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Phillies/Rays World Series Game 5A Lineups: Advantage Phillies

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When play resumes tonight in World Series Game 5A, we all know that the Phillies will have one clear advantage in the tie ballgame: they get 12 outs, whereas the Rays only get 9.

But there's another advantage for the Phillies that I haven't seen discussed: where the lineups left off.

For the Rays, they will bat 6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4-5 (and so on if they get any runners on base).  Thus, they will start the seventh with the bottom half of their lineup and only get into the heart of their lineup after going through 5 or 6 other batters.  Worst comes to worst for the Rays, the heart of their lineup, including basepath terror BJ Upton who is batting third in this game, won't bat until the top of the ninth.  If the Rays do get any runners on base, the bottom of their lineup will bat twice in this game.

For the Phillies, they're in much better shape.  They will bat, at a minimum, 9-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2 (and so on if they get any runners on base).  Thus, they will start the game (the bottom of the sixth) with a pinch hitter chosen particularly for the matchup and then will go into the top of their order.  They will immediately have their best hitters at the plate to get the shortened game started right.  Even if no one gets on base in the sixth, the heart of the Phillies' order will hit in the bottom of the seventh.  If anyone gets on base over the course of the Phillies' 12 outs, they will have the heart of their order come up to bat twice.  Compare that to the Rays, who will have the heart of their order up once and will only get to it a second time if the game goes a few extra innings or they are really hitting.

The only downside for the Phillies is that the player who is least likely to bat twice for them is the player who has been the hottest so far in the World Series -- 8-hole hitter Carlos Ruiz.  But, I doubt many Phillies fans would rather see him batting twice over Rollins, Werth, Utley, Howard, Burrell, and Victorino.

In a shortened game, this advantage is just another reason the Phillies are in a great position to win tonight.