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Red Sox-Angels Preview

Oct 9, 2009 - 6:33 AM By KATE HEDLIN STATS Writer

Boston (95-67) at Los Angeles (97-65), 9:37 p.m. EDT

Much was made during the last week about Boston's domination over Los Angeles in the postseason, but it was the Angels who made a big statement in the opener of this best-of-five series.

Los Angels looks to take a commanding lead in the American League Division Series with the Red Sox as the two meet Friday night at Angel Stadium.

The Angels began the postseason insisting they weren't thinking about their lack of success in the playoffs against the Red Sox. Boston had eliminated Los Angeles each of the last two years and in three of the Angels' previous four postseason appearances.

Los Angeles, though, opened the series with a 5-0 victory Thursday. Torii Hunter, who was extremely vocal about the Angels forgetting about the past, broke a scoreless tie with a three-run homer off Jon Lester in the fifth while John Lackey pitched a four-hitter for the team's first postseason shutout.

"Whatever the hex is, I guess somebody un-hexed it," Chone Figgins said. "We've played tight games with them before, and they came out on top. But we had the ace going on the mound, and Torii got a big hit."

In a matchup between two of the league's most potent offenses, Boston went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and committed three errors.

David Ortiz struck out three times while going 0 for 4, and Kevin Youkilis failed to take advantage of a rare scoring opportunity, grounding to Figgins at third for an inning-ending forceout with two runners on in the sixth.

"Four singles and three errors isn't going to win too many ballgames, so you tip your hat a little bit. But I think we can be better," Jason Bay said.

While the Angels are again trying to win their first playoff series against the Red Sox, winning Game 1 has proven to be anything but an advantage for them. All three times Los Angeles has taken a series lead - in 1982 against Milwaukee, in 1986 versus Boston and in 2005 against Chicago - it has lost the series.

Los Angeles will also have to face Boston ace Josh Beckett, a proven big-game pitcher in the postseason seeking redemption from a subpar playoffs in 2008.

Despite Beckett's team-high 17 wins, manager Terry Francona felt Lester was better equipped to pitch on short rest for a possible Game 4. With that decision now open to scrutiny, Francona hands the ball to Beckett in hopes the Red Sox will return to Boston with the series tied at 1.

Beckett went 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA en route to Boston's 2007 World Series title, but he was bothered by an oblique injury last year and allowed seven homers in 14 1-3 innings over three starts. Beckett, who had an 8.79 ERA in those three outings, thinks being healthy will make a difference.

"Obviously, last year was a little bit different," he said. "So far as physically coming in, it's a lot better. Last month, it's been better than it was two months ago, so I'm just looking forward to going out there and doing what I'm supposed to do."

The right-hander also was inconsistent late in the season, posting a 6.02 ERA in his final nine outings. Beckett did win three of his last four starts, but also skipped one turn due to back spasms.

Beckett went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Angels this season. He's made two playoff appearances against them, pitching a four-hitter in 2007, and allowed four runs in five innings of last year's 5-4, 12-inning loss in Game 3.

Jered Weaver, who pitched two scoreless innings for the victory in Game 3 last year, gets the start for the Angels.

He went 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 13 2-3 innings against the Red Sox this season, striking out 12 while walking three. Despite his dominance against them, the right-hander respects their potent lineup.

"Obviously the Red Sox are a great team," he said. "Anybody in that lineup can hurt you. ... You don't get a breather one through nine."

Weaver won a career-high 16 games and led the Angels in starts and innings pitched. He struggled in the second half, though, losing three straight starts before closing the regular season with a victory against Oakland after pitching five scoreless innings.

"Toward the end of the season, I felt a lot stronger," Weaver said. "So, hopefully, I can take that good feeling into the postseason start (Friday)."






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  • Angels 4, Red Sox 1 - FINAL
    BOSTON ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    J Ellsbury cf 4 1 2 0 0 2 0 .286
    D Pedroia 2b 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 .125
    V Martinez c 4 0 1 1 0 1 0 .143
    K Youkilis 1b 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 .125
    D Ortiz dh 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
    J Bay lf 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 .200
    M Lowell

    Oct 10 12:52 AM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY ERICK AYBAR SCORED MIKE NAPOLI AND MAICER IZTURIS
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, E AYBAR ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    LA ANGELS 4 BOTTOM,7TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: C FIGGINS (.000, 0-FOR-3)

    Red Sox 1, Angels 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 10 12:03 AM
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  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MAICER IZTURIS SCORED HOWIE KENDRICK
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M IZTURIS ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    LA ANGELS 2 BOTTOM,7TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: M NAPOLI (.000, 0-FOR-2)

    Red Sox 1, Angels 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 9 11:55 PM
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  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY KENDRY MORALES SCORED BOBBY ABREU
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, V GUERRERO ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    LA ANGELS 1 BOTTOM,4TH
    DUE UP FOR LA ANGELS: J RIVERA (.200, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox 1, Angels 1  Bot 4, 0 OutsOct 9 10:52 PM


  • AL
    AT LA ANGELS PLAYOFFS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY VICTOR MARTINEZ SCORED JACOBY ELLSBURY
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, V MARTINEZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    LA ANGELS 0 TOP,4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox 1, Angels 0  Top 4, 0 OutsOct 9 10:35 PM
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