The Phillies enter the World Series cold, having wrapped up their NLCS victory over the Dodgers exactly a week ago, but they still have the edge in Game 1 because of 24-year-old lefty
Lester regained his effectiveness for Game 7, but in that game, the Rays beat Lester with pitching, as
In the NLDS against the Brewers, the Phillies' two most productive hitters during the regular season,
Lefty batters Howard and Utley have an additional challenge tonight as the Rays are starting left-hander
Things look better for Philadelphia on the other side of the plate. The switch-hitting Rollins performed equally from both sides of the plate this year, while fellow switch-hitter Victorino slugged 130 points higher against lefties. Righties Werth, a former platoon player, and
The opposite was true of the Rays, who struggled against lefties during the regular season. The Rays have just three lefties in their every-day lineup, but switch-hitter
Given those matchups and Hamels' dominance to this point, the Phillies clearly have the advantage in Game 1. That's exactly why it would be so devastating to their chances if they lose tonight. If the Rays are able to pull out a win tonight it could tilt this series decidedly toward Tampa. They Rays are already the hot team entering this series as they're coming off an emotional win just two nights ago in their home ballpark, which is where the first two games of this series will be played. The last thing the Phillies want to do is build the Rays' confidence while forfeiting their primary advantage in this series, but failing to cash in on Hamels' start tonight would do just that.