For the moment, the Boston Red Sox look like the most complete team in the major leagues.
The Red Sox ended their Division Series in four games with a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay in a game that ended after midnight.
Besides excellent performances, these postseason games are long. The third game of Boston’s series with the Rays lasted over four hours.
Anyway, the Red Sox will be a difficult opponent for the winner of the Detroit-Oakland series. After the Tigers tied their series at two, the teams head to the East Bay for the fifth game on Thursday night.
The winner then flies to Boston to start the American League Championship Series on Saturday night. The Red Sox will be favored.
After watching Dodgers manager Don Mattingly use Clayton Kershaw on three days rest in their win over Atlanta and Jim Leyland employ probable AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer as a reliever on Tuesday, it should have prepared me for Joe Maddon.
The Tampa Bay skipper used what Buck Showalter calls “Johnny Wholestaff.” Maddon pulled starter Jeremy Hellickson at the first sign of trouble in the second inning and called on eight relievers. Hellickson’s line was 1-plus inning, one hit and two walks.
By the time the bottom of ninth came around, none other than David Price was warming in the bullpen in case extra innings were needed. I guess Hellickson could have started again on Thursday had the Rays forced a fifth game.
Boston proved its worth by handily winning the rugged AL East and had excellent starting pitching and relieving as well as an impressive lineup.
Manager John Farrell was able to set his rotation for the Division Series and take a few days off after the regular season. Now, he gets to do the same for the ALCS.