John Lackey allowed just four hits in seven innings from the mound as the Los Angeles Angels went on to defeat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 in their opening ALDS matchup. Knowing he hadn’t earned a post-season win since 2002 going into yesterday’s game, Lackey was more than happy to finally help his squad in October. “Even in the bullpen, I knew my arm was feeling good,” he said. “The extra rest that I had really helped me out. I really felt like my arm was pretty live tonight. Our fans get dogged for not being loud enough, but they brought it tonight, and that ovation I got coming off the mound meant a lot to me.”
Jon Lester for the Red Sox let up three runs from one big mistake in his five innings pitched. The flaw in his outing came in the fifth when he left a fast ball right over the plate for Torii Hunter to smash over the center field wall. The three run jack scored Erick Aybar and Bobby Abreu.
Game 2 is scheduled for October 9th. Red Sox ace Josh Becket will be taking the mound against the 16-8 Jered Weaver. Don’t miss the chance to see your Red Sox when they come back around to Fenway Park! ALDS tickets are available now!
Riding off their 12 inning AL Central tie-breaking spectacular, the Minnesota Twins carried their adrenalin over to the Bronx but couldn’t keep it up for all nine innings. Yankees veteran shortstop Derek Jeter crushed a two run shot down the left field line in the bottom of the third inning last night to bring New York back in the game. From there the Bronx Bombers completely dominated, finishing the ALDS opener with a 7-2 victory.
CC Sabathia showed he can perform on the hill just as well in October, letting up just two runs in eight innings of work. Jeter and third basemen Alex Rodriguez led the Yanks high power offense with two hits apiece. Outfielder Hideki Matsui contributed with 2 RBI’s from his 5th inning blast to center field.
Minnesota is not yet discouraged but is excited to have an extra day to be ready for Game 2. “We all need to go home, get a good night’s rest,” said Twins pitcher Carl Pavano, who will start Game 3. “We’re going to be a little fresher, I’m sure, on Friday.” Saturdays game will again take place at Yankee Stadium and is scheduled to start up at 6:07 PM.
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New York Yankees third basemen Alex Rodriguez heading into their last regular season game needed two home runs and seven more RBI’s to top the list of most consecutive 30 HR 100 RBI seasons. In the sixth inning alone he did just that. A-Rod nailed a three-run shot and a grand slam all in the same inning to earn his record over Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth, and Jimmie Foxx as the Yankees went on to dominate the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2 last night at Tropicana Field.
Rodriguez thought his year by year streak would end yesterday, saying “I just didn’t think it was realistic at all, so therefore it wasn’t even a goal.” Yankees first basemen Mark Teixeira was glad to see most everyone in the lineup contributing to their 10-run sixth inning. “It was awesome. That was a great inning for him and for the team,” he said. “It’s good to have a nice offensive output like that the last game of the season and give us some momentum.”
New York will have to wait and see who they will play host to first for their upcoming ALDS series. The Twins and Tigers are set to play a tiebreaker tomorrow night in Minnesota for the AL Central division.
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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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Longtime Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield threw five solid innings for Boston, letting up four runs with seven walks and two strike outs in the heavy rain. The Kansas City Royals waited until the later innings to really get their offense going, scoring six runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to pull ahead 12-9.
In less than ideal weather conditions, the Sox and Royals combine for a total of 23 hits. Billy Butler, Mike Jacobs, Miguel Olivo, and Josh Anderson all contributed multiple hits for Kansas City. Jason Bay led Boston’s offense with two hits including a homer in the third off the left-handed Lenny DiNardo.
Even though the Red Sox couldn’t come out with the win it was good to see Wakefield back in action. Players and coaches alike were thrilled to see him on the mound once again last night. “Gutsy performance again,” said Bay. “Obviously, you can tell Wake is not 100 percent out there, no question. He still wants to go out there and help out as much as he can. Given the circumstances and the runs we put up, I think that he did an admirable job and did enough to warrant a win.”
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Jacoby Ellsbury came up with three hits including a homer in the seventh inning to help the Boston Red Sox coast over the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 yesterday at Camden Yards. Boston is well on their way to clinch the Wild Card, expanding the lead to eight after sweeping the O’s this weekend. With just 14 games left in the regular season and three against their rival New York Yankees, the Sox find themselves five games back in the AL East division race.
“When we throw quality starts we’ve been in pretty much every game,” Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. “It’s a big part of how we win.” The start yesterday came from Daisuke Matsuzaka, who let up three runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Boston bats went to work. From there the bullpen closed it out through Ramon Ramirez, Hideki Okajima, and Takashi Saito.
The Red Sox are now looking ahead to their four game match up against the Kansas City Royals before heading to New York for their final series with the Yankees. Players and coaches are eager to keep it going, as they have been playing their best baseball to date. “You get solid pitching (and) it gives you an opportunity to win each and every night, regardless of how you swing the bats,” said Ellsbury . “It’s been nice to get the great starts we’ve been getting from our starting pitchers, and we’ve been swinging the bats well. Everything’s rolling..”
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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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Toronto Blue Jays infielders Edwin Encarnacion and Aaron Hill were both hit by pitches, putting the notion of retaliation through everyone’s head last night at Yankee Stadium. In a game already out of reach in favor of the Blue Jays in the eighth inning, relief pitcher Jesse Carlson threw a fastball behind Yankees catcher Jorge Posada at the plate. Soon after Posada gave a look that could kill while repeatedly saying “You don’t want to do that.” Benches cleared but minutes later tensions fell, or so we thought.
After scoring from Brett Gardner’s double Posada threw Carlson a nice elbow while running by, which ultimately led to the real brawl. “He was just right there on the line to the dugout. We got carried away and hopefully that’s the end of it,” said Posada. “I don’t want my kids to see that…fight in the middle of the field, benches clearing - that’s a bad example.” Carlson had somewhat of a more humorous take on the situation, saying “once he crossed the plate and threw that elbow at me or whatever, I just said, ‘Let’s go.’ I’m probably the smallest guy in MLB and we were right near their dugout, so I was just hoping I got out of there all right.”
Even though all of the excitement came and left with the fight, the game was still played. In the Blue Jays 10-4 victory ace Roy Halladay threw for six innings and gave up just two runs. Yankees Sergio Mitre definitely didn’t make it any kind of pitching duel, letting up seven runs and four home runs in his five innings pitched. The two teams are set to match up again tonight at Yankee Stadium. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
Friday nights rain delay caused for a Sunday double header where the Boston Red Sox really capitalized on the Tampa Bay Rays. Game 1 was decided in the bottom of the eighth when second basemen Dustin Pedroia hit a rare opposite field two-run blast to provide the Sox with a 3-1 lead. Pedroia was shocked when the ball left the park, knowing it’s just the second time in his entire baseball career for him to hit one over the right field wall. “I hit one in New York (on August 6th), but that’s a short field,” Pedroia said. “I was just trying to hit the ball in the air, and they’ve been throwing me away a lot. I just got a pitch a little up, and I just drove it.”
The story of game 2 can really be told through one name: John Lester. The 13-7 Boston starter threw for eight innings without letting up a run (allowing just two hits). Lester has been on a complete tear this summer. Since May 31st he has earned a 10-2 record with a 2.02 ERA. “He threw 30 pitches two days ago and went out and threw 100 more and gave up two hits,” said Red Sox left fielder Jason Bay. “He’s another guy that, for us, is throwing well at the right time.” Bay gave the Sox an extra run with a solo shot in the eighth.
With the way Lester and Buchholz are pitching now to complement Josh Beckett, the Red Sox starting rotation is certainly rated near the top for the league heading into the last few weeks of the regular season. Boston is now four games up on the Texas Rangers in the AL Wild Card standings. They are scheduled to host the LA Angels of Anaheim tomorrow at 7:10 pm.
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Dustin Pedroia led the derby for the Boston Red Sox with two home runs and three RBI’s as they went on to demolish the Orioles 10-0 last night at Fenway Park. After a dismal Labor day showing in regards to Boston’s offense, Kevin Youkilis, Alex Gonzalez, JD Drew, and David Ortiz all decided to take their drivers out against entire Baltimore pitching staff yesterday as well.
Big Papi’s center field shot ranked him tied with Frank Thomas for the most home runs all-time produced by a designated hitter. It didn’t seem to be on his mind during the game, since he just found out by reporters during post-game interviews. “I did? Ortiz Asked. “Wow. That’s a good accomplishment. Frank Thomas is a 500-home-run hitter, so to be tied with him, that’s special.” Ortiz has belted 312 career total homers and 269 as a DH.
Clay Buchholz never gave the Orioles a chance to come back (let alone score a run), allowing just three hits and one walk in his seven innings of work. Michael Bowden came in from the bullpen and shut the door in the eighth and ninth. “They had to respect every pitch that he could throw for strikes,” said manager Terry Francona on Buchholz. “When he pitches like that, and I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, it’s amazing how good the organization feels about the future. You look at him out there putting up zeroes, and the way he can do it, it’s very exciting.”
The Red Sox are now two games up on the Wild Card over the Texas Rangers heading into tonight’s game against Baltimore. With just over twenty games left in the regular season, Boston will look to keep that Wild Card lead and attempt to make up some ground in the AL East Standings.
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