This will be a very interesting World Series. The Rockies have won 21 of their last 22 games including a 7-0 post season record while the Red Sox came from 3-1 down to defeat the Cleveland Indians. It will be interesting to see if the Rockies are are rusty seeing how they haven’t played in 8 days or if the Red Sox have anything left in the tank after having to come back to beat the Indians. Here’s a closer look at the matchups:
CATCHER: Jason Varitek might be the team captain but he needs to start providing more with a bat in his hands. In 10 post season games he’s only 9 for 37 (.243 avg, .732 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 1 homer and 5 RBIs. Yorvit Torrelba is the silent assassin at the bottom of the Rockies lineup in the post season. In 7 games, he is 8 for 25 (.320 avg, .934 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 1 homer and 7 RBIs. EDGE: EVEN
FIRST BASE: Kevin Youkilis is swinging a hot stick in the post-season but he likely won’t get to play in Colorado when they don’t use a DH. David Ortiz will likely start at first base in Colorado and that will definately hurt the Red Sox defense. Youkilis has played in 10 games this post-season and he is 17 for 40 (.425 avg, 1.314 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 4 homers and 9 RBIs. Todd Helton hasn’t been too productive in the post season yet, but that could change any minute as he has a .332 career batting average. In 7 post season games Helton is 4 for 26 (.154 avg, .464 OPS) with 4 runs scored and 1 RBI. EDGE: RED SOX
SECOND BASE: Dustin Pedroia has suddenly got hot at the right time for the Red Sox with the bat and he’s also a good defender. In 10 post season games, Pedroia is 12 for 42 (.286 avg, .824 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 1 homer and 6 RBIs. Kazuo Matsui has also been outstanding in the post season for the Rockies. In 7 games he is 9 for 29 (.310 avg, .961 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 2 triples, 1 homer, 8 RBIs and a stolen base. EDGE: EVEN
SHORTSTOP: Julio Lugo hasn’t been productive in the post-season but that shouldn’t be a surprise because of the poor regular season he turned in. He has played in 10 games in the post season and he is 8 for 35 (.229 avg, .556 OPS) with 5 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Troy Tulowitzki has had a rough time in the post-season after a very solid rookie season. In 7 games in the post-season he is 5 for 28 (.179 avg, .554 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 1 homer and 2 RBIs. EDGE: ROCKIES
THIRD BASE: Mike Lowell has been money in the playoffs this season after turning in a great regular season. In 10 games this post-season he is 12 for 36 (.333 avg, .900 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 1 homer and 11 RBIs. Garrett Atkins hasn’t done much in the post-season but that could change because he’s a really good hitter. Atkins has played in 7 games in the post season and he is 5 for 27 (.185 avg, .500 OPS) with 3 runs scored and 1 RBI. EDGE: RED SOX
LEFT FIELD: Manny Ramirez might not hustle on defense or on the bases but he can flat out hit the baseball. In 10 post season games, Ramirez is 12 for 30 (.400 avg, 1.411 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 4 homers, 14 RBIs and he’s walked 14 times. Matt Holliday should be the N.L. MVP based on his play during the regular season but it has carried over into the post season. In 7 post season games, Holliday is 8 for 28 (.286 avg, 1.047 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 4 homers and 7 RBIs. EDGE: EVEN
CENTER FIELD: The Red Sox will probaby start Coco Crisp but Terry Francona might decide to go with rookie Jacoby Ellsbury. Crisp has really struggled in the post season for the Red Sox. In 10 games, Crisp is 5 for 31 (.161 avg., .382 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Willy Taveras will man center field for the Rockies. He’s an outstanding defender and he’s a pest on the base paths because of his speed. In 4 games this post season, Taveras is 3 for 18 (.167 avg, .472 OPS) with 3 runs scored, 1 RBI and 1 stolen base. EDGE: EVEN
RIGHT FIELD: J.D. Drew played like crap during the regular season but he’s playing up to his ability in the post season. In 10 post season games Drew is 11 for 36 (.306 avg, .741 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 1 homer and 9 RBIs. Brad Hawpe was outstanding during the regular season and he’ been solid in the post season. In 7 games in the post season, Hawpe is 7 for 23 (.304 avg, .771 OPS) with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs. EDGE: ROCKIES
DESIGNATED HITTER: David Ortiz was awesome during the season and it’s carried into the post season for him. Ortiz has played in 10 games this post season and he is 12 for 31 (.387 avg, .917 OPS) with 12 runs scored, 3 homers, 6 RBIs and he’s walked 12 times! Ryan Spilboroghs will be the likely DH for the Rockies and he’s a good hitter. In 5 games this post season, he’s 3 for 10 (.300 avg, .762 OPS) with 3 runs scored. EDGE: RED SOX
STARTING ROTATION: The Red Sox rotation is led by two awesome post-season performers. Josh Beckett will start the first game of the World Series and no one has been more clutch than this guy has. In 3 starts this post season, Beckett is 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP. He has worked 23 innings in the playoffs and he has allowed only 13 hits, walked 1 batter and whiffed 26. Curt Schilling has pitched really well in two of his three started in the playoffs. In 3 post season starts, Schilling is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He has worked 18.2 innings and he allowed 21 hits, walked 1 batter and whiffed 12. Dice-K Matsuzaka has only looked good in one of his three starts in the playoffs and it clinched the trip to the World Series for the Red Sox. Dice-K has started 3 games in the post season and he is 1-1 with a 5.65 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP. In 14.1 innings he has allowed 19 hits, walked 5 batters and whiffed 12. The Red Sox have lefty John Lester penciled in to start Game #4…..but it could be Beckett. Lester worked two games in relief in the post season for the Red Sox and he is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. He has worked 3.2 innings and he has allowed 3 hits, walked 1 batter and whiffed 5.
Lefty Jeff Francis will start Game #1 and he’s really turned into the ace of the Rockies staff. He has started 2 games this post season and he is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He has worked 12.2 innings in the playoffs and he has allowed 11 hits, walked 3 batters and whiffed 12. Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez has not been intimidated in the playoffs as he has stepped up big-time. He has started 2 games in the playoffs and he’s 0-0 with a 1.59 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. In 11.1 innings he has allowed 8 hits, walked 8 batters and whiffed 11. Veteran Josh Fogg will be the #3 starter in this series. He has pitched in 2 games (1 start) in the playoffs and he is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In 8 innings he has allowed 8 hits, walked 1 batter and whiffed 4. Aaron Cook will replace rookie Franklin Morales in the rotation for this series. He has not pitched in a game since August 10th against the Cubs. He did start 25 games this season for the Rockies and he was 8-7 with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. EDGE: RED SOX
BULLPEN: If the Red Sox have a lead late in the game the Rockies will be in trouble because of how well Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Mike Timlin have been pitching. Papelbon has been unhittable in his 4 post season games as he is 1-0 with 1 save, a 0.00 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. In 6.1 innings he has only allowed 3 hits, walked 4 batters and whiffed 4. Okajima has also been nasty for the Red Sox this post season. In 5 games, he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. In 7.1 innings he has allowed 5 hits, walked 3 batters and whiffed 5. Mike Timlin has also been outstanding in 3 games as he has worked 3.1 innings and allowed 1 hit, 0 earned runs and whiffed 3 batters.
The Rockies bullpen has been good and really deep in the post season. It all starts with closer Manny Corpas. Corpas has pitched in 7 games this post season and he is 1-0 with 5 saves, a 1.04 ERA and a 0.58 WHIP. In 8.2 innings he has allowed 5 hits, walked 0 batters and whiffed 6. Lefty Brian Fuentes was the closer before he injured his back and he never got his job back. In 7 games this post season he is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP. In 6 innings this post season Fuentes has allowed 8 hits, walked 3 batters and whiffed 10. Righties Matt Herges (1-0, 0.00 ERA), LaTroy Hawkins (0.00 ERA) and Ryan Speier (0.00 ERA, 1 save) have all been nails this post season. Jeremy Affeldt has been solid as the first lefty in the game as he is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA and a 0.43 WHIP this post season. EDGE: EVEN
BENCH: In the games at Coors Field, Kevin Youkilis will be the top pinch hitter on the Red Sox and he will be quite the weapon for them. Jacoby Ellsbury has played in 7 games this post season and he is 2 for 9 (.222 avg, .522 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 1 RBI and 1 stolen base. He also could get some starts in center field in this series with Crisp slumping. Bobby Kielty rips lefties and he is 2 for 5 (.400 avg) with 1 run scored and 2 RBIs in the post season. Doug Mirabelli, Eric Hinske and Alex Cora fill out the rest of the bench and they haven’t been used much. They have played in a combined 5 games and they are 0 for 3 with a run scored.
In games at Coors Field, Ryan Spilboroghs will be available for pinch hit duty and he’s a good one. Rookie Seth Smith has been an assassin off the bench for the Rockies. In 4 games he is 2 for 4 (.500 avg, 1.250 OPS) with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Jeff Baker also has been really good as a pinch hitter as he is 2 for 3 (.667 avg) with a big RBI in the playoffs. Cory Sullivan (1 for 3) and Jamey Carroll (0 for 1) are also solid little pesky hitters.
PREDICTION: This series should be interesting to watch as the bullies (Red Sox) will be playing a team that thinks they are bullet proof right now (Rockies). I think the Red Sox are the better team but I just can’t see anyone beating the Rockies in a 7 game series right now. With that in mind I will take the Rockies in a shocker.