Saturday, October 18, 2008

Red Sox 2008 ALCS Game 6 Preview

Well, a smart man would say don't post anything but then again it has been proven that I am not exactly a smart man. I did not post anything before game 5 and due to some external, i.e. reality I was only able to watch the last three innings of game 5. However, from the Sox side of things that was by far the best part of the game to watch. I only have one thing to say about game 5 - WOW!

So, mission partly accomplished, the big Papi got on track, J.D. Drew proved that the regular season means nothing and Coco Crisp earned every penny of his contract. The Rays were unable to sweep the Sox in Fenway and spray champagne in the Sox visiting clubhouse and the series continues tonight at Tropicana Field. WOW!

Well, lets look at what MLB.Com has to say about the starting pitchers tonight:

Scouting Report:

Red Sox:
Beckett, who has built a reputation as a postseason hero, has been hit hard this October. Most recently, the Rays pounded him for nine hits and eight runs over 4 1/3 innings in Game 2. Beckett took the no-decision in that game, which the Red Sox lost in 11 innings. In Game 3 of the Division Series against the Angels, Beckett lasted just five innings, giving up nine hits and four runs. That was also a no-decision in an extra-inning loss. Lifetime in LCS play, Beckett 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA in six outings, five of which were starts. In the postseason, he is 6-2 with a 2.85 ERA.

Rays:
Shields got tagged with the loss in Game 1 of the ALCS despite a quality start that saw him allow two runs on six hits with two walks while striking out six in 7 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old right-hander's best pitch has always been his changeup, but he also has a plus fastball and curve and he's added a cutter that has helped him throw inside to left-handers. He was originally scheduled to start Game 5, but manager Joe Maddon switched on the off day following Game 4.

Big Game Shields is on the mound for the Rays and remember if it was not for a couple of cheap hits, one being a check swing by Kotsay it is possible that the Rays would have won that game. The question that needs to be answered though is this; "Is Big Game James really Big Game James?" Tonight will go a long way to answering that question.

As for the Sox starter, well if it is Josh Beckett of 2003 and 2007 then this game is over, but if it is Josh Beckett of this year, the Sox will not be playing a game 7. Lest anyone forget, going into this postseason Joshie was 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA and a WHIP of .74 in the postseason.

This year he is 0-0 with a 16.62 ERA (raising his overall to 2.85) and a 2.31 WHIP. What is surprising is his K / 9 is actually up this postseason, 10.38 versus 10.16 but he has been getting hammered. So, from the Sox point of view, is he going to be Beckett (aka Captain kick ass) or is he going to be Beckett. Sometime in the next few hours that answer will be apparent.

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