Monday, October 8, 2007

Nervous Prediction - Sox and Rox - Sox in 6

So far, things are unfolding to plan. 3 neat and tidy sweeps in Round 1, and after last night, I can see the Yankees/Indians series going 5. But to me, that one's a total toss-up now. Indians made it look too easy in the first 2 games, and let's face it, they got some timely divine intervention in the 8th with the swarm of gnats that totally threw off Joba's game. Under normal conditions, he doesn't throw wild pitches like that, and I think Hafner was out, anyway (I think it was Hafner).

Anyhow, Cleveland got the breaks, and the Yankees were pushed back to the wall - which is when they play their best. Just wait --- A-Rod will bring his A-Game tonight, and if their bats keep booming, there will be a serious momentum swing, and Game 5 could be a formality. After all, NY did go 6-0 against the Tribe during the regular season.

In my last Red Sox post, I had conceded we were better off getting the wild card and letting Anaheim do the dirty work to take out the Yanks. Well, I'm glad I was wrong, as the Sox made it look easy - the Halos just don't have the bats, and like most teams, don't have a strong bridge to their closer, K-Rod. That's why I wanted to see the Yankees gone because they're the only team that comes close to the Red Sox to having a strong bridge. I think Joba is terrific, and the back end of their bullpen is every bit as good as the Red Sox.

At this point, I'd like to think the Sox would prefer to play Cleveland, but they really are strong, and with Clemens done, the Yankees rotation is vulnerable. I do like the Tribe, and my heart tugged when Damon hit that clutch 3 run homer yesterday to totally turn things around - shades of his clutch hitting in 2004. And again, when Trot Nixon made that fatal error on Cano's single that ended up clearing the bases and putting the game out of reach. Ugh. Two Sox mainstays doing Cleveland in when they had NY on the ropes early.

Regardless, I think the Red Sox can beat either team - so long as they play the way they are playing now. They have a habit of playing very well then playing very flat, and with almost a week layover, who know which team will show up Friday? In a way, we'd like to see the NY/Cleveland series go 5 and hope they tire each other out, right?

Presuming the Sox do their thing, it's not the Yankees I'm most worried about, and it's not the Indians either. Nope, it's the Rox. I've seen the Rockies as a dark horse ever since the Sox played them back in June, and when they opened the Phillies series by striking out the side, I could see they have the hot hand right now. Especially following their great winning run to make the playoffs and beat San Diego in that tie-breaker game. Pretty impressive.

While 3 games isn't much to go on, they definitely got the better of the Red Sox at Fenway in June. The Sox struggled to beat them 2-1 in the opener, and Wakefield pitched great. But they tore down Schilling in the second game, 12-2, and then handed Beckett his first loss of the season in the finale, 7-1. No big breakout innings, either - they just kept hitting and scoring runs, and Sox hitters just couldn't get a handle on Colorado's pitchers, none of whom are All Star material. And of course, they didn't have a DH, so on paper, we should have taken at least 2 out of 3.

I don't think the Rockies can outlast the Sox in a 7 game series, especially with us having home field/DH advantage. But I don't see a 4 game sweep either - like we did against what seemed to be a far superior Cardinals team in 2004. Who knows? All I can say is watch the Rox - they're better than you think, and the Sox will have their hands full, presuming both teams get that far. I think they will, and I'm saying now, Sox in 6.

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