The lineups are out, and here’s how the Red Sox pitching will break down:
He’s a heart-attack inducing pitcher, and with the Ray’s tendency to run, that may cause a little trouble for the Sox. However, Dice-K has shut it down on the road, so giving him the first start in the Trop is probably the best call Tito can make.
He looked rusty, but not injured in his last start. And the game still went 12 innings, so even the high-powered, fast moving offense of the Angels couldn’t take that much advantage of the ace. This time he’ll be pitching on normal rest, so expect October Beckett (the 2007 version) to return.
Jon Lester is a beast. He will get the ball at home, where he is absolutely stellar.
His record doesn’t reflect how well he has really pitched this year. He’s going to give up a run or two, but in the regular season, the Sox had a hard time getting him the bats to back him up.
5. Dice-K (if necessary)
6. Beckett (if necessary)
7. Lester (if necessary)
I’m going to be honest, here. If I could split myself in two and have the neutral sports mind talk to the Boston sports fan, here’s how the conversation would have been:
Neutral: The Red Sox are in the postseason, which should be an accomplishment in and of itself considering the division they play in and the injuries they have sustained.
Fan: They’re going all the way!
Neutral: It is unlikely that they beat the Angels, but that would be a huge accomplishment for a team as banged up as they have been. Top that off with several inexperienced starters and the loss of Manny, it isn’t likely.
Fan: I just don’t want them to be out in the first round.
So that’s my internal conversation with myself. The Boston fan in me just refuses to give up and believes the Red Sox are going to repeat, but the rational part of my brain realizes that the Red Sox are the underdogs.
Who ever thought that the Red Sox playing the (Devil) Rays would be the underdogs of the series?