10/02/07 7:38 PM ET
Sluggers' bats do all the talking
Ramirez and Guerrero will make their presences felt in ALDS
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
No one can compare the two private souls better than Brendan Donnelly, the reliever who spent the prior four seasons as Guerrero's teammate and linked up with Ramirez this summer."They're both huge parts of their teams and are great athletes," Donnelly said. "There are different people in the world, and it's no different in the clubhouse. "They're both awesome leaders by example. And really good baseball players. They're like big kids." Having Ramirez back -- he batted .333 (7-for-21) in six season-ending games after returning from a 24-game absence with a strained oblique -- is one reason the Red Sox swagger into the postseason so confidently. "Having him back-to-back with [David Ortiz] gives us the best duo in baseball," Delcarmen said. "I'm glad I don't have to pitch to them, I know that." John Lackey, the Angels' Game 1 starter who will have to pitch to them, will feel Ramirez on both his and Ortiz's back. "You'd like to try your best not to have to pitch to both in the same inning," Lackey said. "I'll probably pick one or the other and challenge one of them and maybe not so much the other one." Boston starter Josh Beckett plans to be even more choosy when Guerrero is on the horizon. "How do you pitch to him? Very carefully," Beckett said. "Even when you pitch around him and throw what you think is a waste pitch ... it may not be a waste pitch to him." There is one big difference between these quiet storms: While Ramirez has been an accessory in this season's Boston offense, Guerrero is an accessory to the Angels the way an engine is to a car. "Vlady's their main guy," said Boston shortstop Julio Lugo. "I think we need to get the guys in front of him out and then let Vlady do what he does. It's hard to pitch him." "Since he's been here, he's been the main horse," said Griffin, the former infielder and fellow Dominican probably closest to Guerrero. "He's a guy who plays without pressure. "He knows he can hit. Every time he goes through this, he's very confident he will hit. Wherever he has played, everyone always follows him. He's the main guy." "You have to move him back off the plate," Delcarmen said. "Then pitch him up and away. He's a great hitter -- one of the best hitters in baseball. He's probably studying us. And believe me, we're studying him, too. "He'll hit pretty much everything, so we've just got to figure out a way to get him out." How about fastballs right down the middle? As the joke goes, the most effective pitch to a bad-ball hitter could be the fattest pitch. "You can't throw a pitch that he doesn't think he can hit," said Boston manager Terry Francona. "Unfortunately, he does hit some of them. He can reach so much, and hit it with so much authority." Or, as Kendrick phrased it, "He's the only guy that I've seen that can swing at everything and hit everything." Only one of them was smiling when he said it. You can probably guess which.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.