Re: Adversaries of preference
posted at 9/20/2013 8:01 AM EDT
On paper the three best teams in the AL are the three division leaders, Boston, Oakland, and Detroit. All have good pitching and good hitting (yes, the Athletics have good hitting). Plus two of them will have the home field advantage in the ALDS.
However, the best record in the American League right now, Boston's, is a winning percentage of 60%, which means the Sox on average will win a given five game series 3-2, which, last time I checked, is as close as a five game series can get. And guess what? On average Oakland and Detroit would do exactly the same thing, win 3 games to 2. And the phoney-baloney wild card teams? Yep, on average they too would win 3 games to 2.
In head to head games, I think the Sox lost to Detroit, tied with Oakland, will probably lose the overall series to Baltimore, crushed the Yankees, etc.
Bottom line, the teams I fear the most in the AL are Detroit and Oakland, especially if either has the home field advantage. On the other hand, I also think just about everybody doesn't want to play the Sox now that Buchholz is back and the other three--Lester, Lackey, and Peavy--are also looking pretty good. Plus the best offense in MLB (big caveat there is good pitching, when it is on, can always overcome good hitting--see Orioles series).
In 2007 the Colorado Rockies had the best September in the history of the universe and then won won seven more in a row in the NLDS and NLCS. At the same time the Sox had to scramble to finally beat the Indians, 4 games to 3 in the ALCS. When the WS started, the Rockies had gone 9 days between games and were promptly swept by the Sox, 4 games to 0. In the very first game of that WS the Sox scored 13 runs, more than had been scored against the Rockies in all three NLDS games combined or in all four NLCS games combined. Talk about rusty. So occasionally even scheduling can make a difference.