White Hat Sports Headlines

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Come, Labor On Red Sox-Angels Round 3

Oh, it's been a while. Between being engulfed in the pennant race and having no time to talk about it, I haven't posted a new column in weeks. It actually feels like years, so much has happened but nothing has changed, except now it's official. The Rays have won the division and the Red Sox finished second, but captured the Wild Card. It seems fitting that the last post is the longest running headline in the history of the website, because that was the night that if hope wasn't lost, it was evident that hope had taken a few wrong turns. It became official late last night that the Rays would by default of David Pauley, win their first division title and make their first appearance in the postseason. The Rays seem to have Boston's number, the Angels are 8-1 against Boston this year (I was at the one game that Boston won, the starting pitcher in that game? You guessed it, David Pauley.) The Twins are leading the Central by a half game over the White Sox. The Red Sox had some battles with the Twins this season in their few games against each other. The White Sox on the other hand held a decent record against Boston, but I don't see how they match up against this Boston team well at all. The Angels are on tap again for the Red Sox to kick off the first round, so here's the break down.
The pitching: The old saying's go, a good running game and good defense wins in the NFL, defense and an inside game wins in the NBA and pitching wins in the playoffs. There is a stark contrast right off the bat between the Red Sox and these Angels. During the season a deep rotation should in theory get you the best record because you are throwing 4 and 5 pitchers out there, that in theory are better than the other team's 4th and 5th starters. In the playoffs that goes out the window, because maybe two starts are going to be made by those number 4 guys and that's it. The Red Sox have arguably the two best pitchers in this series. Josh Beckett being the predominant postseason starter in baseball now and then you can argue that Jon Lester is throwing better than John Lackey and if I wanted to get crazy and get a lot of e-mails I could say that at 18-2 before today's start, Dice-K is better than Lackey and he would be Boston's number 3. Saunders is solid and has pitched well against Boston, Weaver is owned by Ortiz and most of the Boston line up. Ervin Santana hasn't faced the Red Sox much and has had a very up and down season and right now is trending downward.
The bullpens right now favor the Angels, but they don't have a lot of play off experience in the pen besides K-Rod and Scot Shields and Boston has had Shields number his entire career. Papelbon at the end of the game has been almost as lights out as K-Rod and right now Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson have been very tough and Hideki Okakima looks like he is back to where he was last season using his curve ball more than ever and more effectively.

Be sure to check back soon for the offensive break downs of the Red Sox and Angels heading into the ALDS.

Sterling Pingree

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