Bring on the Rally Monkeys
Well, after a final month and a half of anguish, angst, and recrimination the Phillies are finally in the playoffs. Wait, wait. Forgot where we were for a second, but while we’re there… if you didn’t love the fact that an entire city was hanging on every pitch, expecting bad things to happen at any minute, and then experiencing unbridled joy, then you have no soul. (Or you’re a Mets fan, which is basically the same thing).
But, we were talking about your Boston Red Sox and those Angels of Orange County.
It seems that things couldn’t have worked out better for the Sox on the final weekend of the season. Not only did they hold off the Yankees for the American League East crown, they also secured the best record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and they avoid having to face the C.C. Sabathia–Fausto Carmona buzzsaw in the first round.
Instead they get the Angels, who have issues. Center fielder Gary Matthews is injured and Vladimir Guerrero has been sentenced to designated hitter duty, which also means that old man Garret Anderson has to play the field. Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon and Ervin Santana are not even assured of being on the roster and almost certainly won’t start.
Chone Figgins is slumping and the Angels have struggled horribly at Fenway (14-22 over the last few years) . Of course, all that sounds like a trap (the Sox were supposedly fortunate to draw the White Sox in 2005, right?).
There’s one other slight twist to this series. The Sox elected to take the first game Wednesday, day off Thursday, format which means the following:
They need only three starting pitchers: Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, and Daisuke Matzusaka. And Jonathan Papelbon could pitch every game, if needed. That will make the playoff roster an interesting question. Will the Sox carry 10 pitchers? 11? Three catchers? Will Bobby Kielty be on the roster? We’ll have more when they announce game times (does this really take that long to decide?) and the roster.