Friday, October 4, 2013

ALDS Previews: Familiar Foes in Both Series

Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The Red Sox and the Rays will meet in one of the American League Division Series contests beginning this afternoon at Fenway Park. The Red Sox fared pretty well against the Rays in the season series winning 12 of 19 games.

Boston is balanced with MLB’s highest scoring offense and AL’s sixth-ranked pitching staff based on overall ERA.

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For the Rays it’s mostly about pitching (fifth in AL ERA) and timely hitting, though they ranked 11th among all MLB teams in runs scored.

The Red Sox sprang from last place to first under the guidance of first year manager John Farrell, while the Rays manager Joe Maddon has his team in the postseason for the fourth time in six seasons. Both teams play loose, but also good fundamental baseball.

Red Sox players to watchJon Lester, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia

Rays players to watchMatt Moore, Evan Longoria and David Price

Due to the familiarity between the teams, I expect this one to go the distance with the Red Sox prevailing.

Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers

The Oakland Athletics come into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the game while the Detroit Tigers never left any doubt as to who was the best team in the American League Central. The series is a rematch of the 2012 ALDS in which the Tigers beat the A’s in five games.

The A’s and the Tigers played seven games against each other this season with Oakland taking four of them. They cumulative scoring over season series was 42-40 in favor of the A’s.

The Tigers have a potent offense which led MLB in hitting with a .283 AVG and finished second behind the Boston Red Sox in total runs scored on the season. The Athletics were 4th in MLB in scoring and 3rd in OPS (behind the Tigers and Red Sox).

On the rubber the teams are also closely matched with the A’s putting together a team ERAof 3.56 and the Tigers just below that with a 3.61 ERA. The Tigers may have the potential for more dominant efforts as they amassed 1,428 strikeouts versus the A’s 1,183.

Bob Melvin has the A’s in their second straight postseason, while Jim Leyland has the Tigers in their third straight as they try to reach the World Series for the second year in a row.

Athletics players to watchBartolo Colon, Josh Donaldson and Coco Crisp

Detroit players to watchMax Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera

The Tigers look slightly better on paper, but the A’s always seem to find a way. I think the Tigers pitchers will come out on top in the end and finish the series off in four games.

Now that all my previews have been delivered, here is a recap of my predictions. Forgive me for the short previews for the American League.

Red Sox over Rays in 5
Tigers over Athletics in 4

Who do you have? Let me know in the comments section below.