Starting off a home game with a lead in the early innings is never a bad thing. If the first two games of the World Series are any indication, the 2008 contest is going to be low-scoring, and it's going to be close. After Wednesday's 3-2 Phillies victory, the Rays matched their 9-inning output in the first frame of tonight's contest, adding on a third run in the second, to push ahead to a 3-0 lead, which proved to be enough to take the game, as the Phillies have shown no signs of learning how to hit with men on, eventually falling 4-2.
As with the ALCS, the Rays leave Tropicana with a 1-1 split, having lost the first game and taken the second. And while they scored enough to win, James Shields didn't give up a run into the sixth inning, making the Rays' early-inning runs stand up, despite many opportunities. The Phillies left 11 men on base, due in no small part to their batting 1-13 with men in scoring position, having gone 0-9 the night before.
This 1-22 stat is one we'll no doubt hear time and again from Joe Morgan and crew on their nightly broadcasts, just like we were treated to their comments about how the Rays "don't like to bunt with the lead" and the usual nonsense, as I heard yet again on the radio this evening. Of course, it was the Rays in the 4th using the bunt to squeeze in a run to go up 4-zip, rendering their "analysis" moot. It's all part of trying to fill the hours of airtime, which resumes Saturday at 5:35 Pacific time.