No. 1

It’s hard to believe that it’s been eight months since pitchers and catchers began reporting to training camps, finally providing those elusive bits of baseball news we”d all craved since both our teams ended their seasons so disappointingly.

Today is now the final day of the regular season. The Sox and Yanks are going to the playoffs, and the Sox are guaranteed home-field advantage through the World Series, assuming they get that far. This is the first time since 1946 the Sox will end the season with the best record in baseball and only the fifth time in 107 seasons (1903, 1912, 1915). As such, the Sox chose which playoff schedule to play. Unsurprisingly, they took the extra off-day, allowing Tim Wakefield to pitch out of the bullpen and giving Josh Beckett and (probably) Curt Schilling two starts if the ALDS foes five games.

The Yankees and Indians will play the shorter series, potentially forcing the use of a fourth starter, but if you think in a 2-1 series the Indians won’t turn to C.C. Sabathia on short rest (ditto the Yanks and Chien-Ming Wang), you’re quite mistaken.

The Angels appear to be the better team to face. Along with having struggled in September, John Lackey/Kelvim Escobar is not nearly as intimidating a tandem as Sabathia/Fausto Carmona — though both should be getting Cy Young votes this season and could easily put the Sox in a hole. Hopefully, the Sox can avoid the strange run of 11 straight playoff losses after winning the division (kind of a silly stat, considering that in 1988, 1990 and 1995 the Sox didn’t even win 90 games while their first-round opponents won 100).

One game left, and it matters not. All eyes not focused on the National League theatrics are already turned to next week.

17 comments… add one
  • Have to be encouraged by the fact that for some reason, we always knock John Lackey around (60 1/3, 6.27 ERA, 1.92 WHIP). Not too bad against Escobar either (99, 4.64 ERA, 1.44 WHIP). Of course, the Angels might be as good as that against Daisuke, Schill, Becks. Don’t really have the desire to see those numbers either way.

    Anonymous September 30, 2007, 3:18 am
  • Anon was me.

    QuoSF September 30, 2007, 3:18 am
  • Hey, so our season was truly “historic”, one of the “greatest” in history.
    Of course, the Yankees’ was moreso, if you ask my co-proprietor….

    SF September 30, 2007, 7:59 am
  • As for home field, that’s a nice feather. But Beckett’s been a lesser pitcher in Fenway, and I am never one to get too excited about pitchers’ previous histories against teams, as October is a brand new monster. I am inclined to throw all historical numbers out the window once the playoffs start.

    SF September 30, 2007, 8:00 am
  • How great would this NL tiebreaking situation be?!
    Four teams with same record
    If Colorado, New York and Philadelphia win Sunday and San Diego loses, all would finish 89-73. New York and Philadelphia would play the NL East tiebreaker Monday; the loser would play a three-team, two-day, wild-card tiebreaker with Colorado and San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday. In that scenario, Colorado (the team with the best head-to-head record among the three teams in the wild-card tiebreaker) would get the choice of having a bye on Tuesday or playing both games at home.

    SF September 30, 2007, 8:03 am
  • No way the Yanks would throw Wang on short rest. Torre\’s thinking ahead to Game 5 (witness last year with Wright pitching Game 4). And this year, if it gets to that, they\’re looking at an improvement with Moose backed by Hughes (and under that scenario of being down, they\’d be facing the absolutely intimidating Westbrook/Byrd combo).
    I think it would be a big mistake for the Sox to throw Beckett and Schilling twice. Beckett is about to throw more innings than he\’s tossed in his life. And well, Schilling is a fat bastard who gets by on junk and guile – not the recipe for success when seeing a team twice in a week.
    Obviously, the Sox chose the longer series because of their own bullpen problems. Over eight days, they can throw Paps every game, if necessary.
    But I\’m calling Sox sweep and Yanks in four.

    Rob September 30, 2007, 8:33 am
  • The yankees basically always use a 4 man rotation in the playoffs. I dont see that changing. They’d rather have CMW pitching game 5 at full strength than game 4 with short rest.

    Sam-YF September 30, 2007, 10:00 am
  • At least the regular season is finally over…the AL situation has been pretty well set for a little while. PLAYOFF BASEBALL BABY! Here’s to another Sox vs. Yankees ALCS Classic!!!

    krueg September 30, 2007, 10:08 am
  • wouldnt it be 13 consecutive losses when winning the division? we gotta count games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series dont we???

    TJ September 30, 2007, 10:31 am
  • SOX in 5
    Indians, the same.
    To the posters here who believe I have this distaste for your old and tired team, do not go into shock when you read of my rooting heavily for them to take Cleveland out. I do not think that can happen but am praying it does.

    BostonRAW September 30, 2007, 10:57 am
  • “How great would this NL tiebreaking situation be?!”
    This would be awesome. One random question: Would the tie-breaking games be considered regular season games? Or post-season games. In other words, do stats in those game count toward the regular season or not?

    Nick-YF September 30, 2007, 11:48 am
  • Where can I can get the Yanks lineup ASAP? I have the last day of the playoffs in my fantasy league and i need to know if Posada is taking the day off…

    Tyrel SF September 30, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • Damon LF
    Jeter SS
    Abreu RF
    Rodriguez 3B
    Giambi DH
    Betemit 2B
    Cabrera CF
    Mientkiewicz 1B
    Molina C
    Henn LHP
    Posada is not in per Lohud

    Nick-YF September 30, 2007, 12:40 pm
  • Thanks Nick!!!

    Tyrel SF September 30, 2007, 12:40 pm
  • LOL @ Sean Henn starting. I read that this is supposed to be a sort of “reward” for him for being shuttled back and forth between the majors and AAA throughout the season.
    Let’s see Bobby finally get his 100th RBI!

    doug YF September 30, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • So, what was the turning point of the season? ;)
    This waiting until Thursday thing blows.

    Lar September 30, 2007, 10:54 pm
  • Lar –
    May 30th: Ha!
    Since? Yankees were 72-39 (WPCT of .649 – 105 win pace). When the best player in the game has fun trying to tack on a few extra runs, the whole team responded. The proof is in the playoffs!

    Robert September 30, 2007, 11:47 pm

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