Today’s Cleveland Plain-Dealer Indians blog tells me that “Red Sox Nation is so busy basking in the defeat of their hated rivals, no one is really talking about the Indians just yet.” So let me just get right with the program:
The last time we faced Cleveland in a playoff game, it was that ulcer-inducing 1999 ALDS finale, in which the score was seemingly 22-22 by the third inning and Ireland’s own Troy O’Leary knocked in about 15 runs with a couple home runs. Then Pedro — and I’m talking Vintage Pedro, the guy who made women swoon and grown men cry — came out of the bullpen and the Indian bats fell silent. It was a legend-making performance, so memorable it can almost make you forget how we folded up like lawn chairs against New York in the ALCS. Save, of course, for the one game Petey started.
Now we’re goin’ at ‘em again, and the rotation falls out like this:
GAME ONE, Friday, October 12 — Josh Beckett vs. C.C. Sabathia (7:10 p.m. at Boston)
GAME TWO, Saturday, October 13 — Curt Schilling vs. Carmona (8:21 p.m. at Boston)
GAME THREE, Monday, October 15 — Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Westbrook(7:10 p.m. at Cleveland)
GAME FOUR, Tuesday, October 16 — Shakey Wakey (assuming he’s been retro-fitted with that Iron Man suit) (8:21 p.m. at Cleveland)
GAME FIVE, Thursday, October 18 — Josh Beckett (8:21 p.m. at Cleveland)
GAME SIX, Saturday, October 20 — Curt Schilling (TBA at Boston)
GAME SEVEN, Sunday, October 21 — Daisuke Matsuzaka (TBA at Boston)
Another item of note from the Plain-Dealer:
The strength of both teams is their pitching. The Red Sox have an impressive lineup that includes the likes of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, but isn’t quite the caliber of the Yankees. The Indians are young, confident and hot.
“We have the talent to beat the Red Sox as long as we prepare and play well,” [Indians GM Mark] Shapiro said. “We’ve got our pitchers lined up the way we want them.”
It’ll be a grind for sure, especially since we don’t have vintage Pedro stepping out of the bullpen. My prediction — and I am currently 0-for-20 in predictions since 1999 — is Sox in 7.
Also, quote of the day comes from yesterday’s press conference in which Tito noted that while he’s happy to see Trot Nixon come back to Boston for the ALCS, he hopes he gets a standing ovation, then goes 0-for-12.
Oh, and anyone jonesing for another Suzyn Waldman fix: click here.