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Prediction

The Red Sox will only win this series if they win a game late, taking advantage of the fact that the Rays are without a clear closer since Troy Percival went down for the year.

Overall the teams are very even. The Sox have an advantage with Lester, Beckett and Dice-K over Sheilds, Kazmir and Garza; but it's very close and probably about even when you factor in Wake against Sorranstine.

The bullpens are both good. Both teams have five guys they have comfidence in. Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell are really nasty and very similar to Delcarman and Oki. Trever Miller is the Javy Lopez lefty specialist. We know Chad Bradford already. The wild card could be David Price - the number one overall pick a year ago is a dominant young lefty starter. I'd hate to see him get comfident out there in one inning bursts. The advantage the Sox have is that we have a dominant closer and they have a functional Dan Wheeler. We need to beat their late inning guys once. Tony Massarotti wrote this:
Once Percival was injured (again) late in the year -- he is not the ALCS roster -- Wheeler moved into the closer’s role and the Tampa bullpen shortened some. This left a small hole in the middle of the game -- the fifth or sixth innings -- depending on the performance of Rays starters and other relievers, like Edwin Jackson (a starter during the regular season) or phenom David Price.
Also, the Sox cannot beat this team without major contributions from Papi and Pedroia.

The Rays can hit, run, field and pitch. They are healthy and deep. This is a very good team and I don't see a way the Sox win in less than 7.

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