After coming back to win despite trailing 7-0 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh last night, the Boston Red Sox remain alive in the ALCS. Boston trails three games to two as the series heads to Florida where the Phillies’ opponent in the World Series will be determined.
Here’s a look at what the offenses for the two teams have done this season:
Led by the big bats of Ortiz, Drew, Bay and Youkilis, the Red Sox can just hit. The DHless Phillies scored 799 runs this year, about 4.93 per game. Tampa Bay has had more trouble scoring runs and some trouble hitting lefties. Here’s what the teams have done against left and right-handed pitching this season:
|AL Rank||OPS vs
Akinori Iwamura (260/335/333 in 192 at-bats), Carlos Pena (190/302/352 in 179 AB) and Carl Crawford (248/293/348 in 141 AB) have all had problems against lefties this season for Tampa Bay.
I think Jamie Moyer is close to a sure thing to start game three regardless of who the Phillies play. It seems even a little more likely against the Devil Rays. The problems of some of the big hitters for Tampa with lefties also speaks to the importance of Romero, Eyre and Happ pitching out of the pen if the Phils wind up facing Tampa Bay.
Both teams have been very good at preventing runs, with the Rays a little better:
Using ERA as the measure, the starting pitching for both teams has been fantastic with Tampa Bay pitching a little better out of the pen:
|AL Rank||Pen ERA||AL Rank|
Overall, the Devil Rays have been a little better than the Red Sox at preventing runs. The Red Sox did however, play in a better place to hit (and a worse place to pitch).
One area where there is a difference is in the number of home runs that they have allowed to right-handed hitters. Both teams were good against righties. Right-handed hitters hit 245/312/405 (.717 OPS) against the Devil Rays and 249/319/385 (.705) against the Sox. Using OPS as the measure, the Red Sox pitchers were the second-best in the AL against righties and the Devil Rays pitchers were fourth-best.
With an assist to the Green Monster, no doubt, the Red Sox allowed just 78 home runs to righties this season (4th-best in the AL) while the Devil Rays, after leading the AL in home runs allowed to right-handed hitters in 2007, allowed 101 (3rd-worst in the AL).
The Phillies didn’t play Tampa Bay this year, but went 1-2 against the Red Sox in a June series in Philadelphia. The Phils won the first game of the series 8-2 on June 16, but dropped the June 17 game 3-0 and the June 18 game 7-4. A red-hot Ryan Howard hit two home runs and drove in four to lead the Phillies to a win in the opener. Lester dominated the Phils in game two and Kyle Kendrick was awful in game three.
The Phillies were 4-11 in inter-league play this season.
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