OK, OK, alright already! There was a lot to say, so I put it in separate posts!
The forecast for tonight is a pretty easy one, anyway.
Josh Beckett pitches for the Sox on a perfect amount of rest (1 day).
Jeff Francis, with a career 4.68 ERA and season 4.22 ERA, pitching in a division where the highest batting average among an opposing team’s regular player was .302, pitches for the Rox on way too much rest.
As good as Francis has been in his 2 playoff starts, he’s also had an occasional very bad outing, twice giving up 8 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings since mid-August, but still getting quality starts in 7 of his last 9 regular season starts.
Francis is good, but Beckett has been much better, especially in the playoffs.
The Sox played an intense game just 3 days ago, at home, and didn’t have to travel anywhere. The Rockies sat around for a week, then had to fly to Boston.
The Red Sox won their last 3 games by a score of 30-5 against a team which tied them for the best record in baseball. The Rockies beat the Red Sox in 2 of 3 games, with a combined score of 20-5, but that was way back in June, and they did a similar thing to the Yankees at that time, then the Rockies went into a tailspin after that.
The Rockies are capable of raising their level of play, as evidenced by their June play against the Red Sox and Yankees in interleague play, and by their winning 21 of 22 games with their "backs against the wall" most of that time.
Don’t underestimate the Rockies. However, in this first game, Beckett’s recent dominance and perfect amount of rest, and the Red Sox recent momentum at home combined with the Rockies long layoff and travel will all conspire against the Rockies’ ability to raise their level of play up enough to win.
This one should be an easy win for the Red Sox. They should win it by 3 or 4 runs. Maybe more.
However, all bets are off after tonight. Once the Rockies get warmed up again, anything can happen. They’re a young team which is improving by the day, and which has confidence, and which knows they’ve been able to raise their level of play to a very high level when needed. They know they are the best-ever in one area: defense. Even though the Red Sox have edges in all other areas, being the best-ever in defense gives them the confidence that they have a right to be on this stage, and to believe that they can win.
Tonight will be a win for the Red Sox, but anyone who thinks the Red Sox will win the Series easily in just 5 games is looking too much at the "on paper" comparisons. The Red Sox will probably win the Series, but it will not be easy. It will go 6 or 7 games, and the Rockies might just pull out an upset in 7, but most likely it will be the Red Sox.
The nice thing about that: if the Red Sox do win it in 6 or 7 as I think will happen, they’ll win it in their home park, and can celebrate right away in front of their home crowd, unlike what happened in 2004.
I have dreamed my whole life of seeing the Red Sox close out the final win of a World Series in Fenway Park. It’s the one thing I’ll be cheering for this year. So, yes, I WANT the Rockies to win at least 2 games, but no more than 3. Strangely, if the Red Sox are up 3 games to 1, I’ll have to hope they lose game 5, so they can win the Series back in Fenway.