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The Second-Guess: Should Jayson Werth have been Series MVP?

Big League Stew

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When appropriate, BLS reviews key decisions to see if the right one was made. This is the Second-Guess.

The Turning Point: After the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game 5 on Wednesday night, select media voted left-hander Cole Hamels the World Series MVP.

The Question: Instead, should they have given the trophy to outfielder Jayson Werth, who seemed instrumental in most of Philly's offensive rallies?

Argument for Werth: Virtually ignored in a lineup surrounded by names such as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell and Shane Victorino — even catcher Carlos Ruiz got more pub — Werth was the engine that made the Phillies offense go. From the No. 2 spot, Werth batted .444/.583/.778, all team highs, as were his six walks and three stolen bases (tying with Utley). Werth scored four runs (one fewer than Utley) and drove in three runs (less impressive than Howard's six RBIs) but he also had two productive outs. And twice, in Games 1 and 5, Werth walked and scored in the first inning to help the Phillies build quick 2-0 leads. He also walked ahead of Howard's three-run homer in the fourth inning of Game 4 and added a two-run homer in the sixth to pad the Phillies lead.

Argument against Werth: His performance in Game 2 was abysmal, practically costing the Phillies the loss all by himself. His error in right field set up the Rays to score a pair of runs on grounders in the first inning, putting the Phillies in a quick hole. At bat, he ran into a double play on Utley's liner in the fifth, he struck out with a runner at third base and less than two outs, and he also struck out with a runner at second. In the bottom of the eighth of Game 3 with a tie score, he was picked off second base by J.P. Howell with Utley and Howard coming up.

Their say:

"I'm an aggressive player. Maybe at times too aggressive. I made aggressive mistakes. We got hurt a little by them, but that's also why we were in this position, to win a championship." — Werth

"I definitely felt like I was in the middle of everything. Everything good. Everything bad. It seemed like I couldn't get out of the way." — Werth

"I know people will look at me differently, expect probably more out of me." — Hamels

"I'm even more excited for that guy who's holding the MVP trophy. He deserves it. He's the ace. — Jamie Moyer

Big League Stew's Verdict — the right guy won the car: Werth's miserable Game 2 ruined his chances. Werth wasn't even an everyday player until the second week of August, but Charlie Manuel made the right move, both in putting him in the lineup and batting him second. Werth had a great, great Series and would be an even stronger MVP candidate if he had just been neutral in Game 2. Hamels-for-MVP was part of the scuttlebutt during the suspension of Game 5, to the point that it probably was taken for granted he would win. Hamels, after all, was 3 1/2 innings from becoming the first pitcher to go 5-0 in the postseason. He didn't get his fifth victory, but his stats (1-0, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP, 3 BB, 8 K) are MVP-worthy. His performance in Game 1, especially, helped set the Series tone.

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