ALCS: Now even, Sox will take 3 of 4 next
Posted by athomeatfenway on October 12, 2008
Oct. 12, 2008
The ALCS is now a best-of-5 Series.
First team to take three games this week goes to the Series.
Let’s review what we learned from the six head-to-head games played in September by the new-look Mannyless Sox vs. never-say-die Rays
· There will be low scoring games
· There may be extra innings
· Put Timlin in late with risk
· There will be strong starting and relieving from both teams
· There may be stretches of no hitting by the Sox with RISP
· David Ortiz should continue to hit at .250 and he may power up
· Jason Bay will star
· The Rays are resilient
· Every Game is pivotal
Rays take September 4 games to 2
Sept. 8 to 10 Boston
TIGHT GAME: EARLY RUNS MAKE DIFF
Sept. 8 – For the 13th time in 13 games between Bos & TB, the home team wins..
Lester and Papelbon shine. Edwin Jackson sparkles, too, only losing as the Sox get a walk and two hits including a Bay HR to score 3 in the first. After that, Jackson and Howell are lights out. We win 3 – 0.
PAP BLOWS IT: CLOSER NULLS BAY’S 8th Inn HR
Sept. 9 – Dice K labors but again yields little, giving the Sox a chance to rise up. And it happens ! After Kazmir allows just 2 runs in 6 IP, Wheeler yields a 2 run HR to Bay in the Bottom-8th to take a 4-3 lead. And Pap, the automatic, needs only to record 3 outs in the 9th. BUT, he fails. Pap gives 2 runs and we lose, 4 – 5.
TIMELY HITTING FAILS: TIMLIN ENTERS WITH GAS CAN
Sept. 10 – The Sox fail to score. They strand 5 (3 in scoring pos.) in innings 10,11 & 12. Then, Timlin enters & allows a 3 run HR. Sox then load the bases in the Bottom-14th, but squander the opportunity. The bullpen shined and Beckett was very good. Sonenstine sparkled. Sox left 16 LOB. We lose, 2 – 4
Sept. 15 to 17 Tampa
SOX BITCH-SLAP KAZMIR
Sept. 15 – Had Chris Smith not given up two 2-run HR’s to The Rays in one inning, this 13-5 laugher would have been a 13-1 shellacking. Dice-K and the bullpen (other than Smith) are terrific. Sox hit 4 HR’s. We win 13 – 5
BOTH STARTERS GEMS: MASTERSON YIELDS LOSING RUN
Sept. 16– A flat out gem is tossed by both Beckett and Sonenstine. At the end of 8 Innings, it’s a 1 – 1 tie. Masterson victimized in ninth by a soft fisted single, a BB after a recalled strike call, and a HBP. We lose, 1-2.
WAKEFIELD DOESN’T HAVE IT
Sept. 17 – Three HR’s allowed by Wakefield gave TB all they would need since the Sox would muster only 6 hits and 3 runs, all 3 on 2 hr’s by Ortiz. Sox trot out Hansack, Smith, even Pauley in relief. That’s the bottom of the barrel. A default. We lose, 3 – 10.
These two teams are evenly matched. For the Sox, it’s the second consecutive series of playing a postseason opponent just as good as they are.
Sure, we don’t know this for sure, but the starters could be as follows:
Fri Shields v Dice K (win)
Sat Kazmir v Beckett (loss)
Mon Garza v Lester
Tue Sonnenstine v Wake
Thu Shields v Dice K
Sat Kazmir v Lester
Sun Sonnenstine v Beckett
It comes down to Lester & Matsuzaka
Speed against speed. Solid starters & effective relievers on both sides. Youth is just a tad on the Ray’s side. There are no dominant power hitters on either team. Lady luck has been with the Rays in the close games, but luck is a pendulum. Stealing one in Tampa on Friday the last is a real advantage.
Expect the Sox take it in 6 on Saturday Oct. 18 as Lester wins 5 – 2. Lester and Dice-K contribute all 4 of the Sox wins in this Series. No game 7. Our #1 & #2 starters MUST provide quality starts for the Sox to have a chance. And both of them are hot right now.
And our hitters have to produce against Sonenstine, Shields and Garza. I’m confident they will hit Kazmir.
All that said, I wouldn’t preclude Wakefield from disrupting this prediction by shutting the Rays down on Tuesday.
What do you think ?