It's only fitting that the teams with the two best records in both leagues meet in the League Championship Series. It seems that revenue-sharing worked well to somewhat even the field this year during the regular season, but come playoff time the best teams prevailed, and prevailed big. Only one division series was not decided in a 3 game sweep, and it took all of 4 games to complete. This marks the first year since.........ever, that three series were decided in the minimum number of games. It was pure dominance in the first round of the playoffs, with the stronger teams manhandling their opponent. Great time for baseball, as we know who the true juggernauts of this season truly are.
Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians
This ALCS might as well be the World Series. Two teams, tied for the best record in baseball throughout the regular season, are meeting up for a chance to go on and face the National League Champion. They went an identical 96-66 during the regular season, and Boston won home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a coin toss tiebreaker. In my eyes, these two teams are easily the best in baseball this year, and the winner should go on to win it all. Play will begin Friday, October 12th, 7:00 P.M. Eastern time @ Fenway Park.
Why the Red Sox will win
1. They have the best starting rotation in the league- This team is stacked with starting pitching. Cleveland is looking to go up against Beckett in game one, and that game could easily set the tone for the rest of the series. Beckett looks like a top two Cy Young candidate and has thrown three straight postseason shutouts, the last one of somewhat historical significance. After Beckett you have Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield if healthy, and Curt Schilling, who pitched 7 lights out innings on 11 days rest in the decisive game three. Dice-K has been getting beaten up as of late, but expect another level in the postseason, and we all know about Curt Schilling in the playoffs. He is a man beast, to say the least(no rhyme intended)
2. Their Bullpen- This is one fasset the Red Sox seem to have the short stick on. The only problem with that is their bullpen is still lights out. There is Japanese rookie sensation Hideki Okajima, who was absolutely unhittable the first half of the season, Eric Gagne, who is really needed to perform well after being acquired before the trade deadline, and closer Jonathon Papelbon, who saved 37 of 40 and had a 1.85 era during the regular season.
3. The BIG Two- That's right, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Carrying a team is one thing, but completely putting them on your back and winning a series nearly double handedly is another. They have performed lights out all postseason, to the tune of a .714 batting average for Big Papi, and two home runs, including a walkoff, for Manny. They perform like that again, and the Sox will win this series.
Why the Indians will win
1. Their BIG Two- You guessed it. C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. They are right in that Cy Young race with Josh Beckett, and I expect C.C. to come away with it. Manager Eric Wedge made a smart move resting Sabathia last night, because they are going to need him for game 1 of this series. If they can perform like they did against the Yankees, this series could be theirs.
2. Two out hitting- The Indians were able to light up the scoredboards with two outs, putting the nail in the coffin on the Yankees in nearly every game. If they can get those timely hits in the ALCS, expect a similar outcome.
3. The Rafeal's- Two of the most dominating reliever's in the American League during 2007. They sang to the tune of 1.47 and 1.78 era's all year long. They have pitched a combine 8 innings in the playoffs this year, and only given up 1 run. The Indians are going to need them to perform well against this hot Red Sox lineup.
I feel the Red Sox have some magical aura around them, and they will win this series. All the games are going to be close, but the Red Sox will win it in 6. Mark my words.
NOTE: I think it's effing sweet the Indians are using beer at their celebration. And no goggles. Freakin hardcore