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ALCS Preview: Boston Red Sox vs Cleveland Indians

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
Cleveland Indians 143 24 10 1 6 22 20 20 3 2 .315 .417 .524

Offensively Cleveland outhit the Red Sox during the first round of the playoffs. But you have to take two things into consideration:

  • The Indians played one more game the the Red Sox did
  • The Los Angeles Angels are a better pitching team then the New York Yankees. The three starters the Red Sox saw had ERA’s of 3.01, 3.40, and 3.91. The Indians saw starters with ERA’s of 3.70, 4.05, 4.18. The Angels season ERA was 4.23 and the Yankees 4.50.

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
Cleveland Indians 37.0 31 16 14 7 14 28 3.41 1.22 .228 6.81

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:

Position Players Offense Defense
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

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4 comments for “ALCS Preview: Boston Red Sox vs Cleveland Indians”

  1. I love how Carmona is only a slight advanatage over Schilling, yet Beckett is evidently a clear advantage over CC…. Classic….

    Posted by wes | October 12, 2007, 9:55 am
  2. I do it because of experience. Beckett and Schilling have the post-season experience. Carmona is still young and might faulter.

    Posted by Dan | October 12, 2007, 1:15 pm
  3. Hey Wes what do you think now? C.C. looked like a Sissy. Beckett still did well. Now if tomorrow Carmona goes 7 allowing 2 ER and Schilling goes 7 allowing 3 ER. I’ll re-comment. If Schilling blows up, you can come back and rip into me.

    Posted by Dan | October 12, 2007, 11:24 pm

    Posted by Naz | October 23, 2007, 11:51 am

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