I've come to realize that as long as my thoughts and purpose are in the right place, then it doesn't matter what happens after that. I can't control, once the ball leaves my hand, what happens. Nothing in my mechanics has changed. Mentally, I'm more prepared to pitch. That just comes from experience, having that routine.Terry Francona:
I think he understands attacking hitters. I think that cutter has become an even bigger weapon, the more comfort he gets with it. He just has more comfort throwing all his pitches. The curveball was a work in progress [before]. Now it's a pitch. The changeup has more of a presence.In talking about the post-season, Theo Epstein was his usual pragmatic self.
How we're going to play in October, nobody can answer that. The track record of a lot of these players is that they answer the bell when it matters most. ...Some comparisons between the Red Sox and Angels.
I try not to have too many gut feelings about the roster, because then if you rely solely on your gut, your gut changes. If you followed the public perception of this team, even over the past six weeks, it was, "We can't score runs for six games, we're dead in the water."
That creeps into everyone's analysis, but that's more how you feel in your gut. Then all of a sudden, we're world beaters and everyone's pick to win the World Series, and now I feel like the last week or 10 days, "Oh no, they're limping in, they're backing in again." All that doesn't really mean anything. All that matter is: How good are we, and how are we going to play in October?
Red Sox AngelsIn the last three LDS against the Angels -- 2004, 2007 and 2008 -- the Red Sox are 9-1.
Runs 872 (3rd) 883 (2nd)
OBP .352 (2nd) .350 (3rd)
SLG .454 (2nd) .441 (4th)
ERA 4.35 (7th) 4.45 (9th)
Starter ERA 4.63 (8th) 4.44 (4th)
Relief ERA 3.80 (2nd) 4.49 (11th)
Jonathan Papelbon has yet to allow a run in the post-season. In 25 innings over 16 games, he has allowed 10 hits and six walks while striking out 22.
I feel stronger than I have entering any other postseason before, even '07. ... I made plenty of adjustments this year. Now I feel like I'm in that zone. I love pressure.Bot walked more batters this year (24) than he did in 2007 and 2008 combined (15 and eight), but it did not translate into any more runs allowed. His 1.85 ERA was identical to his mark in 2007 and better than last year's 2.35.
Bot's last blown save was back on July 28 (JoS night at Fenway). Since then, he has pitched 25 innings in 23 games. He has allowed 15 hits and racked up 31 strikeouts.
The performance of the bullpens could well be the most crucial aspect of this series. And if that is the case, Boston has a huge advantage. The Angels' bullpen finished 11th among the 14 AL teams in teams in ERA. The three worst pens -- Baltimore, Kansas City and Cleveland -- belonged to the teams with the three worst winning percentages in the league.