The first game of the American League Championship Series is set to kick off tomorrow night at Fenway. Boston will be sending ace Josh Beckett to the hill, opposing Clevelands big lefty C.C. Sabathia.
Beckett looks to continue his dominance in the postseason, after shutting out the Angels in Game 1 of the ALDS. He has now thrown five shutouts in his career, three of them in the postseason. Sabathia struggled against a Yankees lineup that used patience to rattle the lefty. He walked six in five innings, but was still good enough to pick up the win in Game 1 of the ALDS.
After the wildness in his first, Sabathia is looking to harness his control this game. “Instead of going out there and trying to throw every pitch 100 mph and leaving balls up and leaving them down the middle, I want to go out and throw 91 and 92 and spot it up, get in on guys, and if I need to hump up and throw hard, then I will,” Sabathia said.
With Sabathia getting the call in Game 1, Red Sox manager was forced to make some changes to his lineup. Bobby Kielty will be getting the start in right field for J.D. Drew and batting in the 7th spot in the order. Kielty has had great success against Sabathia, going 9 for 29 with two home runs. Drew is 0 for 3, striking out all 3 times in his career against Sabathia.
With Cleveland coming into Boston, it also marks the return of Trot Nixon to Fenway. He will not be in the starting lineup in Game 1, but will be available if his services are needed. “It’s a great opportunity for this ballclub. I’m looking forward to playing there. It’s always fun,” said Nixon, who spent his first 9 years with the Sox.
The last time these two teams played in the postseason, Boston came back from a 2-0 deficit in the ALDS to take the series 3-2 in 1999.
The game is set to start at 7:37, weather permitting.
– Bobby Kielty will be getting the start in right field over J.D. Drew. When is the last time there has been a $14 million dollar platoon player? After some serious research, he’s the only one. EVER.
– Carsten Charles Sabathia is going to change the way he pitches in the middle of the postseason? I don’t know whats more shocking, him changing his style of pitching after a 19 win season or that his name is Carsten Charles. I know plenty of people that would be happy with a 19 win season, including me.
– Trot Nixon making his return back to Fenway again will add some more interest to the series. His wife Kathryn will also be back. Most fans are happier to see Kathryn, but thanks for the memories Trot.
Red Sox take the series opener 6-4. Beckett pitches well enough to get the win, Papelbon gets the save. Lowell drives in 3, 2 of them in the 8th on a clutch double to ice the game. Hafner homers for the Tribe, Sizemore scores twice.