2007 American League Championship Series
|Dates:||October 12 – 21|
|MVP:||Josh Beckett (Boston)|
|TV announcers:||Joe Buck and Tim McCarver|
|Radio announcers:||Joe Morgan|
|Umpires:||Randy Marsh, Kerwin Danley, Brian Gorman, Paul Emmel, Gary Cederstrom, Dana DeMuth|
|ALDS:||Boston Red Sox over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (3–0)|
|Cleveland Indians over New York Yankees (3–1)|
|2007 World Series|
The 2007 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 2007 American League playoffs, began on October 12 and ended on October 21. It was a best-of-seven series, with the East Division champion Boston Red Sox facing the Central Division champion Cleveland Indians. The Red Sox came back from a 3–1 deficit to defeat the Indians 4–3, outscoring them 30–5 over the final three games of the Series.
The Red Sox had swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in three games in the AL Division Series, while the Indians had defeated the New York Yankees three games to one. The series marks the fourth postseason meeting of the two teams, following the 1995 and 1998 AL Division Series, both of which were won by the Indians, and the 1999 ALDS, won by the Red Sox (in a similar fashion to this series). It was the eighth ALCS appearance for Boston, and the fourth for Cleveland.
The series was broadcast on Fox television.
Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland IndiansBoston won the series, 4–3.
|1||October 12||Cleveland Indians – 3, Boston Red Sox – 10||Fenway Park||3:35||36,986|
|2||October 13||Cleveland Indians – 13, Boston Red Sox – 6 (11 innings)||Fenway Park||5:14||37,051|
|3||October 15||Boston Red Sox – 2, Cleveland Indians – 4||Jacobs Field||3:28||44,402|
|4||October 16||Boston Red Sox – 3, Cleveland Indians – 7||Jacobs Field||3:12||44,008|
|5||October 18||Boston Red Sox – 7, Cleveland Indians – 1||Jacobs Field||3:46||44,588|
|6||October 20||Cleveland Indians – 2, Boston Red Sox – 12||Fenway Park||3:09||37,163|
|7||October 21||Cleveland Indians – 2, Boston Red Sox – 11||Fenway Park||3:33||37,165|
Game 1Friday, October 12, 2007 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
WP: Josh Beckett (1–0) LP: CC Sabathia (0–1)
CLE: Travis Hafner (1)
In Game 1, the Cleveland Indians took the lead when Travis Hafner hit a home run to deep right field in the first inning against Josh Beckett. Beckett retired the next ten batters in a row, finishing by striking out seven while allowing only two runs in six innings pitched. Red Sox offense scored eight runs off of Cleveland Indians pitcher CC Sabathia.
Game 2Saturday, October 13, 2007 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
WP: Tom Mastny (1–0) LP: Éric Gagné (0–1)
CLE: Jhonny Peralta (1), Grady Sizemore (1), Franklin Gutiérrez (1)
BOS: Manny Ramírez (1), Mike Lowell (1)
Game 2 was billed as a matchup of aces in nineteen-game winner Fausto Carmona and veteran postseason ace Curt Schilling. However, both starters were out by the fifth as both offenses took charge in what evolved into an eleven-inning, run-scoring saga that clocked in at 5 hours and 14 minutes. Both sides exchanged leads in the bottom of the third and the top of the fourth. Manny Ramírez hit an opposite-field two-run home run, followed by a Mike Lowell solo home run over the Green Monster, both off Indians reliever Rafael Pérez. In the top of the fourth, Jhonny Peralta hit a three-run blast into the camera well in center field off Schilling, giving the Indians a 4–3 lead. Each team’s bullpen put up scoreless frames after the sixth inning, leading to extra frames with the score tied at six. The eleventh inning proved to be a historic one as Cleveland took advantage by scoring seven runs off a shaky Sox bullpen, a postseason record for runs in an extra inning by one team. One of the highlights was the go-ahead RBI single by former Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon off Boston’s lefty specialist Javier López. What made the base hit significant is that Nixon has historically struggled against left-handed pitching, but manager Eric Wedge left Nixon in to hit against López, and the move paid off. A wild pitch allowed another run to score. After retiring Víctor Martínez, López gave up a single to Ryan Garko and was lifted for Jon Lester, the only pitcher left in the Boston bullpen. Lester did not fare much better; Peralta greeted him with a run-scoring double, which was immediately followed by Franklin Gutiérrez’s three-run homer, capping the scoring as the Indians took Game 2 by a score of 13–6.
Game 3Monday, October 15, 2007 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio
WP: Jake Westbrook (1–0) LP: Daisuke Matsuzaka (0–1) Sv: Joe Borowski (1)
BOS: Jason Varitek (1)
CLE: Kenny Lofton (1)
Coming off a lopsided 13–6 loss in eleven innings, Boston sent Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mound to face off with Jake Westbrook for Game 3 at Jacobs Field. Kenny Lofton’s two-run home run gave the Indians a 2–0 lead in the second inning. Dice-K would be knocked out after allowing RBI singles to Asdrúbal Cabrera and Travis Hafner to make it 4–0 in the fifth inning. Jason Varitek’s two-run home run in the seventh inning off Westbrook cut the lead to 4–2, but the Sox could get no closer as Cleveland’s closer Joe Borowski, who led the AL in saves during the regular season, shut the door on the Sox, giving the Indians a 2–1 lead in the series.
Game 4Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio
WP: Paul Byrd (1–0) LP: Tim Wakefield (0–1)
BOS: Kevin Youkilis (1), David Ortiz (1), Manny Ramírez (2)
CLE: Casey Blake (1), Jhonny Peralta (2)
After being confounded for four innings by Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball, the Indians scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth in Game 4. Casey Blake led off the inning with a homer off Wakefield, Franklin Gutiérrez singled, Kelly Shoppach was hit by a pitch, and Grady Sizemore reached on a fielder’s choice. After Kevin Youkilis bobbled and dropped a foul ball, Asdrúbal Cabrera reached on an infield single as Gutiérrez scored. Travis Hafner struck out, and then Víctor Martínez hit an RBI single to left. At that point, Boston skipper Terry Francona yanked Wakefield for reliever Manny Delcarmen, who gave up an opposite-field home run to Jhonny Peralta on a 2–1 pitch. Kenny Lofton followed with a single, then stole second—his 34th career postseason stolen base, passing Rickey Henderson for first place on the all-time list—and scored on Blake’s second base hit of the inning. Gutiérrez struck out to end the inning, but the Indians had already scored seven runs—the second time in this series in which the Indians plated seven in one inning. This also marks the third consecutive game in this ALCS wherein Boston’s starter lasted only 4 2⁄3 innings.
The Red Sox answered immediately when Youkilis and David Ortiz hit back-to-back homers, chasing Indians starter Paul Byrd in favor of rookie reliever Jensen Lewis. Manny Ramírez followed with another homer—the Red Sox’ third consecutive home run, something that had never before been accomplished in LCS history—in the top of the sixth inning. However, that would be all the offense the Red Sox could muster as the Indians took a three games to one lead in the series behind Lewis and fellow reliever Rafael Betancourt.
Game 5Thursday, October 18, 2007 at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio
WP: Josh Beckett (2–0) LP: CC Sabathia (0–2)
BOS: Kevin Youkilis (2)
All American Rejects hit song "It Ends Tonight" before the game, predicting that the Indians would win and eliminate the Red Sox that evening. Facing elimination in Game 5, the Sox struck first with a solo home run from Kevin Youkilis in the top of the first inning. The Indians answered right away, putting runners on first and third with nobody out but could only muster one run on Travis Hafner grounding into a double play. The Red Sox regained the lead in the third on a Manny Ramírez RBI single, scoring David Ortiz from first. On the play, Ramírez stopped at first base believing the ball hit beyond the yellow line on the outfield wall, but after discussion among the six umpires, the home run was disallowed and Ramírez was left at first with a single. Meanwhile, Josh Beckett pitched eight dominant innings for the Red Sox, and collected eleven strikeouts, tying a career post-season high. Boston scored two more in the seventh to make it 4–1 and broke it open with three additional runs in the eighth to ensure a return trip to Boston for Game 6.
Game 6Saturday, October 20, 2007 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
WP: Curt Schilling (1–0) LP: Fausto Carmona (0–1)
CLE: Víctor Martínez (1)
BOS: J.D. Drew (1)
After Curt Schilling retired the Indians in the top of the first, the Red Sox loaded the bases on infield hits by Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis plus a full-count walk to David Ortiz. Fausto Carmona struck out Manny Ramírez and got Mike Lowell to pop out, but J.D. Drew then hit a grand slam to center field to give Boston a 4–0 lead. Víctor Martínez got the Tribe on the board with a lead-off solo home run to cut the Sox lead to three. The Sox had a chance to pile on more runs in the bottom of the inning but a key double play ended the threat. The Indians threatened in the top of the third after two hits lead off the inning but Schilling got the next three batters to work out of it. The Sox put the game away with a six-run explosion in the bottom of the inning. JD Drew drove in his fifth RBI of the game with a single in the third inning that ended Carmona's pitching that night. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with another single driving in Boston's sixth run. Julio Lugo then drove a double down the third-base line to make it 8–1. Youkilis added two more with a single compounded with a throwing error to make it 10–1. Ryan Garko started the top of the seventh with a triple and scored on a Jhonny Peralta sacrifice fly, but that would be all the offense Cleveland could muster against Schilling on the night.
Game 7Sunday, October 21, 2007 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts
WP: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1–1) LP: Jake Westbrook (1–1) Sv: Jonathan Papelbon (1)
BOS: Dustin Pedroia (1), Kevin Youkilis (3)
The pitching match-up for Game 7 was a rematch of Game 3, featuring Jake Westbrook for Cleveland and Japanese rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka for Boston. The Red Sox returned Cleveland's favor from Game 5 by playing "It Ends Tonight" before the game, poking fun at the Indians' untimely prediction. In the first three innings, Matsuzaka looked like the more dominant starting pitcher of the night retiring the first eight batters he faced before giving up a base hit to number-nine hitter Casey Blake; he then struck out Grady Sizemore to end the inning. Meanwhile, during those same first three innings, Indians starter Jake Westbrook gave up seven hits, one walk (intentionally), and three runs. Fortunately for Cleveland, Westbrook settled down and pitched three shutout innings, striking out four, and their offense began to take advantage of Matsuzaka putting up single runs in the top of the fourth and fifth. Boston's top two relief pitchers took over after Matsuzaka's exit following the fifth inning; Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon were able to hold Indians hitters scoreless over the final four frames, giving up just four hits combined, all singles. Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were the center of the offense in the seventh with Ellsbury reaching second on a Blake error then Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run home run into the Green Monster seats, giving the Red Sox some insurance runs—a 5–2 lead. The Sox put up a six-spot in the bottom of the eighth—highlighted by a three-RBI double by Pedroia and a two-run Kevin Youkilis monster shot—which cemented their victory and led to their second American League championship and World Series appearance in four years.
In the seventh inning with one out and Kenny Lofton at second base, Franklin Gutiérrez singled over the third base bag, into foul territory, with the ball ricocheting back into left field off the infamous angular foul territory fence of Fenway Park. Shortstop Julio Lugo and outfielder Manny Ramirez went after the ball. As he was about to turn toward home plate, third base coach Joel Skinner held Lofton at third. The Indians' at-bat ended when Casey Blake hit into a 5–4–3 double play. The Red Sox would go on to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh and six more in the eighth, turning the game into a rout.
This marked the third time Boston came back from a three games to one deficit in a League Championship Series. They had previously done so in 1986 and in 2004 against the New York Yankees. It was a painful defeat for Cleveland, as they had blown such a big lead in games to cost them a shot at going to their first World Series in 10 years. The Indians would not return to the playoffs for the next six years.
Composite box2007 ALCS (4–3): Boston Red Sox over Cleveland Indians
|Boston Red Sox||7||1||15||0||6||5||6||11||0||0||0||51||77||3|
|Total attendance: 281,363 Average attendance: 40,195|
"MLB names League Championship Series umpires" (JSP). Major League Baseball. October 10, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
Randy Marsh, a 26-year Major League Umpire, will be the crew chief when the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox meet in the 2007 American League Championship Series. The Kentucky native has been assigned to the eighteenth postseason series of his career, including his eighth LCS. Marsh's crew will feature Kerwin Danley, Brian Gorman, Paul Emmel, Gary Cederstrom and regular season crew chief Dana DeMuth.
- "2007 ALCS Game 1 - Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2007 ALCS Game 2 - Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2007 ALCS Game 3 - Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2007 ALCS Game 4 - Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2007 ALCS Game 5 - Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2007 ALCS Game 6 - Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "2007 ALCS Game 7 - Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- McIntyre, Michael K (October 18, 2007). "Anthem singer was special to Sox pitcher". The Plain Dealer.
- American League Championship Series 2007
- 2007 ALCS at Baseball Reference