Tuesday, October 9, 2007

2007 ALCS Preview

This is a damn good Indians team, and it should be a helluva series. Don’t assume that the Red Sox are going to do to Cleveland what they did to the Angels. Remember, the team that just finished rolling over New York tied with Boston for the best record in the league. C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona are the best 1-2 punch going right now. Sizemore, Hafner, Martinez, Garko and Peralta are all hot at the same time, and of course both Trot Nixon and Kenny Lofton have seen October before. If I had a vote for Manager of the Year, I’d give my second place vote to Eric Wedge. The 2007 Cleveland Indians are not a fluke.

That said, the Red Sox have never been in better shape all year. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez have never been both healthy and on fire at the same time all year – until now. This creates a much more frightening lineup. Defensively, this is among the best teams in Red Sox history, with as many as five legitimate Gold Glove candidates (Crisp, Drew, Youkilis, Pedroia and Lowell). Nobody in baseball calls a better game or handles a pitching staff better than Jason Varitek. The starting rotation in the ALCS will match up almost evenly with the Indians. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 0-0 score in the 7th or 8th inning of game 1 (Sabathia vs. Beckett).

You can go down the rosters, and see mirror images of each other. The only significant difference between the two teams that jumps out at me is experience. Many more members of the Red Sox have been here before, including three of the four starting pitchers. Most importantly, Terry Francona won’t be intimidated. Experience matters, and given a team that knows what to expect vs one that’s living in the crucible for the first time, I’d lean toward the veterans. Schilling, Beckett and Manny have all been World Series MVP’s. Of the Indians, only Trot Nixon, Paul Byrd and Kenny Lofton have even been to this point before.

I’ll take the Red Sox over Cleveland in 7 games.

No comments: