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   1. Jon T. Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:15 AM (#2961690)
I think the Angels are definite favorites. Is the Sox lineup really superior considering the health of the two teams and that the Angels have added Teixiera?
   2. Dan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:23 AM (#2961713)
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:24 AM (#2961717)
I find the Angels fascinating. Great manager. One great player. Interesting team approach on offense (contact based, going for the extra base all the time). Always an afterthought when the playoffs are discussed.

I also enjoy watching them play baseball as a team.

Good luck to both teams.
   4. The NeverEnding Torii (oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh) Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:42 AM (#2961762)
I do think it's a fairly even match-up - much moreso than either of the NLDS - and it's true that Boston has had the Angels' number in the postseason in the past. Homefield advantage? Injuries? How about the fact that the Angels are 8-1 against the Red Sox in 2008?

It's not just the Angels that get overlooked, though. Here are some fun numbers:

85 RBI, .330 BA, .415 OBP, .869 OPS
83 RBI, .326 BA, .376 OBP, .869 OPS

If someone can tell me why the guy with the second set of numbers deserves all the MVP talk in the last month substantially more than the guy above him, I'd certainly like to hear it.
   5. Darren Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:49 AM (#2961785)
Haven't people around here been talking a lot about Mauer for MVP?

How about the fact that the Angels are 8-1 against the Red Sox in 2008?


I'd put that in the fluke category. I doubt it tells us much more than the teams' overall records.
   6. plink Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:51 AM (#2961789)
If someone can tell me why the guy with the second set of numbers deserves all the MVP talk in the last month substantially more than the guy above him, I'd certainly like to hear it.

An extra 100 PA is a pretty good reason. And the 1st player has been getting a fair amount MVP talk, though not as much as the 2nd.

BTW, I don't think it's accurate to say that the Angels lineup has one great player anymore. Or rather, if they have only one great player this year, it isn't the same great player that it's been the last 4 years.
   7. Halofan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:58 AM (#2961806)
I think the 8-1 is important - far more important than the 3-9 record that other sox teams have compiled against the Angels in the postseason... and the 1 Angel loss was their first meeting of the season, in April. And 1 of the 8 Angel victories featured Robb Quinlan as the starting 1B.
   8. Dan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:03 AM (#2961817)
I think the 8-1 is important - far more important than the 3-9 record that other sox teams have compiled against the Angels in the postseason... and the 1 Angel loss was their first meeting of the season, in April. And 1 of the 8 Angel victories featured Robb Quinlan as the starting 1B.

And 4 of the losses for the Red Sox were accrued by pitchers that won't be appearing in this series (Hansen, Wakefield, 2x Buchholz).
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:07 AM (#2961823)
I'd put the Angels' 8-1 this year over the lifetime mark (without looking, I think it's 3-10). Neither would rank terribly high on my list of important factors, however.
   10. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:11 AM (#2961833)
Should be a good series. The Sox are the best team in baseball, so I give them the edge in 4.
   11. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:22 AM (#2961876)
Sox sweep. Bring on the Rays.

(This one's for you, Dan.)
   12. VoodooR Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:26 AM (#2961890)
Angels in three.
   13. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:29 AM (#2961896)
Pirates in 7
   14. scotto Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:39 AM (#2961918)
I suppose that history favors the Red Sox, as they have won their last 9 playoffs games against this franchise.

I'm with SoSHially Unacceptable. Playoff history against a team which had different personnel is less significant than head to head history with the teams made up as they are currently.

It'll be a tough series, and if the Sox can make it to the next round I like their chances for winning it all. I can't say I've got Twain's calm confidence of a Christian holding four aces, though.
   15. cfrtb Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:25 AM (#2962005)
The current line is -128/+118 (LAA is favored). I imagine that line is not 100% accurate and should probably be a bit higher (assuming that the public is betting BOS), but is probably pretty close to accurate. BOS having ~44% chance of winning the series seems to be about right with the injuries (if Beckett doesn't pitch, Wakefield is a downgrade) and LAA having homefield advantage.

Of course, I hope I am wrong about this, as I will be at games 1 and 2 and would love for BOS to continue their post season 'domination' of LAA.
   16. Marcel Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:11 AM (#2962128)
It's not just the Angels that get overlooked, though. Here are some fun numbers:

85 RBI, .330 BA, .415 OBP, .869 OPS
83 RBI, .326 BA, .376 OBP, .869 OPS

If someone can tell me why the guy with the second set of numbers deserves all the MVP talk in the last month substantially more than the guy above him, I'd certainly like to hear it.


He's not getting much MVP talk for the same reason Youk isn't getting much. There's another player on their own respecive teams that the writers are more enamored with.
   17. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:24 AM (#2962134)
Lackey and Santana kind of backed into the post-season, to put it politely. It will be most interesting to see how they do against the Red Sox.
   18. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:40 AM (#2962140)
Gary Matthews to start game 1 in RF per mlb.com- this does not please me.
   19. Dan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:42 AM (#2962141)
Vlad is supposed to DH for the whole series too, so it might be a lot of GMJ.
   20. Halofan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:47 AM (#2962144)
Matthews hit 2 HR off of MoLester in April. Lackey thrw not one curveball, nor Santana one slider in their tuneup starts last week.
   21. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 01, 2008 at 07:36 AM (#2962154)
Matthews hit 2 HR off of MoLester in April.


That made me laugh

May the best team win
   22. Gonfalon B. Posted: October 01, 2008 at 07:55 AM (#2962157)
MoLester was touched up by Junior.
   23. martin.brady1 Posted: October 01, 2008 at 08:49 AM (#2962161)
Youkilis' numbers are better than I knew. And with Manny gone, and Ortiz, Drew, and Lowell hurt for a good while, he's really been the rock for production. Pedroia, as a middle infielder, with all those hits, runs, stolen bases, and very decent power and RBIs, looks like the complete player, and that may push him to the top of MVP voting. Mauer? Morneau? Maybe? If Carlos Quentin had stayed healthy and kept on, it might've been him. As it is, he finished with .288/36/100. Not bad for a guy who missed 32 games.

I dunno, folks. The BoSox look a little weak to me coming in to this series. Beckett, Drew and Lowell are rather question marks, aren't they? Even if they play, will they be returning to form? And after Lester and Dice-K, if Beckett's not all there, whattya got? Byrd (4.78)? Colon (3.92)? Buchholz (6.75)? Is Wakefield (4.13) in the mix?

Halos look tough to me.
   24. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 01, 2008 at 09:46 AM (#2962165)
Buchholz and Colon are not on the roster. Wakefield will pitch game three if Beckett can't go.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 01, 2008 at 11:17 AM (#2962174)
There's a case to be made that this series matches up the two best teams in baseball. Actually, I kind of think that this series matches up the two best teams in baseball (sorry Cubs, Rays). I'm expecting a very high level of baseball, and it should be a lot of fun.

Looks like the playoff roster still isn't released, though the reports in the Globe and Herald all suggest that Drew and Lowell will be ready to start tonight. That's a big improvement, if they can play.
   26. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: October 01, 2008 at 11:24 AM (#2962176)
I tried to apply the "Mo Lester" tag like a year ago. You guys are fickle.
   27. Lassus Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:21 PM (#2962198)
I'm not really sure the Sox are one of the best 2 teams in baseball right now. They are definitely one of the best 8 teams.
   28. villageidiom Posted: October 01, 2008 at 12:56 PM (#2962225)
I'm not really sure the Sox are one of the best 2 teams in baseball right now. They are definitely one of the best 8 teams.


In their last 30 games, per B-R:

LAA 20-10
PHI 19-11
LAD 19-11
BOS 18-12
CHC 16-14
TBR 16-14
MIL 13-17
CHW 13-17 (reflects last night's game; B-R isn't updated yet)

Since August 1:

BOS 34-19
TBR 34-21
CHC 32-20
PHI 33-21
LAA 32-22
MIL 30-23
LAD 30-24
CHW 29-26
   29. AROM Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:06 PM (#2962234)
There's a case to be made that this series matches up the two best teams in baseball. Actually, I kind of think that this series matches up the two best teams in baseball (sorry Cubs, Rays). I'm expecting a very high level of baseball, and it should be a lot of fun.


Probably right. Rays are up there too, put I would not include the Cubs. No offense meant to them, but the gap between the AL and NL is undeniably huge. An NL team would have to win at least 5-10 games more than the top AL teams to deserve consideration for "best team in baseball".
   30. Answer Guy Posted: October 01, 2008 at 01:10 PM (#2962243)
I don't actually expect the Sox, banged up (with Drew, Lowell, and Beckett as partial question marks) and having to play on the road as they are, to prevail in this series, despite the two teams' respective post-season histories. I would really have preferred the Sox win the division and put this potential series off.

These might be the two best teams in baseball.
   31. Toby Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:31 PM (#2962346)
Sorry, but the Angels are just not very good. They have been very lucky, as their Pythag attests, and they play in a very weak division. I have a soft spot for the Angels from my days and friendships at UCLA many years ago, and I'll probably root for them against any other opponent except perhaps the Rays or Cubs, but they are just not very good.

The Red Sox put up a very good year in a very strong division, and they put up a very strong September against a very strong schedule.

Item #1, looking back at the season: According to BPro, the Red Sox have 102 third-order wins, while the Angels have 84.

Item #2, looking forward at the emerging trends: Lester is emerging into an ace with each start, Dice-K likewise is trending up, Lowrie/Cora is an upgrade from Lugo, the bullpen is in better shape now than at any point before. Yes, they have some significant injuries, but they've had significant injuries all year -- the team is arguably more healthy now than at any point earlier in the season. (We've been without Lowell and Drew before, and been without Papi, and Manny, and Dice, etc.) And those two guys (Lowell and Drew) are probably the most easy for the Sox to replace -- it's not a huge step down from Lowell to a Cora/Casey platoon, and it's not a huge step down from Drew to Crisp/Kotsay.

I am less qualified to speak to the emerging trends of the Angels, but for one thing, Teixeira is not really that much of an upgrade from Kotchman, and for another thing, they have not had a significant injury all season so, unlike with the Sox, you can't argue "they are better than their performance because they are more healthy now than they have been".

All that said, of course a best-of-5 is a crapshoot, and each of these teams is fully capable of sweeping the other. But, significant edge Sox.
   32. Mattbert Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:45 PM (#2962363)
I would've felt better going against the Angels in a 7-game series than the short one. I could see the Sox taking this to 5 games, depending on the health of Beckett, but my guess is the Angels come out on top. Biggest difference between this year and years past is the Angels finally went out and did something about their offense. The addition of Tex was huge, and will, I think, prove to be the move that put them over the first-round hump.
   33. plink Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:45 PM (#2962364)
Teixeira is not really that much of an upgrade from Kotchman,

I don't think this is true, even dismissing Teixeira's results with the Angels as small sample size.

Another thing to keep in mind for this series is how much better the AL East was than the AL West this year.
   34. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:50 PM (#2962369)
Angels in 4.
   35. AROM Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:55 PM (#2962375)
Another thing to keep in mind for this series is how much better the AL East was than the AL West this year.


The Angels beat up on their west division opponents to the tune of a 36-21 record. Against the big, mighty, all powerful east, they only went 30-16.
   36. jmurph Posted: October 01, 2008 at 02:59 PM (#2962380)
Against the big, mighty, all powerful east, they only went 30-16.


Sure, but how many of those wins came against the lowly Yankees?

I actually think the Angels are a slightly better team, and thus likely to win in a 7 game series, but I'll take the Sox in the shorter series.
   37. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 01, 2008 at 03:02 PM (#2962388)
Probably right. Rays are up there too, put I would not include the Cubs. No offense meant to them, but the gap between the AL and NL is undeniably huge. An NL team would have to win at least 5-10 games more than the top AL teams to deserve consideration for "best team in baseball".

But the person you're quoting was saying the Cubs were one of the best four teams in baseball. Is this not possible? They have a better record than anyone except the Angels.
   38. tfbg9 Posted: October 01, 2008 at 03:17 PM (#2962417)
The Angles hit a lot beter in the 2nd half...had a .793 team OPS. They hit better
in the 2nd half than the Sox did on the road, for instance.

This is gonna be a very tough series to pull off for the Sox. Can't let Tex and Vlad hurt you...
that's my conventional wisdom key to the series.
   39. Dave Cyprian Posted: October 01, 2008 at 05:15 PM (#2962612)
Sox in 3. Angels are paper tigers. It all hinges on tonight - game 1.

Sox are absolutely unstoppable at home, but the Angels may win game 2 with 4 innings to work against the bullpen. But I don't think that will happen- Angels in Anaheim is a great matchup for Dick-K, who likes to work on the road against free swinging opponents (career 3.35 era with a .210 OBA on the road).

If Lester can shut them down tonight, the pressure on the Angels will be immense, they will lose to DiceK, and they will get swept or certainly lose in 4. If Sox lose tonight, series will go 5 games and I have no idea what will happen, but I must admit, I think DiceK can handle game 5 on the road. He's an enigma, but he's also a big game pitcher.
   40. Dan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 05:20 PM (#2962616)
I actually agree with that Dave. Tonight's game is HUGE.
   41. Dan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 05:48 PM (#2962657)
Apparently Ross gets the final roster spot over Timlin for the ALDS. 3 catchers for a 5 game series? Really?
   42. A triple short of the cycle Posted: October 01, 2008 at 05:51 PM (#2962666)
[the Angels] have not had a significant injury all season

Yeah - Except for Escobar, and Lackey, and Guerrero.

Anyhow, should be a good series.
   43. jmurph Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:00 PM (#2962682)
3 catchers for a 5 game series? Really?


Hopefully that means Francona will be hitting and running (if he accidentally gets on base) for Varitek frequently, but I'll believe it when I see it.
   44. Bob Loblaw Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:22 PM (#2962724)
Apparently Ross gets the final roster spot over Timlin for the ALDS. 3 catchers for a 5 game series? Really?


Anything that guarantees Timlin won't take the mound in this series is fine by me. If the only people they were willing to consider for the 25th spot were Timlin and Pesky, I'd have gone with the octogenarian.
   45. plim Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:30 PM (#2962728)
Apparently Ross gets the final roster spot over Timlin for the ALDS. 3 catchers for a 5 game series? Really?


as long as timlin's not allowed to lose it for us.
   46. villageidiom Posted: October 01, 2008 at 06:33 PM (#2962732)
I actually agree with that Dave. Tonight's game is HUGE.

Tonight's game is huge because it's tonight's game. On Friday we'll be saying Game 2 is huge.

Apparently Ross gets the final roster spot over Timlin for the ALDS. 3 catchers for a 5 game series? Really?

I think he did this last year, too.

With the days off he doesn't need another person in the bullpen, and they seem to have positions covered in case of injury. The last spot is what gives them the greatest flexibility in a pinch. And in a pinch, either PH or PR for one of the catchers is the biggest bang for the buck. This gives them more flexibility there.

Don't expect it to be repeated in the ALCS if they make it.
   47. Darren Posted: October 01, 2008 at 10:29 PM (#2963173)
I think taking either of games 1 and 2 would be big, and game 1 is a better matchup for the Sox. Going home tied 1-1 would put Boston in the proverbial catbird's seat.


The apparent health of Drew, Beckett, and Lowell makes me more optimistic about things.
   48. Dan Posted: October 01, 2008 at 10:32 PM (#2963179)
I think taking either of games 1 and 2 would be big, and game 1 is a better matchup for the Sox. Going home tied 1-1 would put Boston in the proverbial catbird's seat.

This is what I meant, and it's what I posted in the game chatter, almost to the word.
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 01, 2008 at 10:56 PM (#2963254)
With the days off he doesn't need another person in the bullpen, and they seem to have positions covered in case of injury. The last spot is what gives them the greatest flexibility in a pinch. And in a pinch, either PH or PR for one of the catchers is the biggest bang for the buck. This gives them more flexibility there.

Indeed, the increased number of off-days in the postseason, which seems to be increasing a little every year, changes the calculus which would decide if the last couple guys on the bench should be pitchers or hitters.
   50. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 01, 2008 at 10:57 PM (#2963257)
it's not a huge step down from Drew to Crisp/Kotsay.

Uh...disagree.

No Timlin! Hooray!
   51. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 01, 2008 at 11:32 PM (#2963385)
NO TIMLIN?

GOD - THERE IS ONE!!
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 02, 2008 at 05:33 AM (#2964355)
Jacoby Ellsbury, postseason career: 400/455/567, 4 SB 0 CS
   53. Xander Posted: October 02, 2008 at 05:37 AM (#2964358)
IsoD could use some work.
   54. Dan Posted: October 02, 2008 at 05:48 AM (#2964363)
So, Red Sox in 3 or 4?
   55. konaforever Posted: October 02, 2008 at 06:27 AM (#2964374)
So, Red Sox in 3 or 4?


In 2.
   56. Dan Posted: October 02, 2008 at 06:32 AM (#2964375)
I meant total, not how many more.
   57. ericr Posted: October 02, 2008 at 12:55 PM (#2964420)
So it didn't seem to make much of a difference, but how bad was the home plate umpiring last night?

Also the play-by-play was brutal. There were a few times where my eyes disagreed with this guy.
   58. dave h Posted: October 02, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#2964532)
Yeah, I only watched a little bit before it was past my bedtime, but I hate it when an announcers keeps repeating a statement that seems to contradict the replay they keep showing over and over. For instance, Kendrick flipping the ball to second with his glove was described as "methodical". Huh? It's a nice play, and I'm sure he's confident doing that. But it's a pretty good indication that he wasn't just going for one out. I'm not sure how you say that in the first place, and then apparently feel the need to repeat it after seeing the replay instead of admitting your error.
   59. Dan Posted: October 02, 2008 at 04:57 PM (#2964625)
I feel a lot better about game 2 knowing that Mathis will be starting over Napoli.
   60. chris p Posted: October 02, 2008 at 05:12 PM (#2964648)
The apparent health of Drew, Beckett, and Lowell makes me more optimistic about things.

lowell does not look like he'll last through the playoffs and drew's back could stiffen back up any time ... he looked really uncomfortable in the dugout towards the end of the game ... and we still don't know if beckett will be ready to pitch game 3. that all said, the red sox could win it all without any of those 3.
   61. SoSH U at work Posted: October 02, 2008 at 05:17 PM (#2964655)
lowell does not look like he'll last through the playoffs and drew's back could stiffen back up any time ... he looked really uncomfortable in the dugout towards the end of the game ...


Well, as a consolation, their replacements probably couldn't look much worse at the plate.
   62. chris p Posted: October 02, 2008 at 05:31 PM (#2964676)
Well, as a consolation, their replacements probably couldn't look much worse at the plate.

well kotsay has looked pretty bad, but at least casey/cora wouldn't stumble and almost fall every time they checked their swing.
   63. Dave Cyprian Posted: October 03, 2008 at 02:51 PM (#2966134)
Forget splitting these two games -- Angels on the Run, playing tight as hell... what the bleep was Vlady thinking? Sox in 3... sweep is on.

I don't think tonight's game is huge. Unless your an Angels fan. Game 1 was the biggie- Sox had to put the psychological clamp-down on the Angels and they did that.

I thought it was interesting how pissed off Lackey was when he was pulled from the game. These Rally Monkeys just look nervous and tight to me.

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