October 8, 2008

Sox kept rollin

After dismanteling the "better team" the Sox are now on to their biggest challenge the pesky Rays. The Rays did win the season series and the division, but they can't match the experience of the Sox. This will be the biggest test for the Sox because the Rays have good starters, a deeper middle relief crew, and a serviceable closer in Percival. But, If the White Sox can take a game from these kids then you know the Sox can do some damage.

Let's look at the match up. Ultimately the Sox have the better offense. If Papi (.235 1 RBI 4 K's in ALDS) and Pedroia (.059 1 RBI in ALDS) can start providing some pop this series the Sox will have a much easier time with the Rays. It will take a lot more than a combined 2 RBI's and a couple of walks from them to get the job done. I was a little surprised to see Dice starting game 1 but he can do it. I like Beckett getting some rest before game two and Lester (3-0, 0.90 ERA vs. Tampa in '08) in the pivotal game 3 at Fenway where has owned all season (also game 7 @ TB if needed). Francona feels throwing the vet Wake is the way to go. I think it is wise to have him go at Fenway (even though he was 9-0 up until last year this year he has lost two at the Trop and he has a 5.87 ERA with 12 runs 10 earned given up there.) He has mostly dominated the Rays over his career except for this season and hopefully will have that knuckler floating like a butter fly for game 4.

The key for the Sox in my opinion will be limiting the damage of young studs Longoria and Upton. Longoria hit bombs in his first two post-season ab's and went hit less in his last 8. Upton had 3 HR's and was 4-9 with 4 RBI's against the Pale Hoes in the ALDS. These guys are young so keeping them quite early will set the tone for the rest of the series. Aki Iwamura has also been a thorn in the Sox side. Sometimes guys step up against the Sox like Enrique Wilson. While the Rays starters are good they were hit by the White Sox in the ALDS. Each of their four starters gave up at least two runs. It will be their relievers that win them the series. Balfour, Wheeler, Howell, and Bradford have been pitching over their heads this season and could be the key to this series. Percival is a veteran, but I have to give the Sox the huge edge with Paps.

Overall it looks like a pretty even series I'd say the Sox have the momentum off the emotional Angles series though as well as uber-playoff-experience. In the end I feel this series will go 7 strong. I see the Sox pulling it out with Lester (projected) on the hill building on his legend. Eventhough my gut says Sox in 5 and my balls say Sox in 4.

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Teddy Ballgame

Teddy Ballgame
#9 on the field #1 in our hearts.