Sunday, October 21, 2007

2007 American League Champions

Sweep the ALDS in 3 games, then survive a grueling 7 game battle against a division champion to take the American League pennant. That was the script in 2004, and now again in 2007. The Indians were as good as we thought, just in different ways than we expected. Neither Sabathia nor Carmona were worth a damn, but everyone else compensated. They never rolled over, they just ran out of bullets at the end. Ultimately, Cleveland wasn’t outplayed so much as they were outpitched, and there is no shame in that. I tip my cap to a very talented and deserving Cleveland Indians team.

This Red Sox edition is a tough, focused, professional bunch. They have some similarities to the 2004 team in their defensive and offensive balance, but this team has a bunch of young kids and rookies (including two veteran rookies from Japan) who give it a completely different character. It doesn’t appear to be the collection of wingnuts of 2004 vintage. There are no “idiots” like Millar, Damon and Cabrera. Instead, there are the tough as nails kids: Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon, alongside a core contingent who were present in 2004 (Ortiz, Ramirez, Youkilis, Varitek, Schilling, Wakefield and Timlin), plus key contributors who know exactly how to handle the bright lights of October (2003 WS and 2007 ALCS MVP Beckett and Mike Lowell) and our new Japanese pitchers, without whom we couldn't have won game 7, or even gotten to it (Matsuzaka and Okajima).

But like the 2004 team, they play exactly the same way whether they’re sweeping the Angels or fighting back from an ALCS hole on the road. Everyone chips in. In game 7, Ortiz and Manny were invisible offensively, but Dustin Pedroia was the man. In game 6, it was J.D. Drew. In both games 6 and 7, Kevin Youkilis homered. If all the weapons contribute, this Red Sox team is not going to be beatable. Even if some of them just take turns, as happened Saturday and Sunday nights, it’s good enough to get them to the World Series.

Bring on the Rockies!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

was so pumped last night. Incredibly tight game (though score deosn't really reflect). Indians were awesome ... we were just MORE awesome!!