ALCS Preview: Indians vs. Red Sox

October 12, 2007 at 3:38 pm 14 comments

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This is going to be a great match-up. This is a match-up of the top two winningest teams in baseball this year and two of the top pitching staffs, not to mention two very solid lineups. This is a series that is most likely going to go 6 or 7 games. Let’s see where each team stacks up and see who looks better on paper.

Rotation: Cleveland has a great 1-2 punch in C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. They combined for a 1-1 record this season agaisnt the Sox but they only gave up one earned run in 15 innings. They seem to beat the best, going 5-1 against Johan Santana and Justin Verlander this season. The back of the rotation isn’t too spectacular but both are very viable options: Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd. They get the advantage in pitching in Cleveland, a pitcher’s park, and in front of the home crowd. Yes Sabathia pitched one of his worst games of the season in game 1 of the ALDS but he doesn’t have a history of allowing it to happen back-to-back starts.

Boston has a true ace in Josh Beckett. He is one of the best big-game pitchers of our era and he should keep his team in any game. The rest of the rotation is deep with Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Tim Wakefield. The Sox rotation is deeper than the Indians but the Indians have a better front end. The Sox have to lean on a Curt Schilling with his stuff being less than average to average at best, and a Daisuke Matsuzaka that has been pounded of late and has worn down towards the end.

Slight Advantage: Indians

Bullpen: The Indians have a dominate setup staff that boasts Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Perez, and Jensen Lewis. The closer, Joe Borowski, is shaky and needs a two or three run lead to make you feel somewhat comfortable. Eric Wedge would be better suited to pitch Borowski in the 7th and Betancourt/Perez in the 8th and 9th depending on the matchups. The bullpen is deep and did a tremedous job this year and postseason.

The Red Sox have a fantastic closer in Jonathan Papelbon. The setup crew ain’t too bad either. Manny Delcarmen throws a mid-to-high 90s fastball but has trouble locating it at times. Hideki Okajima was one of the premier lefty relievers this year but wore down at the end of the year and got pounded late. The Sox bullpen is deeper than the Indians though. Eric Gagne is dominate when working off his change and Mike Timlin pounds the strike zone and lets his defense make the plays.

Advantage: Even

Offense: The Indians have some great hitters but have a lot of average hitters throughout the lineup. Grady Sizemore is a superstar and Travis Hafner has finally found his groove. Victor Martinez led the team in AVG, homers, and RBI. Franklin Gutierrez is a nice bat at the bottom of the order. But Asdrubal Cabrera, Casey Blake, Ryan Garko, and others are average. Garko pounds lefties but is barely average against righties. The team takes its pitches and wants to get to the other team’s bullpen.

The Red Sox have David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez (who has “found his swing”), Mike Lowell (he had a career year), Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis. They have a weak bottom with Crisp, Kielty, and Lugo but two of the three at least offer speed. They will wait starting pitchers out and they can score in bunches.

Advantage: Red Sox

The Red Sox have a slight overall advantage over the Indians on paper but I think the Indians will make this a great series.

To me, pitching is key.

Prediction: Cleveland over Boston in 6 or 7

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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14 Comments

  • 1. suzy  |  October 13, 2007 at 9:08 am

    good call jonathan i would really love to see the tribe take it all!

  • 2. Tyler  |  October 13, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    I’m a Red Sox fan, but I didn’t underestimate the Indians coming in the ALCS at all, I thought both CC and Carmona would relatively shut out the Sox. As of right now, its 6-6 in the top of the 9th, and neither Schilling nor Carmona made it out of the 5th. After tonights game, I think the Sox are going to win the series in 5

  • 3. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  October 14, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    I don’t think they can win in 5. I think Cleveland will win 2 out of 3 at home and head back to Boston up 3-2.

  • 4. charlie  |  October 16, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I thnk the indian’s have the upper hand in this series too. I don’t forsee them beating beckett twice, but other than that, I think it’s the tribe in 6.

  • 5. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  October 16, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    The Tribe are doing very well. It’s amazing that Carmona and Sabathia have pitched poorly and they have a 2-1 lead thanks to Westbrook.

  • 6. suzy  |  October 16, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    hey tyler did you watch all of that game???like the 11th inning???? oh and its 6-0 in the 5th tonight…

  • 7. charlie  |  October 17, 2007 at 7:20 am

    3-1 Tribe. Can they win one more?

  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  October 17, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Oh yeah. They only one more with Sabathia and Carmona going back-to-back. Sabathia can’t be awful 3 games in a row can he?

  • 9. charlie  |  October 17, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Now I thought much of the same thing in 2003 when the Cubs were up 3-2 in the NLCS with Wood in 6 and Prior in 7. There is no way they can beat both. The rest is history. The good thing though, the Tribe match up so much better with the BoSox than the Scrubs did vs. the Marlins…. Although, Josh Beckett will be pitching too and he was in the NLCS in 2003. *cue twilight zone theme*.

  • 10. Joey  |  October 18, 2007 at 11:23 am

    This is going to be de ja vue from 2004. Sox are down 3-1, dont count them out there tribe fans. Entering game 5 you have Beckett on the mound who has been lights out this postseason..Not to mention Schilling in Game 6 who comes through in the clutch 9 times out of 10. I say it’s Sox in 7.

  • 11. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  October 18, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    You have Sabathia and Carmona going back-to-back and I don’t see Sabathia being awful 3 times in a row. Beckett may outduel him but Carmona is way better than Schilling right now. Plus Manny Ramirez apparently doesn’t want to win.

  • 12. Charlie Nehl  |  October 21, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Doh!

    Looks like that twilight zone music is needed. Bosox are up 5-2 in the 8th. Looks like I’ll be getting an ear full from a Red Sox “fan” at work. Ugh.

  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  October 21, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    11-2 now! This was such a good, close game. The Indians looked like they gave up after hitting into the double play after Joel Skinner held Lofton up at 3B.

  • 14. suzy  |  October 21, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    my apologies tyler and congrats on your sox win i guess i shouldn’t have shouted out so quickly!!! Que the music charlie.

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