Thursday, October 11, 2007

Red Sox v Tribe - Let's break it down

So what have we got here, a juicy little ALCS by the looks of it. Two good teams, two great pitching staffs, two rabid fan bases. Without further ado, let's chop it up!

Let's get it on

Position = C.
Upperhand = Even
Jason Varitek v Victor Martinez
How is this even? It's a legitimate query after the way Victor M absolutely destroyed Yankee pitching in the ALDS. Did you know Cleveland annihilated the Yankees in the ALDS? Just checking. Anyway, Varitek is good for a clutch hit or three, and also is a top class defensive catcher who handles his eclectic staff of pitching with aplomb. Tie

Position = 1b.
Upperhand = Even
Kevin Youkilis v Ryan Garko
Garko has a touch more pop, Youkilis has the better eye and has shown incredibly steady defensive skills at first. Why is this a tie so? Garko went nuts in the ALDS, where Cleveland apparently knocked out some team called the Yankees.

Position = 2b.
Upperhand = Boston
Dustin Pedroia v Asdrubal Cabrera
Cabrera is a nice little player, and has a great future. Pedroia's future appears to be right here and now. A real gamer, a Trot Nixon 'Dirt Dog' type player with smooth fielding skills and a penchant for big, clutch hits.

..size isn't everything...

Position = 3b.
Upperhand = Boston
Mike Lowell v Casey Blake
If it wasn't for Mr April (A-Rod) doing what he does best, ie: tearing it up when it doesn't count and then running and hiding when it does, Lowell might have had a chance at the AL MVP for 2007. Instead it's going to a guy who couldn't buy a hit, or a clutch moment of any sort, in the playoffs, not just this year, any year. Just shows how useless stats are often as a barometer of a players value. Sneaky snake/agent Scott Boras is soon going to be shopping Mr April to teams as the 'Greatest player ever'. How does that work, if he can not function in October? Back to the topic at hand, Lowell is a 9 out of 10 where Blake is a perfectly acceptable 7. This is Lowell's year though.

Position = ss.
Upperhand = Even
Julio Lugo v Jhonny Peralta.
Someone smack that Peralta guy upside the head and tell him it's Johnny, not 'Jhonny'. Seriously. What is with all these weird, deliberately mispelt names? Peralta is a decent little player and had a good ALDS against the Yankees. Give Lugo credit, he turned a early train wreck of a season into a very passable effort. Lugo just looks like someone who might decide a game with a big hit.

Position = lf.
Upperhand = Boston
Manny Ramirez v Kenny Lofton
Lofton had a super duper series against the Yankees. Sadly for the Tribe, Manny just woke up. And he's pissed. And he's carrying a big bat. How vastly different does Boston's lineup look when Manny is slugging?

Position = cf.
Upperhand = Even
Coco v Grady Sizemore
This is closer than it looks despite Grady's obvious skill set. Coco is a superior and spectacular fielder, and has the same if not better speed. here's the thing. Coco is going back to show his former employees what they could have had. He looks good with a chip on his shoulder.

Position = rf.
Upperhand = Boston
JD Drew v Franklin Gutierrez
Drew, really? Yes, really. He is streets ahead of Gutierrez in terms of talent, and even better for Boston fans, his bat has recently come to life. There are going to be a serious number of people with egg on their collective faces having spent an entire summer bashing Drew mercilessly.

Position = dh.
Upperhand = Boston
David Ortiz v Travis Hafner
Hafner is a very respectable player, and yet this isn't even close. Ortiz looks hungry, and he has Manny back to his old self. Ortiz by a landslide.

...and for my next trick..

Position = sp.
Upperhand = Boston
Beckett, Schilling, Matsuzaka and Wakefield v Sabathia, Carmona, Westbrook and Byrd
Clevelands sensational big two make this closer than it should be, the vast difference in class comes with the three and four starters. Matsuzaka looks like he is enjoying the playoff atmosphere and his 'stuff' has never been in question. Wakefield is as steady as a rock. Westbrook is an up and down kind of guy who is currently heading into one of his 'down' slants, and Paul Byrd was extremely lucky against the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers had him on the ropes all night, but he managed to squeeze out of several serious jams. He won't get lucky this time. Boston could absolutely destroy him. Put it this way, if you had to pick one pitcher out of that bunch who might only last one inning, who would it be? Paul Byrd, easy. So maybe Beckett, Schilling, Big CC Sabathia and Carmona even each other out, but Boston has a clear advantage with the three and four spots.

Position = the pen.
Upperhand = Boston
I could warble on for hours about this guy and that guy and somebody maybe being slightly better than somebody else, but what this comes down to is, Papelbon is going to pitch Boston out of trouble a couple of times, Joe Borowski, the Indians 'closer' with his eight blown saves and massive era, is going to cost the Tribe one if not more games.

You think the Indians will feel safe with Borowski pitching in the ninth with a one run lead, a runner on, one out and Ortiz at the plate?

Didn't think so.

Let's get it on.



Andrew McRory said...

Great blog, Cormac! I'm SO ready for this series... to me it carries more weight than the actual Fall Classic.

Go Sox!

-New Englander trapped in San Diego

sugarshane024 said...

Well written. A good read.

I've got three gripes though. I agree that Boston does have the overall edge in the series in large part due to their experience. But I cannot agree, under any circumstances, that the Coco and Sizemore matchup is a wash. Their defensive skills and speed are about even. But Sizemore is vastly superior offensively. I'll take Grady over Coco in Fenway's center field any day.

Second, I would call Drew and Gutierrez a wash solely based on my opinion. And my opinion is highly skewed because of Drew's lackluster performance this season.

Last, I do believe that Papelbon over Borowski gives the Sox the edge in the bullpen category, but don't underestimate the Indians pen. It is very solid. Betancourt was one of the top setup man in all of baseball this year. And they have legit middle relievers such as Jennsen Lewis and Rafael Perez as well.

It will be a good series.

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Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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