Coach Miller evaluates World Series

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

With the World Series between the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays and National League champion Philadelphia Phillies beginning tonight in Florida, Bainbridge High School Bearcats head baseball coach Scott Miller took time Monday to evaluate the two teams.

“To come as far as Tampa Bay has in one year is an outstanding accomplishment,” Miller said. “They have never finished above last in the American League Eastern Division until this year when they beat the always strong Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees for the division championship, then beat the Chicago White Sox and the Red Sox to get to the World Series. The way the Rays came back after game five of the American League Championship Series showed a lot of character.”

The comeback Miller was referring to occurred last Thursday at Fenway Park in Boston. The Rays were leading 7-0 in the seventh inning. A victory would have put them in the World Series, but the Red Sox roared back with eight runs to pull out an 8-7 victory.

The Red Sox beat the Rays 4-2 at the Tropicana Dome in St. Petersburg, Fla., Saturday to even the series 3-3 and force a game seven Sunday night at the Tropicana Dome. The Rays won Sunday’s game 3-1 behind a strong pitching performance by series most valuable player Matt Garza to close out the series.

The Phillies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to 1 in the National League Championship Series.

Miller says he thinks the Word Series could easily go the full seven games, pointing out that both teams have strong hitting and pitching.

“The Rays offense is led by power hitting third baseman Evan Longoria and the Phillies offense is led by power hitting first baseman Ryan Howard,” Miller said. “Both teams have strong starting pitching. Matt Garza leads the Rays staff and Cole Hamels leads the Phillies staff.”

Joe Crine can be reached by e-mail at joe.crine@thepostsearchlight.com, or telephone at (229) 246-2827, Ext. 116.