...in case you were wondering. I actually think they can do it in less [see below], but five is a safer bet.
I'm actually a bit surprised: I thought the Red Sox would choose the Thursday start to keep the Angels from starting Lackey and Escobar twice and to stick it to the Yankees; a Wednesday start would have been great for the Tribe. Even so, I don't think Yankees fans appreciate just how good CC and Sabathia are - I expect a dominating Game 1 from CC, and as long as Carmona stays calm, a very good Game 2 out of him. He'd also be available in
The Yankees haven't seen CC since 2004; he's a power lefty with amazing control. That's pretty much all the Yanks' biggest problems in one... and it's on the road. Then comes Carmona, who has improved drastically on his own control, and who throws that amazing power sinker. He shut them down in his first start until Borowski blew his 6-2 lead, and that was in Yankee stadium.
I don't see any Yankees pitcher having a great start. Okay, maybe even good - but not enough to win a game if the Yankees aren't hitting. People get caught up in the Yankees' lineup and their 6-0 record against the Tribe that they forget who they actually beat and that the Indians are one of the best hitting teams in baseball, too - and they've only gotten better with guys like Asdrubal Cabrera, Franklin Gutierrez, etc. The Indians also have the best and deepest bench in the playoffs.
Hafner is finally hitting, which will be huge - he was a real hole in the middle of the lineup until the past couple of weeks.
People think the Yankees are the hottest team in baseball... even though the Indians have been hotter. Since August 13th: 31-13 vs. 28-17.
I can't say I love Westbrook or Byrd in Games 3 & 4, though Westbrook always keeps the ball down and has been very good lately, while Byrd at least doesn't walk anybody. I still think the Indians should throw a wrench at the Yankees if they're up 2-0, start Aaron Laffey in Game 3, have him pitch 4-5 innings (once or twice through the order), get a small lead, then have Westbrook come in for 2 innings. It would completely throw off the Yankees, who - like the Indians - have trouble with pitchers they haven't seen before. Then they could finish them off with Perez, Betancourt... and maybe even Joe Borowski (gulp). But doing so could seriously cause clubhouse rifts, which does play a role in October baseball.
So... elsewhere: Rockies in four, unless Hamels can pitch every other day. Diamondbacks in four, with Micah Owings hitting a HR to win Game Two for himself. Red Sox-Angels will be fascinating - I wonder if the Angels can surprise everyone, beat Beckett in Game One, and take out the Sox in four or even in a sweep. But if it goes back to Boston for Game Five, you have to give it to Boston.
And of course, Indians in five. GO TRIBE!!
Chag Sameach to all!