Red Sox - 000 002 002 - 4 8 1Jason Bay crushed a high fastball from John Lackey to deep left with two outs in the sixth, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. RBI singles from Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz provided some ninth-inning insurance.
Angels - 001 000 000 - 1 9 1
Lester started off on the wrong foot, allowing two hits and a walk in the first inning. He left the bases loaded and although he allowed an unearned run in the third, he also stranding two more baserunners. After Torii Hunter's single gave LA a 1-0 lead, Lester retired 13 of his next 15 batters, including striking out the side in the sixth. Only one of his 21 outs was hit beyond the infield.
Justin Masterson allowed a couple of singles in the eighth, but a bone-headed baserunning play from Vladimir Guerrero cut a potential rally short. Vlad, who can barely jog, tried to go from first to third on a pop single to short right and Kevin Youkilis gunned him down by -- seriously -- 35 feet.
Jonathan Papelbon took care of the Angels in the ninth -- as many of the "fans" had packed up their noisemakers du jour and gone home.
Ellsbury had three hits and a stolen base; he also reached on a three-base error by right fielder Gary Matthews. And he made a diving catch on a sinking liner for the first out in the LAA eighth. ... Pedroia walked twice, Yook singled and walked, Bay doubled and donged, and Lowrie singled and scored.
In the NL: the Phillies beat the Brewers 3-1 and the Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-2.
Jon Lester (3.21, 143 ERA+) / John Lackey (3.75, 116 ERA+)
Results of the ALDS Poll:
Red Sox Angels
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Chone Figgins, 3B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Garret Anderson, LF
David Ortiz, DH Mark Teixeira, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Vladimir Guerrero, DH
J.D. Drew, RF Torii Hunter, CF
Jason Bay, LF Howie Kendrick, 2B
Mike Lowell, 3B Mike Napoli, C
Jed Lowrie, SS Gary Matthews Jr., RF
Jason Varitek, C Erick Aybar, SS
Lester finished 4th in the AL in ERA.
IP H BB K WHIP AVG OBP SLG
Lester 210.1 202 66 152 1.274 .256 .320 .368
Lackey 163.1 161 40 130 1.231 .260 .315 .435
W-L RS RA DIF EXPWL OPS+ ERA+So we hit better, get on base more often, have more power, score more runs, and allow fewer runs. ... Tell me again: Why the Angels are favoured in this series?
Red Sox 95-67 845 694 +151 95-67 108 114
Angels 100-62 765 697 + 68 88-74 96 109
AVG OBP SLG RS/G RA/G ERA
Red Sox .280 .358 .447 5.22 4.28 4.01
Angels .268 .330 .413 4.72 4.30 4.00
Is it their closer? Which of these three closers do you like?
IP H BB K ERA OBP SLG WHIP IR/SCloser A has walked a ton of batters and his ability at preventing inherited runners from scoring is putrid. At least one writer gives huge weight to a worthless stat and thinks A is the AL MVP. ... I'm assuming you know who A & B are (think Angels and Boston). Any writers considering Frod for MVP should probably slot Joakim Soria (C) even further up on the ballot.
A 68.2 54 34 77 2.24 .314 .316 1.288 18/7
B 69.1 58 8 77 2.34 .245 .315 0.952 30/4
C 67.1 39 19 66 1.60 .248 .255 0.861 6/2
Lackey's last outing? 2.2 IP, 12 hits, 10 runs! In four September starts, batters pounded him to the tune of a 1.042 OPS (.356/.420/.622). Since July 5, he has a 5.42 ERA in 94.2 innings. ... He did well in his two starts against Boston, though: July 18 (7-5-3-2-6) and July 29 (9-2-2-2-4).
Before the issue of Josh Beckett's oblique forced a shuffling of the rotation, there was talk that Lester should pitch Game 3 at Fenway because of his poor road record this year. That will not happen, though Lester would be pitching Game 4 in Boston, if necessary.
Lester's splits from this season:
GS ERA IP H BB K AVG OBP SLGI think the home/road ERA split is exaggerated -- and, ultimately, should not cause anyone to worry. (For those who care, his home/road records were 11-1 and 5-5.)
Home 17 2.49 115.2 103 35 86 .240 .303 .361
Road 16 4.09 94.2 99 31 66 .275 .341 .375
First, let's note that in both 2006 and 2007, Lester did not have much of a split.
2007 IP ERA OPSSo why the bigger split in 2008? Well, two of Lester's worst starts of the year came on the road. He allowed six runs in five innings in Houston on June 28 and gave up seven runs in 2.1 innings in Toronto on August 23. If you toss out those bad days, his road ERA drops a full run -- from 4.09 to 3.09.
Home 23 4.30 .775
Road 40 4.72 .740
2006 IP ERA OPS
Home 49.1 4.74 .807
Road 32 4.78 .825
Of course, those starts did happen, but when you are working with a small sample size, a crappy outing or two -- for whatever reason -- can have a larger than deserved effect. Also, there is a touch of poor luck with his road BABIP (batting average on balls in play) -- a somewhat high .321.
Lester saw Los Angeles once this year -- April 23 at Fenway. 5-9-4-2-1, 80. The Angels won 6-4. Lester has pitched in Anaheim twice (once each in 2006 and 2007), allowing 14 hits, seven walks and eight runs in 8.1 innings.
According to the Globe, Beckett threw lightly on Tuesday: "30 throws from 60 feet, moved back to 90 feet and made 20 throws, then moved back to 60". Francona: "Everything was very encouraging. Everything was real positive." ... Plenty of additional links in Art Marrone's column.
BP's Joe Sheehan agrees with me: Red Sox in 4 (though he adds: "There is no result — a sweep, a five-game series, either team winning — that would come as a surprise.).
Finally: The Boston media is misrepresenting Manny Ramirez's latest comments about his time in Boston. The Herald's Gerry Callahan writes that Manny's "problem with Boston [was] us. You and me. Fans and media." Actually, what Manny said was this:
The fans in Boston got your back no matter what, but I'm talking about the people who write all this bull because it means so much to them.So: the fans are great and the writers are dicks. And that's the reason for the media's negative spin.
Remember: SHOTS = VICTORY! We're 7-for-7!
Other games today:
NLDS 1: Brewers at Phillies at 3
NLDS 1: Dodgers at Cubs at 6