2007 ALCS Preview

2007 ALCS Preview

By Peter Schiller

Players to watch in this series: Boston Red Sox

Starting Pitchers:

Josh Beckett: is a BIG time playoff pitcher and one of the top Cy Young Award Candidates this year! He’s coming off a complete game, 4 hit shutout with 8K’s in game 1 of the ALDS & will be opposed in game 1 of this series by Sabathia, another Cy Young Award candidate (one of these two men will likely win this award)

Curt Schilling: is coming off a 7 inning shutout of his own, allowing 6 hits with 4 K’s in game 3 of the ALDS, he’s now pitching in game 2 against Carmona

Daisuke Matsuzaka: which version of Dice-K will we see in game three? His start could be a turning point in this series! 

Relief Pitchers:

Hideki Okajima: looks to be back on track after tiring in late August into September, but went 2.1 scoreless IP allowing only 1 hit and 2 K’s in the ALDS. They need him to keep this up!

Jonathon Papelbon: great move putting him back into the closer’s role at the end of spring training as he collected 37 saves with a 1.85 ERA & 0.77 WHIP! He’s as dominant a closer as anyone could ask for in this series. At closer, the advantage goes to Boston, hands down!

Position Players:

2B Dustin Pedroia: needs to be a table setter for Manny, Ortiz & Lowell (3-4-5 hitters)

1B Kevin Youkilis: needs to do better than a .286 OBP in this series. He, like Pedroia, needs to get on base in front of the big 3

3B Mike Lowell: is coming off one of his best years in baseball, if not his best! He’s coming off a series where he hit .333 with a .364 OBP & 3 RBI’s in the ALDS & needs to keep it up for Boston to move onto the World Series

DH David Ortiz: see his numbers that I posted in AL 4 to 2 part 1. More of the same would almost guarantee a berth into the World Series by the Sox

LF Manny Ramirezsee his numbers that I posted in AL 4 to 2 part 1. It looks as if Manny has fully recovered from his oblique injury that kept him out for most of September. Good thing for the Sox, bad thing for the Angels & Indians!

Players to watch in this series: Cleveland Indians

Starting Pitchers:

C.C. Sabathia: had a tough outing against the Yankees in game 1, but still recorded a win even though he walked more batters than he struckout: 6 to 5 & gave up 3 runs in only 5 innings. This Cy Young candidate needs to pitch better than that to beat the Red Sox’ Cy Young candidate in game one Friday night!

Fausto Carmona: in game 2, he went the distance allowing only 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 5. Indian fans would like to see a repeat performance out of their surprise star starter. He will play a key role in the Indians chances in this series. Pitching should determine who wins this series

Paul Byrd/Jake Westbrook: one of these two guys needs to come up big for the Indians to feel good about their chances in this series (My bet would be on Byrd)

Relief Pitchers:

Rafael Betancourt/Jensen Lewis: both pitched 2 scoreless innings in the ALDS & need a repeat performance to keep this team going in the postseason. With 2 starting staffs like these two teams employ, the spotlight will be on the bullpens to keep the boats afloat

Joe Borowski: needs to have a better series than he did against New York. A closer with an ERA of 4.50 (in the ALDS & 5.07 in the regular season) will get eaten alive in the playoffs!

Position Players:

C/1B Victor Martinez: will primarily stay behind the plate & is one of the best hitting catchers in the game. He hit .301 with 25 HR’s 114 RBI’s & 40 doubles and a .374 OBP. They’ll need him to keep up those production numbers in order to succeed this postseason

SS Jhonny Peralta: hit 21 HR’s on the year while hitting .270 with a .341 OBP & look for him to keep up the production

CF Grady Sizemore: hit 24 HR’s with a .277 average while stealing 33 bases. He can cause havoc on the base paths & throw pitchers off their game

DH Travis Hafner: hit only .266 with 24 HR’s (low by his standards) with 100 RBI’s; but struckout more times than he walked: 115 to 102. He needs to be the Travis Hafner of old in order to win it all!

Honorable mention: The Indians as a team had only 3 players who hit under .250 & only 4 hit under .375 in the ALDS!

3 Comments

  1. Dave Bacon

    October 12, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    You two crack me up. I will try to keep track of the blog, but I have one question. Three weeks from now when the Sox have another set of rings, and Terry is given the key to the city (figuratively speaking of course) what will you write about? The Pats?!

  2. Peter

    October 12, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Dear Dave,

    First of all, I wouldn’t say that any team is a sure bet to win this year. Each team is going to need to be running on all cylinders and it should be a fierce competition. The Indian batters are red hot right now! Numbers and stats may favor Boston, but there is always that intangible element: call it “heart”, call it “hunger”, call it “chemistry”, but teams have been known to rise above everyone’s expectations and shock the world (Red Sox ALCS performance in 2004. . . ). Luckily for the Red Sox, they still have Schilling, who in 2004, showed the world what kind of heart he has! Those Rockies are probably on the biggest hot streak of all four teams still playing & they are not going to roll over and play dead. It’s going to be quite a ride this October.

    As far as what to write about after that, well, there are the many lineup, roster, rotation, coaching and managing changes that will be going on behind the scenes. If you’re a fan or a fantasy player, you’ll want to keep on top of this! There is the opportunity to review and analyze each major league team, and make projections on the upcoming season. Pitchers and catchers will report for spring training in February, which is just a few months after the World Series ends. That’s not much time to cover all of these changes and analysis and be ready to gear up for next year! Plus, we can open discussions on all kinds of MLB topics: the DH, Pitch counts, Hall of Fame requirements, sabermetrics, etc. So, someone else will have to cover the Pats. We’ll be too busy with baseball!

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply