Sitting here in the press box at Tropicana Field. The only action on the field right now are the various television crews filming their stand-ups and preparing their studio shows. The start of Game 2 is still five hours away. No line-ups yet, so it remains to be seen whether Charlie Manuel will go with Matt Stairs or Greg Dobbs at DH. There is a good chance he goes with Dobbs at 3B and Stairs at DH, but Pedro Feliz made a couple of nice plays defensively yesterday, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him stick with the better fielder at third.
The pitching match-up is an interesting one. Rays righthander James Shields versus Phillies righthander Brett Myers. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you watch the game.
1) I heard ESPN's Buster Olney describe Shields as a "right-handed Cole Hamels," referring to the change-up that Shields uses to bedevil opposing hitters. He also has a slider, a pitch that Ryan Howard has seen extensively throughout this postseason run. Howard is going to be a key in tonight's game. I expect the Rays to be very, very careful with Chase Utley, as you saw late in last night's game when they elected to intentionally walk Utley to get to Howard. Howard needs to find a way to handle Shields' off-speed stuff tonight.
2) If you put much stock in home/away splits, this match-up favors the Rays. Shields at the Trop this season was 9-2 with a 2.59 ERA. In 17 starts. He allowed just nine home runs at home. The Rays have lost two of his three starts this season, but the most recent one came at Fenway Park, where he allowed two of the three home runs he has allowed this postseason.