As I’m sitting here typing this, the Bay Rays are holding down an incredible 11-2 lead over the Red Sox at Fenway. And it’s only the 7th inning. Tonight hottie Evan Longoria hit his fifth homer, setting a new record for rookies in the postseason.
Last night at Dodger Stadium, the Phillies blew a small lead, spent most of the game trying to catch back up to the Dodgers, tied the Dodgers…and then enter Matt Stairs, whose stats aren’t stellar, who hadn’t hit a damn thing this postseason, who’d barely seen playing time for the Phillies in the regular season…and he hit a 2-run dinger that allowed the Phillies to win the game–the first game that the Phillies have won at Dodger Stadium in not only the postseason, but the regular 2008 season as well.
The Phillies are up 3-1 in the NLCS, and, unless the Sox can find some way to procure 10 more runs in their next three innings, the Rays will be up 3-1 in the ALCS. I think people expected that Manny and the Dodgers would kick the crap out of the Phillies, and that the Red Sox, who are used to being in the playoffs and winning World Series, would stomp all over the Bay Rays, who are taking their first foray into the postseason in franchise history. But that isn’t happening right now. And it might not happen at all. There might not be that epic “Manny vs. His Old Team” series that everyone seemed to think would happen. It very well could end up being two young clubs who have very little postseason experience, but who have surprised everybody this season.
Whoever would have expected that the Rays would walk all over the two most historic franchises in baseball–the Red Sox and the Yankees–to take first place in the AL East and then advance in the playoffs? And who would have thought that the Mets would have managed their second heinous collapse in a row–a collapse from which not even Johan Santana could save them!–to allow the Phillies to win the NL East again? But these things happened, and so the Rays and the Phillies are here, terrifying and baffling their opponents. Victorino’s rapidly becoming the Dodger fans’ #1 persona non grata. Longoria’s setting records. Brett Myers is hitting more than Ryan Howard is. The “wonder hamster” (not as cool of a nickname as “Flyin’ Hawaiian”, but whatevs!) is hitting game-winning 2-run homers. The Sox are being clobbered in their very own stadium in front of a very passionate population of Red Sox Nation inhabitants. Playoff magic is happening!
For a fantastic article on the Phillies’ playoff magic, check out this excellent article written by ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
And speaking of playoff magic? As I’m about to end tonight’s BILF Report entry, the Rays are now 13-2 over the Sox. And it’s only the top of the 8th.