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Enjoy Game 6 of '08 World Series: On TV Right NOW!

I assume all serious baseball fans are now watching Game 6 of the '08 World Series that's on TBS right NOW. Oh, it's otherwise known as Game 4 of the Division Series between the defending world champion Red Sox and the 100-win Angels.

I'm not kidding: The World Series is being played right now. You just have to recognize it, rather than be informed about it later. In fact, I JUST realized it as I was watching. Now that the Cubs are cooked, the Red Sox and Angels are the Two Best Teams left in the postseason -- probably by far.

Whichever wins this division series will handle the Rays in six games or less in the ALCS, then beat the representative of the Inferior League in the Series.

Come on, you know it. It's a bummer, so you don't want to acknowledge it. With the great-on-paper choking-dog Cubs now working on Lost Century No. 2, nobody else in the National League is a serious Series winner. The Dodgers won only 84 games. Sure, they're got Manny Ramirez. How cute. But who are their No. 3 and 4 starters? A rookie, Chad Billingsley, is their No. 2. The Phils have the same problem. When Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer are your No. 2 and 3 starters, you can be a good team. You don't win the Series.

It's nice that the Rays got into the ALCS a couple of hours ago. I'd love to see them in the Series. But they're not going to get there, now are they? Because the winner of this Red Sox-Angels will beat them. Yes, the Rays beat the Red Sox in their season series, 10-8, including 8-1 in games at Tropicana Field. The Rays also played the Angels confidently. Besides, it's all part of Tampa Bay's master plan for the Red Sox and Angels to wear eachother out before they face the Rays.

But I'll believe the Rays in the Series (and enjoy it a ton) only when I actually see it.

Are there scenarios where the Boston-L.A. winner isn't also world champ? Sure. But I don't buy them. I think we're seeing the Series right now -- 0-0 in the third inning. Jon Lester against John Lackey. And a Game 7 -- sorry, I mean a Game 5 -- back in Anaheim, if needed. The Red Sox, with Mike Lowell out, Josh Beckett fragile and Dice-K shaky against the Angels in Game 2, may really need to win this one tonight.

At any rate, amid the avalanche of October baseball games, don't miss THIS one. It may decide the World Series three weeks ahead of time.

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 6, 2008; 9:00 PM ET
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Yeah, don't know if you're completely right about the best teams being in this series, because the Angels had a much easier road than the Rays did, and the Rays have an awful lot of hard throwers on their staff. Top to bottom it's hard to get a read on how good the Rays lineup is, but they seem to be a lot more versatile offensively (a lot more speed) than the Angels. The Angels don't seem to have enough power to sit back and slug their way to the championship, especially in tight games. The White Sox just got buried trying to do that. Did you see the shift they had on Thome, and he still tried to pull the ball? I'll never understand that, especially when you're down four runs and need baserunners.
The Rays aren't the finished product, they're getting better every day, and if their staff can stay away from BB's, they have plenty of offense to do the deed. Top to bottom they're a better club than the Angels, who are starting to show some age, which is always a handicap at the end of a long grind, just look at the Red Sox and their injuries - those are all wear-and-tear/age-related.

Posted by: Brue | October 6, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Boz! Neither of the two NL teams left had to rely on a gimmick like a 20-game winning streak to sneak into the playoffs. Philly and post-Manny LA are right up there among the best of the league.

And neither of them are going to have to start Josh Fogg!

Posted by: Chris | October 6, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

"Inferior League"? Give me a break. Any league that has the DH - no matter the talent on their rosters - is inferior.

Posted by: Philly Phan in Phairfax | October 6, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

If this is the World Series, don't we deserve better than Chip and Buck on the mic? Good grief, these guys are awful! Like nails on a chalkboard.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I think the two Rays-Red Sox series down the stretch proved which was the better team...and it certainly wasn't the team from Boston.

Posted by: Barb | October 6, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

The Sox are going to field dress the Rays like a Wasillan moose.

Posted by: Anon. | October 7, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

This post is idiotic. Boz hasn't seen more than 10 games this year before the playoffs. He spent the second half of the season at golf tournaments and the Olympics. Since he doesn't know what he's talking about any more when it comes to baseball, he just spouts generalizations without much to back them up, makes outlandish statements and predictions, and then gives himself just enough wiggle room to defend himself when his idiotic predictions are wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

dear thomas boswell,

you are an idiot. there are no 2 ways about it. reading your columns you have the iq of an eggplant or sarah palin. you know nothing about baseball and should get out of the game. its almost impossible to start with how stupid this post and all your other musings on baseball are. just to start...anything can happen. boston had 162 games and did not outpace the rays. if its the phillies, 7 games in fenway/citizenbank are like coin flips. the dodgers have a SUPERIOR bullpen compared to the sox. the rays are young and hungry and youth will not be afraid. you are dumb and do not belong on a baseball blog please stop posting here.

Posted by: love | October 7, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

This really doesn't make any sense. At the end of the post Tom points out that Lowell is out, Dice-K is shakey, and Beckett is hurting. Yet the Red Sox are a lock to win the Series? Because the Dodgers don't have the starting pitching? Huh?

Also, I don't really see how the Dodgers' 84 wins means much of anything at this point. First of all, the Cards of a couple years ago should have taken care of that issue. But anyway the Dodgers' late-season acquisitions turned them into a different team. Lastly, if the Dodgers beat the only "serious Series winner" (whatever that means) from the NL, why couldn't they beat whoever emerges from the AL?

And if it's Philly and Boston playing in the Series, as love pointed out anything can happen especially with those two ballparks. I won't even get into Boston-Tampa other than to say that clearly Boz didn't see much baseball this season.

Thought-provoking and argument-inducing posts are great and all, Tom. But at the least maybe you can try to be somewhat coherent and internally consistent when you make aggressive predictions like this. This post, however, is just ridiculous. I'm not quite sure why we should expect more at this point from the "Gibbsologist" who said the Skins were a lock to beat the Seahawks in the playoffs simply because they had played a tougher schedule than Seattle did.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | October 7, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

This is just sad. Shirley Povich would be so disappointed. Washington finally has a baseball team again, and now his legacy at The Post is being trampled on by bozos like Boz writing nonsense like this, when he even deigns to write about baseball any more in the first place. Tom, we've read your books, we know you used to be a good baseball writer. Maybe you should actually work a little bit and try to recapture what you once had. Otherwise, you should just pack it in rather than give us this lazy bs.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Someday the National League will move out of the 1960s and adopt the DH. Until then, Boswell's right, it is definitely the Inferior League.

Posted by: KR | October 7, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Post division series prediction results:

Chico Harlan: 1-4
Dave Sheinin: 3-4
Tom Heleba: 3-4
Tom Boswell: 2-4
Marc Carig: 2-4

Posted by: For those keeping score at home | October 7, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

While I like the sentiment, I have to disagree here. The Rays are a superior team to the Angels. The difference in regular season records between the AL East teams can be attributed to the Rays, Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays playing each other 55 times while the Angels played the Sisters of the Poor for 55 games in the AL West.

I think the ALCS is a toss-up right now. I wish the Sox had a healthy Lowell, but I think Dice-K, Beckett, and Lester going Friday, Saturday, and Monday will be great. Presumably Wakefield going in Game 4 at home followed by the top three again. That gives the Sox Beckett and Lester in games 6 and 7 if needed. I like our chances with that.

I also take joy in thinking about how the Yankees must be tearing their hair out watching so many talented and young stars developing during the season and post-season in Tampa and Boston. How is that Hughes - Kennedy pairing working out for ya?

Posted by: Pats Fan | October 7, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Well, like you I was 2 for 4 in my playoff picks (read: as good as a dart throw).

I think the Rays are going to play the Red Sox hard - much better than the Angels did. Also, they'll have home field advantage where they have been nearly unbeatable.

I think when it's over we'll believe THIS (the ALCS) was the real series between the two best teams in baseball.

Of course, I also thought I'd be watching the Angels beat the Cubs in the WS!

Next, I'm unclear why the DH is the cause of the NL's "inferiority?" The NL dominated the AL in the 70s in All Star games even after the DH was adopted.

As for "love's" post, I love it when people write illiterate posts calling into question other people's intelligence.

Posted by: BaseballinDC | October 7, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Once again Boz shows how little he knows about baseball. And the east coast bias rears its ugly head.
The Dodgers were a very good team once they got Manny AND Casey Blake, their pitching top to bottom is BETTER then the Sox.
And I believe that Tampa Bay easily won the season series head to head against the Sox. I would say of the 4 teams left the Sox are the 4th best.

Posted by: DW | October 7, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

No, the Rays won the season series 10-8, taking 4 of 6 in a home and home in September. Basically, it was a Papelbon blown save (in the Beckett game I think)that separated the teams. Otherwise, they tie at 96 wins, 9-9 head to head, and go to division record as the next tie breaker. I think that may have beena tie, and then it goes to 2d half records. Ridiculously even.

Rays have a fine rotation. Sonnanstine, the alleged weak link, killed the Sox in 2 starts in September. Kazmir has been the weak link since June, and when he's your weak link . . .

Well balanced offense. .340 OBP (vs. .358 for Boston), more homers and steals than the Red Sox, but not by much. I'll still take Papelbon vs. Wheeler at closer, and would not think that Balfour, Bradford, and Howell is better than Delcarmen, Masterson, and Okajima, but it is debatable.

The Angels record certainly was pumped up by playing in the weakest AL Division, but they had a good year head to head against the top tier teams. I am not a worshipper of Scoscia and their style of play. Suicide sqeeze vs a shot at just getting a bat on a ball or a hit by one of your two hottest hitters (Figgins)? You leave by '70s -'80s baseball, you die by it. Oh, and nice defense (sarcastic, except for Tex throughout the series and for game 3 from Figgins).

Rays and Red Sox will be interesting, and, except for my Boston bias, I'd say Rays in 7. Then Rays - Dodgers in the World Series. And the relevance of the Dodgers pre-Blake, pre-Manny, DL'd Furcal, AJones - JPierre - JKent - Nomar playing and the current team that' playing is about as relevant as saying as a boring anecdote about Eddie Murray.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 7, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Red Sox will win the WS, and maybe we'll all fall asleep in the process. If I have to watch another 5 hour game, I might just gouge out my eyes. Silver lining: I wouldn't have to witness the '09 Nats.

Posted by: hit the snooze button | October 8, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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