World Series: Phillies can win title with 3 1/2 strong innings
By Rob Maaddi
PHILADELPHIA ó It’s a tie game, they’re playing at home and the Philadelphia Phillies get to bat first and last ó if they need it.
The Phillies’ quest for their second World Series championship in 126 years comes down to this: Outscore the Tampa Bay Rays over 3 1/2 innings and break out the champagne.
“We’ll come to the ballpark concentrating on winning the game,” manager Charlie Manuel said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve got 12 outs to go and they’ve got nine. We control our own destiny. It’s up to us to stay focused and win tomorrow’s game. It’s in our hands. It’s up to us to do it.”
Game 5 of this soggy Series was suspended because of rain after 51/2 innings Monday night. Carlos Pena’s two-out RBI single off Cole Hamels tied it at 2 in the top of the sixth, and the game was stopped before the Phillies came to the plate in the bottom half. The game is scheduled to resume in Philadelphia tonight.
Hamels still can earn his fifth postseason win, but he’ll be watching from the dugout when a pinch-hitter bats for him leading off the inning. Manuel has an extra 24 hours to choose a hitter. If right-hander Grant Balfour remains on the mound, Manuel will go to one of his three lefties on the bench. Of course, Rays manager Joe Maddon probably would counter with a southpaw out of the bullpen. Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth are due up next.
“We’ll see how the game develops, what goes on,” Manuel said.
No matter what happens when the Phillies bat, Manuel plans to turn the game over to his relievers in the seventh. He’ll keep Brett Myers on schedule to start Game 6 if needed. Hamels likely would start Game 7 on either three days’ rest or regular rest ó depending on whether Thursday becomes a travel day or not.
The Phillies can make that a moot point by finishing off the Rays in five games and giving this desperate city it’s first championship since the NBA’s 76ers won it all 25 years ago.
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