ALCS Indians Red Sox Baseball

GRADY SIZEMORE

AP
The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

n 1. Great starting pitching — Nobody, except the Red Sox, has a 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation that compares with C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. Cleveland’s four starters made one start each against Boston during the regular season, combining for a 2.33 ERA.

n 2. A good bullpen — Joe Borowski led the league in saves, Rafael Betancourt and Rafael Perez were two of the best setup men in the game and Jensen Lewis has demonstrated remarkable poise for a rookie.

n 3. Timely hitting — The Indians often struggled with men in scoring position during the season, but came through time and again against the Yankees. This team has more versatility and can score in more ways than the bashers of the 1990s.

n 4. Experience — The Indians can now call themselves “battle tested” after beating New York at Yankee Stadium. Most of the kids who came up through Cleveland’s farm system are now grownups, and playoff veterans like Trot Nixon, Kenny Lofton, Paul Byrd and Chris Gomez have been there often enough to dispense any necessary advice.

n 5. Hunger — The underappreciated Indians will carry the same chip on their shoulder into the Boston series that they took to New York. This group of players craves respect on a national level, and the team’s first World Series title since 1948 would go a long way toward earning it.

— Andy Call

This Week's Circulars