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ALDS preview: Fatalism returns

Red Sox vs. Rays: I’m going to start by saying this: The Red Sox are not beating David Price. They’re just not. With the possible exception of Clayton Kershaw, there isn’t a man alive who scares me more when he takes the mound right now. Since his return from the disabled list, he has basically redefined dominance; in 30 innings against the Red Sox this season, he has allowed approximately six hits, negative one runs, and struck out all the batters. He is going to win. He is probably going to throw a complete game. If he pitches twice, he is going to win twice, and he will probably throw two complete games.

So if the Red Sox are going to win this series, they have to beat Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, and whoever starts game four — which may well be Matt Moore again. Can it happen? Sure. Is it likely? Nope. But that’s what has to happen, and as tempting as it is to pick Tampa Bay to ensure that I’m either right or happy, I’m going to say Red Sox in four.

Sportspun: I feel like Goog’s lead-in and then conclusion is parodying my “look, this is closer than people think, team x has these weaknesses and team y can’t such-and-such, but yeah, team y is still going to win” approach to these previews. But anyhoo… yeah, David Price is a monster. And Matt Moore and Alex Cobb are very good. And the Red Sox continue to start Stephen Drew against lefties even with a perfectly adequate Xander Bogaerts available. And Boston left decent-relief-career Matt Thornton off the roster in favor of said-he-didn’t-want-to-relieve-and-then-was-terrible-in-relief Felix Doubront. In spite of all that… …screw it, someone on this blog has to be the pessimist. Rays in five

Goog – Tigers vs. Athletics: The Tigers are pretty damn scary in their own right, although with Miguel Cabrera hobbled the fear factor goes down a little bit. Still, Detroit boasts one of the most dangerous rotations in the game (non-David Price division), and I think that will be enough to carry them. Tigers in five.
Sportspun: Oakland matched Detroit’s 110 OPS+ for the season, and while I don’t think their true talent is that strong, the Cabrera injury factor really does cast some doubt on Detroit’s advantage. And I say this fully expecting to be made to look stupid by a game one homer, but… maybe Prince Fielder has started his decline. If Sonny Gray really is the rookie phenom he was in 64 big-league innings instead of the unimpressive guy he was in the minors, the A’s have a solid chance.

But that’s as optimistic as I’m getting. Even if the offenses are equal, even if Gray can be an ace, that leaves the A’s three aces short of matching Detroit. Oakland’s deeper bench and bullpen are nice to have, but in a five-game series, the importance of depth could range from small to nonexistent. Detroit has a fine lineup, great starters, and enough good relievers that I’ll say Tigers in four.

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