Since Friday's predictions went so swimmingly, let's see if I can predict the course of the series against the Indians, too:
- In 2008 (which amounts to two games, but Baseball Reference sums this up as 20 games because there were 20 batters involved. In retrospect, that's a pretty odd way to do the calculation.), the Sox offense has splits of .347/.415/.556/ against the Indians. Those two games were in Cleveland, so their relevance is a little questionable, but hey: at one point in the year (mid-April, to be precise), we could hit the Tribe's pitching. We'll just ignore the fact that one of the pitchers was Paul Byrd, mkay?
- At Fenway, the Red Sox offense boasts splits of .293/.374/.470, which are fine and dandy numbers, except that they include the entirety of the year when, you know, we had a full lineup and not middle-lineup guys with balky tendons and spasming muscles. In September, the tape and glue job we've got running to power us into the playoffs is hitting a much more pedestrian .263/.348/.447.
- Our leadoff hitter just woke up and realized it was September. Actually, that's not fair: as befitting a fancy-pants college boy, he did an intellectual analysis of his swing and discovered (and fixed) the holes causing his extended slump. The results are the same no matter what, though: he's got a 12 game hitting streak where he has six multi-hit games and splits of .345/.368/.545. Heating up for a repetition of the 2007 post-season extravaganza? I'm all for it.
- Of the four pitchers going this week, only the former Indian has anything approaching respectable career numbers against Cleveland: Paul Byrd has a 1.60 ERA and a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 45 innings against the Tribe, dating back to the early part of this decade. Lester and Wakefield have middling numbers, while Josh Beckett has surrendered 18 earned runs in 24.2 innings. Of course, he's also got almost 4 strikeouts for every walk and it's September, a mystical time when, like Sir Gawaine and his tripled strength at the zenith of the sun, Beckett waxes most powerful. I'd say a split with a good possibility of a series victory seems is the most likely result.