Phillies: Pat Burrell
The 31-year-old outfielder is difficult to keep from contributing one way or the other — his on-base percentage was .367 this season despite a .250 average. If you’re looking for a Phillies player that could swing the series, look no further.
Tampa Bay has a number of solid hitters here (Gabe Gross, Cliff Floyd, Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar) who can all DH in the home games. They also have Ben Zobrist, a key utility player who hit 12 homers this year.
Between Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins and Chris Coste, the Phillies should have no problem finding a DH for the games in Tampa Bay. Matt Stairs also can be a key off the bench, as evidenced by his Game 4 home run in the NLCS.
NO. 1 STARTER
Rays: Scott Kazmir
The left-hander wasn’t at his best this year but might hold the key to Game 1 with how he fares against the Phillies’ lefty sluggers, particularly Ryan Howard. If he can locate his slider on the outside edge of the plate effectively, Kazmir should keep Tampa Bay close in the opener.
Phillies: Cole Hamels
He has been brilliant all postseason, more proof that he is one of baseball’s best young pitchers. Another strong outing from him in Game 1 would give Philadelphia its best chance to tip the series in its favor.