Friday, October 10, 2008

Red Sox 2008 ALCS Game 1 Preview

Ok, tonight is game 1 of the 2008 ALCS. If one was to look back at my picks before the ALDS you would see that I had this match up. Needless to say, I am Pumped!!!

First lets look at what the MLB.com probable pitchers have to say:

Scouting Report:

Red Sox: Matsuzaka, the 18-game winner during the regular season, will be working on six days of rest. However, Matsuzaka labored through his Game 2 start against the Angels, throwing 108 pitches over five innings and giving up eight hits and three runs. The right-hander was dominant on the road this season, going 9-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 13 starts. Despite being in the Major Leagues for just two seasons, Matsuzaka has pitched eight times against the Rays, going 2-3 with a 2.75 ERA. Five of those starts have come at Tropicana Field, where Matsuzaka is 1-2 with a 3.41 ERA. Dice-K led the Majors this season by holding opponents to a .211 batting average.

Rays: Shields got the win in Game 1 of the ALDS. He overcame a rocky third inning, in which he yielded a three-run homer to Chicago's Dewayne Wise, to turn in a respectable outing. The right-hander exited after loading the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but the Rays' bullpen held the White Sox in check to preserve the win. Shields has worked 215 innings this season -- matching his total from 2007 exactly -- and has thrown three of the Rays' seven shutouts.

Now MLB.com shows that Matsuzaka is less than .500 at the Trop in his career but looking at this years starts for Daisuke he is 1-0 in 2 starts this year at the Trop. Both games he went 5 innings (uh, imagine that) and only allowed 2 earned runs. More importantly his WHIP at the Trop was a very good 1.20. If, and I mean if, Daisuke is able to keep the runs off the board I would fully expect him to approach the 120 pitch count tonight. The six days off since his last start should help him reach that goal.

Shields has been outstanding versus the Sox this year in Tampa Bay. In two starts he has went 15 1/3 innings with a sterling 1.17 ERA and an even better .59 WHIP. However, he has not faced the Sox since 6/30 of this year. This is an entirely different team and I fully expect the Sox to do much better tonight.

This game though, in my mind is way to close to call, but the Sox can definitely steal a game tonight. In fact I am praying that they do that tonight.

♊ - Well, let's hope we get some funny hats too.