I can really see this thing going either way, but Red Sox Manager Terry Francona’s decision to go with Dice-K in Game Two may end up turning the tables in the Halos’ favor, as it keeps the ball out of Curt Schilling’s hands until Game Three. The John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar duo is a dangerous opening punch at the Angels’ disposal, but the key to the series will be how relievers Scot Shields and Justin Speier perform. Vladimir Guerrero must continue to be the man at the dish and Anaheim has to prove it can win on the road. The pick: Angels in four.
As excruciating as it has been watching the Yankees blast their way into the playoffs after a terrible start, it will be sweet vindication to watch Indians hurlers C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona blow away their overpaid bats. The Indians offense is among the best in all of baseball, while the Yanks may not have the pitching to get the ball to the nearly unstoppable bullpen duo of Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera. Welcome back to the playoffs in a big way, Cleveland. The pick: Indians in four.
With C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona at the top of the rotation, the Indians have the decided edge when it comes to starting pitching. However, the Yankees have a lineup for the ages, and they dominated the Tribe this year, winning all six meetings. In the end, playoff series are usually won or lost on the strength of your bullpen, and having had him on my fantasy team all season long, I’m well versed in the frequent implosions of Indians closer Joe Borowski (5.06 ERA). C.C. and Fausto will keep it close, but in the end, Borowski’s going to cost his team when it counts. The pick: Yankees in five.
As hard as it is to admit as an A’s fan, I think John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar are the most underrated starting duo around. That being said, Lackey is 1-5 with a 7.09 ERA in his career at Fenway Park, and guess where he’ll take the mound for Game One? Combine that with a declining Angel bullpen and fact that Vlad Guerrero is limping like the 2005 Barry Bonds, and I just don’t think the Angels have enough “Rally Monkey magic” for another run. I loathe the Yanks-Sox rivalry, but all signs are pointing to a rematch of their epic 2004 American League Championship Series. The pick: Sox in four.