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Hail to the Chowds (for now)

Not quite 24 hours since the Boston Red Sox completed another stirring comeback to reach the World Series, and I gotta tell you, the nausea hasn’t subsided one bit. I mean, baseball needs the Red Sox in the World Series the way it needs George Bush in office for another four years.

To me, the Rockies-Indians would’ve been a great series, because it would’ve featured two teams, built from within that didn’t need gigantic payrolls to get there. It also would’ve been close to impossible to determine who had the edge, because both teams were sizzling. Something about the great unknown is very appealing, and I was anticipating a World Series along the line of the Braves-Twins in 1991 and the Reds-Red Sox in 1975.

As it is, I look at things and I can’t think of one reason why the Red Sox won’t close this thing out. Colorado’s is the hottest team this side of the Patriots, obviously, but they’ve been doing nothing for eight days. It’s hard to recapture the vibe after a layoff that long. More important, though, it’s hard to envision Colorado’s starting pitchers having any success with Boston’s relentless lineup, espcially if Kevin Youkilis stays hot.

Then again, just when you think you know everything, the game jumps up to bite you. That’s why in my heart I’ll be pulling for Colorado. My brain is telling me the Red Sox sweep.

Just what the world would need.

Other thoughts and observations:

— Indians manager Eric Wedge had a terrific postseason until, like his team, he melted down at the end. My biggest gripe about Game 7: Why remove Jake Westbrook after the Indians starter had just mowed down seven in a row? That, even more than Joel Skinner’s mistake not sending home Kenny Lofton, was the pivotal point of Game 7.

— Another complaint about Wedge: No reason to let Rafael Betancourt pitch to Dustin Pedroia with the bases loaded. Pedroia already had hammered one over the Green Monster against Betancourt an inning earlier. What, did Wedge want to see if it was a fluke?

— I predicted to a colleague that Travis Hafner was going to go Big Fly against Jonathan Papelbon when Papelbon entered in the eighth inning with two runners aboard. Instead, Hafner struck out on three pitches. Pretty much summed up his series.

— Here’s how much Manny Ramirez didn’t care after the Red Sox fell behind 3-1 in games: He went 3-for-9 with a double, three RBI, two walks a run and an outfield assist over the final three games. The double, by the way, should’ve been ruled a home run.

— One thing Colorado manager Clint Hurdle should consider: Save Jeff Francis for Game 2. The Rockies aren’t going to beat Josh Beckett in the opener, so why not have Francis, their ace, match up against Curt Schilling?

rhurd