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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

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I only make one set of predictions each year, and I am not re-making any of them now. In those predictions, back before the season started, I chose the Sox over the Indians in the ALCS. I have no idea if I will be right: the Indians convincingly beat an extremely dangerous Yankee squad, and count me as one amongst the nervous. Their 1-2 punch of CC and Fausto is intimidating, and has the makings of a pair that can carry a team to a championship.


Yeah, as I said in the Yanks gamer, the way the Indians dispatched the Yankees -- the team I was really really really not wanting to face -- has made me wonder if I shouldn't have been more careful what i wished for.

I'll take it, I did not want to deal with the Yankees. Indians all the way and I'll take my chances.

I think we need Beckett & Schill going in Games 1 and 2 based on their dominance last week, they were effin' studs. And Matsusaka, with his power-nibbling, can go mano a mano with Westbrook's ineptitude.

Byrd is the real wildcard. Who knew he would be as good as he was last night??!! Holy crap, consider me shocked and awed, I was positive that series was going back to Cleveland. Byrd/Wake might be a toss up.

"Take at least one each from Sabathia and Carmona, and the Sox win in six."

Bravo on the confidence, but I'd say guaranteeing Sox wins in the two non-CC, non-Fausto games is a little presumptive.

To me, this looks like one of the most evenly matched 7-game series in a while. Two extremely well-rounded teams, with aces, sluggers, and firemen to burn. I'd be surprised if it didn't go the distance, with plenty of surprises (more bugs? frogs this time?) along the way.

Sox in a wild 7.

Seriously. Indians does have a crafty, guile veteran!

I think we've got a very exciting series in store for us. Based on what I saw of their pitching, I'll take the Tribe in 7.

I realize that Carmona has had a fantastic year, exceding all expectations, but can he really be counted as a better playoff pitcher than Schilling because he's had one good year and one great playoff game? I realize he was lights out against NY in game 2, but he really is unproven this time of year, and has no history to prove otherwise... I'm just not buying that he is an upgrade over anything Boston has to counter with. Every talking head I've heard gives CLE the edge in starting pitching, and I'm not buying that.

Of course, every great career has to start somewhere, but somehow this one doesn't entirely add up, not yet anyways. I sure remember Papi beating Fausto down pretty hard last year in his closer stint.

On my way to class, no time to comment really, but apparently Papelbon had migraine problems this year.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2007/10/09/an_internal_battle/

Ugh, let's try that again

Credit to Wedge for going with Byrd - he would have been crucified if that quickly built 4-run lead after 1.5 innings, which Sabathia would have been assumed capable of holding, had disinegrated on Byrd's watch. As it is, the Tribe won anyway and now are as well set-up for the ALCS as Boston is.

I still can't believe that Paul Byrd kept us down.

And I guess the two teams that tied for best record in the AL facing off in the ALCS is probably appropriate, as much as I hate it.

Avoiding a fourth Yanks-Sox LCS in ten years will probably save years off some people's lives here in New England.

Not that I saw the game, but I was definitely under the impression that Byrd's success was more a strike against the Yankees' bats than a credit to his own abilities? Seemed like he gave up tons of baserunners that the Yankees couldn't bring home.

"can he really be counted as a better playoff pitcher than Schilling because he's had one good year and one great playoff game? I realize he was lights out against NY in game 2, but he really is unproven this time of year"

See Suppan and Weaver last year.

Carmona seems to be in a groove, and that's plenty dangerous in a short series.

Count me among those glad to have avoided another Yanks/Sox series.

I'm not sure which team the Sox would have a better chance facing, but I do know that the Sox facing the Indians gives me a better chance of not being beat up by all my baseball-loving friends who are sick of both the Sox and Yanks.

A little bit of both, PaulSF. Byrd had a few really sick changeups that froze the Yankees, but there were several times where the blame rests on the hitters--specifically Derek "I ground into DP's too" Jeter. Of course the New York media won't touch him, though.

I'm glad it's Schilling matching up against Carmona, but I'm somewhat queasy about Daisuke pitching in a critical Game 7.

Also, who should start in Game 4? Wakefield or Lester? I'm leaning towards Lester just so we don't have to have Dougie batting.

"more a strike against the Yankees' bats than a credit to his own abilities? Seemed like he gave up tons of baserunners that the Yankees couldn't bring home."

Or maybe he just made good pitches when he had to? This is a "chicken or egg" argument.

Need to drop someone from the roster to add Wakefield, right?

Oh, thank God they have Schilling going Game 2...I was nervous about Carmona v. Matsuzaka...a trifle less nervous about Carmona v. Schilling, though still nervous of course.

Could come down to Matsuzaka in 7, though. You hope you'd see the big-game pitcher he's supposed to be for at least one playoff game...

"Need to drop someone from the roster to add Wakefield, right?"

It's been done; Kevin Cash is off the roster.

So is it official that Wakey goes for Game 4? Or might he just be used for bullpen work?

I don't think it's been announced yet. Extra Bases says thats the plan but it depends on how he feels after today's session. It could also be Lester.

Rotoworld speculates that the Sox could consider pitching Beckett on three days rest for Game 4, then regular rest if there's a Game 7. But I haven't seen any official indication that that's being considered.

It would be characteristic of Tito to choose Wakefield over Lester due to Tim's playoff experience.

Whether that's a good move or not, I have no idea... I don't know what Wakes' health is like. We all know that when he's on, he can be unbeatable; and that when he's off, games can go south quickly.

I would probably sit them down and say, "Tim, you're getting the ball, but John, be ready to jump in for anywhere between 3 and 6 innings."

Beckett on three days rest?

I can't see it happening unless the Sox are down a game or, god forbid, on the brink.

"Whose bullpen is stronger? Cleveland's got the power setup arms, but Borowski is awful. Papelbon is not."

That's one response to this question: It's Gagne Time! (kidding)

IF it gets to a Game 7, I think I'll do a rain dance to delay the game a day so Beckett can pitch on 3 days.

I'm feeling pretty good about this series, actually.

Yeah, the Indians have two aces.

But so do the Sox -- plus more rotation depth, more playoff experience, better hitting (AVG, OBP, SLG), top-notch defense, more rest, and a far superior closer.

The Indians, what have they got to counter? Better set-up men? Maybe, but if Oki is back to his regular self, then it's pretty much equal.

The most I can say for the Indians, really, is that they have more second-half momentum. But the Sox seem to have righted their ship with a dominating performance in the ALDS.

Which team does everyone think has the edge in the dugout?

Francona vs. Wedge.

Good to see Francona dropped the deuce. Can't argue one bit. Just hope that we don't see a Game 7. Though even then, the Sox have the advantage.

I agree on the win in six scenario. I think the Sox will take at least one each from Sabathia and Carmona.

I do worry more about bullpen battles. The Indians can give length. And I will throw up if I see Gag in a close game.

Feeling good about the Sox offense. When Papi and Manny are both dominant, good things will happen.

Wedge is a good manager, but Francona really has made few if any missteps in the playoffs. His handling of Game 2 against the Angels was masterful -- the quick hook of Daisuke, using the aces for 1.1 innings each. His timing of when to use defensive replacements helped save Beckett's chance at the CG in Game 1.

I don't know if it's another gear, or if Francona switches his style because there is so little room for error, but Tito has proven over and over again (particularly in 2004) that his in-game and roster strategies in the playoffs are very good.

I know it worked out, but starting Byrd for a pivotal Game 4 was a mark against Wedge. Byrd should have been blown out of the water the way he pitched. Wedge got a lot of credit for that move because Byrd got lucky, but to me that's a black mark.

Definitely think the Sox have the edge in terms of management. Francona always seems to make all the right moves in the playoffs - sometimes it's frustrating that he doesn't manage so brilliantly in the regular season, but I suppose you can't manage to win every game in the regular season.

We also seem to have an edge in offense. If we can get to Sabathia (as the Yanks did in Game 1) I really really like our chances.

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