The Phillies have taken a strong 3 games to 1 lead over the Rays in the World Series. Ryan Howard, the NL RBI leader, had been slumping this post season, but broke out in a big way, with 2 HRs in Game 4. Blanton continued his post season pitching success.
With the Phillies' ace, Cole Hamel, taking the mound, is Philadelphia on the cusp of taking the World Series in the next game? My best guess is "no," just based on the odds that the Rays will win at least another game in this series. But it is certainly possible.
The Phillies won the last two games with starting pitchers who rely more on craftiness than velocity. Joe Madden, manager of the Rays, says that Longoria and Pena, Tampa Bay's big power hitters, have hurt themselves by expanding their strike zones against the Phillies.
As an aside, Beyond the Boxscore posits that the Rays' bullpen, including ex-Astros reliever Dan Wheeler, is due for a regression in performance next year, based upon BABIP and HR/fly ratios. I don't know about the others, but I do recall that Dan Wheeler had a history with the Astros of beating his FIP and x-FIP predictions--except for 2007, which led to his trade to the Rays.
If the Phillies were to win the Series in the next game, would that be a shocking outcome, in your opinion?