This teams just keeps looking better and better. The offense is coming alive at the perfect time. Manny and Papi are doing their thing, but Lowell, Drew, Tek and Lugo keep reaching base and hitting as well. In 10 plate appearances tonight, the combo of Ortiz and Manny reached base 10 times. Unreal.
The Sox will dominate this series because of a couple of things - strong veteran starters, veteran hitters, and the ability to chew up opposing teams bullpens. The Indians don't do anything special. Their starters are ok, but they aren't dominating. CC Sabathia has been pedestrian in prior years - so why is he so Cy worthy this season? If Beckett doesn't win the Cy it will be a shame. The Indians had two rookies in their lineup who were barely mediocre (Cabrera and Gutierrez), aged veteran hitters who honestly aren't that good anymore (Blake, Lofton, Nixon), two kids who have no playoff experience whatsoever (Garko & Sizemore) - the only stars they have are Hafner and Martinez (and maybe Peralta). I'm sorry, but that lineup is not very deep and not very experienced. Of course all Indians fans are going to throw out there that the Sox have loads more money than the Tribe, but that's not the point.
The Sox lineup has these kinds of guys down the order:
Dirt dog/high OBP
Line drive/RBI machine
Line drive hitting captain
Singles hitting defense whiz
Low avg slap hitter
Each one of these hitters is amazing at taking pitches and not swinging at balls. They wear pitchers down and make long ABs endless for opposing pitchers. This kills bullpens. So what the Yankees where shut out by the Indians bullpen. The Yankees had to swing the bats - the Sox don't! They will kill you with OBP like no other team in the league.
The Indians looked like joke tonight - CC Sabathia, who I have never been impressed with (and I have followed him for 4 years now since he has been on my fantasy team most of the time), looked horrible. One good inning and then the Sox stopped swinging at the slider - he was done after that. Carmona tomorrow night is basically a rookie - and he will get shelled as well - why? Because the Sox will make him throw 100 pitches by the 6th inning even if he hasn't given up a run yet. That bullpen will come in and get trounced.
Sox hitters will continue to poke at him. Papi and Manny will average 3 walks a game, Youks will probably get a couple hits or walks, andwith all those bodies on all we need is a hit or two from Lowell and Drew and that is 3 or 4 runs right there. Any production from the bottom of the order and that is gravy. Schilling can and will shut down the Indians lineup. He won't over power like Beckett, but he's smart - and will throw good out pitches. Young guys like Gutierrez and Cabrera will be up there looking to hit and not patient. The Indians will be pressing after an embarrassing loss the previous night. It's just going to be ugly.
If the Indians seriously think they can contend against this team, they need to get more out of their starters, get on base more and work pitchers, and do the little things that got them here - steal bases, hit HR's - something!
The Sox seem to be peeking at the right time - we are now 7 wins away from our second championship in 3 years and I like our chances.
Has anyone seen the NL teams starting Top 3? Webb, Davis & Hernandez or Francis, Jiminez & Fogg. Are you kidding me? How the hell did these teams make the playoffs. Your starting 3 is what wins you World Series. The Sox easily have the best Top 3 in the game. And the bullpens (which are less important when your top 3 os good) easily are even or in favor of the Sox. Again, I don't think the NL can compete - even with the Indians Top 3 and bullpen.