Hamels, Howard and home field yeah, the Rays are done
PHILADELPHIA -- As much as it pains me to say it, the Tampa Bay Rays are cooked, finished, done, toast, history. The only way they win this World Series is if Bud Selig declares the Philadelphia Phillies, I don't know, academically ineligible?
Otherwise, it's only a matter of time. And that time could come as early as Monday evening, when Phillies starter Cole Hamels, who is the surest baseball thing since the seventh-inning stretch, steps to the Citizens Bank Park mound with a 3-1 series lead after Sunday's 10-2 Game 4 win.Can someone tell me what happened to the Rays team I picked to win this thing? These can't be those guys. Those guys won 97 regular-season games, stared down the defending world champion Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and left Tropicana Field this past Thursday night tied 1-1 with the Phillies. Now they've lost two in a row and have played, at times, more like the 2007 worst-in-all-of-baseball Rays than the 2008 varsity team. It's over. Reason No. 1 is Hamels, who can't lose. Well, he can, but chances are he won't. Nobody has pitched better this postseason than Hamels, who is 4-0, including a Game 1 win at the Trop. He lasted seven innings, gave up two runs, struck out five and might have the best tag-team of fastball and changeup in the big leagues. Now he gets to pitch the possible Series clincher.
WORLD SERIES GAME 4: PHILLIES 10, RAYS 2
Ryan Howard hit two of the Phillies' four homers in a 10-2 victory over the Rays. Philadelphia stands one win away from its first World Series title since 1980.
Story | Series page
• Jayson Stark: New era up next in Philly?
• Jim Caple: Howard in a groove
• Jerry Crasnick: Rays' sluggers 0-for-the-Series
• Gene Woj: Yeah, the Rays are done
• Amy K. Nelson: Rays to rely on Kazmir
• Inside Edge reports: Phillies | Rays
• Game 4 blog
• Baseball Tonight Clubhouse: Game 5 preview
• Phillies blow out Rays in Game 4
• BBTN breaks down Phillies' win
• Howard, Rollins talk about the win
• Blanton's bat, arm pace Phillies
• BBTN Minute: A look ahead to Game 5
• Jim Caple on a busy day in Philly
• Interviews with Blanton, Howard, Rollins