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Rox vs. Sox: 2007 World Series

Todd Helton
Oddly enough, according to expected win-loss records, the best team from each league (at least to qualify for the playoffs) made the World Series. Yes, as amazing as winning 21 of 22 is, the Rockies aren't quite the Cinderella they seem to be. No team can ever be expected to win 21 of 22, but it was reasonable to believe the Rockies would make the World Series once they had made the playoffs. Oh, and how much clamoring has their been about the Red Sox offensive firepower lately? There was a point a month and a half ago where some were making them out to be anemic, to the point where they didn't even deserve a playoff spot. Granted, 30 runs in 3 games against a pitching staff as strong as the Indians' is remarkable, but despite Boston's supposed shortcomings that were exposed as the Yankees made their charge over the summer, it is Boston in the World Series. It's as if they are a good team, perhaps even the best team in the American League. Truly, this is the best team in the AL versus the best team in the NL, and here is a look at the numbers to try to shed some light on how this series will play out:

Lineup and starting pitching ratings are based on my hitter and pitcher rating systems. Odds of winning series is based on my adjusted pythagorean formula. The two are completely separate formulas, but in theory should correlate.

Lineup Ratings (parentheses is rating without DH):
Rockies - 82 (82)
Red Sox - 82 (80)

Starting Pitching Ratings:
Rockies - 75
Red Sox - 81

Probable Pitching Matchups (COL listed first, then BOS):
Jeff Francis (80) vs. Josh Beckett (93)
Ubaldo Jimenez (77) vs. Curt Schilling (77)
Josh Fogg (67) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (85)
Aaron Cook (77) vs. Jon Lester (69)

Odds of winning series:
Rockies - 43%
Red Sox - 57%

Bottom Line: The offenses are quite evenly matched, so this series is likely to come down to pitching and defense. The Rockies are stronger now that they have Aaron Cook, and the Red Sox are hurt by the loss of Tim Wakefield. However, Boston still has the better pitching and, not surprisingly, the numbers favor them to win the series. However, with that said, I think Colorado's chances of winning the series are better than the numbers say. First of all, looking at the pitching match-ups, all Boston really has are big advantages with Beckett and Dice-K on the mound, not an advantage in every single game. Furthermore, it's also going to be very interesting to see how Manny Ramirez fares defensively in left field at Coors. It's the biggest left field in baseball, and Manny covers the least ground of any left fielder in baseball. On top of that the Rockies have a very good defense, so they will definitely have a noticeable advantage in Coors that the Red Sox can only combat by striking out lots of batters.

Interestingly, the Rockies did play the Red Sox this year in interleague play in Fenway Park, and outscored them in the series 20-5. Between that and how hot the team has been, I doubt they will have any confidence issues against the Red Sox. However, confidence is one thing and talent is another. Boston can hide their defensive weaknesses (ok, to be more brutally honest, they can hide Manny) better at Fenway Park, and fortunately they do have home field advantage. As much as I am rooting for the Rockies, statistically speaking the three most likely outcomes are the Red Sox in five games (18%), Red Sox in six (19%), and Red Sox in seven (17%). Though I give the Rockies a better chance than the stats do, I'll still say that the Red Sox are going to win the World Series in seven games.