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Like the last three years, this ALCS is Yankee-light. Cause the Yankees sucked. But I digress, the Cleveland Indians are a better ballclub than the Yankees this year and they are built for the playoffs.
Cleveland has two very strong pitching Aces and a couple quality veteran starters. They have clutch hitters, speed to put on the bases, can create runs in a ton of ways, have a deep bench, and a bullpen to rival any other.
Right now I’d have to say the two best teams in the playoffs are the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians. Not to devalue the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Colorado Rockies but the two best teams are coming up out of the AL. I’d never write off any team because playoff baseball can be crazy and all it takes is four solid games to win a series.
Both the Red Sox and Cleveland blew by their opponents. So its hard to say who had a better series but lets look at some overall numbers from both teams series.
|Boston Red Sox||93||19||6||0||5||19||16||22||2||1||.269||.369||.495|
Offensively Cleveland outhit the Red Sox during the first round of the playoffs. But you have to take two things into consideration:
Offensively: The Edge goes to the Indians for putting up the numbers, but Boston is close.
|Team Pitching||IP||H||R||ER||HR||BB||K||ERA||WHIP||AVG Against||K/9|
|Boston Red Sox||27||19||4||4||0||7||20||1.33||0.96||.192||6.67|
Pitching: The Red Sox are the clear winners here. Josh Becketts shut-out. Curt Schilling’s 4 hit 7 inning performance. The lights out bullpen. The Red Sox pitching staff has been crazy good.
Again the Yankees have a lot better offense then the Angels and that could account for how the Red Sox did so much better.
Position by position I want to compare players. See who has the edge:
|C||Jason Varitek vs Victor Martinez||Martinez||Varitek|
|1B||Kevin Youkilis vs Ryan Garko||Even||Youkilis|
|2B||Dustin Pedroia vs Asdrubal Cabrera||Pedroia||Even|
|SS||Julio Lugo vs Jhonny Peralta||Peralta||Slight Lugo|
|3B||Mike Lowell vs Casey Blake||Lowell||Lowell|
|LF||Manny Ramirez vs Kenny Lofton||Manny||Lofton|
|CF||Coco Crisp vs Grady Sizemore||Sizemore||Even|
|RF||JD Drew vs Franklin Gutierrez||Drew||Even|
|DH||David Ortiz vs Travis Hafner||Ortiz||NA|
Position by Position: Boston takes it again. Maybe its all those extra millions they spent but on paper, the Red Sox have better position players. Although Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore and Jhonny Peralta are better players then there Red Sox opposites. This isn’t enough to say the Indians have a better set of starters.
|Pitch Match-Ups||Players||Overall Skill|
|SP Game 1||Josh Beckett vs CC Sabathia||Beckett|
|SP Game 2||Curt Schilling vs Fausto Carmona||Carmona Slight|
|SP Game 3||Daisuke Matsuzaka vs Jake Westbrook||Even|
|SP Game 4||Tim Wakefield vs Paul Byrd||Even|
|Closer||Jonathan Papelbon vs Joe Borowski||Papelbon|
|Setup man||Hideki Okajima vs Rafael Betancourt||Even|
|Middle Relief||Eric Gagne vs Rafael Perez||Perez|
|X Factor Bullpen||Manny Delcarmen vs Jensen Lewis||Even|
There is no clear winner here. The Indians pitching may be very young but are very good. Fausto Carmona has been sick all year and so has there bullpen. As good as Boston’s bullpen has been, Cleveland’s main guys have been just as good. If any edge exists, it’s Papelbon and Josh Beckett: clearly the two best arms on both teams combined.
Pitcher by Pitcher Match-Ups: Slight edge to the Red Sox.
Overall Prediction for the Series: The Red Sox win the series in six games.
Game 1: Red Sox (correct)
Game 2: Indians (correct)
Game 3: Red Sox
Game 4: Indians
Game 5: Red Sox
Game 6: Red Sox