Reckoning day is upon us, and with such Randy Booth at the Sox-flavored SBN blog Over The Monster and myself exchanged a few questions to get the other sides perspective. Before I get to that, let me say I still cannot believe we're actually in the ALCS and as much as I like Randy and his work I sincerely hope this is his last Q&A until next opening day.
The decision to play Mark Kotsay over Sean Casey is a bit odd to me. Is Kotsay really that much better than Casey to eclipse any offensive shortcomings?
Kotsay is much better defensively. Casey can hit the ball, but he's not going to produce at the plate much more than Kotsay. Kotsay, however, has other, much better tools like speed, which we both know can change a game.
Which corner outfielder should concern the Rays more: Drew or Bay?
It's a toss-up. If J.D. Drew was completely healthy, I'd choose him. But Jason Bay has been on a roll and has played great defense (they both have). Drew is more clutch, too.
The Sox have good depth all around the diamond except at catcher, which is ironic considering Jason Varitek is one of the last remaining 2004 title team members and constantly praised. Do you think the Rays can expose either backstop on the basepaths and at the plate?
Despite Varitek's horrible season at the plate, behind the plate he's been the same ol' 'Tek. He's still a huge threat back there. Kevin Cash is the backup and is very similiar to 'Tek at this point. They both hit about the same, Cash has a hell of an arm, but Varitek is better with the pitching staff. The Rays, however, shouldn't expect to see Varitek rack up the hits at the plate.
Your biggest injury concern of the series?
Drew. Hopefully he has had enough time off to be completely healthy for the series, but we'll see. He's a difference maker when in the lineup and in the field.
What aspect of the Rays will bring the Sox the most trouble?
Speed. The Red Sox did a good job to contain the Angels' speedsters, but the Rays are a different animal. The Sox need to keep the fast guys off the basepaths and they'll have a good shot.
Same question, flip flop the teams.
Hopefully it will be the starting pitching. If the Sox starters are at their best, not many teams can match up, including the Rays.
Has this rivalry encroached on Yanks/Sox territory yet, or are the Rays still too much of a newcomer (despite Gerald Williams) to matter that much?
Not yet. It's close, though, especially if next season is similar to this one: Red Sox do well, Rays do well and the Yankees taste the bottom of the tank. If it's like that, this rivalry will be much bigger. I'm not sure any rivalry really could get any bigger than Red Sox/Yankees, though.
Finally, your series prediction?
Red Sox in 6 ... hopefully.
Head over to OTM for their Soxian slant on things, just don't troll.