It's done...finally. Of course we haven't won anything yet, and my hopes aren't very high on this team winning everything, but this was a huge task. I expect all the Sox to be rested over the weekend and our focus to be put on staying fresh and demolishing whoever we play.
Looks like we will get LAA - which scares the hell out of me. The Angels have a good hitting lineup and they have a good bullpen. Their lineup plays better than it is, with OCab always hitting well against us, Garrett Anderson is on a tear, Chone Figgins is smacking the crap out of the ball, even Kendrick is doing well, and of course Vlad. They have 7 out of 8 guys who have played over 100 games hitting .290 or better - that is scary.
Their pitching is pretty good too - Lackey won 18 games and has a 3.11 era, Escobar has shown signs of brilliance, and Weaver was decent. I think their #3 starter will hurt them. KRod is a damn good closer, and their bullpen is very decent with guys like Speier/Oliver/Bootcheck/Shields. And they have a wildcard in Ervin Santana, who is a young gun. A few years ago Santana was being compared to Pedro!
So, I'm a little nervous, especially if we don't have Manny being Manny at the plate. I think with Pedroia and Ellsbury we can match their speed though, which is something that the Angels have taken advantage of in the past.
In comparing stats, the Angels were pretty even with the Sox, but LA had the edge in avg, h and sb (by 45). The Sox surprisingly lead in HR by a ton (42 - even without a full year of Manny), runs, rbi's and obp. Our ERA was also .38 runs lower than LA. Interesting.
I also think that the Yankees can beat the Indians - and pretty easily. Cleveland is ranked 14th in avg and the Yankees ranked #1. The Yankees blow the Indians away in EVERY stat (but walks and saves) by A LOT! In some cases by more than 15% more! Yikes.
Red Sox vs Yankees in the ALCS makes me nervous, but I guess I have some time to think about that - and we need to focus on the first round first.
Buchholz was shut down today due to arm fatigue - he will not be pitching another inning the rest of the year - which sucks, but hell, that is the best for him. He's young, and he's our future. I'm still pissed they made him pitch all 9 innings in the no-hitter - that could have jeopardized his future. This was the right move though.
The Boston Red Sox are AL East Champions in 2007...I just like saying that!