Prediction: Sox stun Angels in ALDS Sweep
Posted by athomeatfenway on October 1, 2008
Lester, Beckett, Wakefield Star
Oct. 1, 2008
6 p.m. EST
Red Sox Nation
Game 1: 3-1 Sox
Game 2: 5-4 Sox
Game 3: 6-3 Sox
On the early eve of the ALDS, the Sox do not have the Angels exactly where they want them.
The National Media is leading with the injury angle. The Sox are banged up and the Angels are not. Thus, with the Angels taking 8 of 9 from us this year, Vladimir & Co. must be the better team.
The Vegas odds makers agree. The BoSox are solid underdogs in the first two games. Lackey and Santana have the edge.
Fortunately, it all will not come down to who has the fewest injured players. It will come down to what the healthy players do on the field.
Momentum. Chemistry. Motivation. That’s what it’s all about.
And Parts. You got to have the parts.
HOME AND AWAY
The Sox are lucky to be catching Lackey and Santana at home.
Lackey’s ERA away is 3.23. At home it is 4.29. Lackey’s ERA against lefties is 2.59. And 5.07 against righties. With 3 switch hitters in our line up, we can send 6 righty hitters. Make that seven if Lowell plays. Also consider that 4 of Lackey’s last 5 starts have been less than quality. I like getting Lackey now in Anaheim.
Santana has been excellent in 3 of his last 5 starts. But he got spanked in the two sub-par starts by the Rangers and the Yankees, both of whom have star studded line-ups that can generate runs. Just like us. (Yes, just like us — when we are getting timely hitting.)
And both of those September beat downs of Santana came in ANAHEIM.
Santana excelled in September against Seattle (twice) and Detroit, teams that both finished last in their division.
Media Hype Distraction
The talk around the Cali baseball scene is about a potential Highway Series between the Angels and Dodgers.
Today an LA Times columnist is shouting, “MANNY KNOWS HOW TO HAVE FUN, AND HE KNOWS HOW TO WIN !”
Hollywood ? Mannywood.
Mike Golic joined the pickers picking Dodgers vs. Angels today.
Thank you, electronic media, for underestimating the Sox, moving the discussion to a context that will never happen, and lowering expectations. The injured Sox are flying a little lower on the radar.
Great. Let these visions dance in Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick’s heads.
Meanwhile, David Ortiz is thinking, “Now we gotta do what we can do.”.
I think that David means We are bad muddafukas. We throw an adrenaline switch when we reach the playoffs. We become the creature. Then we do what we can do.
Let the media paint the Sox with defeat. Go ahead.
THE LINE UPS
It is dangerous to underestimate the Angels. One flight around their depth chart reveals a proficient MLB hitter at every non-pitching position except catcher, where Jeff Mathis bats 30 points lower than Jason Veritek.
Whoa, what a line up of hitters. Hunter, Guerrero, Teixeira, Kendrick, Aybar, Figgins, Anderson. Mathis.
These hitters should be feared on the same level as the White Sox, Yankees and Rangers in terms of pure hitting talent.
Shit. These guys are good.
Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youk, Bay, Casey, Lowrie, Tek, and Crisp.
If anyone doesn’t believe our 9 is as good as their 9, they need to calm down.
They have a little more outfield pop than us. We have potential gold glovers to offset that.
Let’s call it a draw.
Momentum Case: Them
Who-is-hot and who-is-not is a huge factor.
The Angels won 17 of 26 games in September, a sterling .654 win pct. in the final month.
9 of those wins came against last place clubs and 4 more came against a team without a pitching staff — Texas.
The Seattle wins point up the fact that the Angels play in the weakest Division in the A.L.. They were the only AL West team that won more than they lost.
In September, they were 12-5 against the West, and 5-4 against the other divisions.
Think they’d have won 100 games if they had to play the Yankees, Jays & Rays a total 57 times ?
Momentum Case: Us
The Sox in Sept. were 16 – 10. We drilled Baltimore and Texas. We played up to the Rays’ level in Tampa but lost two heartbreakers and a 3-game series down there, 2-1. Then we lost a Series 2-1 again to the Rays the following week.
We won 5 of 8 series in the month, dropping the aforementioned two to Tampa and the last rain-marred Yankee series.
We were 4-3 the last week of the season.
We were 12 W – 8 L against teams with .500 or better records. 5-1 with teams under .500.
It was a very good month in black and white.
The feel and the touch of it was, however, much better than that. Our middle relief hiccupped against the Rays, turning an 18-8 month into 16-10. We could been heading into the playoffs having won 11 of 12 series that stretched from August into September.
And we were red hot in August.
That’s a damn strong case for momentum before we even throw the mojo switch.
“Now we gotta do what we can do.”.
Head to Head
THE FLU, THE QUALITY START & THE PAULEY
April 22 to 24
- Pauley, our worse starter, starts and we win 7-6. How ironic.
- Lester is subpar on 4 days rest spotting up for a flu struck Dice-K, we lose 4-6
- Masterson makes his MLB debut w a GEM, but DelCarmon and Lopez blow it, yielding 4 runs, we lose 5-7
BUCHHOLZ FADES, & HITTING FAILS
July 18 to 20
- Buchholz continues to fall apart, gives 8 runs, we lose 3-11.
- Beckett pitches a complete game GEM, but gives up a homer, a seeing eye single & a dying quail in the 7th…we lose 2-4.
- Wakefield gives a quality start, but we suffer a lack of timely hitting, out-stranding the Angels 7 – 2 in LOB’s, and we lose 3-5.
IN A MANNY FUNK, WE PLAYED LIKE POOP
July 28 to 30
- Matsuzaka, who would lose only twice all season, gives up two HR’s scoring 5 runs to take the L as the gopher ball takes us down 5-7. Dice K would go on to yield only 12 HR’s all season, at a rate of about 1 HR every 3 games.
- Buchholz continues to distintigrate, allowing 6 runs in 6 innings. Pedroia singles and Youk HR’s in the 9th to break up Lackey’s no-no. We lose 2-6.
- Beckett is awful. We commit 4 errors. We lose 2-9.
Let’s Be Bullish !
Fellow Soxaholics, let’s expect nothing less than a terrific two games in L.A., and let’s expect to win.
The peculiarities of the nine games against the Angels this year were aberrations.
We’ll kick their arses. A sweep, I say.