Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dueling Aces

The frontrunners for the AL Cy Young Award were matched up against each other last night in Game 1 of the ALCS, but only one of them showed up. Josh Beckett continued his postseason mastery, while C.C. Sabathia wakes up this morning in the Back Bay somewhere wishing he could have a mulligan. The Sox coasted last night, riding Beckett's right arm and Sabathia's control problems to a surprisingly easy 10-3 win. Oh, and our potent 3 and 4 hitters - Papi and Manny - continued to deliver. Both men came to the plate 5 times, and both reached base 5 times.

It was an interminable wait for this one to start, against a backdrop of the cooler temperatures we've come to expect for October baseball in New England. Beckett started off the game by striking out the first two Indians before Travis Hafner took him deep. The Sox tied it up in the bottom of the first, and cruised from there on out. Mike Lowell's ground-rule double to the left of the Pesky Pole gave the Sox a 4-1 lead and they never looked back.

It was awfully nice to see this team abuse Sabathia like they did. They were patient at the plate, made him work, and those efforts paid off as the game wore on. As for Beckett, what else can be said? The man is cementing his legend as a premier postseason performer. Of all major league pitchers with 50 or more playoff innings over the last 75 years, Beckett's 1.87 ERA puts him behind only Mariano Rivera and Sandy Koufax. Not too shabby.

The Sox may face a stiffer test tonight when the desperate Indians throw Fausto Carmona against Curt Schilling. Carmona absolutely dominated the Sox earlier this year, and may indeed be Cleveland's true ace. I don't think you'll see 13 runs tonight.

As for the NL, the amazing Colorado Rockies continued their winning ways last night against Arizona, taking a 2-0 lead with a 3-2 extra innings win. The Rockies are a scary, scary team right now - they're a bunch of youngsters playing with house money. They've won something like 19 of their last 20 ballgames.

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