The Votes Are In …

This has been brought up by a couple YFs, and for good reason.

The ESPN pundits have voted overwhelmingly, 9-1, that the Red Sox will beat the Angels in the first round.

Great, now I’m worried.

To be fair, they’re not all yahoos like Steve Phillips. Gammons (3 games to 1), Stark (3-2), Neyer (3-2), Olney (3-2) and Kurkjian (3-2) all pick the Sox. Kruk and Baker weren’t even given a vote, so that’s good. And, given the reasons I’ve cited before, I happen to agree the Sox have a very good shopt of advancing to the ALCS. Still, when ESPN starts singing your praises, run the other way.

Somehow, though, they also overwhelmingly choose the Indians to beat the Yankees — Neyer thinks Cleveland takes it in four! — with only Stark, Caple and Bryant (who?) picking New York. Most bizarre? Tim Kurkjian, who on ESPNEWS last night said the Yankees are the team to beat because they’ve been so hot, picks the Tribe in five! Apparently, the cult of Sabathia has taken hold of Bristol, Conn.

Consider this your afternoon thread of prognostication for the ALDS.

67 comments… add one
  • Really? It’s hard to imagine the Yanks not being the favorite, even if just barely. 6-0 might be a fluke (and w/o Sab), but I guess we’ll see.

    Lar October 1, 2007, 2:49 pm
  • The ESPN prognostications all seem a bit off. And I swear I checked earlier today, and it was unanimous for Boston. Maybe they fixed a typo or something.
    I just think both series are going to be much closer than these forecasts make it seem. I think Boston will probably win, and I hope NY wins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if LA and Cleveland both won.
    I mean, the teams all finished within 2 games of each other. All four teams were described, at some point in the season, as the best in baseball at that moment. And they all have their own weapons and specialties.
    It just seems like ESPN makes it look like there are two pretty big underdogs, which there aren’t. I think it’ll be two close series, followed by a close ALCS. Should make for some great games, though.

    KurticusMaximus- YF October 1, 2007, 3:00 pm
  • I suck at prognosticating (I picked the Saints to be in the Super Bowl this season. Oops.) but I’m feeling another Sox/Yanks ALCS a-brewin’. Time to restock the antacid; I’m all out after the Mets debacle this weekend!

    FenSheaParkway October 1, 2007, 3:00 pm
  • OK, I’ll make a prediction: Both the Sox and Yanks advance in four.
    Followed by a seven-game ALCS which rivals the dramas of both 2003 and 2004.

    Hudson October 1, 2007, 3:00 pm
  • God, i hope not. I’m rooting for the Indians harder than i’ve ever rooted for any team that’s not the Boston Red Sox. I think the Sox have a better than average chance of beating Anaheim and Cleveland, and the NL is a joke. The Yankees are what really stand in the way, I think, and I’d prefer not to whittle five years off my life again… (Of course, my saying this this means the Sox will lose to the Angels in three).

    Paul SF October 1, 2007, 3:05 pm
  • Same here. I find myself supporting the Angels, which is a always a weird feeling. I’m hoping they’ll be “those goddamn Angels” to them like they were to us.

    doug YF October 1, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • Paul SF October 1, 2007, 3:14 pm
  • I will never pick against the Yankees, but I can see the prognosticators’ rationale here.
    The shortness of the series is everything and the Indians’ pitching matches up well with NY even beyond the two Cy Young candidates heading Cleveland’s rotation.
    In addition to Sabathia/Carmona, Cleveland has a few guys out of the bullpen who have been extraordinarily effective, including two lefties who, given the heavy-lefty-hitting NY line-up, we are sure to see alot of:
    Betancourt has a 1.47 ERA in 68 games; Fultz (L) has a 2.92 in 49 games;
    Perez (L) has a 1.78 in 44 games;
    Lewis has a 2.15 in 26 games.
    The big chink in Cleveland’s pitchibg armor is their closer, Borowski, who is probably the worst closer of all the playoff teams, with a 5.07 ERA and 8 blown saves (1.43 WHIP).
    Every year we learn that pitching beats hitting and this is especially so in a short series when a few great pitchers can propel an overall weaker team, so the quality of the Yankee line-up doesn’t figure in nearly as much as the relative quality of the two teams’ pitching staffs and New York’s is questionable given Roger’s health, Mussina’s hit-or-miss performance of late, and even Pettitte’s weaker Sept-than August.
    I expect Cleveland to be very tough and am not shocked to see them picked in a short series. I am a little surprised that so few pick NY, but whatever…we just need Wang and Pettitte to come up big.

    IronHorse (yf) October 1, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • I was looking at the 2003 and 2004 teams just the other other day. It’s amazing how close the Sox and Yanks are to their respective 2003 teams (based on OPS+ and ERA+).
    For the Sox, they had one great pitcher (older Pedro:Beckett) and two decent ones (Lowe and Wake:Schill and Mats), and one just below average (Burkett:Wake). Their middle infielders contributed similar production (Walker and Nomar:Lugo and Peds) with the corners also very similar (Millar and Mueller:Youks and Lowell). Even the OF was similar with Coco about what Damon gave that year, Manny still Manny, and Trot as disappointing but with potential as Drew) And Tek was Tek. The 07 Sox get the edge with the better bullpen but more based on closers (Kim:Paps).
    For the Yanks, they had four average pitchers (and three of the current starters were on that team, difference swap Wells for Wang). Their offense is about the same across the board except for A-Rod year now having no analogue (though PED Giambi was close) and trade Dougie M for Boone. Their bullpen in 03 was also pretty empty besides Mariano and so theirs might be a bit better now with Chamberlain.
    It doesn’t work as well with the 04 teams because the Sox got a prime Schill and the Yankees pitching got that much worse (trade Wells, Clemens, Pettitte for Lieber, Brown, and Duque).

    Pete October 1, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • Wow, that’s pretty darn terrible with Dice-K considering his recent inconsistency AND the prospect that he could come back and pitch in Game 5. My hatred of the FO just rose to a whole new level. Of course, watch DM go out ans toss a shut out and the Sox sweep.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • there is no outcome on the AL side of things that would surprise me. i think any of the 4 teams could win it.
    on paper, this looks like an even field (to me).
    this of course means that there will be a series of one-sided blowouts.

    Yankee Fan In Boston October 1, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • I have to think Schill is nursing something and they’re hiding it. If they were really planning to start him in Game 3 then he should have pitched on Sunday just to get a little bit of work in. He must have tweaked something and by skipping him and giving him Game 3, they’re hoping it’s clears up without having to deal with public gnashing.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • The Game 5, normal rest possibility of Matsuzaka did raise my eyebrow. Management makes it sound like six/half-dozen, with a 39-yo Schilling being equivalent to a transitioning Matsuzaka, but it seems like that situation does beg for a veteran presence.
    Here’s my guess: If the series does go to five and the Sox win, then the Sox would rather have Schilling moved up in the rotation for a potential ALCS with the Yankees, with Matsuzaka pushed back.

    FenSheaParkway October 1, 2007, 3:40 pm
  • It’s got to be a Yankees vs. Sox ALCS…anything less is a huge disappointment. I want to settle this argument once and for all!!! (at least for this season anyways…)

    krueg October 1, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • “anything less is a huge disappointment.” begs to differ.

    FenSheaParkway October 1, 2007, 3:47 pm
  • If they’re planning for the ALCS, that’s a BIG mistake. Nah, the question for me is: why didn’t they start Schill on Sunday? He will have gone almost two weeks without a start.
    Maybe they’re thinking since Dice does better against a team the first time they see him?

    Pete October 1, 2007, 3:48 pm
  • I’m not sure about SF’s surprise vis-a-vis Schilling vs. Matsuzaka. Schilling is still good and has all the veteran qualities that you want, but I don’t think he is a gy you want facing the same batters twice within a couple days. He is getting by on guile as much as anything now and I don’t know how well that works twice in one week. And hasn’t Matsuzaka had a couple stronger outings in September to help calm the concerns that were rising in August? Admittedly I haven’t been folowing them other than when they played NY so tell me if I’m wrong.

    IronHorse (yf) October 1, 2007, 3:48 pm
  • I can see wanting Matsuzaka to face the Angels, a team he’s never seen before, but why not have that situation in a potentially decisive Game 3, when he’ll have more rest, to boot? I confess I don’t understand this move either, unless Schilling does have some kind of injury they’re not talking about.

    Paul SF October 1, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • “The unfamiliarity, I think, definitely favors the pitcher the first time around,” Francona said.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • Which I totally get, but then wouldn’t you only want him facing Anaheim once? Presumably, the second time doesn’t work so well, and that would be Game 5, which of course would be decisive if it got that far. Seems like you’d rather have Schilling for both those games, where he can give you 6IP/2ER, with a potential Matsuzaka gem in Game 3.

    Paul SF October 1, 2007, 3:57 pm
  • I didn’t realize Schilling hasn’t pitched since last Tuesday. Maybe the notion of an injury is right on.

    FenSheaParkway October 1, 2007, 3:59 pm
  • I agree – I would want Dice facing them once. And I would also want a healthy Schill in Game 5. Weird – something smells fishy.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 4:03 pm
  • “ begs to differ”
    There are Indians and Angels fans?????

    krueg October 1, 2007, 4:07 pm
  • There are no Angels fans. Only brainwashed souls who smash their Thunder Stix together when their monkey god tells them to.

    Paul SF October 1, 2007, 4:13 pm
  • Fausto Carmona ’07 Vs. Yankees:
    2 L’s, 2 Games, 13 IP, 14 Hits, 6 Runs, 6 ER, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s, 2 HRA.
    Westbrook ’07 Vs. Yankees:
    2 L’s, 2 Games, 8.2 IP (One outing was 1.2 IP), 17 Hits, 12 Runs, 12 ER, 4 BB’s, 5 HRA.
    Shockingly enough, Sabathia has not pitched against the Yankees since ’04. That according to Baseball
    As for predictions, I won’t make a single one. I am just glad we are here.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 1, 2007, 4:18 pm
  • IH, I agree with your points above about why it does make sense to pick the indians; however, the yanks have hit Betancourt (3H 1ER .333 avg in 2.1 IP) and Fultz (9H 4ER .391 avg in 5.1IP also 1HR and 2BB) well this year. Let’s hope it continues.

    Anonymous October 1, 2007, 4:22 pm
  • Anon, thanks for going through the trouble of getting the team-match-up stats for the Indians b-pen. Certainly relevant and heart-warming to see…though I oaf course agree with all here that no predictions are to be made. I just want the games to start today. Going through serious withdrawal already. Need…baseball…

    IronHorse (yf) October 1, 2007, 4:25 pm
  • ” As for predictions, I won’t make a single one. I am just glad we are here.”
    I’m with that one 100 percent, Trisk.
    btw, I see from the author’s page we live in the same part of Jersey…

    Andrews October 1, 2007, 4:25 pm
  • I think the only thing the Yanks have to worry about is Sabathia shutting them down twice. And as a lefty, against their lefty-heavy lineup, it’s a real possibility, especially because they have strong lefties in the pen too (as somone pointed out above).

    Pete October 1, 2007, 4:25 pm
  • I’m anon, above

    Andrews October 1, 2007, 4:26 pm
  • Where do you live Andrews?

    John - YF (Trisk) October 1, 2007, 4:32 pm
  • Ridgewood. How about you?

    Andrews October 1, 2007, 4:35 pm
  • Why didn’t any of the “experts” pick the Mets in the NLDS?!
    Oh, wait…

    SF October 1, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • Ramsey. Very close.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 1, 2007, 4:37 pm
  • Could the Sox’ strategy with Daisuke be that the Angels aren’t insanely disciplined, and that he can throw a great variety of pitches, and that he’s also a strikeout pitcher, and that they haven’t seen him yet? Schill, who is a known quantity at this point and is a to-contact pitcher, might not match up best against the Angels, who put the ball in play. The Angels struck out almost two hundred fewer times than the Sox, but they also walked almost two hundred fewer times, these in almost the exact same number of at-bats. Curt throws a LOT of strikes, we all know. Or, maybe Curt is hurt and Tito doesn’t want to put out a six-inning pitcher in just the second game. Who knows.
    This will be one of those “if it works, Tito is a genius, if it doesn’t people will scream bloody murder” decisions. They already are, we can see from some of the comments above. But the move seems defensible to me: Daisuke’s best starts were some of the best for the team all season, he’s got very high upside, and the stakes are very high. I wouldn’t want to be the one making this decision, I can tell you that.

    SF October 1, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • The Herald has some good perspective on Schilling:
    But indications are that the Sox want to use the additional time to further develop Schilling’s arm strength. The pitcher’s fastball has been clocking in the high 80s since his return, but he was exceeding 90 mph in rehab outings in the minor leagues after suffering tendinitis in his right shoulder. The Sox are hoping he can add to his velocity in the playoffs.

    Paul SF October 1, 2007, 4:50 pm
  • That (the Herald’s take) makes sense to me, though I’m concerned that such a long layoff for Schilling could be more hurtful (rust) than helpful (velocity).
    I’m curious about Matsuzaka and am excited about his potential this postseason. He’s known as a big-game pitcher, and these will be the biggest games he’s ever thrown in the U.S.

    Paul SF October 1, 2007, 4:53 pm
  • Peter Abraham over at LoHud has the times posted for the ALDS between the Yankees and Indians. He also said that Torre is toying with the idea of DH’ing Duncan against C.C. Also like I said earlier today, the Yankees have until noon on Thursday to announce their roster.
    Game 1 at Cleveland on Thursday: 6:30 p.m.
    Game 2 at Cleveland on Friday: 5 p.m.
    Game 3 at New York on Sunday: 6:30 p.m.
    Game 4 at New York on Monday: 6 p.m.
    Game 5 at Cleveland on Oct. 10: 5 p.m.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 1, 2007, 5:31 pm
  • Perfect example here where folks tend to assume the FO knows what it’s doing. Me, I think they’re overthinking themselves, unless Schill is hurt.
    And I’ll really only have one problem with this arrangement, regardless of how it turns out – Dice starting a Game 5. I highly doubt anyone here, given what we’ve seen of him, would choose him to start an elimination game, having just faced that same team five days earlier. That’s a recipte for disaster.
    See, I’m fine with Schill and Dice switching places. It’s just the repercussions for Game 5 that really bothers me. If it doesn’t come to a Game 5, then no worries. Beckett could win twice, then they’d just have to win one more game. And that seems like a reasonable outcome. But the playoff are known not to be reasonable…

    Pete October 1, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • Or, a perfect example of where a fan thinks he knows more than a front office.
    How many of us knew about Papelbon’s regimen, testing, etc.? The Sox are using Matsuzaka for a reason, agree with it or not. They aren’t necessarily “overthinking”, they just might be “thinking”. And they could be “thinking” wrong, for sure.
    I personally have no clue. I like Matsuzaka, a lot, so I am biased I suppose. but the move is defensible on several levels, just as a Schilling nod in game two would be as well. But if it comes to a game five, all bets are off, no matter who starts. Just look at what happened to an experienced veteran who knows pressure in Shea Stadium yesterday.

    SF October 1, 2007, 6:05 pm
  • SF –
    All I’m asking, you and everyone else here: Game 5 – win or go home, who do you start – Schill or Dice?

    Pete October 1, 2007, 6:13 pm
  • By the way, perfect example where I agree with Sports Guy’s wisdom – every team needs a VP of Common Sense.
    See, given how Dice has pitched this year (especially the second time against teams), it’s much riskier throwing him in that Game 5. They’re opening themselves up to huge second guessing. With Schill they wouldn’t be. Everyone would understand that move, even if Dice pitches well in his first game.
    But I still think Schill is nursing something. He would have gotten a little bit of work in on Sunday otherwise.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 6:18 pm
  • The ESPN reverse jinx is one of the most powerful in all of sportsdom.
    Red Sox nation should be biting their fingernails now.

    SoxFan October 1, 2007, 7:34 pm
  • Like I said, Pete, it’s not a call I’d want to make. I can see both pitchers as a defensible choice. I’d take either and live with the consequences.

    SF October 1, 2007, 7:43 pm
  • Booooo, SF! Booooooo! The argument is about exactly that choice! You can’t cop out with an answer like that!
    Game 5 – win or go home, who do you start – Schill or Dice?

    Pete October 1, 2007, 8:45 pm
  • I never understood why Schilling didn’t start earlier in the 2005 ALDS, so I’m almost as confused by this decision.
    As far as the Indians, I’m surprised the mainstream media has seemingly caught on to the fact that they are a pretty good team. Hopefully we don’t have to hear a lot of crap about how they’re the underdogs in the playoffs against the might Yankees–you know, the same old story we’ve heard a 1000 times.

    RandomYanksFan October 1, 2007, 8:49 pm
  • Well Schill was still recovering in 2005 and sucked. But he’s been the team’s second best pitcher this year. Dice has the higher ceiling but Schill has been much more consistent, especially recently.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 8:55 pm
  • “Game 5 – win or go home, who do you start – Schill or Dice?”
    Depends how they do in games 2 and 3, respectively. In we’re in Game 5, the it’s likely that at least one of them lost. I think it’s pretty fair to withhold judgment.

    Tyrel SF October 1, 2007, 9:08 pm
  • Sorry, Tyrel. You can’t make the choice that way because of the time between starts. You have to make the choice today. Based on everything we’ve seen of the two of them, who do you choose?

    Pete October 1, 2007, 9:11 pm
  • I wasn’t suggesting deciding after Game 3 (though looking at what I wrote, I recognize that I wasn’t too clear), I was saying that it’s six one, half dozen the other.
    But forced to make a decision today, I’d go with Dice. Both have had their share of stinkers this year, but at least Dice has been healthy, and he threw pretty well in his last start. Schilling took 9 days off before his start on the 25th, and then was “bumped” on Sunday, so I worry about his ability to pitch Game 5 on short rest. I’d also worry that Dice wouldn’t be as effective if he didn’t pitch until Game 3 – last time he pitched with 8 days rest he wasn’t very sharp. And aren’t his stats on 6 days rest incredible?
    Of course, if we’re up 2-1, there’s a good chance we’d have Wake go in Game 4 and Beckett in Game 5, making the debate moot.

    Tyrel SF October 1, 2007, 9:29 pm
  • Well at least you had the cohones to make the choice!
    There’s no reason to go Wake in Game 4 – that’s exactly why to choose the 8 day series – so the Starters in Game 1 and 2 can go twice on regular rest. And I’d be even more upset if they’re up 2-1 and pushed Beck back.
    I hope this is all moot though, especially if the Sox lock it up in 4 games.

    Pete October 1, 2007, 9:36 pm
  • as much as i like him, gammons is an unabashed homer, so you can toss out his vote too…

    dc October 1, 2007, 9:38 pm
  • If I had to choose one right now, it would be Shill. I am not upset with the descision to pitch Dice second though.
    Is anyone else supremly excited that our three starters all have superb post season ability?!?! If you could choose 3 pitchers in all of the AL to start for you in in the Post season, would Beckett not be on your list?
    Shill and Dice both have thrown well in their last two outtings.
    If Drew does well in October, can we all agree to like him?

    pat (SF) October 2, 2007, 12:58 am
  • If Drew does well in October, can we all agree to like him?
    I’m in.

    Tyrel SF October 2, 2007, 2:12 am
  • all hail paul! a look back on the begining of the season shows paul knows how to pick a winner (outside of that whole NL West mess). the man was 3 games away from nailing the entire AL East.
    “I happen to agree the Sox have a very good shot of advancing to the ALCS.”-Paul SF
    now…is that $100 “very good shot”, or a $1000 “very good shot”?
    yfsf heads should make an effort to revist the past prognostications threads with the seasons end. it was a pain finding the rocket projections debate.

    sf rod October 2, 2007, 4:31 am
  • here’s the link for the clemens projections thread.
    kluv was closest, i guess. which earns him a day of teaching nicks class. way to force a poster into hiding. kinda funny how far off the strikeout projections were on the whole.

    sf rod October 2, 2007, 4:51 am
  • “…If Drew does well in October, can we all agree to like him?…”
    well, didn’t “c”-tek tell us we had to?
    re. schilling v. dice-k debate: i guess i’d go with dice-k, strictly based on my gut, but have schilling warming up just in case…schill just looks like he’s pitching on reputation now, and that may not be enough to fool a playoff team…

    dc October 2, 2007, 8:03 am
  • I wasn’t staff when these were made, but I wasn’t too far off either. Like AG and Paul I had 2 wrong. Although Paul did do an amazing job picking the final order in each div. (I was worng on Oakland and Mets)
    Here’s the rest of the winners:
    AL East: Yankees/Sox
    AL Central: Indians (One year late)
    AL West: Oakland
    AL Wildcard: Yankees/Sox
    NL East: Phillies
    NL Central: Cubs (Too much offense)
    NL West: Diamondbacks
    NL Wildcard: Mets
    AL Champ: Yankees
    NL Champ: Phillies
    WS Winner: Yankees
    Posted by: Triskaidekaphobia | Monday, March 19, 2007 at 08:04 PM

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 8:45 am
  • Hey, I got the entire AL Central right! And I was also the only YFSFer to pick the D-Backs to make the playoffs!
    On the other hand, I picked the Dodgers. And the Mets. Ugh.

    SF October 2, 2007, 8:56 am
  • SF I think everyone should get a Mulligan on the Mets.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 9:06 am
  • Trisk: except maybe Tom Glavine.
    Heard Steve Phillips on ESPN this morning. Most (only?) interesting thing he said in my view was the stat that C.C. Sabathia has issued 4 walks ALL YEAR to left-handed batters (?!?!?!)

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 9:39 am
  • Yep, 33 walks to righties, 4 walks to lefties.

    SF October 2, 2007, 9:44 am
  • IH I meant a mulligan for picking them. They get no mulligan for losing.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 9:45 am
  • I think Kei Igawa averages 4 walks per inning.
    (Trisk – I know – just taking a potshot at Glavine. I actually feel sorry for some Mets, especially Willie and Wright – who came up big. But certainly not for Reyes or for Milledge – they needed to get knocked down a few notches…did they ever. And of course, any time Pedro suffers my days are that much brighter.)

    IronHorse (yf) October 2, 2007, 9:49 am
  • ESPN reporting a rumor that Glavine is considering the Nats for ’08. Can that have any truth to it?

    SF October 2, 2007, 9:52 am
  • If I was a gambling man I would say Atlanta.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 2, 2007, 9:58 am
  • What, the glue factory isn’t looking for pitching?

    SF October 2, 2007, 10:05 am

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