The Cleveland Plain Dealer today is awash in self-pity — the Indians’ playoff woes are worse than the Red Sox’, their fans have more reason to complain than Boston’s, and the Red Sox are nothing more than a buy-a-title, Yankee-lite organization.
Which is all well and good. Success breeds contempt, and the Sox have been nothing if not successful — enjoying their third trip to the ALCS in five years. Only St. Louis has been to an LCS as many times since 2003, and only the Yankees and Cardinals have been to an LCS more times since 1999 (five) than the Red Sox’ four.
The Indians, meanwhile, are enjoying a deep playoff run for the first time since the heyday of one of the best lineups we’ll ever see — Manny, Thome, Belle and a host of other bashers. They’ve had problems getting much farther than this, their writers will tell you, since they traded away Rocky Colavito, then traded away Tommy John in an effort to bring Colavito back.
It’s the Curse of Rocky. Coming to a theater near you.
More entertaining, however, will be the show Josh Beckett and C.C. Sabathia hope to put on tonight, in conditions most unfriendly to hitters. We won’t bore you with the details. They’re in all the papers. We’ve talked about them enough here anyway. After all, the clock is ticking, night is falling, and the Red Sox — in the unwelcome position of being favorites to win it all — are eight wins away. They can go a long way toward halving that total by taking one from Cleveland and their southpaw ace.
Cleveland (Fenway stats, career)
1. Grady Sizemore, CF — .231/.333/.487 (45 PAs)
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B — No PAs
3. Travis Hafner, DH — .345/.403/.759 (67 PAs)
4. Victor Martinez, C — .314/.352/.549 (54 PAs)
5. Ryan Garko, 1B — .300/.417/.400 (12 PAs)
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS — .286/.342/.314 (38 PAs)
7. Kenny Lofton, LF — .333/.400/.449 (267 PAs)
8. Franklin Gutierrez, RF — No PAs
9. Casey Blake, 3B — .348/.426/.761 (54 PAs)
SP: C.C. Sabathia — 1-1, 2.35 ERA (23 IP)
Boston (home stats, 2007)
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B — .351/.410/.502
2. Kevin Youkilis, 1B — .265/.369/.428
3. David Ortiz, DH — .365/.471/.657
4. Manny Ramirez, LF — 303/.403/.488
5. Mike Lowell, 3B — .373/.418/.575
6. Bobby Kielty, RF — .250/.240/.292
7. Jason Varitek, C — .255/.360/.434
8. Coco Crisp, CF — .283/.360/.405
9. Julio Lugo, SS — .286/.350/.395
SP – Josh Beckett — 9-5, 4.17 ERA (110 IP)