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Keys to the Series

October 22, 2008|Bill Shaikin

Phillies

The Phillies can play power ball and little ball, although they have not played American League ball very well. They ranked second in the National League in home runs and third in stolen bases, but they lost 11 of 15 games in interleague play. The Angels swept them, and they lost two of three to Oakland, Toronto, Texas and Boston. Ryan Howard led the major leagues with 48 home runs during the regular season; he has none in the playoffs. Cole Hamels, who starts Game 1 of the World Series, is 3-0 with a 1.23 earned-run average in the playoffs. The other three starters -- Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer and Joe Blanton -- are 3-2 with a 6.04 ERA. Closer Brad Lidge is perfect this season, converting 41 save opportunities during the regular season and five in the playoffs.

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Rays

The Rays don't fit the American League stereotype. They led the major leagues in stolen bases during the regular season, and they have stolen 17 bases in 19 tries during the playoffs. But they can mash too. Carlos Pena hit 31 home runs and Evan Longoria had 27. The Rays have 22 home runs in 11 playoff games, including six from Longoria and seven -- one shy of the postseason record -- from B.J. Upton, who hit nine during the season. The Rays have no idea who might close on any given night, but the emergence of left-hander David Price, the savior of Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, gives them an intriguing option. And the young starters have held up well in October -- Scott Kazmir (1-0, 4.02), James Shields (1-2, 3.72), Matt Garza (2-1, 3.32) and Andy Sonnanstine (2-0, 3.46).

-- Bill Shaikin

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Projected Lineups

*--* P PHILLIES AVG HR RBI SS Jimmy Rollins 277 11 59 CF Shane Victorino 293 14 58 2B Chase Utley 292 33 104 1B Ryan Howard 251 48 146 LF Pat Burrell 250 33 86 RF Jayson Werth 273 24 67 3B Pedro Feliz 249 14 58 DH Chris Coste 263 9 36 C Carlos Ruiz 219 4 31 *--*

*--* P RAYS AVG HR RBI 2B Akinori Iwamura 274 6 48 CF B.J. Upton 273 9 67 1B Carlos Pena 247 31 102 3B Evan Longoria 272 27 85 LF Carl Crawford 273 8 57 DH Willy Aybar 253 10 33 C Dioner Navarro 295 7 54 RF Rocco Baldelli 263 4 13 SS Jason Bartlett 286 1 37 *--*

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