It's Lester vs. Garza for a trip to World Series

Updated: October 18, 2008

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Opponents are batting .234 against Jon Lester, left, this postseason, .277 against Matt Garza.

ROLLING A SEVEN

When the Red Sox were down seven runs with seven outs left in Game 5 Thursday, who would have ever thought that there'd be a Game 7 on Sunday? Amazingly, it's going to happen. But now it seems Boston has the momentum heading into the game that will decide which team represents the American League in the World Series.

In theory, The Red Sox also have an edge with the pitching matchup, as long as Jon Lester can find the form that was so valuable throughout the 2008 season. Of course, keep in mind that was the prevailing thought heading into Game 3 -- a Rays romp.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES GAME 7
CASE FOR THE RED SOX
Jon Lester hasn't lost consecutive starts all season.
Won 9 straight LCS elimination games.
4-1 on road in postseason.
Key player: Jason Varitek: 6-13, 3 2B in career in Game 7s.
CASE FOR THE RAYS
Matt Garza is 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA at home this season.
13-11 vs Red Sox in 2008.
MLB-best 57-24 at home in regular season.
Key player: Carlos Pena: 6-19, 2 HR in career vs. Lester.

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BBTN ON THE AIR: SUNDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
6:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Buster Olney, Eric Young

BBTN MINUTE: ALCS GAME 7 PREVIEW

STAT OF THE DAY

Inside Edge The Rays were 0-for-9 with runners on base in Saturday's Game 6 loss, but they've still outperformed the Red Sox in the ALCS when it comes to producing with runners on. Tampa Bays' OPS with runners on base is 1.017 in the series, while Boston's is .741. The team with the highest OPS in runners on base situations has won every game except for Game 5 thus far.

Here are the top 5 hitters with runners on base in the ALCS going into Game 7:

ALCS: OPS with runners on
Hitter Team OPS
Willy Aybar Rays 1.875
Carlos Pena Rays 1.571
B.J. Upton Rays 1.429
J.D. Drew Red Sox 1.389
Carl Crawford Rays 1.167

THIS DATE IN POSTSEASON HISTORY: OCT. 19

1972: The Oakland A's stage a dramatic comeback to win Game 4 of the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Trailing 2-1 in the ninth inning, the A's string together four consecutive hits, including three by pinch-hitters Gonzalo Marquez, Don Mincher and Angel Mangual, who provides the game-winning run with an opposite-field single.

1981: Rick Monday hits a home run in the ninth inning to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Montreal Expos in the fifth game of the NLCS. The win sends the Dodgers to the World Series against the New York Yankees.

2004: In an ALCS game featuring two reversed calls by the umpires, the Boston Red Sox become the first team in baseball history to force a Game 7 after trailing the series 3-0. Boston, three outs from being swept in Game 4, gets an outstanding pitching performance from Curt Schilling, playing with a dislocated ankle tendon, to beat the Yankees in the Bronx, 4-2.