With less than a week left in this year’s regular season, most playoff bound teams have already clinched their spots. The New York Yankees look like they’ll be staying at the top of the league with 102 wins. Clinching the AL East Division this past weekend, they should expect to face the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers in the first round, unless the Minnesota Twins string a big set of wins together. The Tigers are currently 84-73 and lead Minnesota by two games.
The Boston Red Sox with a Texas Rangers loss were just able to earn the AL Wild Card. They are set to face the LA Angels of Anaheim who will finish as the AL West leaders. The matchup will mark the fourth ALDS meeting between the two teams. In 2004 and 2007 the Sox swept the Angels in the initial series on their way to win the World Series. Anaheim was able to avoid the sweep in last year’s contest but the Sox still took care of business in four games.
The American League playoff picture is pretty much set in stone. With the Yankees on a tear and Boston’s previous ALDS history against the Angels, it is very likely for another Sox/Yanks ALCS showdown in the near future. However, if Tigers ace Justin Verlander can shut down New York in one of the first two games it could be anyone’s series. The Angels despite years past have the upper hand on the Red Sox in 2009, winning 5 out of their nine games played. Don’t miss out on the most exciting baseball to come all year.
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All was according to plan for Josh Beckett until the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, when he threw a low strike three that just squeaked through catcher Jason Varitek’s legs for the Angels to tie it up 3-3. LA then came up with the go ahead run in the ninth, putting a stop to Boston’s win streak at seven games. Beckett pitched through eight innings and let up three runs off seven hits.
“They’re a good team, and they know how to win games,” said Beckett. “They end up scoring a run, and you’re not even quite sure how it happened. That’s what good teams do. They find ways to play for one run in an inning. That’s a good team.”
The Red Sox will now travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles for a three game weekend series starting tonight at 7:05. They are then set to square off against the Kansas City Royals before meeting up with the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
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In the bottom of the ninth inning and one strike away from defeat, Boston’s Nick Green drew the tying run from a controversial ball four. The following at bat sealed the deal as Alex Gonzalez stepped up to hit a walk off Texas leaguer down the left field line for the Boston Red Sox to edge out the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 9-8.
“When I hit it, Juan was way back,” said Gonzalez. “I didn’t hit it hard, but I hit it in the perfect spot.” Since signing with the Red Sox this summer, Gonzalez has surprised the club with his new found offensive production. Last night was no different. Along with his late game heroics Gonzalez was consistent all game, finishing the night 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBI’s.
Yesterday wasn’t just any ordinary win for the Sox with Kevin Youkilis, Victor Martinez, and Jonathon Papelbon out for different reasons. “I can’t believe what a great game that was,” said Paul Byrd, who gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings in his start for Boston. “It wasn’t just the superstars who came through. You had guys like Nick Green coming up to the plate cold, and Jed Lowrie getting the job done. Alex Gonzalez again gets another big hit for us. It was just a total team effort. It was awesome to watch.”
The Red Sox are now 6 1/2 games up in the Wild Card race and 6 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East standings. They are set to match up against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards tomorrow after tonights final game hosting LA. The Red Sox and Yankees will meet three more times starting September 25th before the regular season wraps up.
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Daisuke Matsuzaka made his return from the DL against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and really surprised all 38,805 in attendance Tuesday night at Fenway Park. His last appearance on the mound for the Sox was on June 19th, where he was booed off the field after letting up six runs in just under five innings. For 2009 Daisuke Matsuzaka is 1-5 with a 8.23 ERA. Yesterday, Red Sox Nation threw those stats out the window after watching him let up just three hits in six innings with five K’s, leaving the Angels scoreless from his 93 pitches thrown. Dice-K is officially 100% healthy and ready to win!
“Having Dice-K back and throwing the ball the way he can is just huge for us, especially with us thinking about going to the playoffs right now,” said Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who knocked a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth deep to center field. “When you play good in September, it gets you in a good mood for October. We’re looking good and feeling good.” Jacoby Ellsbury provided two hits for Boston and Jason Bay reached base three times with two walks and a single.
Paul Byrd will get the start tonight against LA with hopes to keep things rolling for the Sox. Boston is scheduled to play two more games against the Angels before heading to Camden Yards to match up against the Baltimore Orioles.
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting pitcher Ervin Santana notched his first win at home this season with a magnificent outing last night against the Tampa Bay Rays. With no help from the bullpen he left Tampa Bay scoreless, only allowing three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Rays left-hander David Price certainly did not make it a pitchers duel, letting up six runs off eight hits in his six innings pitched.
Santana has missed 52 games during two stints on the disabled list this season. Last season he won 16 games for the Angel’s, and yesterday was a definite reminder of what the club has been missing all year. “We could see it coming within Ervin,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “A lot of areas on our team needed a performance like that. He had a lot of pitches working. He couldn’t really have pitched a better game. … He’s a much better pitcher (now) than we saw all year.” The Angels and Rays will face off one more time this afternoon at 3:35 pm.
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The final day before the trading deadline was an eventful one. Though no top-level players changed hands, a good deal of players will be donning new uniforms the next time they take the field. The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Josh Bell and Steve Johnson for Baltimore closer George Sherrill. The Pirates traded John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Cubs for Kevin Hart, Josh Harrison, and Jose Ascanio. The Royals only needed to send cash considerations to the Tigers to obtain Josh Anderson.
Deals to look out for tomorrow: Roy Halladay talks are “dead” according to J.P. Ricciardi, though the team is open to discussing deals tomorrow. The Rangers, Angels, and Red Sox are still in the hunt. Padres closer Heath Bell may be on the move as well. The Marlins are reportedly interested, but are unwilling to part with the players San Diego wants. Bell’s teammate Adrian Gonzalez is also said to be the subject of heated talks between the Padres and Sox, but no deal is iminent.
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Last night’s starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, Nick Adenhart, was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Fullerton, CA around midnight. In his fourth Major League appearance, Adenhart held the A’s scoreless through six solid innings while racking up five strikeouts.
The Mitsubishi that Adenhart was riding in was struck by a minivan that reportedly ran a red light. Three of the passengers in Adenhart’s vehicle were killed, including at least one other person in the Angels organization. The driver of the minivan fled on foot but was apprehended by the police a few blocks from the scene.
The Boston Red Sox won a memorable game four against the Angels Monday night. After Jason Varitek retired Reggie Willits on a failed suicide squeeze, and Manny Delcarmen got Sunday’s hero Erick Aybar to ground out to first, the Sox came up to bat with the game tied in the ninth. After J.D. Drew struck out, left fielder Jason Bay laced a ground-rule double to right. Mark Kotsay hit a screamer that looked like it could end the game, but Angels’ first baseman Mark Teixeiera snagged for the second out. Jed Lowrie stepped up to the plate and ended the series with a ground ball to the right.
“In the back of my mind, I was thinking curveball,” Lowrie told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “He threw me one that was up just enough, and I found a hole.”
Lowrie became the fourth rookie to end a postseason series with a walk-off. The Sox avoid the cross-country trip to LA, and get a few days off before they face the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS.
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The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ended their losing streak against the Boston Red Sox, and it took five hours and nineteen minutes to do so. Both starting pitchers faltered, giving up four runs each in less-than-five-inning efforts. The story of the night was relief pitching – a total of 12.1 scoreless innings between both pens. The halos would have the final say behind an Erick Aybar RBI single in the top of the 12th. The Sox were not able to answer the run, and lost their first postseason game against the Angels since 1986.
Sunday night’s loss means that the Sox will be playing game 4 of the American League Division Series on Monday night at 8:37pm. Tickets are available now!