Barring an unbelievable collapse (Pre 2004 I would have to knock on wood after typing that, actually I'm going to knock on some anyway just to be safe) the Red Sox will be in the 2008 playoffs, probably as the Wild Card. They still have a shot at the division, but I don't expect they'll catch the Rays. The Rays are up 3 games in the lose column with 12 to play and the Sox have 10 games left, so its possible to win the division won't be their main focus. The main focus will be lining up the pitching staff for the playoffs and resting the starters when they can.
So for arguments sake lets say the Red Sox have to go go Anaheim and play the Angels in a best of five series. The casual baseball fan is freaking out about this because the Red Sox are 1-8 versus the Angels this year. "WE HAVE TO PLAY THE ANGELS, THEY KILLED US THIS YEAR!!! MOM, HAVE YOU SEEN MY PINK RED SOX HAT???" Sure, there's some reason to be concerned about that record but lets break this down shall we?
Game 1 the Red Sox will have Josh Beckett pitching, the Angels will probably throw John Lackey. I give the edge in game 1 to the Sox. Josh Beckett was put on this Earth to do one thing, pitch in October. The IT department here at work has thwarted my attempts to look up Beckett's' career postseason stats, however I assure you his numbers are well beyond impressive. If memory serves me correct Beckett is 6-2 with an era hovering around 1.50. If you saw Beckett's last start against Tampa Bay you know he is in post season form. Games 2 and 3 the Sox will throw Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka. I'm not predicting a sweep but I give the Sox the edge in starting pitching. If Lester and Dice K can go 6 or 7 innings and keep the Angels in check, say 3 runs or less, I think the Sox can win those games.
If Dice K goes out in Game 3 and throws 60 pitches in the first 3 innings we could be in some trouble. The Red Sox bullpen has been suspect on more then one occasion this year, and an early exit by the Dice Man could lead to trouble.
Game 4 I think the Red Sox will have a 2-1 series lead, and its anyones best guess who will start that game. Bartolo Colon, Paul Byrd, Tim Wakefield? It will all depend on who is healthy and who pitches the best in these last 10 games. I imagine 2 of the 3 will be on the playoff roster so if Wake gets hit hard early in game 4 Francona can give him the quick hook.
If the series goes to Game 5 Josh Beckett will take the hill again, and that's when the curtain closes on the Halos' season. Beckett will not lose game 5 if it goes that far. My Dad taught me two things; pitching wins in October and be nice to your sisters...pitching wins in October was the one that stuck.
This isn't Inside the Monsters' official playoff preview, but I think the Sox beat the Angels in 4 games and move on to play the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS (who would have thought anyone would ever have typed that sentence). The best part about sports predictions is you're usually wrong, but that is completely acceptable. If calculus was graded on a curve like that I wouldn't have had to do an extra year at college, but here I am, still unsure how to calculate the derivative of anything.
One thing I am sure of though, the Red Sox are going to playing baseball this October.