Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We all know the Red Sox have been here before.
Down 3-1, you probably couldn't ask for 3 better starters in the next 3 elimination games than Dice-K, Josh Beckett and John Lester.
So don't stick a fork in Boston just yet. Just ask the Indians or Yankees.
However, Beckett is hurt, you can easily tell from this year's post season numbers. The Rays clobbered Lester in Game 3. And Dice-K always seems to flirt with disaster but seems to walk through mine fields unscathed.
Literally, Dice-K has been an exception to the pitcher's creed. Don't walk the batter, let 'em hit it. Walks will kill you. But Dice-K always seems to walk a batter here and there to load the bases and always seems to get himself out of the self induced jam.
I have a feeling his luck is about to run out. Game 5 isn't a must win for Tampa, they're home for Games 6 and 7, if need be. The longer the Rays go without finishing off the Red Sox, the more the momentum swings back to Boston.
Tampa is not only young, but they seem so confident and relaxed, not what you'd expect from one of the youngest squads in baseball. And Joe Maddon is the best manager in MLB.
And let's face it, Boston's lineup is not nearly as potent as previous years. No Manny Ramirez, no Mike Lowell, and Jason Varitek is at the end of career. Tek couldn't hit the side of a barn with a tractor. The only solid bats in the lineup are Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew.
Big Papi's era as the best clutch hitter in baseball seems to be over. Ortiz is 5-33 in this post season with 1 RBI. He hasn't hit a postseason homerun since Game 4 of last year's ALCS, that's 59 at bats and 15 straight games without a homerun in the postseason.
His production is obviously down without Manny batting behind him. But also because of a knee injury last year combined with the wrist injury that landed him on the DL this summer.
I would love to see Tampa win the World Series. USA Today's Danny Sheridan had the Rays as 50,000-1 to win the Series! Vegas would only give you as high as 100-1.
The AL East is far and away the best division in baseball, maybe the best all time, and it is only getting tougher. One of Tampa's coaches said they'll have at least 9! pitchers who could start in MLB. The Yankees and Red Sox will still compete. And if Toronto can keep it's pitching staff intact, the Blue Jays are a solid bat or two away from being serious contenders.