Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bring it On Home

What a difference a week makes... Last weekend it seemed like the Sox were on the verge of throwing it all away, and now they have reasserted themselves. Well, they certainly managed to make things much more interesting than they needed to, but congrats to the Red Sox who won the AL East the other night, and clinched the best record in the AL tonight. They now get to choose an 8-day or 7-day ALDS series. The team with the best record gets home field throughout, and an option to have an extra day of rest in the 5-game Division series.

I'm hoping they choose the shorter Series. The Sox face the Angels who don't have a deep staff, and even their ace Lackey has been manhandled by the Sox this year. Schilling is skipping his start Sunday, setting him up to open the Series, with Beckett going in Game 2. This saves Beckett to open the ALCS, and pitch at least twice in that Series. But more importantly, picking the short Series forces the long Series on the Indians and Yanks. If they go the distance they will each have to use their top two starters twice. First, the Yanks facing Sabathia and Carmona two times is a serious challenge—they are the two best pitchers in the League—and is the best chance of eliminating them. I do NOT want to play the Yanks. Assuming the Indians prevail, Sabathia and Carmona can't open against the Sox and will need to go on short rest to pitch more than once. This is true of whoever you think the Yanks top two are as well (Wang and Pettitte?) should they advance.

The Sox really stumbled, but over the last several days seem to be picking things up on the offensive side. Manny is back and hitting, Drew and Lowell remain hot, and David Ortiz is a man afire. The pitching remains good enough to keep them in most games, it's the scoring that's been inconsistant, and that looks vastly improved. If only Francona would bury Varitek in the 8-hole...

Anyway, keep the offense rolling..."LET'S GO SOX!"

UPDATE: They opt for the extra day off and the longer series...I suppose with the nagging injuries for some guys this is prudent, and I may have been overanalyzing a bit above. Hopefully they take care of business, while the Yanks and Tribe beat each other senseless. Oh, and I did NOT realize Lackey was 19-9 with the now-AL-leading ERA of 3.01. He had not looked nearly that good against the Sox, guess you have to throw him into the Cy Young mix with those numbers...


Mike said...

You nailed the most important part: Manny is back, and Papi is on one of his ridiculous runs. I haven't watched any Red Sox games, but I do check the box scores daily. Ortiz seems to have gone 2-for-3 with a homer, a double, and a walk every game for two weeks. Very quietly, he's put up the best "per game" numbers in the AL this year.

The Sox are the team to beat in the AL.

Toast said...

If they go the distance they will each have to use their top two starters twice.

I think you meant to write "they will each get to use their top two starters twice."

This is true of whoever you think the Yanks top two are as well (Wang and Pettitte?) should they advance.

I'm sorry, but is there really that much doubt as to who our top two guys are? Wang is the staff ace, and Pettitte is #2. That's the way it's been all season, but people keep talking about the Yanks rotation like it's some big mystery.

Mr Furious said...

Agreed, those are the top two, but I wasn't sure if they had set up the rotation to allow that, since Pettitte just pitched yesterday (and got shelled).

Apparently Wang has been announced Game 1 starter (on the road), but I had wondered if Torre would save him for Game 3 (better numbers at home).

As for "get" vs "have", I am looking at this from strictly a Sox perspective and setting rotations for the ALCS.

As is the case with all of these scenarios, you (I, we) should be careful what you wish for...

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Mr Furious said...

Looks like the matchups go like this:

In Boston:
John Lackey v. Josh Beckett in Game 1 (Wed)
Kelvim Escobar v. Curt Schilling in Game 2. (Fri)

Jered Weaver v. DiceK. (Sun)
Lackey v. Beckett Game 4, if necessary.

Back to Boston:
presumably Escobar v Schilling again.

With the 8-day series, the Sox can avoid using Wakefield and go with just three starters, which is a good move I think. Wake has been utterly unpredictible lately, and they could even leave him off the roster if they wanted freeing up a spot for Ellsbury (a must). I believe he could only make the post-season roster if somebody is injured...I think I heard Wakefield's got a sore back?..