|Red Sox wouldn't mind another Yankees victory|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 08 October 2007 10:28|
Boston has four days off before the start of the AL championship series, having swept the Los Angeles Angels in the first round of the playoffs. Though none of the Red Sox would express a preference in the lone remaining division matchup, they wouldn't mind if New York and Cleveland wear each other out before it's over.
``I guess my preference would be that they play for about another eight days and go 20 innings every game,'' Boston manager Terry Francona said after beating the Angels 9-1 on Sunday to earn the extra time off. ``We'll get guys throwing. We'll get guys hitting, and we'll stay ready.''
The Yankees and Indians were scheduled to play Game 4 on Monday night, with Cleveland holding a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. If New York wins they will play a deciding fifth game on Wednesday.
The Yankees had No. 1 pitcher Chien-Ming Wang slated for Monday and Andy Pettitte for Game 5; the Indians were going with Paul Byrd and holding ace C.C. Sabathia for a potential fifth game.
``My preference is they play five games, try to use their guys up, so we can be more rested than them,'' third baseman Mike Lowell said. ``But either team is going to be a challenge for us and it's going to be a tough series, and hopefully we can be ready for it.''
Josh Beckett, who pitched a four-hit shutout over the Angels in Game 1, his second consecutive playoff shutout, will have eight days of rest before the opener of the AL championship series. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched the second game in the first round, but Curt Schilling could get the Game 2 start in Round 2 and he would have five days of rest.
``It's certainly better than playing a 17-inning Game 5 and heading straight to Cleveland,'' Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said.
New York and Cleveland is the only series still going. In the National League, Colorado swept Philadelphia and Arizona swept the Chicago Cubs.
The winners won't just be sitting around. After flying cross-country on Sunday night, the Red Sox planned to rest for one day and work out on Tuesday.
``We'll take it as it comes, have our workouts and try to stay sharp and get ready for Game 1,'' Lowell said. ``I think any team would rather not have five days off. But ... I'd rather win three than go four and five. So we'll take it. And I don't think there should be any letdown. If you have a letdown because you have too many days off, you have a problem.''
That could be the only problem facing the Red Sox, who advanced with a 9-1 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday.
Schilling threw seven shutout innings to continue a pitching dominance that limited the Angels to four runs in the series. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz hit back-to-back homers to break a scoreless tie, and the Red Sox broke it open with a seven-run eighth inning.
It was their ninth consecutive playoff victory over the Angels and their first series victory since winning the 2004 World Series to end an 86-year title drought.
``I don't think you ever anticipate a sweep,'' right-fielder J.D. Drew said. ``I mean, you can't let your guard down and say, `Hey, we've just got to play three games against these guys and that'll be it.' You play to get as many wins as fast as you can, and we were fortunate to get three right out of the gate.
``But I don't think anyone would have predicted the way the playoffs have gone.''