Phillies-Rays World Series at a glance

Updated: October 19, 2008

Steve Mitchell/US Presswire

The Rays likely will face Phillies 14-game winner Cole Hamels (3-0 in postseason) in Game 1.

SERIES THOUGHTS

The Phillies-Rays World Series matchup is an interesting one because, for the most part, these teams aren't too familiar with each other.

Just about everyone on the Rays' roster is a newcomer to the World Series, and most of the Phillies can say that, too. That the Rays were able to survive the Red Sox's furious rally at the end of the ALCS speaks volumes about their resiliency in a matchup like this.

The Phillies are well rested, and they would appear to have the edge with Cole Hamels at the top of the starting rotation and Brad Lidge at the back of the bullpen.

But in a season of improbabilities, the Rays might be able to find a way to overcome any shortcomings and bring home a World Series title.

Snapshot: Phillies vs. Rays
History
The Rays are 10-5 all time against the Phillies, although the teams haven't met since 2006. That was long ago, especially for the Rays, whose starters the previous time they played the Phillies included cleanup-hitting left fielder Greg Norton and an infield of Travis Lee, Jorge Cantu, Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff.
Strength versus strength
The Rays were baseball's best home team during the regular season; the Phillies' 44-37 road record was the best in the NL.
Strength versus weakness
The Rays were 12-6 against NL teams this season. The Phillies were 4-11 against the American League, second-worst among NL teams. (The Padres were 3-15.)
Matchups to watch
Jamie Moyer has had his troubles with Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford: They're batting .487 (19-for-39) combined against him.
Cliff Floyd is batting .364 with three home runs in 33 at-bats against likely Game 2 starter Brett Myers.

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ON THE AIR: TUESDAY
"BASEBALL TONIGHT'S" WORLD SERIES SPECIAL

TIME WHO'S ON?
8 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk, Steve Phillips, Eric Young, Peter Gammons, Buster Olney, Fernando Vina

BBTN MINUTE: WORLD SERIES GAME 1 PREVIEW

STAT OF THE DAY

Inside Edge With Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley manning the middle of the infield and Pedro Feliz at the hot corner, the Phillies have been quite adept at turning ground balls into outs. They rank fourth in the majors; the Rays are 23rd.

Four pitchers from the Phillies and Rays enjoyed having their grounders turned into outs at better than an 80 percent clip during the regular season:

COMMON GROUND
Pitcher BA on ground balls
J.C. Romero (Phillies) .141
Cole Hamels (Phillies) .178
J.P. Howell (Rays) .178
Scott Eyre (Phillies) .192

THIS DATE IN POSTSEASON HISTORY: OCT. 20

1988: The Los Angeles Dodgers complete one of the greatest upsets in World Series history. With Orel Hershiser on the mound, the Dodgers defeat the Oakland Athletics 5-2 to win the Series. Hershiser, who won two games for L.A., is named Series MVP.

2002: Venezuelan right-hander Francisco Rodriguez, 20, becomes the youngest pitcher ever to win a World Series game. With just 15 days of major league experience, K-Rod throws 37 pitches and retires nine consecutive batters in three innings to pick up the victory as the Angels outslug the Giants in Game 2, 11-10.

2004: The Boston Red Sox complete an improbable and historic comeback by defeating New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium 10-3 in Game 7 of the ALCS. The Red Sox win the final four games of the series to become the first team ever to rebound from a 3-0 deficit. Johnny Damon hits two homers, including a grand slam, and David Ortiz hits a two-run homer in the first inning for the Sox.

2004: Jim Edmonds hits a two-run, game-ending homer in the 12th inning to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the NLCS.