A look at the best-of-seven American League championship series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox:
Schedule: (All times Eastern) Game 1, Friday, at Boston (7:10 p.m.); Game 2, Saturday, at Boston (8:21 p.m.); Game 3, Monday, Oct. 15, at Cleveland (7:10 p.m.); Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Cleveland (8:21 p.m.); x-Game 5, Thursday, Oct. 18, at Cleveland (8:21 p.m.); x-Game 6, Saturday, Oct. 20, at Boston (TBD); x-Game 7, Sunday, Oct. 21, at Boston (TBD). (All games on FOX).
x-if necessary.
Season Series: Boston won 5-2.
Projected Lineups
Indians: CF Grady Sizemore (.277, 24 HR, 78 RBIs, 33 SB, 155 strikeouts), 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.283, 3, 23), DH Travis Hafner (.266, 24, 100), C Victor Martinez (.301, 25, 114), 1B Ryan Garko (.289, 21, 61), SS Jhonny Peralta (.270, 21, 72), LF Kenny Lofton (.296, 7, 38, 23 SB with Texas and Cleveland), RF Franklin Gutierrez (.266, 16, 36), 3B Casey Blake (.270, 18, 78).
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (.317, 8, 50), 1B Kevin Youkilis (.288, 16, 83), DH David Ortiz (.332, 35, 117, 52 doubles, .445 OBP), LF Manny Ramirez (.296, 20, 88), 3B Mike Lowell (.324, 21, 120), RF J.D. Drew (.270, 11, 64), C Jason Varitek (.255, 17, 68), CF Coco Crisp (.268, 6, 60, 28 SB), SS Julio Lugo (.237, 8, 73, 33 SB).
Projected Rotations
Indians: LH C.C. Sabathia (19-7, 3.21, major league-high 241 IP), RH Fausto Carmona (19-7, 3.06 - 2.15 in second half), RH Jake Westbrook (6-9, 4.32), RH Paul Byrd (15-8, 4.59, 28 walks in 192 1-3 IP).
Red Sox: RH Josh Beckett (20-7, 3.27 ERA), RH Curt Schilling (9-8, 3.87), RH Daisuke Matsuzaka (15-12, 4.40, 201 strikeouts), RH Tim Wakefield (17-12, 4.76).
Indians: RH Joe Borowski (4-5, 5.07, AL-high 45/53 saves), RH Rafael Betancourt (5-1, 1.47 ERA is second-lowest among AL relievers), LH Rafael Perez (1-2, 1.78 ERA), RH Tom Mastny (7-2, 4.68), RH Jensen Lewis (1-1, 2.15), LH Aaron Fultz (4-3, 2.92).
Red Sox: RH Jonathan Papelbon (1-3, 1.85 ERA, 37/40 saves), LH Hideki Okajima (3-2, 2.22, 5/7), RH Eric Gagne (4-2, 3.81, 16/20 with Texas and Boston), RH Manny Delcarmen (0-0, 2.05), LH Jon Lester (4-0, 4.57, 1 relief appearance), LH Javier Lopez (2-1, 3.10), RH Mike Timlin (2-1, 3.42).
e RBIs against Boston. Martinez went 2-for-16 (.125) with no homers and two RBIs. Sizemore had two homers, five RBIs and three stolen bases, but also struck out 11 times in 28 at-bats. ... Boston pitchers had a 3.05 ERA against the Indians. Beckett was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings spanning two starts. Matsuzaka went 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA. Papelbon had two saves, with four strikeouts in two innings. ... Cleveland pitchers had a 4.43 ERA against the Red Sox. ... Ramirez, who began his career with Cleveland, batted .417 (10-for-24) with three homers and seven RBIs vs. the Indians this year. Lowell hit .346 with a homer and six RBIs. Youkilis was 9-for-29 (.310) with two homers and four RBIs. Pedroia batted .370. Drew struggled, going 2-for-21 (.095) with three RBIs. ... Part-time OF Trot Nixon joined the Indians this year after spending his first 10 seasons in Boston. He started a popular tradition at the Jake - each day's star got smacked in the face with a whipped-cream pie during the postgame TV interview.
Big Picture
e Yankees to rally. Perez took care of left-handed hitters, Betancourt did his usual thing in the eighth and Borowski closed out Game 4 despite allowing a homer to Bobby Abreu.
he went 3-for-8 (.375) with five walks and two long homers against the Angels, including a three-run shot off All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth to win Game 2. Ortiz was 5-for-7 (.714) in the series with two homers, three RBIs and six walks. Ortiz and Ramirez also hit back-to-back home runs for the first time this year. ... Drew hit .393 in the last three weeks of the season. ... Pedroia is a top contender for AL Rookie of the Year. ... Other than Matsuzaka, the only pitcher on the staff to allow a run in the first round was Gagne, who gave up one in Game 3.
Watch For
- Dynamic Duo. The 1-2 punch of Ortiz and Ramirez overpowered the Angels. Batting back-to-back, they make the middle of Boston's lineup downright scary. The Angels tried pitching around Ortiz, the No. 3 hitter, by walking him four times in Game 2. Ramirez made them pay with a game-ending homer. Can Cleveland's pitchers find a way to contain both, or even one of them?
- Sizemore Matters. Cleveland's do-it-all center fielder with the striking looks and Gold Glove could become a huge star with a big October. He's off to a strong start, with a leadoff homer in the Game 4 clincher against the Yankees. He batted .375 in that series (6-for-16) with four walks. Nobody plays the game harder than Cleveland's No. 24, whose return to the leadoff spot after a brief stint as a No. 3 hitter triggered the Indians' division-clinching surge.
- October Aces. Beckett, Schilling and Matsuzaka have all excelled in big games. Before Beckett, the previous pitcher to throw consecutive postseason shutouts was Schilling, (1993 and 2001), co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with Arizona. Matsuzaka was MVP of the World Baseball Classic for Japan last year. On the Cleveland side, Sabathia pitched out of trouble and held New York in check during Game 1. Carmona impressed everybody, displaying his dazzling power sinker on a national stage.

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Pirates vs. Cardinals Prediction Will tonight's Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN between the Pirates and Cardinals be low-scoring?
Thumbnail Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Prediction Will the Phillies and Diamondbacks rack up plenty of runs in Arizona today at 4:10PM ET when the two teams wrap up their series?
Thumbnail Tigers vs. Padres Pick Will the San Diego Padrescomplete a rare sweep today when they host the Detroit Tigers...
Thumbnail Rockies vs. Dodgers Prediction The Dodgers have won nine of their last 10 but can the Rockies pull off the upset today in L.A.?
Thumbnail Astros vs. Mariners Pick Will the Houston Astros salvage a split with the Seattle Mariners when the two close out their series today at 4:10PM...

MLB Team Pages