Winner goes to the World Series
And that headline is all you need to know about the League Championship Series, which in my mind, is the most exciting playoff round of them all.
I find the World Series to be a more festive occasion. Let’s face it, that is the last round you can play in, and as much of a cliche as it is, both teams are really happy to just be there.
But to fail in this round is to make for a long, disappointing winter for teams who set the bar high. The Red Sox are one of those teams. And the Indians, considering they haven’t tasted a World Championship in how long? – are equally hungry, even if their market isn’t nearly as intense.
We start out with a dream pitching matchup — Beckett against Sabathia. Let’s see, last two times Beckett had a matchup against a fellow Cy Young candidate, he outpitched his opponent by a lot. I speak of the Sept. 15 matchup at Fenway against Wang and the Yankees and the Game 1 ALDS matchup against Lackey.
I think Beckett is just on such a mission this year. It seems like, in his eyes, anything less than carrying this team to a championship is a failure.
The Red Sox start this series healthy, rested and confident. If David and Manny stay hot at the same time like they did last round, this could be a short series. Personally, I think it’s going to be a long series. I think the Indians have a lot of guts and a lot of underrated talent. If there’s a better player in baseball — pound for pound — then Grady Sizemore, please find him and let me know about it.
The Red Sox have one big advantage in this series and that’s at the closer position. Let’s face it, if the Sox have a lead entering the ninth and Paps comes in, everyone is pretty much assuming game over. If Borowski and his 5 ERA come trotting in, I think the Sox will feel confident they can make something happen.
Perhaps that ends up being the difference, at the end of the day, between two 96-win teams.
Bring it on! It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve had a baseball game. Fenway will be rocking I’m sure.
Game 1 lineup:
Get your trot cheers out during pregame intros because no Nixon in the Cleveland starting nine: