GAME ONE: IT COMES FROM THE LEFT

21 Oct

Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels, LHP
3-0  1.23 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
22 IP, 22 K and 6 BB

at

Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir, LHP
1-0  4.02 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
15.2 IP, 13 K and 8 BB

The Philadelphia Phillies arrived in Tampa as the underdogs according to Las Vegas, but they aren’t in game one’s matchup.  Cole Hamels has been gangbusters in the postseason, giving up hardly any solid hits outside of three doubles in the first game against the LA Dodgers, and a solo shot to Manny Ramirez in fifth and final game of the NLCS.  Hamels was better than Kazmir throughout their careers, in 2008, and in the playoffs.  Kazmir shut down the lefties in the ALCS but gave up multiple home runs to right-handers Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.  He then came back in game five and threw six scoreless innings at the Red Sox.  Which Kazmir will show up tomorrow?  It’s unknown.

There are some key hitters in the Phillies lineup who line up on the left side of the plate, and this could prove vital to keeping it either team’s game.  Ryan Howard still has power against lefties (227 isolated power), but has a very poor eye at the plate versus them, striking out 40.5% of the time.  Chase Utley has actually had a decent year against lefties, amassing an 888 OPS.  In actuality, the Phillies splits show that they aren’t especially poor hitters against lefties.  Jayson Werth (1020 OPS) and Pat Burrell (952) have been amazing against lefties, Shane Victorino (882), Pedro Feliz (845) and Jimmy Rollins (776) have been decent, and even Eric Bruntlett (742) and Carlos Ruiz (679) have done better against lefties than righties. For some reason there’s been this theory floating around that the Phils have a tough time against left-handers, but the facts don’t lie.

The Rays’ offense has been great in the postseason, with Carlos Pena, BJ Upton, and Evan Longoria leading the way.  Even Willy Aybar, who had a pretty crappy year as a part-time player, is throwing up numbers to the tune of a 367 average.  Upton has hit 7 homers since the playoffs began.  Amazing for any player, more amazing when one notices his season total of NINE dingers.  While they’ve been terrific, none of them has faced Cole Hamels’ nasty changeup since they started this roll.  The team, as a whole, does worse against lefties than righties.  Dick Vitale is rooting for the Rays in the stands.

Phillies win 6-3.

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