This morning I wrestled with myself …
My emotional side found the rain delay and game suspension to be exactly the event that occurs against Philadelphia. The 1977 rain that played its part in finishing the Phils against the Dodgers. The Fog Bowl. Etc. Etc.
I thought, “That’s it. This is the moment we look at for years. We had a 3-1 lead, the rain came, it slowed everything down, we lost.”
I thought that the Rays now had momentum, seemed chipper and carefree about the whole charade. And Joe Maddon spoke to the media, while Charlie Manuel refused. Phils players in the locker room cursed Bud Selig. They’re unfocused, I thought. This sucks.
Then my pragmatic side stepped in, and told me that’s utter nonsense. They’ll be focused when they have to play, I thought. And this team is not 1977, or the Fog Bowl Eagles, or whatever. We’ve seen all season that this team gets the job done when they need to.
The Phillies have been in hairy situations before, and while this situation seems the most absurd of them all, it won’t deter the team from doing its deed.
Here’s what we know, for sure: The Phillies and Rays are tied in the bottom of the sixth. Cole Hamels is out of the game (though I don’t know how much longer he would’ve had anyway). The Phils need to score one run in the next 12 outs, while preventing the Rays from scoring one run in their next nine.
We also know the Phillies bullpen has been tremendous all season and postseason. And we can expect a combination of Chad Durbin/Scott Eyre/JC Romero/Ryan Madson/Brad Lidge to get the final outs.
We also know the Rays have Grant Balfour pitching, but can bring in anyone, including David Price. But we know the Phils have hit the Rays bullpen so far, including Price.
Look, things may seem bleak and confusing now. That’s nature. That’s how we’re conditioned to act. But when it gets down to it, the Phils are at the advantage. They have more chances to hit. They have the home field. They can shake off the pressure and play their game as well as possible. So what that Hamels is out? One man does not a 25-man roster make. And if any team has proved it this season, it’s the Phillies.
Let the Rays have their 9=8 philosophy. I got one for us: 3=W. For the next three full innings, play the best damn baseball you can, and you will win. And then we can celebrate the world championship. And I know we will.