Results tagged ‘ Cole Hamels ’

What Could Have Been, and What Is.

Before I start endlessly analyzing and fretting over the Hot Stove rumors, I want to talk about what is right before us: the League Championship Series. We have plenty of time to talk about the former–the void between the end of the postseason, and Spring Training. I have enjoyed watching these series even though the National League Championship Series didn’t end the way I wanted it to. 

I was completely surprised that the Dodgers lost in only five games. To be honest, I didn’t think they would get past the powerhouse of the Cardinals, let alone sweep them. With guys like Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, and Albert Pujols, I thought that the Cardinals would have gone a lot further than they actually did. They had the caliber to be in and to win the World Series, but fate just didn’t have it that way. I thought they had Game 2 (I think it was?) in the bag when there were two outs and an easy fly ball was hit to Matt Holliday, but instead of catching it to win the ball game (and perhaps instill some confidence in the Cardinals), it hit him right in the crotch. 
The Dodgers seemed to have luck on their side, and it was a 2008 NLCS re-match. The Phillies may have an emerging postseason legend in Cliff Lee and the ego-maniacal Cole Hamels whose pride from winning the World Series last season seemed to cloud his ability to pitch well, but the Dodgers have a deep lineup, a good starting five and a fabulous bullpen. I really wanted the Dodgers to advance to the World Series as well because I knew that regardless of whomever won the ALCS, the World Series would be enticing as long as the Dodgers were there. 
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Had the Dodgers advanced, they would have played either the Angels or the Yankees. If it was a matchup between the Dodgers and Angels, we would have had the first “subway series” since the one in New York in 2000. This subway series would have meant that I would have been up until roughly 2 am every morning, sleepwalking my way through school. Yet the intensity that arises from a series like this is so alluring, that a lack of sleep would have been well worth it. It’s almost like a civil war, and it will augment the rivalry between the two teams like nothing else can. 
Not that I would ever root for the Yankees, but if the Dodgers were representing the National League, I can’t say I would have minded too much if the Yankees were to advance. It would have been Joe Torre vs Joe Girardi. The Yankee manager that was fired for his supposed inability to advance the Yankees to the World Series despite their winning four World Championships under his leadership. 
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I’d like to talk about that for a second. I thought that whole scenario was completely ridiculous. I may be a Red Sox fan, but I have no problem admitting that Joe Torre is one hell of a manager. The same way that I can admit that I cheered for Derek Jeter when he surpassed Lou Gehrig, and the way that I consider Mariano Rivera a God; I consider Joe Torre a superb manager. I understand when managers are fired because their teams play miserably and are in last place, but I don’t understand when managers are fired despite their team getting to the postseason. Getting to the postseason is an honor–only 8 teams out of 30 do it a year–and a manager should be honored for that (most of the time) not scolded for their team’s failings. *Note: the whole Grady Little leaving Pedro in is another story*
Anyway, the Dodgers vs Yankees would have been a great matchup, and of course I would have been rooting for the Dodgers even though it hurts me to see Manny Ramirez’s postseason heroics. 
Instead of dwelling over what could have been, I suppose it’s best to look at what we have at hand: the Phillies advanced to the World Series, and Game 6 between the Angels and the Yankees is tonight. I don’t like the Phillies. I root for the Marlins because I live in South Florida, and the Phillies are the Marlins’ division rivals. I may be a bit jealous because the Phillies did what the Red Sox failed to do last year–advance to the World Series for the second year in a row (please don’t hate me Phillies fans, I respect your team nonetheless). They could be the first team since the Yankees to repeat World Series victories, and the second team this decade to have two World Series victories (the first, of course, was the Red Sox). I guess it’s just that having the Phillies in the World Series doesn’t excite me as much as the Dodgers would have. 
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Tonight, I’m rooting for the Angels–just like I have been for the entire ALCS. Although it’s hard to admit, they played better baseball than the Red Sox did. I know that they are a good team, and I know that they have what it takes to beat the Yankees. It is so foreign to me to be rooting for Bobby Abreu since I’ve always had something against him for taking Juan Pierre’s spot in the All-Star game a couple of years ago (the fact that he played for the Yankees only augmented this feeling). Torii Hunter’s ego may bother me, but I know that he’s a fabulous center fielder, and a great team leader. Lackey pitched his heart out in Game 5, and Mike Scoscia made a huge mistake in taking him out (for the record Scoscia is probably my least favorite manager in the Majors). Out of the teams that remain, I want the Angels to win. I want them to win it for Nick Adenhart, because that would be beyond baseball. 
The one interesting thing about having the Phillies in the World Series is that whoever wins from among the three teams that remain, that team will have two World Series victories in this decade. The Yankees won it in 2000, the Angels won it in 2002, and the Phillies won it last year. The question is, who will it be? And it is that unanswered question that keeps me watching baseball. 

The “Epic-ness” of David Wright

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Team USA vs Team Puerto Rico

Even if you aren’t a fan of the WBC, you have to admit that watching that game was pretty epic. It was a pitcher’s duel throughout (okay, maybe Jane didn’t like it) and I happen to really enjoy pitcher’s duels. Neither pitching staff was substantial as a total of seven pitchers was used by each side. It was the defensive plays and small ball that this game centered around.
For example, though many of you may have glanced over it, David Wright’s steal in the second inning was pretty important. Admittedly, I would have glanced over it myself if my friend hadn’t mentioned it when we were talking about it. Though I fell asleep in the top of the ninth (what can I say, long day + couch + no lights=sleep) I was up and ready for the bottom of the ninth. 
I had essentially called David Wright’s walk-off hit since Game 1 against Canada. In that game, I said that he was going to hit a home run. It didn’t happen. 
‘Fine,’ I said, ‘You owe me one”. When it didn’t happen in the next couple of games, I began to get frustrated. We had made a subconscious agreement! Finally, I compromised after he didn’t hit one against the Netherlands. 
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‘You owe me a very important hit, and you will get it at a crucial moment,” I said. Even at the beginning of the game against Puerto Rico, I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if David Wright got the most important hit of the game tonight?”
Well, when it got to the bottom of the ninth, I knew. The bases were loaded with one out, and Kevin Youkilis had just walked to bring in a run to make it a one run deficit. David Wright was up. 
I knew. I just KNEW. I had even made it my status on Facebook. Just ask Melissa! Then it happened, a bloop single to right field that scored Brian Roberts and Jimmy Rollins! I was jumping up and down like a fool, and every trace of exhaustion had left my body. I was ecstatic. Does it feel like the playoffs to you guys? 
The Red Sox
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They call it a “ferocious swing” so it looks like Dustin Pedroia’s injury wasn’t as bad as we thought it could be, but I’m glad that there was some concern. He was back in the lineup today against Pittsburgh, and went 1-2 with an RBI single. Maybe I will see him tomorrow at Spring Training (oh yes, that means pictures). 
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The biggest news I think, is that the Red Sox released Josh Bard. At first, I was very skeptical of this. ‘Why would they do that??’ I thought. He was hitting something like .429 and was doing a pretty nice job behind the plate. Doesn’t it seem right that he would catch Wakefield? 
Well, instead of just dwelling on stats, as we all normally tend to do (just out of our crazy baseball fan nature), we have to look at why we acquired Bard in the first place. The Red Sox got Bard over a month before re-signing Jason Varitek. I think that the Red Sox picked up Josh Bard as a safety net– in case agreements with Jason could not be made. 
From Bard’s perspective though, it must be though being let go– again. He is now where Ivan Rodriguez was just last week. I think that he would still serve as a great backup catcher for another team, and I wish him luck in his endeavor to find a job. 
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So, who is the backup catcher now? Who is catching Wakefield? The candidate most likely to fill those shoes is George Kottaras, who went 2-2 today against Pittsburgh with a double. He is young, and was out of minor league options (I don’t even know what that means?). Now, he is getting the chance of a lifetime. 
He did a decent job of catching Wakefield against the Yankees. Apparently, the trick is to let the knuckleball come to you, not try to go get the knuckleball. I can’t imagine how hard that must be to catch– or hit for that matter. It has no spin, and it’s already hard enough to hit a baseball. His hitting is a bit mediocre, I think he had something like a .243 average in Pawtucket. But, as we all know, a catcher’s important comes behind the plate, not next to it. Though, I don’t think Erin minds Joe Mauer’s numbers. 
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Kevin Youkilis is having this problems with his left ankle– including Achilles tendonitis (whatever that means). I don’t think it’s something to worry about. I think it’s more of a small injury that comes with getting back into the groove. I don’t blame the Classic at all, and neither do any of the injured players. 
I know that the Classic comes at an annoying time, but to be honest with you, I LOVE it. I love the pride that these players feel in representing their country, I think that’s really important, and it provides an opportunity for some of the forgotten veterans to say, ‘Hey, I’m still here!’. This is the case of Ivan Rodriguez, who signed a deal with the Houston Astros. I am really happy for him, he really deserved this deal after his astounding performance in the Classic. 
Around the League
Well, with the entire USA team basically becoming an accident waiting to happen, a few other members have been added to the roster. This includes Evan Longoria, Derek Lee, Ryan Ludwick, and AJ Pierzynski. These are all great additions to the roster, and they will provide strong depth as the US heads into the semi-finals. The first matchup is going to be incredible: Oswalt vs Dice-K!
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It looks like Chase Utley is making a very speedy recovery, much speedier th
an most expected. He could very well be ready for Opening Day. It’s great when guys like this recover successfully from surgery. Hamels being ready for Opening Days, is uncertain, as is Joe Mauer’s situation. 
Baseball in my Life
This week was a great week for talking about baseball for me. The day after the epic WBC game, everything productive that came out of my mouth was about the World Baseball Classic. And on Wednesday, my math teacher and I had a long discussion about the Red Sox and Yankees and how their lineups and pitching staff looked. 
In my debate class, I am writing a piece on the problem with steroids, and how we can fix the problem (plus, I’m relating it to school). Basically, I just get to rant for ten minutes about steroids, it should work for me.
The most important thing though, is that I got my research paper back. No grade though (my teacher doesn’t role that way), but lots of nice comments! He thought that my thesis statement was ‘great’, and he loved the quotes, and I got lots of ‘goods’ and ‘interestings’ and checkmarks. Most importantly, he liked the way that I was able to draw the parallel ideas between baseball and America, though maybe I was ranting a little bit at the end.
For the re-write, I’m going to organize it thematically rather than chronologically. Wish me luck for the game tomorrow, I’m going to have to go there and get tickets since I can’t find any online! 
-Elizabeth

The Injury Bug Must be Exterminated

It’s one thing when you get an injury in the middle of the offseason. It’s another thing when you get injured (however minor it may be) three weeks before Opening Day. 

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The injury is making its way around baseball, and pretty fast too. It made its way through Florida, but those who were bitten have only suffered mildly. The disease is spreading quickly, especially through the Classic in Florida as Ryan Braun, Matt Lindstrom, Dustin Pedroia, and Chipper Jones have all been cautioned to take it easy, or taken out of the Classic entirely. It even gave Phillies fans a scare when it attempted to bite their ace Cole Hamels, and it has temporarily sidelined Trevor Hoffman. Julio Lugo wasn’t as lucky, the injury bug got to his knee and has forced him to have surgery. 
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It then made its way to Arizona where Manny Ramirez attempted to find the bug and purposefully get injured so he could sit out for another week to sulk about how he had to go out and play left field one day instead of serving as the designated hitter. 
Dustin Pedroia has actually returned to Fort Myers and is out for the rest of the Classic. Originally, the injury was reported to be a strained oblique muscle. Josh Beckett had a strained or irritated oblique during the playoffs last season, and his playoff performance wasn’t what it has been known to be in the past. 
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The good news is that it’s not a strained oblique, it’s a strained abdominal muscle. He could be back playing this week! I would be happy to greet him if I am able to go to the Red Sox vs Marlins game on Saturday. As long as he is healthy and ready for Opening Day, I will be very happy. 
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Other victims of the Classic (okay, that’s a bit harsh) are Braun, Jones, and Lindstrom. It’s obvious that Chipper Jones wasn’t feeling too right, he hadn’t even gotten a hit before he left. His oblique was bothering him (maybe they confused him and Pedroia?) and it could continue to bother him for an extended period of time, though he his optimistic. 
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Matt Lindstrom injured his right shoulder– in fact, he strained his right rotator cuff. He is still “with” Team USA despite being unable to play. Right now, he has to focus on the regular season, being ready for the opener. 
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Ryan Braun “aggravated his right rib cage” and is being temporarily held out of games for now. It would be really nice if they could use another word other than ‘aggravated’, it makes it sound way more dramatic than it actually is. I don’t know much about Braun’s personality, but apparently he would “bend the truth” so that he could play. I love that player mentality, but he has to think towards the future of the season–being ready to play for as many of the 162 games as possible, and hopefully more. 
What are the similarities of these cases? All of these injuries are products of the Classic. I love the World Baseball Classic, but for guys from the Major Leagues, it’s just a bit soon for them to be playing nine innings. I know that they have regulations for pitchers and stuff, but these players are still in Spring Training mode, even if they are pretending that they are in playoff mode. Granted, these injuries could have happened in Spring Training but it’s still a different atmosphere, as I described. 
I am so sorry that Julio Lugo had to have surgery, but at least it was before the season rather than during. He was working so hard to earn that starting position back– he was hitting all over the place and his fielding has much improved. This surgery will have him out for about a month, but this opens a position for utility player to come up. 
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Who will this utility player be? My project, Nick Green. Well, that’s who I would pick at least. Let me tell you guys, he has been hitting so well this spring, and his hitting potential can definitely been developed (not to mention that his fielding is solid). 
Most of you guys know that our backup first baseman (and outfielder) Mark Kotsay had back surgery, so another opening is available. My pick? My project, Chris Carter. I believe in both of these guys and I think that they could do a great job. 
So how do we terminate this injury bug? I have already begun by praying. During church on Sunday, my mind was side-tracked of course thinking about baseball, so when it came time for our private petitions you can only guess what mine were. I even phrased it nicely:
That Dustin Pedroia and Julio Lugo may make speedy recoveries and be healthy as soon as possible, we pray to the Lord. 
-Elizabeth 
PS #1: This is my 100th entry! I hope to have many many more :) 
PS #2: I don’t have the grade yet, but my history teacher said that he really liked my research paper! I’m going to revise it and organize it thematically rather than chronologically. 
**This is SUCH a stressful WBC game!!!

How Would You Define a MLBlog?

Blog: (As defined by the dictionary on my computer’s dashboard) A website on which an individual or group of users produces an ongoing narrative.

Blog: (As defined by the trashy URBAN DICTIONARY): A meandering, blatantly, uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic, life. 
Okay, maybe some blogs are like that, but I think we do it a little differently over here at MLBlogs. There may be the occasional paragraph dedicated to our personal lives (which I honestly find interesting), but for the most part, our blogs center on how our personal lives are affected. 
Then, I looked up ‘MLBlog’ on urban dictionary, and they didn’t have a definition… yet. So, I was about to add a definition when I decided to ask you guys to help me define it. So, how would you define a ‘MLBlog’?
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As you all know, the one thing that I’ve wanted throughout this entire offseason is for the Red Sox to re-sign Jason Varitek. Theo got a little distracted when he decided to make our bullpen one of the best in baseball (if not the best), but that’s alright, it’s for the good of the team after all. 
Then again, so is Varitek. Apparently he and John Henry met one-on-one for an hour and a half. I’m pretty sure they weren’t looking to negotiate a contract, but maybe to start talking about next year.
There’s some pretty good news coming out of this meeting. 
1. Jason Varitek wants to come back to play for the Red Sox, and Theo and the Red Sox want to bring Jason Varitek back. Too bad Varitek’s agent is the epitome of all evil, Scott Boars.
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2. Scott Boras wasn’t at the meeting! John Henry doesn’t like Scott Boras very much, with good reason of course. 
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In ‘The Matrix’, we are taught to avoid agents, and run away from them. If I saw Scott Boras, I would probably run in the opposite direction. Agent Smith was defeated in ‘The Matrix’, so metaphorically speaking, maybe Scott Boras will be defeated. Neo rhymes with Theo right?
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Papelbon filed for arbitration recently. We were getting him at SUCH a discount, I’m sure he’ll be making more money next year. I’d love to sign him for a long term contract though. 
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Speaking of long term contracts, wouldn’t it be nice to lock up Jason Bay for a few more years as well? The free agent market for left fielders isn’t that great (Manny does not count since the chances he’s returning to Boston are basically zero).
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In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I really like Tim Lincecum. Another National League pitcher that I really like is Cole Hamels. Hamels just signed a three year deal with the Philles. I’m sure Phillies fans are happy about that, after all, he was their World Series MVP. I’m sure he’ll be a candidate for a Cy Young Award in the near future.
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And he’s cute too :)
In my American Lit class, we learned a little about Ernest Hemingway. One of the most interesting things about him, in my opinion, was that it was his life’s goal to write one true sentence. So besides defining a MLBlog, if you could write one true sentence… what would it be? 
-Elizabeth

A Phantastic End, to a Phantastic Year

After various delays that prevented the completion of Game 5, the weather was finally cooperative Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Couple of things

1) Did you see that Chase Utley play? Getting out Bartlett at the plate was HUGE, the biggest play of the World Series.
2) Brad Lidge had a perfect season, that’s pretty sick. Having him strike out Hinske for the final out (at 0-2 nonetheless) and just hearing the roar of that Philadelphia crowd was so exhilarating. 
3) Cole Hamels. I don’t know if there is much more to say about him, but I was so happy that he won the MVP. Even though he didn’t get the win in Game 5, he still had four postseason wins, which is remarkable. 
4) The Rays. I guess the Cinderella story didn’t end the way they wanted it to. Everyone thought they were going to do it, I mean, look how far they had come! From worst, to almost first! The AL East is going to be even tighter than it was before. They had a great year, and if they keep building on top of that, it won’t be long until they are in the World Series again.
The saddest part about the World Series ending is that baseball season is over. What do I do now? The offseason is so awkward, there’s nothing to talk about except for trade rumors, and what has happened in the past. Whether it this past season (and I’m going to be hearing a lot about Ellsbury going 0-20, and the Sox not making it to the World Series, but I can deal), or the years before that. Everyday I hear about Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, Bill Buckner, Babe Ruth, anything and EVERYTHING that Red Sox haters can come up with. I may not be blogging as often, but I’ll still blog. After all, I’ve barely had this blog for a month, not even yet! I’ll be around, but if you’re looking for a solid, good, baseball discussion please e-mail me. elizabethxsanti@aol.com
Congratulations again Phillies!!! 

Playing in Puddles

Everyone was really excited for Game 5; Cole Hamels, and Scott Kazmir were pitching, and it was a potential clinching game (in Philadelphia nonetheless). Kazmir got racked in the first inning, pegging Chase Utley in the ribs. Has anyone noticed how close he stands to the box, and how he actually steps into the box? No wonder he’s the single batter who has gotten hit by pitches the most. KInd of like how Jason Bartlett totally leaned into a pitch in Game 7 of the ALCS. Then, Shane Victorino comes up and hits a two run single. Cole Hamels is pitching well, until the Rays start stringing some runs together, and finally one came off of a hit by Evan Longoria. It took long enough.

My question is this. So, a baseball game is official after 5 1/3 innings right? So, if the Phillies had still led 2-1 after the bottom of the sixth, well, would they have won? What a cheap and sucky win that would’ve been! I would’ve been so annoyed. So now, game 5 is going to continue with the Phillies coming up in the bottom of the sixth. The Rays got SO lucky because now Cole Hamels isn’t going to be pitching anymore. I wonder if the teams are going to continue to their next starters, or just use the bullpen. According to Selig, he would’ve just kept the game in a rain delay until it was appropriate to resume play. I like that idea, and I think everyone should too. No one wants to win a World Series due to a rain delay. If it had gone less than official game standards, by the rules, it would’ve started over. So this is the first time in history that a World Series game has ever been suspended, that’s pretty sick. I can’t wait until I find out what’s going to happen with the rotations and what not. I’m sure the Fox announcers will address this topic until it dies. 
On another note, the Sox picked up Virgil Velazquez on irrevocable waivers issued by the Tigers. He’s had somewhat of a rocky start of his career, and he didn’t see any playing time with the Tigers this past season. So, hopefully, the Sox will see what he can do in Spring Training, and then proceed to put him in the bullpen (most likely)
-Elizabeth

World Series (Games 3 and 4… Game 5), Red Sox offseason

So unfortunately, I was unable to see Game 3, but I heard it was pretty epic. Crazy ninth inning or something for the Phillies? I still have to watch the recap, and I’m behind on everything else too. Then there was Game 4, which got to be a crazy blowout game from what I heard. Ryan Howard, the sleeping giant, has awoken and helped boost the Phillies to victory in a 10-2 game. The Phillies now lead the series 3-1 and their chances are looking pretty strong. I’m sure Matt Garza at least pitched decently in Game 3, since it was a pretty close game after all. Originally, I thought that in order for the Phillies to win, Cole Hamels would have to win both his starts. But even Jamie Moyer did well. I truly enjoy watching Cole Hamels pitch, he is pretty attractive. The Rays are now in a must win situation, and they’re sending out Scott Kazmir to pitch Game 5. Now, I don’t think that anyone should chalk up a win just because Cole Hamels is pitching. That’s kind of what happened to Jon Lester, remember? So, I think that everyone just needs to relax. 

Dustin Pedroia got named to the Sporting-News All-Star team. The only Red Sox member to do so. Among others are Grady Sizemore, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton (I think, though, I’m not sure), Cliff Lee (SP), and Francisco Rodriguez. Kevin Youkilis and Aramis Ramirez won the Hank Aaron Award. There’s no big news about trades yet, same free agents as before, same prospects, etc. Keep your eyes out for Michael Bowden, Lars Anderson, and of course Clay Buchholz (who is regaining his confidence in the AFL) to appear in ’09 Spring Training at City of Palms Park. 
I’m excited for Game 5, who do you think is going to win? Can the Rays push it back to the Trop?

Cole Hamels Once Threw a Curveball so well, that the batter’s children struck out

I should be getting twenty sites for my research project (due tomorrow) for debate, but I realized that this is more important to me. Before we get started, I think we should all just take a minute to note how lame I can be: Today in home room, we were handed this blue sheet, and we’re supposed to fill out our after school activities. Guess what I put? BLOGGING. 

So Game 1 was yesterday, it was a pretty tight game throughout. Was anyone else thinking during the national anthem *God this is *****, and I totally thought the Backstreet Boys broke up*. Kazmir had a shaky first inning, giving up a home run to Chase Utley. He settled down nicely though after that, and pitched a great game. There’s a reason why Cole Hamels is pretty much the ace of the Phillies staff. His breaking ball, his curveball, his pitching in general! Did anyone else notice that he’s good looking, I just love watching him pitch. He got so lucky with that balk too. It really came down to the opinion of the umpire. It was 50/50. Phillies did a good job striking out BJ Upton with the bases loaded. The Rays came fighting back though, scoring two, but Philly scored once more, to make it 3-2. Brad Lidge, who has had a perfect season, came in and got the save. The Rays looked a little nervous, but I think that they’ll adjust. Tonight it’s James Shields vs. Brett Myers. Hopefully, Shields will actually be able to get some run support this time. I wasn’t really rooting for anyone last night, it was nice just watching. 
On another note, the Sox re-signed basically their entire coaching staff, except for first base coach Alicea. I’m glad that they decided to keep almost everyone. 
Can the Rays even up the series like they did in the ALCS?
-Elizabeth
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