Path to the ALCS ALDS: Boston 3, Los Angeles 0; Cleveland 3, New York 1
The Red Sox and the Indians finished with identical 96-66 records during the regular season, both of them the best records in Major League Baseball in 2007. The Red Sox had a key home-field advantage in the series, thanks to the 5-2 head-to-head record during the season.
In Game 1 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox pounded 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia in a 10-3 victory. Josh Beckett, the eventual ALCS MVP, held Cleveland in check. But the Indians would proceed to win the next three games, and they had champagne on ice at Jacobs Field for Game 5, with another Beckett-Sabathia matchup on tap.
The Indians also played the All-American Rejects' hit song "It Ends Tonight" before that potential clincher. It did nothing but rile up the opposition, which did not see a 3-1 ALCS deficit as a major issue, given what the Red Sox had done to the Yankees in 2004.
In Game 5, Beckett was even better. He allowed just one run and struck out 11 over eight innings, and Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon finished off the 7-1 win to cut Cleveland's lead to 3-2. Sabathia had looked more like his regular-season self, but Boston got to him in the seventh inning and turned a 2-1 lead into an eventual romp.
Back at Fenway, Games 6 and 7 were a Red Sox party -- 12-2 and 11-2 victories en route to an eventual World Series sweep of Colorado. Another big ALCS comeback was complete for a Red Sox team that no longer played with baggage. Boston outscored Cleveland in the ALCS, 51-32, and the Red Sox batted .318 as Youkilis led the way with a .500 average (14-for-28).