World Series Phlashback: 2008 – Game Five

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Fan News

After being swept out of the 2007 playoffs by the Colorado Rockies, the Phillies were determined to not repeat their failures in 2008. After clinching their second straight division title the Phillies dispatched of the hot Milwaukee Brewers and took out Manny Ramirez and the rejuvenated Los Angeles Dodgers. All that was left was a matchup with the Cinderella story from the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays.

For either team the 2008 Fall Classic was going to be the perfect ending to a wonderful season. Philadelphia though was looking to capture its first world championship in any sport in a quarter century.

We continue our next phlashback series with a look at Game Five of the 2008 World Series, which took place in Philadelphia.

2008 World Series

Tampa Bay Rays (97-65) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (92-70)
Game Five: Phillies win 4-2, Win Series 4-1

It was a night that nobody in Philadelphia will forget. Well, actually it was two nights that will long live in Philadelphia history.

The Phillies were looking to clinch the second World Series title in franchise history, but the night had an ominous feel to it. Optimism took control though as the Phillies would be sending out Cole Hamels to finish things off.

Hamels, the NLCS MVP entered the possible clinching game with a 4-0 record in the playoffs that year and he had elevated his game to a new level. He had become money in the postseason by learning from the mistakes he had made in his 2007 postseason debut.

The young left-hander, the ace of the team, got off to a good start by retiring the first three batters of the game. The offense took it from there.

Jayson Werth drew a one-out walk to get the ball rolling on Rays Game One starter Scott Kazmir. After Chase Utley was hit by a pitch and Ryan Howard struck out swinging, Pat Burrell walked to load the bases. Shane Victorino then hit a shot down the left field line to bring in two runs on a single.

Up2-0 the Phillies loaded up the bases with two outs when Pedro Feliz hit a single to move the runners up. Carlos Ruiz couldn’t add to the damage, flying out to end the first inning.

The Rays finally got on the board in the fourth inning when third baseman Evan Longoria picked up his first hit of the series to score Carlos Pena, who had picked up his first series hit with a double. The Phillies would take a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning.

In the fifth inning the weather really started to turn bad, leaving fans, the teams, and even television broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver wondering why Commissioner Bud Selig had not already stopped play. Rain was falling and wrecking havoc on the field.

Jimmy Rollinsfailed to catch an easy pop fly at the start of the fifth inning because the weather was interfering that badly. If Rollins misses a pop fly you know the weather is creating unplayable conditions on the field. Hamels was able to get out of the inning without any damage. After the Phillies failed to score in the bottom half of the fifth the game proceeded, despite worsening weather conditions, to the sixth inning.

Hamels recorded the first two outs without much trouble, but Rays center fielder B.J. Upton would not go down as easily. Upton hit a single to the shortstop position and Rollins could not cleanly make a play due to the weather.

Upton then stole second base, seeming to be unaffected by the soggy base paths, on the first pitch to Pena. Upton would then score on a single by Pena. The Upton run tied the game at two runs. Pena advanced to second base on a passed ball, but Hamels was able to retire Longoria to end the inning.

It was between the half innings that Selig made the decision to suspend the game until playing conditions would allow for the resumption of the game. Little did people know that they were about to witness history.

For the first time in baseball history the World Series game would be suspended and would not resume until two days later, as the day after the suspension saw snow and rain in the Philadelphia area.

When the game finally resumed two nights later, it picked up where it left off. With the game tied at two the Phillies would have four turns to bat to the Rays’ three. Optimism had returned.

Geoff Jenkinsof all people would lead off, acting as a pinch hitter for Hamels. Jenkins rocked a 3-2 pitch to deep left center field, but the ball stayed in the park. Jenkins reached second base and got the Citizens Bank Crowd rocking. Rollins put down a fine sacrifice bunt to move Jenkins into scoring position and Werth’s single up the middle brought Jenkins home and put the Phillies on top 3-2.

Rays right fielder Rocco Baldelli silenced the fans in the top of the seventh inning with a solo home run to left field off Phillies reliever Ryan Madson. Madson had usually been used in the eighth innings of games to set up for closer Brad Lidge, but manager Charlie Manuelwanted to go with the matchups.

It was in the seventh inning that the signature defensive play occurred. After Baldelli’s home run had tied the game, shortstop Jason Bartlett hit a single to left field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Akinori Iwamura hit a single up the middle that was fielded by Utley.

Making a play for the out at first was impossible, but Bartlett attempted to go home rather than hold at third base. The run would have given the Rays the lead but Utley faked Bartlett out and threw home to Ruiz. Ruiz made the terrific tag to keep the game tied. It may have been the turning point of the game.

Pat Burrell, the longtime fan favorite in Philadelphia, entered the seventh inning still looking for his first hit of the World Series. He got it at the perfect time, leading off the bottom of the seventh inning with a hit to the deepest part of the park.

Burrell’s leadoff-double to deep center field set up the Phillies to regain the lead once more. Eric Bruntlettwas sent in to pinch run for the slow footed Burrell. Bruntlett moved to third base on a ground out by Victorino. Then came third baseman Pedro Feliz.

Feliz wasted little time, smacking the second pitch he saw from Rays reliever Chad Bradford right up the middle and into center field. Bruntlett came home to give the Phillies the critical late inning lead at 4-3.

J.C. Romero entered the game for the Phillies in the eighth inning and got his three batters faced out, thanks to a double play. After not scoring in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Phillies did what they had done all season long; hand the game over to closer Brad Lidge.

Lidge had entered the game 47-for-47 in save opportunities during the 2008 season, including the playoffs. All he had to do was record one more save.

Evan Longoria popped out to second base. Catcher Dioner Navarro hit a single to right field to give the Rays a chance to tie the game. Speedy Fernando Perez was sent in as a pinch runner, and Ben Zobrist was used as a pinch hitter for Baldelli. Perez stole second base with one out and the nerves started to really kick in for Phillies fans.

Would this be Lidge’s first blown save?

Zobrist lined out to Bruntlett in left field. Down to their final out Rays manager Joe Maddon used Eric Hinske, who had already hit a home run in Philadelphia as a pinch hitter, in place of shortstop Jason Bartlett. Hinske quickly fell in the hole at 0-2.

On the 0-2 pitch Lidge did what he does best; strike out the batter with a nasty slider.

With the swing and a miss from Hinske the Phillies had clinched their second World Series title in franchise history. The players rushed the field and piled on Lidge and Ruiz.

For the Phillies a feeling of relief poured all over Philadelphia. The Phillies brought the city its first championship in the major sports since the Sixers did it in 1983. This was the first championship for the Phillies since 1980.

For the Rays a magical season had ended abruptly. Bitter feelings filled the Rays as they could point to a number of instances where games could have gone differently, but ultimately they went down in defeat, as most Cinderella stories do.

It remains to be seen where these teams will go from here.

At this point in the season the Phillies are clinging to the NL East race and battling injuries poor offense at times.

The Rays picked up Burrell in the offseason and are battling their own injury problems. The Rays find themselves in fourth place in a tough AL East but are by no means out of the picture.

Click here for my original recap.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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