If history has an impact on their emotions, I’m sure the Angels were quite disappointed to draw the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. Despite winning eight of the nine games between the teams this year, the Angels have been swept by the Red Sox in their last two playoff matchups in 2004 and 2007 and have won the last 10 overall playoff games since 1986. You could see history repeating itself last night as the Red Sox continued their playoff dominance with a 4-1 victory in Los Angeles.
Jon Lester got the win for the Red Sox with a masterful 7 inning performance with 7 K’s and 6 hits. John Lackey took the loss for the Angels despite pitching really well. Lackey’s lone mistake was a two out, two run homer to Jason Bay. Bay’s go ahead homer was good enough for the win but the Sox were able to tack on some insurance runs in the 9th inning. Jonathan Papelbon got the save for the Red Sox.
Game 2 of the series is on Friday night and will feature Ervin Santana for the Angels vs Daisuke Matsuzaka for the Red Sox. The series will shift to Boston’s Fenway Park on Sunday and Monday (if necessary) for games 3 and 4. Red Sox playoff tickets are available for these games and all potential Sox playoff games including the World Series. You will get a full refund on any tickets purchased for playoff games that are not played.
Red Sox Playoff Tickets
With the Tampa Bay Rays taking the top spot in the American League East and the Sox taking the AL Wild Card, Boston will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first round of the postseason. The Sox were 1-8 against the Angels this season, winning only their first matchup at Fenway, back on April 22nd. Sox Ace Josh Beckett was scratched from game one, and pushed back to game 3 on Sunday in Boston due to an oblique injury. His counterpart, Angels hurler John Lackey, does not seem to be in good shape himself either. Lackey was roughed up for ten runs in just 2.2 innings by the Texas Rangers.
The Sox will send John Lester to the mound to start game 1. Lester has had an impressive year, going 16-6 in 33 starts; 5-1 in his last 6. The Sox also have question marks in Mike Lowell and JD Drew, both of which who have been bothered by injury. They are both assumed to be on the ALDS roster, but Lowell is still considered a game-time decision.
Pitching MatchupsGame 1 @ LA – 10/1/2008 – John Lackey vs Jon Lester
Game 2 @ LA – 10/3/2008- Ervin Santana vs Daisuke Matsuzaka
Game 3 @ Boston – 10/5/2008 – Joe Saunders vs Josh Beckett
Game 4 @ Boston – 10/6/2008 – TBA vs TBA*
Game 5 @ LA – 10/8/2008 – TBA vs TBA*
Boston Red Sox ALDS Roster
Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Paul Byrd, Jonathan Papelbon, Justin Masterson, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez, Tim Wakefield
Jason Varitek, Kevin Cash, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Sean Casey, Alex Cora, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, Jason Bay, Coco Crisp, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Kotsay, JD Drew, David Ross
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ALDS Roster
John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders, Jon Garland, Jered Weaver, Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields, Darren Oliver, Jose Arredondo, Kevin Jepsen.
Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood, Jeff Mathis, Chone Figgins, Garret Anderson, Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera, Gary Mathews Jr., Mark Teixeira, Vladimir Guerrero, Robb Quinlan, Mike Napoli, Howie Kendrick, Torii Hunter, Reggie Willits.
Boston Red Sox Playoff Tickets for all rounds are available for purchase now – full refunds for any games that are not played.
Fenway Park almost witnessed its second no hitter of the season but this time on the other team’s side. John Lackey took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Dustin Pedroia singled with one out to end the bid, followed by a Kevin Youkilis two-run homer to erase the shutout, but the Los Angeles Angels still came out victorious with a 6-2 win over the struggling Boston Red Sox.
“A no-hitter would have been nice,” Lackey said. “You know what’s going on, but it wasn’t affecting me. I just wanted to win the game.”
The win improves Lackey’s overall record on the season to 9-2 but the story of the day for Los Angeles was not his pitching performance but a trade that was made prior to the start of the game. LA packaged up 1B Casey Kotchman and pitching prospect Steve Marek to the Atlanta Braves in return for 1B Mark Teixeira.
On the season Teixeira had been hitting .283 with 20 HR’s and 78 RBI’s in the National League and is considered to be a big defensive upgrade from Kotchman at first. The move comes one day after Kotchman had belted his 12th homer of the season off of Red Sox starting pitcher Dice-K Matsuzaka to lead the Angels to their six run sixth inning of their 7-5 win.
The loss for Boston guarantees their second consecutive home series loss, the first time this has happened all season. Since the All-Star break Boston is only 4-7 and now finds themselves 2 games behind the division leading Rays.
Clay Buchholtz suffered his fourth consecutive decision for a loss and falls to 2-6 on the season. He can only recall his no-hitter from last September after almost having one thrown against him yesterday evening.
“I was more aware actually of him throwing it than I was when I was out there,” Buchholz said. “It’s something special to watch. It’s a lot more fun when it’s one of us.”
Buchholtz allowed six runs (five earned) over 6 1/3 innings of work while striking out five. He allowed two runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings before he was pulled from the game.
Tonight in the series finale, Boston will be looking to Josh Beckett to avoid a rare sweep at home. Last Friday he came up on the short side of a 1-0 loss to NY but pitched well enough to win. He’ll be pitching against Joe Saunders who’s 13 wins is tied for the second most in all of MLB. In two starts this season against Boston Saunders is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA.
The Sox have tomorrow off and then will welcome Oakland into two for a three game series over the weekend. Tickets are still available for all three games!
The Boston Red Sox have had no problem winning playoff games against the Los Angeles Angels, in fact they’ve won their last six against the reigning Western Division champions. Too bad that the Angels have no problem winning against the Sox in the regular season and with last nights 7-5 victory, have now won their last six meetings dating back to April 23rd.
Casey Kotchman and Torii Hunter both homered in a six run sixth inning to lead LA to their eighth win in ten games. Despite allowing a ninth inning homerun to Manny Ramirez, Francisco Rodriguez recorded his major league leading 44th save.
“I don’t know if there’s any rhyme or reason to some of the streaks,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, “but we’ve been playing more consistent baseball this season on the road and at home.”
The win improves the Angels road record to 34-19, by far the best in all of MLB. With the loss, the Red Sox home record drops to 37-14, still an AL Best, even having lost three of the past four games.
“They might be the class of the American League right now,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after the opener of the three-game series. “They have tremendous starting pitching, a very good bullpen, a lot of speed. They catch the ball very well. I could name a lot of things. Hopefully, tomorrow I won’t be naming those things and we’ll end up winning.”
Sox started Dice-K Matsuzaka looked great through the first five innings allowing only one run on three hits. He ran into trouble in the sixth allowing the leadoff runner in Chone Figgins to reach via a walk. Kotchman followed up with a two-run bomb to right field and it didn’t stop there. Three consecutive hits followed, the big blow coming on Hunter’s 16th homer of the year, a three run shot that knocked Dice-K out of the game.
“This guy gave up three runs in the last five starts and, pow, you hit a homer,” Hunter said. “I know he’s a good pitcher and I had to let that go and just swing hard just in case you hit it.”
Prior to the sixth inning, Matsuzaka had not allowed a homerun in his previous five starts, and only one in the prior eight.
“When I’m facing a good team like the Angels, I need to mix up my pitches a little bit more,” Matsuzaka said.
Offensively the Sox were able to string together an 11 hit performance, but could never muster up a big inning to break the game open early. David Ortiz continues to hit well since his return from the DL going 2-4 and it also clear that Manny Ramirez doesn’t mind his teammates protection in the order because he went 2-5 last night with three RBI’s.
Combined since Ortiz’s return the two are hitting .400 (12-30) with 9 RBI’s and 7 runs scored. The numbers are great, the only problem is that Sox are 1-3 over those four games.
The Sox will try to even the series tonight by sending Clay Buchholtz to the hill. The rookie has not won since May 2nd and lost to LA earlier this season in an 11-3 defeat out in California.
LA will counter with John Lackey who beat Boston on July 18th, his only win of the month thus far. Lifetime vs. the Red Sox Lackey has not put up very impressive numbers. His career record is 2-6 with a 6.01 ERA in 12 starts but looks to improve those tonight at Fenway Park.
Tickets are still available for tonight and tomorrow’s Red Sox vs. Angels match ups!
A week ago the inaugural game for the 2008 season was played in Tokyo, Japan between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. While the two teams enjoyed the trip and media hype, the rest of Major League Baseball could only watch and wait for their first regular season games. Well after yesterday, the wait is over and baseball is back in season! Thirteen games graced ballparks across the country and fans returned from their winter hibernations, awaking to the sounds of sausage and beer vendors roaming the stands. For 26 teams yesterday was a new slate, a fresh start and chance to show everyone that this is their year.
It’s too early to make any predictions, but the only thing that really matters right now is that its baseball season and fans couldn’t be happier.
AL Round Up
The last opening day at Yankee Stadium will have to wait at least one more day due to rainstorms in the Bronx, NY that forced the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays to postpone yesterday’s scheduled afternoon game. The Yankees have already announced that 2008 will be their final season in the 76 year old stadium, and at years end will be moving to a brand new park that has cost the team over 1 billion dollars to construct.
In Detroit, the Kansas City Royals spoiled the Tigers home opener with a 5-4 victory in 11 innings. Tony Pena Jr.’s tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the 11th would prove to be the game winning hit for the Royals. Mark Grudzielanek had three hits and a stolen base in the win. Justin Verlander pitched the first six innings for the Tigers allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits over 6 innings. He stuck out 6 batters and walked one in the performance and came away with a no decision. Right-handed pitcher Leo Nunez threw two hitless innings of relief and picked up the victory. Over the off-season the Tigers were one of the teams who hit the market hard for new players and currently have a pay-roll of $138 million dollars compared to the Royals $57 million.
C.C. Sabathia struggled in his opening day performance but the Cleveland Indians were still able to hold on for a 10-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Jacobs Field. Chicago 1B Jim Thome welcomed Sabathia, the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, back home with two monster home runs to center field in his first two plate appearances. Still, the Sox could not overcome a 7 run 2nd inning by the tribe that was led by a Franklin Gutierrez three-run homer and a solo shot by Grady Sizemore. Gutierrez went 3-3 on the day. The knock out punch for the Indians came in the bottom of the 8th inning when Casey Blake hit a two-out double with the bases loaded to break a 7-7 tie. Octavio Dotel took the loss for the White Sox while Rafael Betancourt logged the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless work.
With ace pitcher Scott Kazmir on the 15-day DL to start the season, the Tampa Bay Rays handed the ball to James Shields to open the year and it turned out to be a great move. Shields pitched 7 strong innings and picked up the win in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 opening day victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. After allowing two runs on a Kevin Millar 2 RBI double in the 1st inning, Shields settled down and did not allow another run in his outing. The Rays received three hits from C Dioner Navarro and a solo home run from OF Eric Hinske. Jeremy Guthrie suffered the loss for Baltimore, allowing all 6 runs (5 earned) over 5 1/3 innings while scattering nine hits and 1 walk.
The Seattle Mariners have high hopes for the 2008 season, and a lot of that is based on the off-season acquisition of new ace pitched Erik Bedard. In his first outing with his new team, Bedard pitched 5 innings while allowing 1 run on 3 hits that helped lift the Mariners past the Texas Rangers 5-2 last night. Bedard struggled at times finding the plate and throwing strikes, and in return walked 4 batters. 2B Jose Lopez went 2-4 and had 2 RBI’s in the win for Seattle. In the losing effort, SS Michael Young went yard in the 1st inning off Bedard and losing pitcher Kevin Millwood pitched well allowing only 2 unearned runs on 4 hits through 6 innings.
Torri Hunter returned to Minnesota for his debut with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim only to be welcomed with an 0-4 performance at the plate and a 3-2 loss from his former Minnesota Twins. Livan Hernandez hurled 7 innings for to earn the win allowing 7 hits and 2 runs. Hunter’s replacement in CF for the Twins, Carlos Gomez, scored two runs in the game, including the eventual game winner in the 5th on a Michael Cuddyer RBI single. Joe Nathan pitched the 9th inning and earned the save, striking out Hunter during his effort.
With uncertainty surrounding Curt Schilling’s shoulder the Boston Red Sox picked up a little insurance today. The Sox signed the 2005 Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal. Times have certainly changed for Colon who settled for a minor league deal with no guaranteed money. If Colon pitches in the Majors he’ll receive a smll salary with bonus incentives. Bartolo Colon is coming off an injury plagued 2007 season with the Los Angeles Angels where he posted a career low 6.34 ERA.
While everyone’s eyes, ears, and …. imaginations have been focused on where Johan Santana would end up, the American League hot stove has been quietly churning. Here is a quick recap of some moves to date. (more)