Re: 2013 AL Playoffs: From the Impotent Rays Offense to ?
posted at 10/9/2013 12:28 PM EDT
Actually, redsoxfireman's earlier thread about how tough both the Tigers and Athletics are has some merit. Both have solid pitching. More surprising, Oakland finished 3d in the AL in runs scored despite playing half their games in a big park.
I fully expected the Tigers to roll over the A's and in fact their terrific pitching staff held Oakland to 1 run in the first two games. Problem was, Oakland won one of those games, 1-0. Now they are headed back to Oakland for game 5, which tells me right now both teams are very good.
On the other hand, I think the Sox are pretty tough too. Best hitting in MLB is a given. Also home field advantage. Also more rested than the other two and able to go with whatever rotation Farrell wants.
Two surprises came out of the ALDS. First, all four starters looked pretty decent and Peavy better than expected. Lester solid in game one. Lackey not so much in game two. Buchholz got screwed in game three by some bad calls and those two catwalk balls in the 4th inning, which led to 30 pitches and made him vulnerable in the 5th inning. I think he will be tough in the ALCS in large part because he came back out and pitched a clean 6th in game three in Tampa.
Second surprise was the bullpen, which overall was better than the rotation. Farrell used 6 of the 7 (not Doubront) and together they went 11 innings and gave up 2 runs, including Uehara's dinger to lose game 3. Four--Breslow, Workman, Dempster, and Tazawa--were charged with no runs.
A minor surprise in the ALDS was how healthy Ellsbury looked. Forget the stolen bases and focus on how he looked after scored run #2 last night--he leaped into the air. I doubt his BA of .500 is sustainable, but he and Victorino look like a pretty good, unique top of the order 1-2 punch. If Billy Beane and Bill James are right about the importance of just getting on base, those two can be a pain.
Against the Yankees in 2004 and the Indians in 2007 the Sox needed 7 games to win the ALCS. I see the Sox nailing the A's or the Tigers in 5 or 6 games because they are better overall and because they have two key advantages, home field and more rested, especially the rotation.