Friday, October 12, 2007

ALCS Preview

I don’t know if you know this, and if you’ve been watching ESPN recently you might not, but the Red Sox and Indians are playing in the ALCS. I know the Yankees stories are interesting but I think most of it can hold off until something actually happens or the season ends.

There are too solid series coming up. Even if I really don’t care about the Rockies or the Diamondbacks I’m still going to watch it because who the hell would have thought the Rockies would be on the roll that they are on right now. Obviously I’ll be watching the Sox-Indians, that is a no-brainier. Here is my version of a preview/things I’m looking forward to.

First, game one, the two front runners for the Cy Young award going head to head at Fenway. I’ve always been partial to pitchers duels, I’m not sure why but they are more exciting to me than a high scoring game. I think it’s because every hit or runner in scoring position could turnout to be the game. By the time you get to the sixth or seventh inning there is so much emotion and excitement attached to each strike call or each base runner and in my opinion that makes for a more thrilling finish.

Second, this is a really, really good match up. Cleveland has great starting pitching and they’ll be able to start Sabathia and Carmona twice in the seven game series. The Red Sox will also get to start their one-two pitchers twice. At the start of the playoffs the Sabathia-Carmona duo loomed a lot larger than Beckett-Schilling or Beckett-Dice-K but now I’d say Cleveland has a slight edge in starting pitching but the Sox have the more solid bullpen and I’ll take Dice-K/Wake/Lester over Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd.

Also no more shots of Aaron Boone or Bucky Dent by hopefully plenty of shots of Pedro coming out of the bullpen in 1999.

Schilling might be the most important piece in the ACLS for the Sox. He has been pitching great over the last month or so and looked tremendous in the DS. If the Sox can get a start like his performance in game three then Schilling-Carmona could come down to one or two key hits. If that is the case I like the Red Sox chances. Not to discredit the Indians with guys like Sizemore, Hafner, Garko and Blake but I really think the advantage is to the Red Sox with Manny, Papi, Lowell, Yook, Tek, Coco and even JD Drew.

Yes JD Drew, I will continue to say that he’s going to come through even if I continue to take flak for it. Here are his numbers from the ALDS.

Two hits in 11 at bats, one run scored, three RBI, .182 batting average/OBP/SLG. That is not good but here is a positive stat. In the two LCS he’s played in he is 9-for-25 with three runs, two RBI, a .360 batting average, .385 OBP and .520 Slugging. Not great but not Nancy Drew either. Although in eight postseason series his teams have gone 3-5 including 0-2 in LCS. I guess it’s a good thing we are banking on Manny, Papi, Beckett, Schill and Paps.

I know that you can’t deny how good C.C. Sabathia is, but I read this on Sons of Sam Horn the other day…

Manny versus Sabathia:.571/.609/1.286 = 1.895 (23 PA)

Also, I know I just talked about JD Drew coming through but I read this on the same SOSH post…Kielty versus Sabathia: .310/.375/.655 = 1.030 (32 PA)…JD enjoy the extra day off.

The big guns will do there thing in this series which means its probably going to come down to one or more of the following key players - Rafel Bettencourt (who is also codes), Joe Borowski, Victor Martinez, MDC, Okie, Drew or Dice-K. Both bullpens are going to be huge in this series and if the Sox can get to the Cleveland pen it will be interesting to see how Borowski does against Manny, Papi and the rest of the Sox lineup.

Of course if the two teams split games one and two like they did in the Sabathia and Carmona match ups during the year (Dice-K beat C.C. 1-0 then Carmona beat Beckett 1-0 the next night) then the starter in game three is going to be critical. Dice-K has shown he has got great stuff but can he come up big on the biggest stage for the Sox? I can’t wait to find out. I know said Schilling might be the most important piece for the Sox but now I think it’s probably Dice-K, especially when Cleveland can start Carmona and Sabathia twice in a seven game series. Here’s to taking a pair of 1-0 wins in games one and two.

In other related news I have a bone to pick with ESPN Page 2. How is the steal not the number one LCS moment? Seriously if Aaron Boone’s home run is number two how the hell is the steal not number one? I mean come on! The Steal sparked the greatest comeback ever and erased the pain from Boone’s home run. I don’t get how a play can be higher on the list than the play that totally one upped it the next year. Long live Dave Roberts.

It’s another big weekend in New England and I’m glad for the rest of the country’s sake that the Yankees got bounced. 90% of the country hates the Red Sox and Patriots and its been wall to wall 5-0 vs. 5-0 on ESPN this week so can you imagine the utter disgust people would feel towards New England fans if the Yankees and Sox were playing. It would have been Sox-Yanks, Pats-Cowboys all week and everyone would hate us that much more. At least now people can root for the Indians, which is nice.

Since I am such a prediction guru…ok I suck at my NFL picks...cut me some slack though I did call the Cavs-Spurs NBA Finals last November…anyway here is how I think it breaks down.
Sox in 6 (so they clinch at home)

What the hell…D-Backs in 7…the Rockies can’t keep this up right? Right?

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to make some pre-game phone calls, find a comfy spot from which I will watch every game and figure out my food choices for the duration…I don’t think I can stomach bacon pizza from dominos every time Schilling pitches I’m not as hummingbird like as I was in 2004...I’m starting to get more Grizzly-Bear-that-got-shot-in-the-ass-with-a-sedative-dartish

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