Philly Could Be Doomed
I like the Phillies.
Their top starter, Cole Hamels, is better than anyone the Rays have to offer - which is significant, since he might start three times in the Series.
Their top bullpen guys, Lidge and Madson, are a match for the Rays' top guys, particularly with Grant Balfour looking both fatigued and human lately.
Their offense is downright scary when it's clicking, and even though it hasn't been clicking during these playoffs, the Phillies are 7-2. How much longer can you reasonably expect Ryan Howard to go without a homer? The Philadelphia bats are far more formidable than those of the Red Sox, who pushed the Rays to seven games.
Tampa watched their playoff dreams very nearly come crashing down around them, in a 2004 Yankees, 1987 Blue Jays, Pick-a-Year New York Mets kind of way. They deserve credit for their perseverance, and they're a great young team. But outlasting the defending World Champs might just be the Rays' World Series. Under normal circumstances, I'd call for a Phillies win in 6.
A quick look at history says that the Phillies could be finished already. Consider, the Phillies are making their sixth trip to the World Series. In 1980, they defeated Kansas City for their only World Series. In the other four trips:
1915 - Lost to the Boston Red Sox
1950 - Lost to the New York Yankees
1983 - Lost to the Baltimore Orioles
1993 - Lost to the Toronto Blue Jays
A loss to Tampa, and the Curse of the AL East TM
Curses be damned, Philly in 6.