2008 World Series Prediction From WhatIfSports.com image

2008 World Series Prediction

Results from 10,001 simulations
By Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
October 21st, 2008

After correctly predicting that the St. Louis Cardinals would win 2006 World Series in five games, that Kansas would defeat Memphis in March Madness (as of Selection Sunday), that Detroit would win the Stanley Cup (before the playoffs) and that Boston would win the NBA Championship in six games, sports simulation website WhatIfSports.com likes the Philadelphia Phillies to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in seven games in this year's World Series. These teams are built similarly with great defense up the middle, strong front-end starting pitchers, a balanced lineup and a dominant bullpen (at least until Game 5 of the ALCS). Tampa Bay has homefield advantage, which has meant a lot to them this season, but, ultimately the edge goes to the Phillies because of their power. On average, Philadelphia hits three more homeruns in the series than the Rays.

WhatIfSports used its award-winning SimLeague Baseball simulation engine to "play" the World Series 10,001 times. Philadelphia wins just 51.2% of those series, with the most common occurrence being a seven-game series win by the Phillies (16.6% of all series have this result - a six-game Tampa Bay victory is next at 16.4%). What follows is an example World Series based on the results of those simulations. It includes boxscores, play-by-play and stats for each game in the series. More information from the 10,001 runs, including some interesting figures on percentage of team games won by each starting pitcher and likelihood of each team winning in four, five, six or seven games, can be found further below.

World Series Game 1
Philadelphia 13 @ Tampa Bay 4 - The Phillies come out of the gate strong against Scott Kazmir and the Rays, scoring four runs in the top of the first and another five in the third. Jayson Werth drives in four of Philadelphia's runs as they take advantage of some uncharacteristically poor defense from the Rays (three errors and a passed ball) en route to the blowout victory.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 2
Philadelphia 11 @ Tampa Bay 12 - Make that 86-1 with the lead after eight innings and give Brad Lidge a blown save. Philadelphia puts up double digit runs for the second straight game, but this time it is not enough to fend off the feisty home team. Evan Longoria hits two homeruns and Jason Bartlett atones for a very poor all-around Game 1 with three RBI, including the game-winning double in the bottom of the 13th inning when the Rays trailed by a run. The drama was even tenser in the bottom of the ninth when Tampa Bay trailed by four runs and had to fight off the prospects of going down 0-2 in the series as the games headed to Philadelphia. Five Rays, including Bartlett, got hits in the inning and enough (four) of them scored to extend the game for Bartlett's heroics four innings later. In all, 15 pitchers combined to give up 30 hits and 23 runs. What a great time for an off day.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 3
Tampa Bay 6 @ Philadelphia 5 - As the Phillies learn in Game 3, speed can kill. Carlos Ruiz may be a wizard at blocking balls and handling a pitching staff, but he lacks the ability to shut down a running game with his arm. The visions of B.J. Upton from this night will remind him of that for years to come. Upton steals four bases, including two that set up Rays' runs. Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford aid in the effort with two RBI each, while Matt Garza does just enough over eight innings to keep the lead and win the game. After losing by nine in Game 1, Tampa Bay has regained the series lead with two one-run victories.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 4
Tampa Bay 3 @ Philadelphia 7 - Andy Sonnanstine strikes out eight Phillies in six innings, yet he also gives up nine hits, three walks and two homeruns in a loss that evens the World Series. Jayson Werth and previously quiet Ryan Howard provide the power with five hits and four RBI combined and a homerun each.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 5
Tampa Bay 6 @ Philadelphia 4 - There is no letdown in this crucial Game 5 as Scott Kazmir rebounds from a tough Game 1 to pitch a gem and put the Rays exactly where they want to be as the series goes back to Tampa Bay - up 3-2. B.J. Upton does his damage with the bat this time, hitting a homerun that ties him with Barry Bonds for the most HR in one post-season at eight.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 6
Philadelphia 6 @ Tampa Bay 2 - Everyone knows Chase Utley, but Jayson Werth? Many may not realize that Werth hit 24 homeruns and slugged .498 in 482 plate appearances this season. Now everyone watching the World Series knows all about him. Werth hits his third homerun of the series. Chase Utley contributes as well with four RBI, while Brett Myers shuts down the Tampa Bay offense. On to another Game Seven...

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series Game 7
Philadelphia 5 @ Tampa Bay 3 - With ALCS MVP Matt Garza on the mound and a first inning two-run homerun by Evan Longoria, everything was looking great for the Tampa Bay Rays in the deciding game of the World Series. But, 45 year old Jamie Moyer shook off the early blow to hold the Phillies' ground and the offense chipped away at the Rays' lead until it was ahead 5-3 going into the ninth inning. The only question: Would we get the Brad Lidge of the regular season (41 for 41 on saves) or the Brad Lidge from Game 2 and previous postseasons? How about the former - and then some? Lidge strikes out the side on 12 pitches to win the game and the World Series for Philadelphia.

Boxscore with play-by-play >>

World Series MVP (example series) - Jayson Werth - .345 AVG, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 10 R

Most likely World Series MVPs - 1. Chase Utley - .275 AVG, 1.5 HR, 4.6 RBI, 4.0 R (on average); 2. Evan Longoria - .274 AVG, 1.5 HR, 4.7 RBI, 3.7 R; 3. Cole Hamels - 0.9 W, 3.45 ERA, 13.0 IP, 13.2 K


Results from 10,001 World Series Simulations

 Series Wins

Team Total Series Wins in 4 Games in 5 Games in 6 Games in 7 Games
Philadelphia 51.2% 6.4% 15.0% 13.3% 16.6%
Tampa Bay 48.8% 7.7% 9.9% 16.4% 14.9%

 Game-by-game Winning Percentages

Team Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5 Game 6 Game 7
Philadelphia 54.2% 42.7% 52.3% 45.5% 62.9% 43.5% 52.5%
Tampa Bay 45.8% 57.3% 47.7% 54.5% 37.1% 56.4% 47.5%

 Winning Percentages when Pitcher Starts

Philadelphia Winning Percentage
Cole Hamels 58.2%
Brett Myers 43.1%
Jamie Moyer 52.4%
Joe Blanton 45.5%
Tampa Bay Winning Percentage
Scott Kazmir 41.8%
James Shields 56.9%
Matt Garza 47.6%
Andy Sonnanstine 54.5%

We hope that you enjoy our Beyond the Boxscore feature. As with all of our products, we are always willing to listen to feedback and improve this page and content to make it as interesting and user-friendly as possible. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, please contact BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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