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ALCS Game 1: The Big Dance

I've been kidding Svrluga that he's covering the NIT, while I'm at The Big Dance. No disrespect intended to the Rockies or Diamondbacks, of course. I find both of them infinitely fascinating and fun to watch. (The game action on TBS during the NLCS makes for some fine programming breaks in between "Frank TV" promos.) It's just that I get the feeling the country as a whole is far more interested in the Indians and Red Sox -- well, the Red Sox anyway. I know Fox is terrified of a Cleveland-Colorado World Series, even though hard-core baseball fans -- like us! -- would appreciate the lessons of two teams built on the solid foundation of homegrown talent.

We've got mid-50s temperatures, gray skies and a light drizzle at Fenway Park. But no complaints here. Way I see it, this here is playoff weather. No more of this 80 degree stuff, with gnats buzzing all over the place. Can't wait for this Sabathia/Beckett duel to begin. Here are your lineups:

For the Indians:
CF Grady Sizemore
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
DH Travis Hafner
C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
SS Jhonny Peralta
LF Kenny Lofton
RF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Casey Blake
(LHP C.C. Sabathia)

For the Red Sox:
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH Alex Cora (Just kidding!!! It's David Ortiz, of course.)
LF Manny Ramirez
3B Mike Lowell
RF Bobby Kielty (J.D. Drew gets a night off, since Kielty has hit Sabathia well)
C Jason Varitek
CF Coco Crisp
SS Julio Lugo
(RHP Josh Beckett)

So who do you like in this series? I think it's very evenly matched, but I'm going with the Red Sox in 6.

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 12, 2007; 3:43 PM ET
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Next: Ramdom mid-game thoughts, NLCS Game 2


"Can't wait for this Sabathia/Beckett duel to begin."

Lucky you. The rest of us have to watch it on Fox, so we'll be stuck watching Sabathia and Beckett's nostril hairs (in between crowd closeups).

Posted by: joebleux | October 12, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland will win 1 of 2 Beckett matchups, but go down 4-1 in the series.

Rox sweep Snakes, but Beckett breakes the Colorado "Spell" in game 1 and Boston sweeps the series.

I also predict that Ortiz and Ramirez both finish the post season with an OPS over 1.000

Posted by: estuartj | October 12, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather watch Sabathia and Beckett's nostril hairs grow than watch Kelly and Heather talking about their new shoes at the online Hot Corner.

I'm rooting for the Indians (promised my 86-year-old aunt and I like the smaller payroll teams). It would be way cool to see two teams with homegrown talent at the big dance....

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 12, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The first two games are locks to be pitchers duels, right? A prediction: At least one of them will turn out to be a slugfest. A further prediction: Cleveland wins the duel, Boston wins the slugfest.

I'm rooting for Cleveland, but I have a hard time picking against Beckett and Ortiz, both of whom can win games singlehandedly. So I'm hoping for Cleveland in 7, but it could be Boston in 6.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 12, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping for Indians in 7 too.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 12, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Leo Mazzone was fired today. Wow. Would anyone have guessed this last year? Wasn't it just a year ago that he was going to join his Western Maryland childhood best friend Sam Perlozzo and make this the year for the O's? Damn! From other posters on that terrific USS Mariners site:

Given what he did with Kevin Millwood, Mike Hampton, Jaret Wright and several other future flame-outs, I think we can give a lot of credit to Leo Mazzone. It wasn't just Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz making him look good.

I remember seeing a study once that showed that pitchers pitching for Mazzone tended to be better once they got to him and worse once the left. Kind of the anti Mel Stottlemyre.

Posted by: flynnie | October 12, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Sawx in 4...unless Cleveland calls in the midge swarm reinforcements when they get back to the Jake. Then all bets are off.

Posted by: one of Barry's Babes | October 12, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Tribe in 6. Rockies in 5. And Your World Champions? Tribe.

Posted by: flynnie | October 12, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

And every fan's favorite two words and answered prayer ................ GAME SEVEN!!!

Posted by: flynnie | October 12, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I just remembered that FOX is doing the ALCS and World Series. Can't wait until they cut away to the crowds and amazingly find the stars of the hot, new FOX show [insert title here but don't try to remember it since it's going to be cancelled two weeks after the World Series anyway].

Joe Buck: "Beckett with the pitch. Low and outside, ball one. Why look, it's Brad Garrett sitting in the stands. Guess he's taking a break from filming his hit sitcom 'Til Death, which can be seen at 8:30 Wednesday nights here on FOX. Beckett throws a 96mph fastball on the outside corner for strike one."

Posted by: e | October 12, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the kind of guy you would want to keep.

Late last month, Mazzone expressed the desire to finish what he started next year.

"I want to go until I'm 62, and I hope the rest of the way it's in a Baltimore uniform," he said. "I mean this place, it's my home state and this is one of the greatest sports towns in the United States. All we have to do is start winning, and you'll never be able to get a ticket. These fans deserve that. They treat everybody very graciously.

"I expected to hear a few nasty things going out to the mound every once in a while. I don't hear them. They keep telling me to keep the faith, you're doing a good job. It's a wonderful place to be. Things have to be done to put this thing together."

Posted by: flynnie | October 12, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Sabathia & Carmona are tough, but check out these career post-season numbers:

Schilling: 1.93 ERA in 116.1 innings
Beckett: 1.74 ERA in 51.2 innings

Plus I believe Manny is all-time post-season HR leader.

estuartj has it nailed: Sox in 5

Posted by: section 418 | October 12, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the Sox need two strong starts from Schilling, and I don't think he has that much left in the tank. Indians in 6, with Schill getting clubbed twice.

Posted by: joebleux | October 12, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Do they even do play-by-play on FOX? I thought Joe Buck would sound more like this:

"Beckett is pitching one heck of a game, isn't he? Why look, it's Brad Garrett sitting in the stands. Guess he's taking a break from filming his hit sitcom 'Til Death, which can be seen at 8:30 Wednesday nights here on FOX. Man, look at that. 96 MPH. You're not going to hit that. This guy is just so good. Man, aren't the Red Sox such a great team? I can't think of anyone they have that isn't the greatest. Let me list them... WOW! And Beckett strikes out another one, simply incredible. And we take you to the commercial break, Cleveland 10, Boston 0."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 12, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

What? Sheinin, you don't like the Frank TV ads? Those are insanely funny! That guy does an amazing Bush!

Posted by: ZRunner | October 12, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

What Mazzone's firing means about the O's:

It means that their credibility just sunk down to a lower level if it hasn't already, and that these rankings (which rank the O's 30th out of 30 teams for chances of future success - Nats are ranked 17th) are right about at least 1 team. Once again this proves that the Orioles management is dumber than a post. And quite honestly, everybody and everything that goes into that organization turns to dust

Posted by: flynnie | October 12, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I like his John Belushi, too. At least, I think that's who it's supposed to be...

Which reminds me, The Rockies, on a mission from Gahd...

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 12, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

His Madden is the best. YouTube search Madden and Vagicil....

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 12, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse


It would be nice to get some insight into the Nats off season moves this week. Some real analysis would be appreciated, talk to us please....

Why would they keep Fick on the 40 man roster? NO WAY could he be on this team next year and the Nats keep their promise to improve the team and build for the long term; same holds true with Langerhans and Logan. So, the question is why are they still on the roster? Would anyone give the Nats any value for them? Do you think they have any place in the "plan"?

If they keep these guys in the "plan" they are looking at playing the fans yet again. That new park will be dead and half full by July if they do not upgrade talent in a big way.

Nats must put the best team on the field that $75 Million will buy. No Fick, No Logan, No Langerhans.

Posted by: JayB | October 12, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the obligatory shot of Stephen King in the stands of Fenway.

Posted by: Viva Livan | October 12, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and King's son, who, according to the announcers at least, writes under the name of "Joe Hill." Bet those books are interesting.

Speaking of scary, what about the ump's strike zone tonight? Ridiculously inconsistent. I'm not a proponent of going high tech, but the guys have to do better than this; this is the postseason, for cro.

Posted by: Bob L. Hill | October 12, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Dave has just laid down the single most subtle-snarky post in NJ history.
Mad props.

Posted by: cevans!rafters | October 12, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

C!Rafters, to what dost thou refer?

Posted by: Bob L. Head (after drinking) | October 12, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

That one also sailed over my head.

Posted by: natsfan1a (not drinking) | October 13, 2007 6:01 AM | Report abuse

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