Saturday, September 27

California Dreaming....

It's now official. The Boston Red Sox will once again square off against the Anaheim Angels in the ALDS this year. ITM will be here to cover all things October baseball. Personally, while I'd rather have home field advantage and face either the Whitesox or the Twins, I'm not shaking in my rain-soaked boots at the thought of going out West..... Especially when considering the choice the Angels have made when in comes to scheduling (see below).

Game 1: Wed., Oct. 1 @ Anaheim, TBS
Game 2: Fri., Oct. 3 @ Anaheim, TBS
Game 3: Sun, Oct. 5 @ Boston, TBS
Game 4: Mon., Oct. 6 @ Boston*, TBS
Game 5: Wed., Oct. 8 @ Anaheim*, TBS
*if necessary

The long and short of it is, the Angels have decided to take the "A" schedule, a choice they have the right to make as they hold the best record in the American League. The Angels are hoping the long schedule can keep them from having to send Jared Weaver to the mound while allowing Mike Scioscia the ability to have free reign over his bullpen. When looking at the numbers alone, the Sox and Halos have similar bullpen stats, but most agree the Angels hold a distinct advantage with greater consistency from middle relief to their record-setting closer. (ITM note: Anyone else completely sick of K-Rod thumping his chest, then pointing and staring up in the sky? Here's to hoping he's burnt out and the Sox rake him).

In my opinion, that is where the advantages of the long series end for the Angels. I was personally somewhat surprised by the Angels quick choice. This enables the Red Sox to carry 10 pitchers, which will undoubtedly allow them to substitute more efficiently off the bench (ITM note: this is especially important given the recent injuries). The biggest advantage for the Sox comes in the starting pitching. The long schedule lets the Sox use three starters (including Beckett and Lester twice if need be....on normal rest). That said, as good as the Angels have been this season, I don't think many expect this to be an easy series either way.

Mike Lowell's status for the playoffs remains unclear. Boston's ability to trot out a deep lineup will go a long way to putting pressure on the Halos starting pitching and bullpen. JD Drew is expected to be in the lineup for the playoffs, but I don't think anyone is ready to give that a 100 percent guarantee.

Luckily the Sox have a few hitters that are currently very hot, Jacoby and Youkilis especially. There are mulitple players in this lineup that can carry us through a short five game series, but the ultimate factor will be starting pitching.....and I like our 1,2,3 over just about any other team in the show this October.

Go Sox.


Anonymous said...

The thing with K-Rod is, he always seems to give you a chance. Anyone know what his numbers are as to putting runners-on-base. It was an amazing accomplishment he had this year, but my guess is he makes a lot of people nervous a lot of the time. Hopefully we can take advantage.

D Vicino said...

The scary thing about K-Rod is that he is only 26 years old...I failed to realize that prior to looking into his stats. (batting average against is only .219 and he has a 1.29 WHIP....but we all know that can change against the Sox in October)....

Further, he's actually had better statistical years than he's had this year (saves aside). He's thrown about the same amount of innings as normal (right around 70), but I think there is something to be said in regards to the "stressful innings" he's pitched to get to his record.

His postseason stats are not exactly K-Rod like, giving up 4 taters in less than 30 innings, saving 3 games but blowing 2.

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