Boston short on pitching
By Dan Connolly
Tradition and fan support don't win league pennants.
And, the way things look, the Red Sox do not have the pitching to guarantee a spot in the World Series, especially if Josh Beckett isn't healthy.
Without Beckett being Beckett, Boston has some solid starters but no one who that can carry a team through the postseason -- certainly no one who will intimidate the Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox.
And all three of those clubs, statistically speaking, have better pitching staffs than Boston.
The Cubs are in a much better position to get to the World Series for the first time since 1945 with Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden as a 1-2 pitching punch. They also have a more feared middle of the order than a Manny Ramirez-less Boston.
But there are other National League playoff contenders that have comparable pitching duos (Milwaukee and Arizona, for instance). And these are the Cubs, who often find a way to mess things up.
If the Cubs keep hitting and their bullpen stays healthy, they have a shot to make it to the October classic.
But don't expect the Red Sox to be waiting for them.
Stars align for karmic match
By Peter Schmuck
I'll have to say, I'm a little surprised that Dan doesn't think the Cubs and the Red Sox are going to meet in the World Series this year. It's the matchup everybody wants to see, and there are certain karmic forces at work to make sure everybody gets to see it.
OK, maybe not everybody wants to see it. I'm sure there are some Yankees fans who don't want to watch the Red Sox play in the Series, but nobody outside Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards really cares what they think. This thing is happening, if only because God is as sick of Hank Steinbrenner as the rest of us.
The Cubs haven't won a world title since 1908, and that was when about 80 percent of the world thought a baseball bat was some kind of creepy flying mammal. It has been an even century since then, and weird stuff happens every 100 years, especially when Lou Piniella is involved. Nobody knows this better than the Red Sox, who went 86 years without a World Series championship before going all the way in 2004. It's a match made in baseball heaven.
Baseball wants it. The networks want it. It's going to happen.
Book it, Danno.
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