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Can I Get An "Uh-Oh"?

So, two series down -- Phillies in, Dodgers in -- and two to go. Of the teams leading the two remaining series -- Tampa Bay and Boston -- who is feeling the most heat? I'll answer that two ways:

*Boston is most in need of a Game 4 win. They would not want to fly across country for a Game 5 in Anaheim with their hopes resting on Daisuke Matsuzaka. They need Jon Lester (16-2, 3.30 career ERA at Fenway Park) to give a dominant performance tonight and put the Angels away.

(Incidentally, let's watch the bullpens very closely tonight in Boston. Both closers were taxed heavily in last night's 12-inning game -- K-Rod threw 33 pitches, and Papelbon threw 31 -- as were top set-up guys Scot Shields, Jose Arredondo and Manny Delcarmen, all of whom threw 25 pitches or more.)

*Tampa Bay is in the most trouble in Game 4. Not only are the White Sox nearly unbeatable at home, but their starter, Gavin Floyd, is coming off an excellent outing in the Sept. 29 makeup game against Detroit (on short rest), which the White Sox had to win to force a one-game playoff. The Rays' starter, meantime, is Andy Sonnanstine, who barely beat out Edwin Jackson for the fourth spot in their postseason rotation. If they lose, they'd still have James Shields on the mound in Game 5 at Tropicana Field (where they're even more unbeatable than the White Sox are at U.S. Cellular). But somehow, I can't help but think the White Sox would find a way to win a Game 5, given the amazing resourcefulness they've shown down the stretch.

Thoughts?


By Dave Sheinin  |  October 6, 2008; 8:34 AM ET
 
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Comments

"I'm not dead!"

- Chicago White Sox

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grbSQ6O6kbs

Posted by: Chico Harlan | October 6, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I think that you're right. In short, Boston needs game 4 more than Tampa. The Rays have a good matchup in game 5 and they'll be at home. On the other hand, Boston's got a much better chance of winning game 4.

Posted by: BaseballinDC | October 6, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Alas, Sheinin proves his wisdom once again. Last night was the night for the kill, and the Red Sox let the Angels up. Lackey and Lester probably deserve to split their starts based on their talent and seasons. This is starting to have a 2004 ALCS / 2003 ALDS feel to it. Please no Dice-K!

TB is not in trouble. Sonnanstine has been pitching well, and they have Shields / Buehrle the next game. In contrast to the other series, there is too much of a talent difference for the better team with a lead in the series and the final game at home to not come through.

By the way, despite the Torii / Kendrick goof up, the Angels were otherwise saved by their defense (Even if Torii should have called him off, Kendrick has to make that play). Teixeira robbed Ellsbury early. Chone Figgins made some great stops playing even or in front of 3d on smashes by Pedroia and at least one other late. He was not supposed to be the Golden Glove guy at third, but he outplayed Mike Lowell (hurt) on balls down the line. At least a couple got by Lowell that he normally gets.

Begs the question of whether the Red Sox at this point are stronger with Kotsay or Casey at first and Youk at 3d. The threat of Lowell off the bench might keep Oliver from coming in to match up Ortiz or other lefties.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 6, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Begs the question of ..."

NO! It does NOT.
It BRINGS UP the question, it does not AVOID it.

Posted by: proofreading gremlin having an hissy fit | October 6, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, when you put it that way, it sure sounds like a reverse lock to me.

*********
"Tampa Bay is in the most trouble in Game 4 ..."

Posted by: CE | October 6, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I am not worthy in your sight, repent, and ask for "you're" forgiveness, gremlin.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 6, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

That's nothing, proofreading gremlin. From today's chat:

"So now, I think the question becomes this: Because sports -- all leagues, really -- have greater parody, greater competition top-to-bottom, must we loosen our definition of a dynasty?"

Maybe Chico was referring to the profusion of Onion articles and other such satire?

Posted by: editor type | October 6, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

You proofreading guys are loosers.

Posted by: Andy | October 6, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"5. Has Boston catcher Jason Varitek finished giving his signs yet with a man on second base? That ALDS Game 3 was nearly unwatchable because of how much time Varitek took giving signals and running out to the mound to talk to Josh Beckett seemingly every other pitch (and to a lesser extent, Mike Napoli chatting with Joe Saunders). Carlton Fisk was never that bad. I know how important these games are and I know each pitch is important, but come on, there has to be some limit to the conferencing. The general managers should have some discussion about it at their meetings next month. If the coach and manager are limited on mound visits, why not the catcher? Can you get through an inning without, say, four visits to the mound by the catcher?"


It begs to question, are the Red Sox so arrogant to think that they are the center of the universe, that we have nothing else to do with our time than watch Beckett throw 1 pitch per minute? After 2 hours last night, the game was in the top of the 4th!!!

Posted by: Verducci's article | October 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Chico commented on the late starting times for the playoffs. Boston tonight at 8:37 PM - 50 degrees, dropping into the 40s. A not unusually long 3:30 hour game means more 12 AM baseball.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 6, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I think that you mean "losers."

Posted by: loosers | October 6, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Somebody's snarkdar needs a tuneup.

Posted by: This never happened when Barry ran the blog. | October 6, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Ahem.

------------------------
Well, when you put it that way, it sure sounds like a reverse lock to me.
*********
"Tampa Bay is in the most trouble in Game 4 ..."

Posted by: CE | October 6, 2008 2:00 PM

Posted by: ce | October 6, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Midnight Mass at the Church of Baseball.
(c)
********************
Chico commented on the late starting times for the playoffs. Boston tonight at 8:37 PM - 50 degrees, dropping into the 40s. A not unusually long 3:30 hour game means more 12 AM baseball.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 6, 2008 4:31 PM

Posted by: CEvans | October 6, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

THE voodoo priestess looked across the table at her wealthy client, a man on trial for murder: "Now, you know how dead time works. Dead time lasts for one hour -- from half an hour before midnight to half an hour after midnight. The half-hour before midnight is for doin' good. The half-hour after midnight is for doin' evil. . . . Seems like we need a little of both tonight."

Posted by: John Berendt | October 6, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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