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The World Series cannot possibly live up the ALCS.
Please don't misconstrue the above statement and assume I'm being negative. It's actually the complete opposite. That was one incredible ALCS. If you are a baseball fan, but a fan of neither the Rays nor the Phillies, you are bound to be disappointed by the World Series. Don't expect an encore. Obviously, I can't accurately predict the future and tell you who is going to win and in how many games. I can tell you that while this upcoming series excites me, I also realize it just can't reach the lofty bar which was set over the past week by the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
Let's just revisit some of the drama we witnessed over the course of seven stellar games.
We saw a string of four full scoreless innings before a Jed Lowrie sacrifice fly broke the tie in the top of the fifth. Meanwhile Daisuke Matsuzaka took a no-no into the seventh. He proceeded to allow back to back singles to Carl Crawford and Cliff Floyd, which left runners on first and third with nobody out and only a 1-0 Red Sox lead. He worked through the inning, getting a short flyout, a punch out, and a ground out. A tack-on run and Jonathan Papelbon save later, the Red Sox held a 1-0 lead in the series.
B.J. Upton Dan Wheeler Kevin Youkilis
Six extra base hits, including four home runs for the visiting Rays off of a man who had been nearly unhittable in recent memory -- Jon Lester. Meanwhile, Matt Garza began building his ALCS MVP resume.
The Rays bats once again dominated the game. Carl Crawford and Willy Aybar combined for nine hits in 10 at-bats, four runs scored, seven RBI, 2 doubles, a triple, a home run, and two steals. The rest of the Rays only garnered five hits, but it didn't matter. The 13-4 rout had us scratching our heads as to why we had yet another boring series. How little we knew ...
Carlos Pena Evan Longoria Coco Crisp Dustin Pedroia David Ortiz J.D. Drew Mark Kotsay Jason Bay Gabe Gross
The story here was the growth of the Rays as a powerhouse with staying power, the emergence of David Price as a force on the hill, and Matt Garza handcuffing the Red Sox again. Willy Aybar closed out his stellar ALCS with a double and homer (leaving him with a 1.210 OPS in the series). Garza worked seven and only allowed one run, striking out nine. He entered the eighth inning, and after watching Alex Cora reach via an error, departed. The Rays cycled through five total pitchers in the eighth inning, yet never allowed a run. Price struck out Drew with the bases loaded to end the final Red Sox threat.
So with all this in mind, do you really believe the World Series can give us all this drama? Let us also factor in budding rivalry between the Rays and Red Sox as divisional foes.
I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but even if the upcoming series goes seven games, I'm not sure we'll see even an ounce of the drama that we just witnessed over a nine day period. It's been several years since we bore witness to a really oustanding World Series. In 2001, we saw probably the best ever, and 2002 did not disappoint. Since then, however, you were likely left wanting more ... unless you were a fan of the winning team.
Thank you to the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays for providing baseball fans with a memorable ALCS. We won't be forgetting it anytime soon, especially since we're about to be disappointed.