP of the NL Championship Series when the Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowed five hits, two runs and had five strikeouts against a pair of walks. The 24-year-old lefty moved to 4-0 with a 1.55 earned run average in the 2008 playoffs.

Brad Lidge, who hasn't blown a save all year, worked his slider to perfection in the ninth inning, as the Philadelphia closer struck out Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria before getting Carl Crawford to pop out to third baseman Pedro Feliz in foul territory to finish the game. It was Lidge's 47th save this year, counting the postseason.

The team that has won the opening game has won the last five and 10 of the last 11 World Series.

Crawford homered in the fourth inning and Akinori Iwamura's third hit of the night, an RBI double in the fifth, accounted for the other Tampa Bay run. The Rays were limited to five hits, none after the fifth inning. Their No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters in the lineup - B.J. Upton, Pena and Longoria - went 0-for-12 with five strikeouts

Upton has belted seven home runs this postseason, one shy of the major league record held by Barry Bonds (2002) and Carlos Beltran, who did it with the Houston Astros in 2004.

Myers, meanwhile, is 2-0 this postseason but has pitched to a 5.25 ERA. He won his NLCS start against the Dodgers despite surrendering five runs and six hits in five innings.

The 28-year-old right-hander, who was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA during the regular season, was just 3-8 away from home this season with a 6.21 ERA in 16 starts.

Myers' biggest contribution this postseason may have come at the plate, where he is 4-for-5 with three RBI. Of course, with this game being played in the AL park, he won't get a chance to hit with the designated hitter being used.

Getting the call for the Rays will be righty James Shields, who lost both of his ALCS starts to the Boston Red Sox. Shields pitched Game 6 on Saturday against the Red Sox, surrendering four runs (3 earned) and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of his team's 4-2 setback.

Shields hasn't lost three straight starts since dropping four in a row from June 15-July 1, 2007.

The 26-year-old hurler beat the Phillies the only other time he faced them, giving up three runs and six hits in six innings back in 2006.

The Rays and the 1991 Atlanta Braves are the only teams to reach the World Series a year after finishing with the worst record in the majors.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, is back in the Fall Classic for the first time since 1993 and is trying to claim just its second World Series title since its inception way back in 1893.

There also hasn't been a title in any of the four major sports in the City of Brotherly Love since 1983, when the 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA championship.

10/23 10:32:27 ET