Classic matchups

Scouting report

October 24, 2007|By DAN CONNOLLY

Here's a position-by-position breakdown for the 2007 World Series (Colorado is listed first in each capsule. Statistics are from the regular season.)

Catcher

Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba (8 HRs, 47 RBIs, .255 BA) vs. Jason Varitek (17 HRs, 68 RBIs, .255 BA)

The energetic Torrealba has provided an emotional spark as well as a clutch bat this postseason with 13 total bases and a .414 on-base percentage. But Varitek is the glue that keeps the Red Sox together, both offensively and calling the game. Advantage: RED SOX

First base

Todd Helton (17, 91, .320) vs. Kevin Youkilis (16, 83, .288)

This one is a tough call. Youkilis has gotten on base (.489) almost half the time he has been to the plate during the postseason, and he didn't make an error at first during the regular season. Helton has struggled this October, but he had a great year and is a Gold Glove winner. You can't go wrong either way. Advantage: ROCKIES

Second base

Kazuo Matsui (4, 37, .288) vs. Dustin Pedroia (8, 50, .317)

Matsui did a wonderful job resurrecting his career and is a menace on the base paths (33 of 37 on stolen bases in 2007). The 5-foot-9 Pedroia might be the most enjoyable player to watch this October. He does it all. Advantage: RED SOX

Shortstop

Troy Tulowitzki (24, 99, .291) vs. Julio Lugo (8, 73, .237)

Lugo is a flashy shortstop who had a disappointing year at the plate. Tulowitzki has been compared to Cal Ripken Jr., and with good reason. He has power and size and is a strong defender. Advantage: ROCKIES

Third base

Garrett Atkins (25, 111, .301) vs. Mike Lowell (21, 120, .324)

This could be another draw, but we won't wimp out. Atkins is a hardworking guy who really has come into his own. He has only driven in one run this postseason, however. Lowell is a great story. He was supposed to be done two years ago but turned in one of his finest years and has carried it into October (11 RBIs). Advantage: RED SOX

Left field

Matt Holliday (36, 137, .340) vs. Manny Ramirez (20, 88, .296)

This is the toughest of all. Holliday likely will finish in the top two of the National League Most Valuable Player race, and he is this team's leader. Manny wasn't Manny this season, primarily because of injuries. But he has had a monster October (four homers, 14 RBIs, .578 on-base percentage) and is a threat at any time. Ramirez knows how to play the Green Monster, but Holliday is a better defender overall. Advantage: ROCKIES

Center field

Willy Taveras (2, 24, .320) vs. Jacoby Ellsbury (3, 18, .353)/Coco Crisp (6, 60, .268)

Ellsbury, a rookie and top prospect, has been great in his limited time in the majors, while Crisp has been a disappointment. Taveras, when healthy, gives the Rockies a speedy 1-2 punch with Matsui. Defensively, they all can play. But center field is a back-burner spot for both teams. Advantage: EVEN

Right field

Brad Hawpe (29, 116, .291) vs. J.D. Drew (11, 64, .270)

Drew had the big grand slam in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series to keep the Red Sox alive, but he had a rough season coming in, considering his hefty paycheck. Hawpe is one of the most underrated players in the game. Advantage: ROCKIES

Designated hitter

Ryan Spilborghs (11, 51, .299) vs. David Ortiz (35, 117, .332)

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle isn't prepared to reveal who his DH will be in Fenway Park, but Spilborghs is a decent guess. He did a great job filling in for an injured Taveras. Ortiz, though, is the best. Advantage: RED SOX

Rotation

The Rockies rotation has done a great job, led by 17-game winner Jeff Francis and stud rookie Ubaldo Jimenez. Veterans Josh Fogg and Aaron Cook round out the starting quartet. Solid, but they can't compete with Boston's battle-tested starters, Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling. Not having Tim Wakefield available hurts some, but not enough to tip this one. Advantage: RED SOX

Bullpen

The Red Sox have more talent and bigger names, with Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Eric Gagne and Mike Timlin. But the Rockies' bullpen has been almost unhittable this postseason. Of the Rockies' seven relievers, only former closer Brian Fuentes has yielded more than a run in the postseason. Go with the hotter hand. Advantage: ROCKIES

Bench

The Red Sox win this one hands down in Games 3 to 5, when Lowell, Youkilis or Ortiz can't start because there will be no DH. Overall, though, the Rockies have more balanced depth. Advantage: ROCKIES

Manager

Boston's Terry Francona is known more for juggling personalities than being a strong tactician. That said, you can't argue with the success he has had and the World Series ring he owns. Hurdle has done a masterful job this season, but Francona has a better body of work. Advantage: RED SOX

Overall

The Rockies are one of the hottest teams in the history of baseball. But the Red Sox are just too balanced to lose a long series. Prediction: RED SOX IN SIX

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.