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But in the end it would come down to the back-end of the bullpen—the part that was supposed to be reliable—giving up the game. Billy Wagner gave up a double and a walk before Terry Francona called on Papelbon for the final 4 outs. Papelbon didn’t deliver. A single to Juan Rivera scored both of Wagner’s baserunners in the 8th, and in the 9th Papelbon—who had never given up a postseason run—absolutely blew up with 2 outs, giving up a single, a walk, a double, and an intentional walk to bring Vladimir Guerrero to the plate with the bases loaded, 2 outs, and a one run lead. Guerrero singled to center, the Sox went down in order in the 9th, and their season was over.
Over the Monster follows up with some suddenly relevant questions as the Red Sox enter the offseason. Check it out.
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Vladimir Guerrero singled home the tying and go- ahead runs in the top of the ninth, as the Angels scored five times in the last two innings to stun Boston, 7-6, and sweep the American League Division Series.
Jonathan Papelbon (0-1), who entered the game having never given up a run in 17 career postseason appearances (26 innings), tried to protect a 6-4 Red Sox lead in the ninth and quickly retired the first two batters in front of a boisterous crowd at Fenway Park.
But the Red Sox faithful turned silent as Los Angeles completed a shocking comeback.
Erick Aybar lined a base hit to center and Chone Figgins walked before Bobby Abreu ripped an RBI double off the left-field wall. After Papelbon intentionally walked Torii Hunter, Guerrero dumped a single into center field to put the Halos ahead.
Brian Fuentes tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the series.
It was a measure of revenge for a Los Angeles club that had lost in the ALDS to the Red Sox in 2004, 2007 and 2008.
Juan Rivera had two hits and drove in two runs, while Kendry Morales clubbed a solo home run for the Angels, who advanced to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2005.
Los Angeles starting pitcher Scott Kazmir gave up five runs on five hits and walked three in six innings of work. Darren Oliver (1-0) recorded the last out in the eighth to earn the win.
J.D. Drew belted a two-run homer and Dustin Pedroia added a two-run double for the Red Sox. The last time Boston was swept in the playoffs was by Chicago in the 2005 ALDS.
Victor Martinez and Mike Lowell knocked in the other runs for Boston, while Clay Buchholz, making his postseason debut, gave up two runs on six hits in his five-plus inning start.
The Red Sox, who were held to one run and eight hits in the first two games of this series, put up a three-spot in the third inning.
Alex Gonzalez was aboard via a one-out walk and Jacoby Ellsbury singled before Pedroia cleared the bases by doubling off the Green Monster. He then scored on a base hit to left by Martinez.
Morales' blast to the seats in right field put Los Angeles on the board in the fourth, but Boston countered in the bottom of the inning on the home run by Drew -- a rocket to center field for a 5-1 Red Sox lead.
The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth. Daniel Bard relieved Buchholz and managed to limit the damage to one run on a double-play grounder off the bat of Rivera.
Billy Wagner was on the mound to begin the eighth for Boston. Abreu hit a chopper down the first-base line that deflected off Kevin Youkilis' glove and bounced out of play, allowing Abreu to move up to second base. Guerrero walked with one out and a groundout by Morales put both runners in scoring position.
Papelbon was then called on from the bullpen and Rivera slapped the right- hander's first pitch to right-center for a two-run single. Papelbon picked off pinch-runner Reggie Willits to end the inning.
Lowell's RBI single gave Boston a two-run lead heading to the ninth.
Abreu finished with three hits...Los Angeles went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position...Papelbon had thrown the most career postseason innings in major league history without allowing a run.
- Via Sports Network.
Up 2-0 in the series, the Angels only have to win one more. As a bonus, winning Game 3 would complete a sweep of the Red Sox, who have beaten them three times this decade in the ALDS (2004, 2007 and 2008).
Clay Buchholz will start for the Red Sox in Fenway, and Scott Kazmir will take the hill for the Angels. SB Nation’s Halos Heaven has an exhaustive breakdown of Kazmir’s history with each member of the Red Sox lineup, and Over the Monster features a quick Q&A with Halos Heaven. In part:
OTM: The Angels stole their first base in game two. All the experts predicted the Angels would “run wild” over the Sox. Is this somewhat a surprise, or did you expect this?
[Halos Heaven:] Because most analysts cannot pinpoint Mike Sciosica’s managing, they find the baserunning and fixate on it. This team does not live by speed alone.
The Red Sox were held to just one run on four hits in Friday night’s loss to the Angels in Anaheim. SB Nation’s Sox blog, Over the Monster, laments Jered Weaver’s dominance of Boston’s lineup:
The Sox had four hits again for the second night in a row. The only run they scored was off a Jacoby Ellsbury triple. Victor Martinez knocked him in in the fourth inning to take the lead, but after that … nothing.
Jered Weaver looked like Tom Seaver. He really didn’t struggle at all with the Red Sox lineup. And why should he? The Sox are playing like a junior high squad at this point. It doesn’t matter who the Angels throw out there, because in two games so far, everyone has handled the Sox without a problem.
Hope, though, is not lost, as Over the Monster also points out that the Red Sox have a history, albeit relatively distant, of overcoming 2-0 series deficits.
I never called game two a must win. It would have been nice to win, but it’s not impossible to come back from a 0-2 hole. Actually, only four teams have ever come back down 0-2 to win a series. Two of those you might remember.
In 1999, the Red Sox did it. In 2003, the Red Sox did it. Can the Red Sox do it 2009, too?
Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) – Jered Weaver was dominant through 7 1/3 innings, and the Angels scored three two-out runs in the seventh inning to break a tie, as Los Angeles grabbed a commanding AL Division Series lead over the Red Sox with a 4-1 victory at Angel Stadium.
The Angels, who have lost in the ALDS to the Red Sox in 2004, 2007 and 2008, now lead the best-of-five series, 2-0, and will go for a sweep at Fenway Park on Sunday at 12:07 p.m. (et).
Weaver (1-0) allowed just one run on two hits and two walks while fanning seven for the Angels, who have won the first two games of a postseason series for only the second time in franchise history. The last time was in 1982 against the Brewers in a five-game ALCS, when Milwaukee responded from its deficit to win three straight games and the league pennant.
“We certainly are aware of the challenge ahead of us, even after tonight’s ball game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “There’s one thing that gives you command of the series, and that’s when you win the third game in a five- game series, and that’s what we’re going to focus on trying to get done on Sunday.”
It was the third career playoff appearance for Weaver — all against Boston — and he earned his first win as a starter, having been 1-1 with one start in 2007 and one relief appearance in 2008. It was the second consecutive pitching gem for LA, after John Lackey pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings in a 5-0 win on Thursday.
Erick Aybar capped the two-out, three-run rally in the seventh with a two-run triple, and Maicer Izturis put Los Angeles ahead for good with an RBI single, adding a run scored. Brian Fuentes earned his first career postseason save.
Josh Beckett (0-1), who has been a playoff hero for both Boston and Florida, allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings to take the loss for the Red Sox, who will send Clay Buchholz to the mound in Game 3 to make his first postseason start with an opportunity to extend Boston’s season.
Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP with the Marlins and 2007 ALCS MVP with Boston, suffered his first loss in the playoffs since joining the Red Sox, having been 5-0 in seven starts coming into the game. Boston, which has scored just one run in the two games combined, got an RBI single from Victor Martinez to account for the offense.
The last nine times the Red Sox have lost Game 1 of a postseason series, they have also lost Game 2. Despite the setbacks, they have won two of the last three series in which they trailed, 0-2. Out of the four times a team has recovered from an 0-2 hole in the LDS to advance, Boston has recorded two of those comebacks (1999 vs. Cleveland, 2003 vs. Oakland).
“I’d rather not be down, 0-2, because the team we’re playing is really good,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “You put yourself in a position where if you make a mistake, it’s going to cost you. But until they tell us to go home, we’ll take our team and keep going. That’s how we always feel.”
After both teams scored a run in the fourth, Weaver and Beckett began pitching effectively again like they had early in the game, matching zeroes on the scoreboard.
Weaver allowed just two walks in three scoreless innings from the fifth through the seventh, and Beckett retired eight batters in a row heading into the bottom of the seventh before the Angels exploded for three runs, all with two outs.
“Anytime you can keep (Boston) off the bases and score some runs against Beckett, your team is doing a good job,” Weaver said. “I was very locked into Lackey last night and used some of the things I learned tonight. For the most part, everything I threw was working.”
Vladimir Guerrero led off the frame with a walk, and pinch-runner Howie Kendrick stole second with one out. Juan Rivera grounded out sharply to third, but Izturis followed with a hard grounder that barely made it past the outstretched glove of second baseman Dustin Pedroia and into center field, scoring Kendrick easily for a 2-1 lead.
Izturis quickly stole second, and Mike Napoli was hit by a pitch to lead to Aybar’s fly ball over Jacoby Ellsbury’s head in center for a two-run, two-out triple that gave the Angels a three-run cushion.
Weaver was lifted after recording the first out of the eighth, and Darren Oliver pitched around a two-out infield single to bridge the gap to Kevin Jepsen, who allowed a one-out double to Kevin Youkilis. Fuentes then came in and walked Jason Bay with two outs but got Mike Lowell to fly out weakly to end the game.
The game had all the makings of a pitchers’ duel early, as Weaver and Beckett went out-for-out in the first three frames. Through the third, both teams combined for one baserunner and no runs.
Boston, though, broke the scoreless tie with a run in the fourth. Ellsbury struck Weaver’s first pitch to deep center, and the ball one-hopped the wall for a leadoff triple. Two batters later, Martinez laced an RBI single to center to give the visitors their first run of the series.
The Angels were able to even the game in the home half. Bobby Abreu took a Beckett pitch the other way for a single through the infield’s left side, and Guerrero executed a perfect one-out hit-and-run play, singling through where the second baseman would have been to put runners on the corners.
Kendry Morales followed with a sacrifice fly to right for a 1-1 game.
Dating back to the regular season, Beckett has allowed three or more runs in eight of 10 starts…Beckett also made a start in last year’s LDS against the Angels, allowing four runs in five innings for a no-decision…Scott Kazmir is the probable starter for LA on Sunday…Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon pitched one scoreless inning, extending his postseason streak to 26 shutout frames, the most career postseason innings in major league history without allowing a run.
- Via Sports Network
John Lackey silenced Boston’s bats over 7 1/3 shutout frames and Torii Hunter hit a three-run home run, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim began their American League Division Series with a 5-0 victory over Boston.
Lackey (1-0) was solid, if not spectacular, mowing down a potent Red Sox offense with ease. The right-hander scattered four hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Hunter had the big hit and seven different Angels had hits.
“I felt pretty good in the bullpen. My arm felt good,” said Lackey. “My arm was alive tonight, and I had a breaking good fastball.”
Los Angeles hasn’t fared well in the postseason versus Boston, losing in the ALDS to the Red Sox in 2004, 2007, 2008. It had lost five straight home playoff games to the Red Sox before Thursday, and the victory was just its second win in the last 11 playoff meetings with Boston.
Game 1 began with a solid performance from Lackey and timely hitting against Jon Lester (0-1), who gave up three runs on four hits with an uncharacteristic four walks and five strikeouts over six frames. His walk of Bobby Abreu paved the way for Hunter’s moon shot in the fifth.
Boston had just one fewer error (3) than hits (4) in the contest. The Red Sox were last shut out in a postseason game during the 1995 season. They managed just three singles and walked just once in a game dominated by the Angels pitching staff.
“We gave them extra opportunities,” said Boston manager Terry Francona. “Hunter’s homer was huge because of the way Lackey was pitching. He had a lot of life on his fastball.”
Game 2 is Friday night at Angel Stadium.
The Angels threatened in the home third but Vladimir Guerrero struck out with the bases loaded. The home team finally got to Lester and took the lead in the fifth. Erick Aybar opened the frame with double down the left-field line before a sacrifice bunt from Chone Figgins and a walk to Abreu. Hunter then recognized a Lester mistake — a belt-high fastball down the middle — and deposited it on to the rock formation deep over the left-center-field wall for a 3-0 edge.
“Lester is one of the best lefties there is. I was lucky or blessed. He threw me a fastball down the middle and I capitalized on his mistake,” said Hunter.
The Red Sox put two men on base to no avail in the top of the sixth, then Jacoby Ellsbury ranged to his left to dive and stab a Figgins liner with a runner on second to end the bottom of that frame.
The Angels added some insurance in the seventh. Abreu, for the second time in a run-scoring frame, walked in front of Hunter, who was hit by a pitch to put two men on base with nobody out. Guerrero’s single past the pitcher loaded the bases before Juan Rivera’s double-play grounder plated a run. Kendry Morales’ soft liner to left plated another runner for a 5-0 advantage.
The game included a couple of controversial calls involving Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick and first base umpire CB Bucknor. The umpire called Kendrick safe on a ground ball to Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez in the fourth. Gonzalez’s throw was high but replays showed first baseman Kevin Youkilis came down and tagged Kendrick just before he hit the bag. Then in the sixth, Mike Lowell’s throw on a Kendrick grounder sailed high, but again Youkilis appeared to climb the ladder and come down with the ball on the bag well before Kendrick reached the base. Bucknor again called the runner safe, and Francona argued both calls to no avail…Abreu walked four times…Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz struck out three times.
— Via Sports Network
Halos Heaven is reveling in the fact that pretty much everyone got this series wrong.
In the first postseason shutout in Angels franchise history, every prediction by the national media and the bloggers was rendered pointless. The Angels did not run the bases on the lousy Red Sox catchers, the vaunted Red Sox bullpen choked up two runs, the Red Sox starting pitching left a fastball on a tee for a player Red Sox partisans called a “guess hitter” … Torii Hunter guessed right on a Jon Lester fastball, John Lackey pitched 7+ shutout innings, Darren Oliver was a stellar bullpen presence and the Angels made a statement by opening their 2009 ALDS with an impressive 5-0 stomping of the Boston Red Sox.
Jon Lester was having himself quite an evening, having given up only two hits through five. But oh, how quickly things change in the playoffs.
Erick Aybar doubled, Bobby Abreau walked and Torii Hunter’s launched a three-run homer for put the Angels up 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth.
John Lackey, working on a three-hitter himself, will try to maintain that lead.
If the Sox want to win game one on the west coast, they’ll have to knock John Lackey out of the game early, according to SBNation’s Over The Monster:
The key to winning game one: Make Lackey throw as many pitches as possible. He has a history of giving up a good amount of hits and walks, but the Sox need to take advantage of that and knock in runners on the basepaths. If the Sox can get Lackey off the mound early, their chances to score against the bullpen are very good. The bullpen, throughout the whole series, will be the key for the Sox — face them early and hit them hard.
SBNation’s Halos Heaven — always keeping the priorities in check come gametime:
Over/Under 29.5: Number of times the announcers excitedly stroke a Red Sox player who is neither on base, on deck, at bat warming up or on the mound.
YES or NO: Mike Scioscia will be caught picking his nose at least one time when the camera focuses on him in the dugout (note: does not apply to mound visits).
YES or NO: There will be more closeups on Boston Pink Hats than on Rally Monkeys
For the fourth time in six seasons, the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (of California) are meeting in the ALDS, beginning tonight at 9:37 p.m. EST, live from Angel Stadium on TBS (fortunately, Chip Caray is not involved).
Maybe the fifth time's the charm? For whatever reason (the Curse of Dave Henderson?), the Angels have never beaten the Sox in the playoffs: including the 1986 ALCS, they've met four times, and the Halos have lost them all. Will 2009 be different? We'll know more after tonight's opening game.
No word on lineups yet, but in the meantime you can take a glance at the rosters. The Sox are leaving Rocco Baldelli and Tim Wakefield at home while Paul Byrd is making himself comfortable out in the bullpen. The Angels opted for a 10-man pitching staff, with John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders scheduled to start Games 1-4, respectively.
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