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    Playoff Preview Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    Playoff Preview – ALDS Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Boston Red Sox
    -Cybsball20

    Wednesday 10/1 at Los Angeles of Anaheim
    Bos – Lester LAA- Lackey

    Friday 10/3 at Los Angeles of Anaheim
    Bos – Matsuzaka LAA – Santana

    Sunday 10/5 at Boston
    Bos – Beckett LAA – Saunders

    Monday 10/6 at Boston
    Bos – Lester LAA - Lackey

    Wednesday 10/8 at Los Angeles of Anaheim
    Bos – Matsuzaka LAA – Santana


    Results This Season
    At Boston
    4/22 Red Sox 7 Angels 6
    WP Timlin LP Oliver

    4/23 Angels 6 Red Sox 4
    WP Garland LP Hansen

    4/24 Angels 7 Red Sox 5
    WP Saunders LP Delcarmen

    At Los Angeles of Anaheim
    7/28 Angels 7 Red Sox 5
    WP Weaver LP Matsuzaka

    7/29 Angels 6 Red Sox 2
    WP Lackey LP Buchholz

    7/30 Angles 9 Red Sox 2
    WP Saunders LP Beckett


    About the Red Sox
    The Red Sox roll into the playoffs as the AL Wild Card winner but this certainly isn’t the same Red Sox squad we have grown accustom to… Gone is Curt Shilling and his bloody sock and quality starts. Unfortunately for many, his blog is still alive and kicking. Tim Wakefield will probably be a non factor in this series. Oh, and lets not forget that the Red Sox will be without Manuel Aristides Ramirez, owner of 24 post season home runs and 64 RBI’s. With the departure of Ramirez came something unseen in Boston for some time, stability. They Red Sox added Jason Bay to fill the void in left field, and then later added Paul Byrd to hold up the back of the rotation. General Manager, Theo Epstein made a waiver wire deal for Mark Kotsay to fill in for the oft-injured J.D. Drew and provide some depth for the outfield. The Sox also seem to be getting healthy at the right time. Although post-season star, Josh Beckett, won’t be ready until game three, the team is expecting returns from Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew in time for game one. What role they will play is yet to be determined.

    With the Ramirez trade the Red Sox has a new leader, second year second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The diminutive, second year slugger out of Arizona State is a bona-fide MVP candidate hitting .326 with an OPS .869 and slapping 54 doubles off the Green Monster. Big Papi is still around, although hampered by a variety of injuries. Clubhouse leader Kevin Youkillis (.312 .959 OPS), has discovered his power stroke with a career high 29 home runs and 115 RBI’s. The hottest hitters leading into the playoffs are the three speedsters, Ellsbury (.357, 8 2b, 2 3b, 2 HR in last 30), Pedroia (.323 903 OPS last 30), and Coco Crisp (.375 .444 OBP last 30). Jason Bay has cooled off a bit since joining the team, hitting only .247 over the last 30 days, but does have 5 home runs over that same period. Getting Lowell (.274 17HR) and Drew (.280 19HR) back will help add some power and most of all, flexibility to Francona’s lineups.

    The Red Sox starting pitching has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Daisuke Matsuzaka has stepped forward as the ace of the staff. With 18 wins and a 2.90 ERA he leads the Red Sox starters in most statistical categories. Unfortunately, Daisuke also leads the team with walks (92) and his control has been cause for concern, walking five or more batters 8 times this year. Last time out against the Angels he lasted only five innings, giving up 6 runs on seven hits. John Lester has bounced back from cancer to become a solid number two started for the boys from Beantown. At 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA his performance this year can be summed up in one word, solid. He will give up a few hits (202 in 210 IP) but is also putting up some pretty good strikeout numbers with 152. Josh Beckett has had an up and down season, battling injuries and inconsistency, but we all know about his post-season heroics. Beckett has five starts where he allowed five runs or more at the same time he has only two starts where he hasn’t allowed a run. The Red Sox had hoped that Clay Buchholz would be able to step into the fourth spot in the rotation, but that experiment failed miserably (2-9 6.75 ERA). The Sox made a late move to pick up Paul Byrd to fill the void. Fortunately for the Sox, this series is spread over 8 days and not seven, allowing them to go with a three man rotation so look for Byrd to work from the pen.

    The Boston Bullpen has been continued it’s dominance over the American Leaague this year. The top for in appearances for the club all sport an ERA below 3.30. The Red Sox will throw out two lefties, Javier Lopez (2-0 2.43) and Hideki Okajima (3-2 2.61) and the right handed Manny Delcarmen (1-3.27) to set up closer Jonathan Papelbon. Justin Masterson has also emerged as a valuble asset out of the pen with a 2.63 ERA in 11 appearances over the last 30 days. Red Sox mainstays Mike Timlin and David Aardsma have both had disappointing seasons and shouldn’t factor into the post season. Papelbon continues to develop into one of the best closers in the game today. Featuring a mid to high nineties fast ball, he is 41-46 in save chances this year, striking out more than one an inning, and only allowing opposing hitters a .223 batting average against.


    About the Angels

    The Angels cruise into the playoffs as the first team to clinch a playoff berth on September 9th, then clinched home field advantage on September 26th. Owner Arte Moreno wants to win another world series, and he wants to win it this year. The Angels went out and signed free agent center fielder Torii Hunter in the off-season, despite an already strong outfield crew of Vladimir Guerrero, Garrett Anderson, and Gary Matthews. The addition of Hunter allows manager Mike Scioscia to rotate the four outfielders, getting them rest and time as the DH. The Angels added Mark Teixeira at the trade deadline to fill the hole at first base and add some much needed power for the post season. The Angels offense is not your traditional offense. The lineup is filled with free swinging speedsters (129 SB’s, 2nd in AL) that struggle to get on base (.330 OBP, 11th in AL). Dispite the big names in the lineup, the Angels have struggled when it comes to driving the ball, slugging .413 (9th in AL) and only hitting 159 Home Runs (9th in AL). The addition of Teixeira should help in both these areas.

    The Angels offense has been clicking on all cylinders over the last 30 days, scoring almost 6 runs a game. In that time, five players are hitting over .315, the hottest being Vladimir Guerrero (.412 4 HR last 30) and Mike Napoli (.444 6 HR last 30). The Halos have also averaged at least one stolen base a game over the last month as well with Hunter and Figgins leading the way with 7 a piece. The Angels may not have shown the power they were hoping to, with no player hitting more than 30 home runs, but they are going to have to show a little pop to get by the Red Sox and help that pitching staff that is starting to show some wear.

    About that pitching staff. The Angels will throw out John Lackey in game one. Lackey has a huge postseason resume, with a 4-2 record and 3.63 with some huge starts as a rookie in 2002 where he was 2-0, with two starts and another bullpen appearance in the World Series. But, Lackey has not been on point over the last month. His fastball, which normally sits 93-95 is now floating in around 88-90 mph. What that means is a smaller margin for error and what that means statistically is a 1-3 record and 7.96 ERA, not to mention the 41 hits allowed over those 26 innings. Game two will go to Ervin Santana, who hasn’t been the sharpest either over the last few weeks. He too has given up more than a hit an inning along with a 2-2 record and 4.46 ERA. The Angels are hoping he can pitch closer to his season stats of 16-7 and a 3.49 ERA. Starting game three is the pleasant surprise of the Angels staff this year. Losing Kelvim Escobar for the year, the Angels needed someone to step up and Joe Saunders was more than willing to do that. He started off on fire, going 6-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his first 7 starts, and finished the year with a 17-7 record and 3.41 ERA. Saunders hit a bit of a rough patch towards the middle of the season, but finished the year almost as strong as he started with a 3-0 record and 2.14 ERA over his last five starts. The Angels will likely only go with three starters for the ALDS since it will be spread over 8 days. That will move Jered Weaver to the bullpen.

    Weaver will be joining a very strong cast out in the Bullpen. The star of the show is Fransisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez set a major league record with 62 saves in 69 chances. While K-Rod has struck out 77 batters in 68 innings, some of his other peripherals aren’t as flashy. Rodriguez allows more runners than some would like and opposing hitters are hitting .216 against him and while that isn’t terrible, it is the highest total of his career. While K-Rod is the star of the show, perhaps the most underappreciated is set up man Scot Shields. Shields is second on the team in appearances with 64 and strikes out more than a batter an inning to go with his 6-4 record and 2.70 ERA. Darren Oliver (7-1 2.88) will serve as the lefty out of the pen and Jose Arrendondo (10-2 1.62 ERA), just 24 years old, is a closer in the making.


    Conspiracy Theory – This is the only series right now that has an extra day off. The Red Sox have a huge drop off from starter number three (Matsuzaka) to starter number four (Byrd). The Angels do not have that much of a drop off from three (Saunders) to four (Weaver). One would think MLB set this up for the Sox to win. BUT, as holder of the best record in the American league it was actually the choice of the Angels to play the 8 day series, so no conspiracy here...




    Key Players and Pitchers
    Boston Red Sox
    Key Player – Jason Varitek – Varitek has had a terrible season (.220 13 HR’s) with the bat and he will be the first to tell you, but he wears the C on his chest for a reason. Tek is the glue that holds this team together and this is the first postseason without Manny that any of them can remember. A clutch hit or two sure wouldn’t hurt…

    Key Pitcher – John Lester – If this series goes four game, Lester will get two starts. Against a predominately right-handed hitting lineup, Lester needs to set the tone early and not pitch down to his counterpart in John Lackey. Lester has only allowed runners to steal 8 times in 13 attempts so he should be able to hold the Angels dangerous running game at bay.


    Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim
    Key Player – Torri Hunter – The Angels paid Hunter to patrol center field and bring championships to Anaheim (not LA). Hunter has not put up huge numbers but they certainly aren’t bad either. Spiderman has also continued his amazing defense and he will probably need to flash some of that D in Fenway’s huge center field. Hunter has the type of swing that could really take advantage of that big ol’ wall in left field too.

    Key Pitcher – Jered Weaver – Call this a gut feeling (Not the Kirk Ferentz type) but I don’t see Lackey coming up big in game one. Weaver may get the call early from the pen to keep the Angels in the game and he very well could start game four if Scioscia doesn’t like what he sees out of Lackey. Put in that type of situation, the Angels will need big innings from Weaver.

    Game Preview and Predictions
    Game One – Lackey vs. Lester in Anaheim 9:00 PM
    Lackey hasn’t been sharp lately and I don’t see him “finding it” in time for the playoffs. Lester gives the Sox 7 strong innings and Lackey doesn’t make it out of the third. Jason Bay has a couple of big hits and the Red Sox come out on fire. Red Sox win 7-2.

    Game Two – Matsuzaka vs. Santana in Anaheim 8:30 PM
    The Red Sox jump out to another early lead but the Angels battle back with an appearance from the Rally Monkey. It isn’t enough and the Red Sox bullpen comes though to close the door and the Red Sox pull it out 6-5.

    Game Three – Saunders vs. Beckett in Boston TBD
    Saunders already has two wins against the Red Sox and the Angels desperately need him to pick up another. Beckett come out and clearly isn’t sharp, giving up a few early runs before getting pulled in the 5th. Saunders goes seven solid before handing it over to Shields and K-Rod to close the door. Angels win and stay alive 5-2.

    Game Four – Weaver vs. Lester in Boston TBD
    Lackey just doesn’t have it and Weaver earns the start in game four, but things don’t start out pretty. The Red Sox get two in the first and keep on scoring throughout the game. The Angels, despite the best record in the AL, just don’t get it done and the Red Sox win it in 4 by a score of 8-3.



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  2. #2
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    Re: Playoff Preview Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    agree with mostly everything and it is a great preview, but even though Beckett hasn't quite been as sharp this year, I would not be one to bet against one of the best post-season pitchers of all time.



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    Re: Playoff Preview Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    Nice analysis, cybsball20, but as an Angels fan, I hope it's completely wrong.


    BvK, you've got to quit making so much sense because I "must spread some rep around" before giving more to you.
    (Original quote by wonkadog.)

  4. #4
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    Re: Playoff Preview Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    My scores were off but picked all three games right... Should have bet the baseball instead of that stupid Boise State game!



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    Re: Playoff Preview Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    2004 - Red Sox sweep Angels in the first round, win WS
    2007 - Red Sox sweep Angels in the first round, win WS
    2008 - ???



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