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You knew it was going to happen some time: Ryan Howard was going to hit. Someone was going to hang a breaking ball, or feed him a fastball, and he was going to pay for it. It took twelve post-season games in 2008 for Howard to finally break out.
In the third inning, Howard lined an Andy Sonnanstine fastball right over the plate to right field for a single. In the fourth, he lifted a low and outside Sonnanstine curve ball over the left field fence for a three-run home run. And in the eighth inning, he launched a Trever Miller fastball over the plate way over the right field fence for a two-run home run.
Remember when the Rays chose to intentionally walk Chase Utley to get to Ryan Howard in Game 1? That’s not going to happen again. Howard was intentionally walked by Edwin Jackson in the sixth inning to get to Pat Burrell (who’s still not hitting). Given his 3-for-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI night, you can expect that the Rays will either pitch around him or revert back to their previous pattern of giving him nothing but breaking balls.
Joe Blanton was very effective and when he was hit, the damage was limited. The only runs he allowed were on solo home runs by Carl Crawford in the fourth and Eric Hinske in the fifth. Oh yeah, and he also hit a home run himself in the fifth. Yeah, he’s a pitcher. No, he’s not named Brett Myers.
The Phillies overall had 12 hits, half of which went for extra bases: four home runs, two doubles. The Rays had 5 hits: two dingers and three singles (one of which was from the pitcher).
Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria, the Rays’ #3 and 4 hitters, remained hitless for the World Series with 0-for-3 and 0-for-4 nights respectively. The only Rays who are hitting anything consistently are Crawford and Dioner Navarro. Stay cold for one more game. That’s not asking too much, right?
None of the Rays’ speedsters reached base (Crawford’s only time on base was to round the bases on a home run): B.J. Upton and Jason Bartlett both went 0-for-4.
Once again, once the starter was lifted, the Phillies’ bullpen went into lockdown mode. Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, Ryan Madson, and J.C. Romero combined for three innings of one-hit, no-walk, five-strikeout pitching, moving the Phillies just one win away from a parade down Broad Street.
Cole Hamels is scheduled to take the bump tomorrow. Now, you don’t want to assume anything in life, but… the address to send the rings to is 1 Citizens Bank Way Philadelphia PA 19148. Make sure to apply the correct postage.
Game graph courtesy FanGraphs.