Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays 2008 ALCS Preview And Prediction [MLB Playoffs]

The Rays Won The East, But Will The Red Sox's Experience Pay Off In The Playoffs?

10/7/08 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5229 respect


The 2008 American League Championship Series between the upstart Tampa Bay Rays and defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox starts on Friday at 8:37pm EST. While the Rays won the season series 10-8, the Red Sox have experience on their side. Who will win out? We'll find out shortly.

The Rays made quick work of the Chicago White Sox, beating 3-1 in the first playoff series in Rays franchise history. This year was not only the first year that they made the playoffs, it was the first time that the team had ever even finished about .500.

The Red Sox similarly dominated the Angels in their ALDS series. The Angels had won the regular season series 8 games to 1, but the Red Sox stepped it up in the playoffs, and were able to move on. Jon Lester and Jason Bay were the stars for the Sox. Lester pitched 14 innings, gave up no earned runs, and struck out 11, while allowing only 13 total base runners. Bay, in his first career postseason series, hit for a .417 batting average with 2 HR and 5 RBI in only 4 games. His OPS was a ridiculous 1.356 in the series against the Angels, who have some of the best pitching in the league.

The Red Sox and Rays have quite the history, considering the brevity of the Rays' existence. Back in 2000, Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez hit Rays' leadoff hitter Gerald Williams in the elbow with a pitch. Since then, there has always been some hostility between the two teams. It has continuted even to this season, as a brawl broke out in June after an incident involving Coco Crisp and James Shields.

This series should be incredibly exciting. The Rays and Red Sox are arguably the two best teams in baseball, and both teams have lots of you, passionate players.

The edge in pitching goes to the Rays. Their staff had an ERA of 3.82 in the regular season. That was 3rd best in all of baseball, and well ahead of the Red Sox (4.02). However, the Red Sox hitters were the 3rd best in baseball, scoring about half a run per game more than the Rays.

The old adage "pitching wins championships" still applies, but the Red Sox' rotation and lineup are far more battle-tested than the Rays. While the Rays beat up on the White Sox, it wasn't nearly as impressive as the Red Sox manhandling the Angels. The Angels were the best team in baseball during the regular season, and the Red Sox simply shut down their offense, while finding a way to manufacture runs against their outstanding pitching. The Whtie Sox had the 2nd worst record out of all the playoff teams, and were worn out after basically playing 3 elimination games before the ALDS even started. Their team lacked the talent level of most of the other playoff teams, and it was apparent in their series with the Rays.

The Red Sox have no such shortage of talent, and are the most experienced playoff team in baseball. They have many players who were on last year's championship team, and a few who were on the team when they won back in 2004, as well.
 
The Rays have had an amazing season, but their run will come to an end here, as their inexperience will finally catch up to them.

Prediction: Red Sox in 6.

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10/13/08   |   Chris   |   3 respect

MarkTheShark wrote:
and if that happens it will count the same as a one-run extra inning game......Have you Red Sox fans not learned through these 162+ games (I know Pat has) these Rays will not just lie down....it will never happen. They will fight until the last out of an inning, game, series....It's Red Sox fans that just are so slow on the uptake that makes me think the majority of them are more interested in rooting for a "winner" than actually analyzing the whole picture.....but maybe that's why I'm here.

refer to my comments in Game 1. I've never counted these guys out. I even called them the Cinderella Rays before the announcers did. They are the unexpected team marching toward an unexpected title. Like Pat said, it's foolish to count them out... they ARE in the ALCS tied 1-1 at this moment. I think we might be able to scratch Yankees and replace them with the Rays, because this will be the AL-East battleground the next few seasons.

10/12/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

MarkTheShark wrote:
and if that happens it will count the same as a one-run extra inning game......Have you Red Sox fans not learned through these 162+ games (I know Pat has) these Rays will not just lie down....it will never happen. They will fight until the last out of an inning, game, series....It's Red Sox fans that just are so slow on the uptake that makes me think the majority of them are more interested in rooting for a "winner" than actually analyzing the whole picture.....but maybe that's why I'm here.

That's why I appreciate you, Mark. (Almost) Always the voice of reason.

While I still think the Red Sox will win this series, it's obvious that anyone who is counting the Rays out, underestimating them, or who thinks that they will simply roll over is only fooling themselves.

10/12/08   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

Chris wrote:
And in 11 innings to boot! What a Red Sox beatdown! o...m....g! LOL! How are they going to carry that momentum to Boston? They probably burned up so much energy last night that they might not show up in Fenway for game 3. That's going to be the biggest win of this series. Boston will win by 4+ in game 3.

and if that happens it will count the same as a one-run extra inning game......Have you Red Sox fans not learned through these 162+ games (I know Pat has) these Rays will not just lie down....it will never happen. They will fight until the last out of an inning, game, series....It's Red Sox fans that just are so slow on the uptake that makes me think the majority of them are more interested in rooting for a "winner" than actually analyzing the whole picture.....but maybe that's why I'm here.

10/12/08   |   Chris   |   3 respect

And in 11 innings to boot! What a Red Sox beatdown! o...m....g! LOL! How are they going to carry that momentum to Boston? They probably burned up so much energy last night that they might not show up in Fenway for game 3. That's going to be the biggest win of this series. Boston will win by 4+ in game 3.

10/12/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

wrote:
 RAYS IN 6! AT HOME! 

last nights game was amazing ! rays are on fire !

Yes... on fire. An amazing 1-game winning streak

10/12/08   |  

 RAYS IN 6! AT HOME! 

last nights game was amazing ! rays are on fire !

10/9/08   |  

wrote:
I thought you meant that "we all know what happens when a team in Florida wins a World Series" was the traditional "The Rays will do what the Marlins did - dismantle for a profit...

I simply misunderstood you and am overanxious to defend Stu Sternberg's philosophy like a rabid pitbull in a heartbeat.

Rays in 5, we agree!

Agreed RAYS in five.......

10/9/08   |  

Pat wrote:
I would say that it will more likely start tomorrow, if anything.

You are right once again it starts tomorrow.

10/9/08   |   danny_n94   |   114 respect

Boy, I hope this series lives up to all the smack thats on here. I would feel let down otherwise.
I would love to see Boston/LA in the WS

10/9/08   |  

wrote:
Here let me educate you on Florida baseball teams. This is the first year the RAYS have made the playoffs and they will do well. The last two times were the FLORIDA MARLINS who won both years they played.  So how is that for some knowledge and for my assessment youth and hungry players will prevail in this ALCS. Starting with tonite and by the way don't feel bad about being wrong about my previous reply.... We all make mistakes..... 

I thought you meant that "we all know what happens when a team in Florida wins a World Series" was the traditional "The Rays will do what the Marlins did - dismantle for a profit...

I simply misunderstood you and am overanxious to defend Stu Sternberg's philosophy like a rabid pitbull in a heartbeat.

Rays in 5, we agree!

10/9/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

wrote:
Here let me educate you on Florida baseball teams. This is the first year the RAYS have made the playoffs and they will do well. The last two times were the FLORIDA MARLINS who won both years they played.  So how is that for some knowledge and for my assessment youth and hungry players will prevail in this ALCS. Starting with tonite and by the way don't feel bad about being wrong about my previous reply.... We all make mistakes..... 

I would say that it will more likely start tomorrow, if anything.

10/9/08   |  

wrote:
Are you on Drugs? Or don't you know ANYTHING about the Rays' owner? Stu Sternberg and the ownership group has PLENTY of dough...  All of the key players are locked up longterm except for Upton and Navarro - who will both likely be re-signed.

PLUS, the Rays are one of the youngest teams in baseball, still have the best farm system and several of the top prospects in all of baseball.
 
Don't confuse fiscal responsibility with cheapness. And don't confuse your ability to speak with sheer ignorance as a form of expounding "knowledge".

You won't just be wrong in your assessment, you are already wrong and will continue to be VERY wrong for a long time...
(Edited by )

Here let me educate you on Florida baseball teams. This is the first year the RAYS have made the playoffs and they will do well. The last two times were the FLORIDA MARLINS who won both years they played.  So how is that for some knowledge and for my assessment youth and hungry players will prevail in this ALCS. Starting with tonite and by the way don't feel bad about being wrong about my previous reply.... We all make mistakes..... 

10/9/08   |  

wrote:
What did they do with the Manny Merchandise? The same thing they did with their Nomar merchandise and Pedro Merchandise...

Let the NEXT 86 years begin!!!

.....yeah they acted as though they never supported them!!!  They had to destroy their shrines to the former bandwagon crusaders!!!!!  HA HA HA HA  Boston fans should never put down Rays fans as they have trendy hat wearers across the globe!!! Come on.... fans coming out of the woodwork for a magical season is better than fans found everywhere because they saw a movie about the Red Sox while reading about a curse!!!   That my friend(PAT) is not a fan it is a groupie!

10/9/08   |  

Pat wrote:
That makes me want to do a little bit of this:





And maybe some of this:


Just log off. It's much easier than trolling for a flame war...

10/8/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

Chris wrote:
Pat... i'm getting vibes of the battle we had with ML31 last year... LOL!

...Deja Vu?

That makes me want to do a little bit of this:





And maybe some of this:


10/8/08   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

kantwistaye wrote:
 Who thought before the season that a Tampa Bay Ray's post in October would have 65 comments on it?  Anyone who says they did is full of crap.

Well, I DID think that they would trade for Brett Favre

10/8/08   |   Chris   |   3 respect

Pat wrote:

I might be going out on a limb here, but perhaps he was responding to the statement "we all know what happens when a World Series comes to Florida....."

(Edited by Chris)

Pat... i'm getting vibes of the battle we had with ML31 last year... LOL!

...Deja Vu?

10/8/08   |   Chris   |   3 respect

wrote:
What did they do with the Manny Merchandise? The same thing they did with their Nomar merchandise and Pedro Merchandise...

Let the NEXT 86 years begin!!!

dude, that has come and gone... let the 86 years go.... don't live in the past, it's not so pretty.

10/8/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

wrote:
Are you on Drugs? Or don't you know ANYTHING about the Rays' owner? Stu Sternberg and the ownership group has PLENTY of dough...  All of the key players are locked up longterm except for Upton and Navarro - who will both likely be re-signed.

PLUS, the Rays are one of the youngest teams in baseball, still have the best farm system and several of the top prospects in all of baseball.
 
Don't confuse fiscal responsibility with cheapness. And don't confuse your ability to speak with sheer ignorance as a form of expounding "knowledge".

You won't just be wrong in your assessment, you are already wrong and will continue to be VERY wrong for a long time...

I might be going out on a limb here, but perhaps he was responding to the statement "we all know what happens when a World Series comes to Florida....."

10/8/08   |  

kantwistaye wrote:
 Who thought before the season that a Tampa Bay Ray's post in October would have 65 comments on it?  Anyone who says they did is full of crap.

65 is half a cake walk... I'm not nicknamed "Dr. Commento" because I run out of things to say...

10/8/08   |   kantwistaye   |   4211 respect

 Who thought before the season that a Tampa Bay Ray's post in October would have 65 comments on it?  Anyone who says they did is full of crap.

10/8/08   |  

wrote:
They completely dismantle the team & become one of the worst teams in MLB over the next several seasons.

Are you on Drugs? Or don't you know ANYTHING about the Rays' owner? Stu Sternberg and the ownership group has PLENTY of dough...  All of the key players are locked up longterm except for Upton and Navarro - who will both likely be re-signed.

PLUS, the Rays are one of the youngest teams in baseball, still have the best farm system and several of the top prospects in all of baseball.
 
Don't confuse fiscal responsibility with cheapness. And don't confuse your ability to speak with sheer ignorance as a form of expounding "knowledge".

You won't just be wrong in your assessment, you are already wrong and will continue to be VERY wrong for a long time...

10/8/08   |  

wrote:
They completely dismantle the team & become one of the worst teams in MLB over the next several seasons.

Until a bunch of hungry young players get together and beat a power house team like they did in 2003...... Watch your popcorn they might be hungry for it too.

10/8/08   |  

Pat wrote:
The NL wins?

You are right Pat the NL did win but it was the young and the hungry who provided does wins and these Rays are that.

10/8/08   |  

Yeah, now that the Patriots bandwagon has a broken wheel, other bandwagons are picking up the slack..

If you REALLY want to educate yourself on what the Rays were doing coming into this season, here's your lesson:
www.armchairgm.com/Article:2008_Tampa_Bay_Rays_UltraMega_Preview_by_ManRays_%28Part_1_of_3%29

10/8/08   |  

wrote:
... and with the "curse" lifted Red Sox fans are the equivalent of trendy Yankee fans acting as though it is acceptable to outspend the competition and consider your team admirable.  I call that buying your trophy....... but the Rays would actually earn it.  Bandwagon riding is the Red Sox fan's innate being, did you really believe it was a curse,  or better yet what to do with all the beloved Manny merchandise?  Hurry up and get aboard the forever changing bandwagon ride called Red Sox Nation!!!!!  Selling out game to game to keep up with the lack of integrity your team has toward real competitive sportsmanship and buying your way to "greatness"  Win or lose, how can you respect a team that has to buy its way to the top?  At least it can be called a magical run by the Rays as any run for the Red Sox can be called dull at best.  

What did they do with the Manny Merchandise? The same thing they did with their Nomar merchandise and Pedro Merchandise...

Let the NEXT 86 years begin!!!

10/8/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

Wow... it's amazing how many Rays fans are suddenly crawling out of the woodwork. If you guys need a crash course, here you go.

10/8/08   |  

(Edited by )

... and with the "curse" lifted Red Sox fans are the equivalent of trendy Yankee fans acting as though it is acceptable to outspend the competition and consider your team admirable.  I call that buying your trophy....... but the Rays would actually earn it.  Bandwagon riding is the Red Sox fan's innate being, did you really believe it was a curse,  or better yet what to do with all the beloved Manny merchandise?  Hurry up and get aboard the forever changing bandwagon ride called Red Sox Nation!!!!!  Selling out game to game to keep up with the lack of integrity your team has toward real competitive sportsmanship and buying your way to "greatness"  Win or lose, how can you respect a team that has to buy its way to the top?  At least it can be called a magical run by the Rays as any run for the Red Sox can be called dull at best.  

10/8/08   |  

MarkTheShark wrote:
So, the ALCS thread has 53 54 comments and the NLCS thread has ......3   um, where are the Dodger and Philly fans.....all getting ready for the Flyers and Kings openers I suppose
(Edited by )

The Rays story is nothing short of remarkable!  Living in Tampa during the formation of the current lineup allowed me to see the transformation of a team first hand.  The Rays may lack experience in the playoffs as it is a first, but regardless of history this is sure to be one of the most exciting ALCS in the history of baseball.  In a world where money dominates and the working class suffers at the hands of the capitalist, wouldn't it be nice to see a team that couldn't buy their way into the playoffs beat the Red Sox?  The Red Sox are just the new version of the Yankees and buy and sell their way to the top.  I don't think there is a player on the Rays that would give up their place on the team regardless of money.  The Rays have talent, speed, endurance and fight.  They are not going to lay down for the Red Sox, they are out to prove the world wrong.  Regardless of the outcome this series will not disappoint!  This might as well be the world series as the winner takes it all, but it will be nice to see Manny watch the former team celebrate if The Red Sox win.  Rays in 5

10/8/08   |  

 RAYSRAYSRAYS!!!!

THEY ARE 8-1 just at home! I'm going to the game sat & they better win! red sox are overrated and the rays deserve it more! 

10/8/08   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

So, the ALCS thread has 53 54 comments and the NLCS thread has ......3   um, where are the Dodger and Philly fans.....all getting ready for the Flyers and Kings openers I suppose

10/7/08   |   Chris   |   3 respect

The front page wants at least 4 more Sox-Angels duels... guess that was an oops. As for Tampa Bay, they are neck-and-neck with Boston talent-wise, but the veteran leadership combined with the developing youth of the Red Sox will be the trump card in this series. The Rays can hit, and they can pitch, but the Red Sox have those extra intangibles that will lift them over the Rays in this series. Boston has Varitek, who has been the best catcher guiding veteran starters and new growing starters like Lester and Matsuzaka. With the exceptional leadership also favoring the Red Sox, even though Tampa has the homefield, it's an edge for Boston to win the series. If they split the first two, Boston can easily sweep the homestand to close the series. I don't think so, i'm saying Boston in 6, but bias aside, the leadership and veteran support combined with so much more postseason experience, and "Red Sox" momentum [they topped the 100-win Angels, best in the MLB team], the Red Sox are the team to beat.

Good luck to Tampa Bay and also to Boston. This is going to be one hell of a series.

10/7/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

wrote:
The Rays will dominate this series in 5 games. They will win the ALCS and bring the World Series to Florida and we all know what happens when a World Series comes to Florida.....

The NL wins?

10/7/08   |  

The Rays will dominate this series in 5 games. They will win the ALCS and bring the World Series to Florida and we all know what happens when a World Series comes to Florida.....

10/7/08   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

MarkTheShark wrote:
I know Pat, not even Valtrex can control you....

Yup... that's me... the gift that keeps on giving.

10/7/08   |   MarkTheShark   |   590 respect

I know Pat, not even Valtrex can control you....