This Week in Boston Baseballing, October 4 – 10

Much to the chagrin of local media yahoos who declared the Best of 5 Division Series “over” after two games, Boston did indeed travel to Tampa Bay and it actually took the Red Sox four games to take care of the Rays to advance to the American League Championship Series. Boston will face the Detroit Tigers in ALCS Game 1 at Fenway Park on Saturday night.

Kudos to NESN’s Jenny Dell, who broke the news first on Twitter mere minutes after last night’s deciding ALDS game against Detroit and Oakland went final at the Coliseum last night.

 

Big Papi and Koji Uehara: Two Heterosexual Guys Celebrating A Playoff Series Win
Look, let’s all be adults about this here. For one thing, somebody sped up the footage here to make it appear more suggestive….

Click to enlarge, be horrified

(GIF courtesy of OvertheMonster.com.)

And for another, Koji could be seen earlier celebrating with catcher David Ross in a similar fashion, complete with a similar fist raise. Koji!

Koji celebrates with Ross

Ticket Prices Remain Reasonable for ALCS Games 1 and 2
The secondary market for tickets to the first two games of the ALCS Saturday and Sunday was relatively soft as of Friday morning. Strangely, upper-tier bleacher seats were listed on Stubhub for around $150.00-$200.00, right around the same going rate as unobstructed infield grandstand seats behind home plate.

Stubhub ALCS G1

The “Most Expensive World Series” In History Won’t Happen
A Forbes article from Wednesday broached the possibility that if the Pirates and Red Sox had advanced to the World Series, tickets to the games at Fenway Park and PNC Park would have reached historic peaks.

It would be the first World Series in Pittsburgh since Three Rivers, and the first world series there in a real baseball stadium since Bill Mazeroski walked off against the Yankees….If that were to happen, it could be the most expensive World Series in history, with two teams with average prices above $1,500.

It would also be the first time that an American League team from Boston played a National League team from Pittsburgh in the post-season since 1903. That was the year that the Boston Americans of the newly-formed American League beat the favored Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine series. It was the first ever World Series and neither Forbes Field or Fenway Park were even a twinkle in the eye of the baseball Gods. Forbes Field opened in 1909 and Fenway Park opened in 1912.

Xander Bogaerts Draws Two Huge Walks, Proves He Belongs
In his first postseason at-bat, 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts fell behind in the count 1-2 before working a key walk that spurred Boston’s series-clinching, two-run rally in the sixth inning in Tampa on Tuesday night. Earlier that day, Farrell had insinuated Bogey was perhaps still not quite ready for prime time when explaining why he’d not pinch hit for Stephen Drew against a lefty in Game 3 the night before. Well, a day later Farrell exercised his right to change his mind. Just in case there was any question that it was a fluke, Bogaerts worked a second full count before drawing another walk two innings later. He would score an insurance run prior to Koji Uehara’s dominant ninth inning.

Jake Peavy Comes Through
Right-handed veteran Jake Peavy gave the Red Sox 5 ⅔ key innings in the clincher in Tampa in what was by far the best postseason start of his career. While he was a more accomplished pitcher earlier in his career, Peavy could still very much be in the process of penning his ultimate legacy.

In an interview posted on Fangraphs earlier this week, the former Cy Young winner remarked about his transformation, which has included changes to his arm slot and the development of a cutter in the wake of diminished fastball velocity and a lower ground-ball rate compared to his peak.

“Everybody in the world has a way they throw a baseball. They start that from the time they’re a youngster and go from there. You can look at guys who people say have the best mechanics in the world, and their arms may not last. You have other guys who throw in an unorthodox fashion and never have an arm injury. I don’t think anybody has it down to an exact science. But I also don’t think anybody is going to watch me and say, ‘Hey, son, watch the way Jake Peavy throws. Let’s mimic that.’ Not too many people are teaching their kids to throw the way I throw.”

Craig Breslow May Be Pitching Even More Than Usual
The left-handed reliever threw 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in the Rays series and demonstrated no difficulty getting right-handed hitters out (1 for 9). Breslow was in fact better in 2013 against righties (.205 AVG) than lefties (.253) and, overall, threw the equivalent of almost 10 more innings against right-handers (34 ⅔) than lefties (25 innings).

Going into the ALCS, John Farrell’s confidence in Breslow seems to be at its peak. Detroit’s 3-4-5 hitters are Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez (righty, lefty, switch). Cabrera’s power has been sapped in recent weeks by groin and abdominal strains. It would not be a surprise to see Breslow face the likely AL MVP once or twice as his ability to get strikes on outside breaking balls could prove a key asset.

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