Monday, October 03, 2005

Well after all that

Well the Sox easily took care of the Yankees today, with the reward a Division Series matchup against the White Sox - clearly not an easy proposition, but preferable to the cross country trek required to play off against the Angels.

I have read on quite a few blogs today that Sox fans need to get over the fact that we end the season tied, but qualify as runner's up and wild card entry. The thing that does strike me as silly is that three teams end up tied with 95-67 records... we end up tied with the Yankees, but lose the title on the season series... meaning the Yankees play the Angels... the Yankees tied with the Angels but start on the road as they lost the season series to the Angels... but the Red Sox win the season series against the Angels, but will not gain home field advantage in an ALCS matchup with the Angels because we "only" qualify as the wild card team... that lack of home field advantage might yet hurt.

No matter - first up the White Sox, whom the Sox beat 4-3 in the season series, and who have had a strange last month as the Indians first caught, then collapsed against in the last few days. It is difficult to know what to make of the White Sox - perhaps if we hadn't been subject to Guillen's very loud protestations over the course of the season, his promotion of 'smart ball' (bought hook, line and sinker by the mainstream media when the reality is that only one playoff team in the majors hit more HR's and the White Sox were middle of the pack for sacrifices), his loud exclamations of his own contributions when the team was winning and equally loud criticisms of his players when they were losing, they would be an easier team to like.

As has been the case all season, I think the series will come down to how our pitching performs on any given night - our lineup continues to be capable of putting up good numbers against any pitching staff, and if our crew can hold the White Sox hitters to 3 to 4 runs a game, I would expect us to prevail. The Sox pitchers have been reasonable the last month - a team ERA of 4.5 (a number that drops all the way to 4.0 if we exclude all runs accrued in Matt Clement's starts from the calculation), encouraging contributions from rookies Jonathan Papelbon and Craig Hansen, and steady contributions from Mike Myers, Chad Bradford and Mike Timlin. Adding Bronson Arroyo to that mix should ensure that our bullpen isn't the unreliable beast it has been for large parts of the season - but it will in truth come down to our starters going consistently deep in their starts to ensure that we don't suffer some form of bullpen blow up in a game that causes much gnashing of teeth in the post game analysis.

I will leave Neil M to post on the Yanks - Angels matchup, but I think it will be a more difficult test than the Twins have put up the last couple of years, not least because of the loss of home field advantage.

Bold prediction - Red Sox in 4, Angels in 5.

1 threw a strike:

At 8:56 pm, Anonymous Yanks fan said...

What happened in yesterdays game.The Yanks won the game they had to to finish in 1st palce again.Bad prediction.The wrong color sox won.Too bad.Maybe next year.


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