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With many baseball fans expecting to see the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Dodgers and Angels in the World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays instead meet in tonight’s opening game of the World Series.

Both have taken different paths to get here, however their paths have been well deserved.  The Phillies are bolstered by an outstanding bullpen led by Brad Lidge who is still perfect in save opportunities this season and an offensive trio of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  The Rays on the other hand were backed by an impressive young staff in Scott Kazmir, Andy Sonnanstine, Matt Garza, and James Shields.

Now with the stage becoming even bigger in the World Series, fundamentals will become the single most important aspects in determining this year’s champion.  Starting pitching, bullpen success, defense, and coaching will be the major factors to separate the Phillies and the Rays.

And with a better starting staff especially in games three and four, a coach in Joe Maddon who manages a National League style of play and a team who has had the best home field record this season, the edge goes to the Rays who will become one of the greatest baseball stories of all time.

Probable Pitchers (first four games listed):

Cole Hamels vs Scott Kazmir

Brett Myers vs James Shields

Matt Garza vs Jamie Moyer

Andy Sonnanstine vs Joe Blanton

Series Prediction: Rays in six games

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