Phillies: Joe Blanton
The right-hander hasn’t given Philadelphia what it thought it would get when it acquired him this summer, but he’s still a dependable starter with a deceptive curveball who should give the Phillies a chance in Game 4.
This group isn’t nearly as effective as Philadelphia’s, but the emergence of 2007 top pick David Price could be a big key to this series. The 22-year-old saved Game 7 of the ALCS and has nasty enough stuff from the left side to shut down the Phillies late in games.
With Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge providing as good a late-inning combo as there is in baseball, the Phillies simply don’t lose games late. Literally. Philadelphia has not blown a ninth-inning lead all season.
Rays: Joe Maddon
The bespectacled manager has made all the right moves with his young team this season, drawing comparisons to Phil Jackson for both his demeanor and his ability to motivate. He also has shown a flair for gutsy moves, too, such as handing the ball to Price.
Phillies: Charlie Manuel
He has earned the nickname “Uncle Charlie” for his folksy wit, but the nickname doesn’t give enough credit to the work Manuel has done with Philadelphia. He has handled his bullpen brilliantly, and his players have bought in to his style.