World Series Preview: Game One

by Rich

As you probably already know, there is onlyoneOctober! < /Dane Cook> . Sorry. Apparently I’m legally required to include a reference to those commercials in every post concerning the playoffs, just like every other blogger in the country.

Anyhow, regular readers may remember that I previewed both NL Division Series at the beginning of the playoffs. Then I didn’t post the AL one in time, and midterms precluded me from covering the LCS. Probably a good thing, considering I picked the Phillies in 4 and the Cubs in 3…oops.

But fear not, baseball fans: I am here to preview the Fall Classic one game at a time, from first pitch to champaign shower. As always, I will include my suggestion that these predictions be accompanied by salt, as well as lime and tequila. We’ll start, well…at the beginning, I suppose, with the Game One starters:

Josh Beckett has been “The Man,” “lights out,” or simply “wicked awesome” depending on where you live (unless that’s Cleveland or Anaheim). Here’s the point: In this postseason, Beckett is 3-0 in three starts. He has an ERA of 1.17 over 23 innings. In those 23 innings, he’s allowed 13 hits and one walk while striking out 26. The guy is a monster, AND he’s 4-1 career against the Rockies. Critics will point out that the one loss came during the Rockies’ interleague series with the Sox this year, but the fact of the matter is that this guy is on another level right now. As a note of interest: although JB19 has done very well against the Rockies in his career, Holiday, Helton and Atkins are all hitting over .300 in their careers against him (6/14, 4/12, 6/10 respectively, in case you were wondering about sample size). We’ll see if that’s just good luck within a small number of at bats or if these guys can really hit the Cy favorite.

Jeff Francis is sorta…The Other Guy. Don’t get me wrong, he put together a really nice season this year (17 wins, 165 K’s in the regular season) and has won his only start in each round of the postseason, but in this case, he’s just a good pitcher going up against a great one who happens to be in the middle of one of the best playoff runs in recent memory. If he has a good outing and so does Beckett, he still loses. Nobody is hoping that Holiday, Helton, and Atkins are able to hit Beckett more than Jeff Francis.

Miscellaneous Things of Interest:

  • Youkilis and Pedroia contributed a ton to the Red Sox comeback against the Indians, and if they can continue to get on base, somebody in that lineup will be able to drive them in.
  • There’s the obvious question of how the longest layoff ever between an LCS and a World Series has affected the Rockies. Nobody knows. They might come out flat and get stomped, or blow Beckett onto the Mass Pike. Hell, they might be on either side of a 20-inning game for all I know. But my gut says that they’re like George Mason in the Final Four. They’ve had a long time to sit around and realize where they are and what’s going on, and that’s never good for Cinderella.

Bottom Line: Boston has more talent than Colorado. They’re the better team, but that doesn’t always matter in October (see also: 2006 St. Louis Cardinals). The postseason is a crapshoot, but if you have to roll the dice, I’d be much happier going to war with Josh Beckett than anyone on Colorado’s roster.