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With NLCS being underway, their American League counterparts join them tonight when the ALCS get started. Rays versus Red Sox. Who ya got? Most seem to be leaning the Red Sox’ direction, although, it’s doubtful the Rays fear Boston, especially after getting the best of them in the regular season — those wins down the stretch to win the AL East look bigger and bigger as the Championship Series begins.

What to Watch For
Red Sox/Rays is shaping up to be a pitcher’s series and on the surface, the Red Sox should be favored here, considering the names they have to send to the mound. However, if you take a closer look at the Rays, they stand up just fine to Boston:

Whether or not the Red Sox advance to the World Series, the Rays are probably the toughest team left in the field, an American League East-tested juggernaut that features power pitching, a deep lineup and a handful of electric arms in the bullpen.

The Rays also have less questions about their starting pitching right now, considering neither Daisuke Matsuzaka nor Josh Beckett had a good performance in the Angels series.

While the thinking is regular season games don’t mean much in the playoff — just ask the Angels — some Rays fans aren’t convinced.

We love reminding them that the Rays have as many AL East titles in the last 11 years as the Red Sox and the Rays only sucked for 10 years, not 86.

A good time should be had by all. Of course, it would help if the Rays don’t get as confident/cocky as these t-shirt makers.

Too Early

Things like that have a way of blowing up in your face, right Cubs fans?

Starting Pitchers for Game 1
Daisuke Matsuzaka for Boston and James Shields for Tampa.

Red Sox in six.