Tuesday, October 23, 2007

You Wanna Watch the World Series?

Wednesday, October 24 will mark a day of both great joy and sadness in the lives of all baseball fans. It’s the beginning of the end. On the one hand, the World Series is starting. The end all be all. The games that everyone was wishing, hoping, and dreaming about in April are finally here. On the other hand, this means that the season will be over shortly and we have to go through another winter of counting the days until pitcher and catchers report in mid-February. But rather than focus on the doom and gloom, let’s get properly amped up for Red Sox-Rockies. Here are some key questions and answers for the 2007 version of the Fall Classic.

Q: Is the extra rest helpful or harmful to the Rockies in this series?A: This one could go either way. Some would say that getting everyone healthy and having your pitching lined up and properly rested are a couple of the most important things that you could have going for you heading into a big series. That said, I think this layoff is the biggest X-factor working against Colorado. For any normal team, there would be worries about rust and them losing their edge after being off for over a week. But the 2007 Rockies are not a normal team. They needed to win an unheard of 13 out of 14 games just to get in to the playoffs, and then continued the ridiculousness with sweeps over the Phillies and Diamondbacks. They have been thriving on momentum over the last month here. This giant delay, in essence, kills that momentum and drive that had been fueling one of the most amazing runs in baseball history. This is a big deal and something that is going to be very difficult for the Rox to overcome.

Q: How are the Red Sox going to adjust their lineup without the DH in Colorado?
A: This is a question that we here at TKOT have been debating for a few days now. The problem for Boston is that they have a designated hitter in David Ortiz who simply can’t be benched. His hitting, especially that of the clutch variety, is too great to rot on the bench. So he’s going to have to play first base. Unfortunately, that’s Kevin Youkilis’ position. Which means he’s going to have to move somewhere else too because he’s been the BoSox’s most consistent hitter throughout the playoffs. So where does he go? Most likely, he’ll move to an outfield spot. I’m of the opinion that he should play right field, and no other changes are made. This would have been the obvious decision four days ago. But a couple of big hits by JD Drew have everyone believing that he suddenly doesn’t suck anymore. Rest assured he’s still brutal and should be on the bench. Plus, by moving Youk to right, you have a minimal amount of change in your defense (as opposed to the Youk in left/Manny in right or Youk in right/Drew in center possibilities).

Q: Which pitching staff has the advantage in the series?
A: To the casual baseball fan, this seems like a no-brainer. They’ve seen Beckett look unhittable in the playoffs, remember Schilling’s bloody sock, and assume that the Red Sox are going to dominate (which might be part of the reason they are a shocking 2-1 favorite). But let’s hold on a minute here. While the Rockies don’t have the high profile names, they do have outstanding pitching. They led the NL in ERA in the second half of the season, have a team ERA of 2.80 during this 21-1 run, and a 2.08 ERA in the playoffs thus far. Those are impressive numbers. There are some great pitchers on this team, including Jeff Francis and Josh Fogg, but since Colorado is a National League team that plays in the West Coast time zone, no one knows about them. But the real strength of their staff is the back end of the bullpen; Matt Herges, Brian Fuentes, and Manny Corpas. This Rockies pitching staff is going to surprise a lot of mainstream media who have been focused solely on the Yankees all year. If the Red Sox sleep on them like everyone else, they could be in for a real surprise.

Q: So, who’s going to win the 2007 World Series?
A: I’m going bold here and saying the Rockies in 5. Look, I know all about Papi and Manny, and Beckett. I’m sure the Sox will go up 1-0 on the back of the new Mr. October (Beckett). This is going to make this prediction even bolder. Yes, I have the Rox taking 4 straight. I have very little faith in Schilling in Game 2, Dice-K in Game 3, and projected starter Jon Lester in Game 4. That gives Colorado a 3-1 lead going into Game 5 (sound familiar, Cleveland?). Unlike the ALCS, Beckett will not be able carry Boston again as this magical run culminates in a title for the good people of Colorado. The Rockies take the title in Coors Field in front of thousands of flag waving fans.

Disagree? Keep in mind that with guys like Tulowitzki, Helton, Atkins, Holliday, etc., the Rockies have the lineup to compete with Boston. I’ve already hyped their pitching staff—trust me, they’re legit. Plus, it’s freaking Rocktober. How can they not win?

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