Next Up: The World Serious
The Red Sox put up the makings of a picket fence in the first three innings and never looked back despite being challenged by the Indians in the middle innings. Dustin Pedroia lowered the boom in the seventh with a two-run home run over the Green Monster off heretofore untouchable reliever Rafael Betancourt, then doubled with the bases loaded to knock in three more in the eighth to put the game out of reach and send Boston to the World Series for the first time since they won it all in 2004.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - -- -
Indians 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 10 1
Red Sox 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 6 X 11 15 1
Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek both contributed two extra-base hits and Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon combined to pitch four scoreless innings to cap the winner-take-all victory in the American League Championship Series. Boston is the only team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the LCS, remarkably accomplishing this feat three times (1986, 2004, and 2007).
Even though Boston was extended to the full seven games, its pitching rotation is set up perfectly to handle the World Series schedule. ALCS MVP Josh Beckett will pitch the opener on five days of rest. He most likely will start games one and five and be available to help out in relief in game seven, if need be.
Game 1--Wed., 10/24 at 5:35 p.m. in Boston
Game 2--Thur., 10/25, at 5:29 p.m. in Boston
Game 3--Sat., 10/27, at TBA in Colorado
Game 4--Sun., 10/28, at TBA in Colorado
Game 5--Mon., 10/29, at TBA in Colorado
Game 6--Wed., 10/31, at TBA in Boston
Game 7--Thur., 11/1, at TBA in Boston
Boston and Colorado head into the World Series with winning streaks and confidence. The Red Sox have won three in a row and have produced more victories than any other team in baseball this year. The well-rested Rockies are undefeated in postseason play, having won ten consecutive games and 21 of 22 dating back to the middle of September.
The upstart Rockies defeated the Red Sox two of three during an interleague series at Fenway Park in June, outscoring them 20-5 in the process. Manager Clint Hurdle has already announced that ace Jeff Francis will start game one on Wednesday night and rookie Ubaldo Jimenez will go in game two on Thursday night. Hurdle has not decided who he will use in games three and four. His choices will be among righthander Josh Fogg, lefthander Franklin Morales, and sinkerballer Aaron Cook, who missed the final two months of the regular season with a strained muscle in his side.
By virtue of the American League winning the All-Star game in July, the AL East/ALDS/ALCS champion Red Sox will have the home-field advantage. Boston and Colorado both have unusual ballparks and outstanding home records. If the Red Sox take the first two games in Boston, it will be interesting to see if the Rockies can regain the lost momentum in Colorado. On the other hand, if the Rockies can earn a split in Boston, the NL Wild Card/NLDS/NLCS champs will head to Denver with the home-field advantage for the rest of the series.
We will have more on the World Series, including stats and other fun-filled facts over the next couple of days.