2009 ALDS: More info and analysis

Unsurprisingly, the New York Yankees have elected to start their Divisional Series tomorrow, so that means the Red Sox will play game 1 against the Angels on Thursday. Here’s what the schedule looks like:

Game 1: Thu @ LAA, 9:37PM
Game 2: Fri @ LAA, 9:37 PM
Game 3: Sun @ BOS, 12:07 PM
Game 4: Mon @ BOS afternoon (if needed)
Game 5: Wed @ LAA

Red Sox roster

Pitchers (10)
Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz
Jonathan Papelbon, Billy Wagner, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Takashi Saito, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen

Positional (14)
Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Alex Gonzalez, Mike Lowell, Casey Kotchman, Jed Lowrie
J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay, David Ortiz, Rocco Baldelli/Josh Reddick, Joey Gathright]

That leaves one spot up for grabs. The Sox could add Daisuke Matsuzaka to avoid pitching Lester on short rest in Game 4, or add another middle infielder, given the shaky status of Lowrie.

Read more of this post

2008 ALDS schedule released

There seemed to be a lot of interest in this, so here’s the remaining schedule, courtesy of the ProJo. I have tickets to Game 4! Go Sox!

Mike Lowell is not doing well after playing in the opener, but it appears that J.D. Drew will continue to play. Look for Kevin Youkilis to man third and Sean Casey or Mark Kotsay to play first.

My feeling is that the Sox come back here tied at 1-1, but there is a lot of pressure on Ervin Santana right now. Game 2 is a must-win for them, and Los Angeles has that 10 straight postseason game loss record on the line. If he cracks, the Angels might just cough up Game 3 without a fight.

Linkage: 2008 ALDS Previews

Alright, time to get your postseason on. I won’t give a full treatment here, since there are already so many excellent previews out there. Here are a few of my favorites:

Rich Lederer and Patrick Sullivan talk Boston-Los Angeles ALDS at Baseball Analysts.

Another article on key players and matchups over at Baseball Digest Daily Blog.

David Pinto looks at how this season’s games between the two clubs turned out.

If you’re looking for reasons to be optimistic as a Red Sox fan, there are a few over at The Hardball Times.

Baseball Think Factory’s got a good summary paragraph or two.

As for my thoughts: If we had a healthy Sox team, I’d say we win in 4. You can’t ignore the best run differential in baseball (by a big margin). But there are other factors. The latest I have heard is that J.D. Drew feels “100% ready” to go, while Mike Lowell can hit but is still hobbling a bit in the field. Add in Josh Beckett’s oblique strain and pitching just once in the 5-game series, and suddenly things aren’t so clear any more. The health of these three is critical to the outcome of this series. Read more of this post

ALDS Game 1: Sox continue to own Lackey

Steven Krasner has tonight’s lineup for us on the ProJo blog.

Pedroia 2b
Youkilis 1b
Ortiz dh
Ramirez lf
Lowell 3b
Drew rf
Varitek c
Crsip cf
Lugo ss

Beckett p

[Live blogging the game]

As I write, starter John Lackey is falling apart in the 3rd inning. The Red Sox have gone ahead 4-0 on two solo home runs by Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, and an RBI single by Mike Lowell. The Sox have tallied 8 hits already, and the only reason this game is not over already is that Julio Lugo was called out at 2nd on a VERY questionable steal call to end the second, and J.D. Drew grounded into a double play to end the 3rd.

Josh Beckett is just in control; his fastball has been humming at 97-98 mph since the first inning, so you know he’s pumped. He just struck out Orlando Cabrera on a nasty pitch on the corner. His command is on, and I have yet to see even so much as a hard foul off of him thus far.

Mark it down, Sox lead this series 1-0.

[Session 2]

Here it is, 7th inning stretch, and Beckett’s only given up 2 hits and thrown 88 pitches. The way this is going, Beckett’s gonna go eight and Papelbon will finish it off just to intimidate them. The Angels got nothin’ all night, and if they keep up their horrible road play, this series is all but over. If the Sox get ahead like this, the Angels’ small ball tactics won’t be of much use to them.

The Halos are pretty banged up, but look for them to play Guererro anyway on Friday in order to get one better bat into the lineup. They’ll probably DH Juan Rivera.

Ervin Santana in the game now. Coco Crisp has made a couple of heads up reads in centerfield already tonight, more than making up for a weak 0-3 at the plate tonight.

[9th inning]

Never mind, Beckett’s out there throwing gas in the ninth. Can you say complete game shutout? That’s a nice way to start the playoffs, with a very nice running, sliding grab in left from Jacoby Ellsbury.

If Lackey wins the Cy Young over Beckett this year, I’m gonna puke.