Boston Red Sox Hitting
The Red Sox defeated the Angels in four games and did so without their top hitters producing like they did in the regular season.
David Oritz hit .250, Dustin Pedroia who is under consideration as an MVP Candidate after hitting .326 with a league leading 54 doubles during the regular season had one hit and Kevin Youkilis hit a meager .235.
The Sox were carried by their secondary players, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay, Mark Kotsay and Jed Lowrie who all hit at least .300 against the Angels.
If they can get production from the middle of their order, the Red Sox offence might be too powerful to stop.
Tampa Bay Rays Hitting
After their four game victory over the Chicago White Sox, the most appropriate thing to say about the Rays offence would be that it's balanced.
The Rays have finally gotten healthy, with Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria, both who missed time earlier in the season ready and dialed in. Carlos Pena who had some vision problems played in Game 4.
The Rays can do it all, as they stole 7 bases and hit 6 home runs in their four games of ALDS play.
Aside from Pena and Longoria, they lack a true power threat, but as they've shown all season, the 'Cinderella' Rays take a base when they have too, and they won't quit.
Boston Red Sox Pitching
The biggest question with regards to the Red Sox heading into the ALCS is the health of their post-season ace Josh Beckett.
Beckett who returned from an oblique injury for Game 3 struggled badly, and if he's unable to pitch up to his potential, it could really hurt the Sox.
Following another dominating start in Game 4, Jon Lester has almost officially joined the ranks of a legitimate MLB ace. Add in the hard throwing Daisuke Matsuzaka and the challenging Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox bring something different each game.
Aside from a late hiccup in Game 4 of the ALDS, the bullpen has been as good as expected with Jonathan Papelbon striking out seven hitters in five innings pitched. Justin Masterson and Hideki Okajima are more than capable in late and close game situations.
Tampa Bay Rays Pitching
The ALDS was not kind to the Rays starting foursome of James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine.
The group game up a total of 12 earned runs in just over 23 innings pitched. Despite that stat, the Rays advanced to the ALCS where it's hard to fathom that the group, which had the sixth best ERA during the entire 2008 regular season will struggle that much again.
By contrast, the Rays bullpen which is without closer Troy Percival, was lights out, allowing only one-run in over 11 innings pitched.
Dan Wheeler is a capable closer, but the 'pen features an array of really good arms that cause problems. Grant Balfour lead the majors in strikeouts per nine innings during the regular season with 12.65 mark, while Chad Bradford served up over four ground balls for every one fly ball.
If the Rays can get to the bullpen with the lead, they could be a hard team to beat.