Top 5 forgotten Phillies plays that led to 2008 World Series championship

Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

3. Games 1 & 5: B.J. Upton grounds into back-breaking double plays for Rays.

Championship Win Probability Added: 5.51% and 5.37%

The Phillies themselves did not do all of the work to help their chances in the 2008 Fall Classic. Rays fielding errors and blunders at the plate likewise played a helping hand.

Outfielder B.J. Upton may have scored three of the 15 Rays runs in the series, but he likely cost them at least a few more by grounding into “back-breaking” double plays — the two most beneficial for the Phillies came in Game 1 and Game 5.

The first came in the bottom of the third inning in the series opener against Cole Hamels. The Rays were down, 2-0, but were threatening with the bases loaded and just one out. Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett and Akinori Iwamura reached on a single, walk and single, respectively. Upton worked a 2-1 count, but grounded into a double play to third base to end the inning.

Any Rays runs scored in this inning, even if it would have been a sacrifice fly RBI to cut the Phillies lead in half, could have completely switched the momentum of the game and overall series. Instead, eventual World Series MVP Hamels cruised to seven innings of two-run baseball in the Game 1 victory.

The latter Upton double play came in the top of the eighth inning in the Game 5 series clincher against J.C. Romero. Trailing 4-3, stolen base threat Carl Crawford began the frame with a grounder single to center fielder Shane Victorino. Instead of letting Crawford attempt to advance into scoring position, Upton swung on the first pitch he saw from Romero and grounded into a double play. The Rays would only have four more outs on offense.