Familiar Foes Boston and L.A. Meet in Game 1 of the ALDS

Familiar Foes Boston and L.A. Meet in Game 1 of the ALDS The Red Sox are making their 20th playoff appearance in their 109-year history in the American League.

Only the Yankees (46) and Athletics (23) have more playoff berths in major league history. The Sox are making their sixth postseason appearance in the last seven years and their third consecutive playoff appearance. It is just the second time in their history they have accomplished that feat; the last time was 2003-2005.

This is the third consecutive ALDS — and the fourth in the last six seasons — in which the Sox have faced the Angels. Boston has never lost a playoff series to the Angels and boasts a 13-4 record in those games. Furthermore, during this decade, the Red Sox are 9-1 against the Halos.

When and Where

9:37 pm ET (TBS), Oct. 8, 2009
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.

Records

Red Sox  (95-67, 2nd  place in AL East)
Angels (97-65, 1st place in AL West)

Skinny

The Red Sox lost the season series to the Angels 5-4. After losing the 2008 season series 8-1, it was the first time the Sox lost back-to-back season series to the Angels. In six games in Anaheim this season,  Boston was 2-4. In three ALDS openers against the Angels (2004, 2007, 2009), the Sox are 3-0 with a 2-0 record in Anaheim. This is first time an AL playoff series has matched the same two teams five times.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox
Angels
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Alex Gonzalez, SS

Angels lineup will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Starting Pitchers

LHP Jon Lester (15-8, 3.41 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.83 ERA)

Lester opens the postseason for the Red Sox for the second consecutive year, becoming the first left-hander in team history to do so and the first pitcher to do so since Pedro Martinez opened the playoffs in 1998 and 1999. In 14 innings over two starts against the Angels in the 2008 ALDS, Lester allowed just one unearned run. In seven career playoff games (five starts), he is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA (nine earned runs in 36 innings). Lester has the third-lowest career mark by a Red Sox starter with a 1.95 ERA in five postseason starts, behind only Babe Ruth (0.87) and Ernie Shore (1.82).

In 22 starts since May 31, Lester is 12-3 with a 2.31 ERA (37 earned runs in 144 innings). He reached the 15-win and 200-inning mark for the second straight season. Lester becomes one of just six AL left-handers since 1990 to record at least 15 wins, 200 innings and 200 strikeouts, joining Johan Santana (four times), Randy Johnson (four times), CC Sabathia (once), Barry Zito (once) and Chuck Finley (once).

Lackey is 2-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 11 postseason games (nine starts) since his rookie season in 2002. That year, the Angels won the World Series and he was the winning pitcher in Game 7 against the Giants. In three games against the Red Sox in two ALDS series (2007 and 2008), Lackey is 0-2 with a 3.66 ERA (eight earned runs in 19 2/3 innings).

In his last seven starts of the regular season, Lackey was 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA. The lone loss in that stretch fell on Sept. 15  against the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was returning from nearly three months on the disabled list. After the All-Star break, Lackey posted a record of and 7-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 15 starts. In 14 career regular-season starts against the Sox, he is 3-7 with a 5.25 ERA, his second-highest ERA against any AL team. He is 0-2 with a 3.66 ERA in three career playoff starts against Boston.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox

The Red Sox finished the regular season with a record of 95-67 (.586), the third-best record in the AL, behind only the Yankees (1-3-59, .636) and the Angels (97-65, .599). Boston finished tied with the Dodgers for the third-best record in the majors.

2009 marked Boston’s 12th straight winning season, its second-longest streak of consecutive winning seasons behind a 16-year stretch from 1967-1983.

The Sox reached 95 wins in each of the last three seasons, the only major league team to do so. The Sox have reached 95 or more wins in six of the last seven seasons (except 2006) and have reached that mark for the 16th time overall.

Since April 23, 2008, the Sox are 4-13 against the Angels in the regular season, their worst record against any opponent in that time.

The Sox are 3-9 in their last 12 regular season games at Angel Stadium, but they are 6-2 all-time in Anaheim in the playoffs, winning each of their last six games.

At 34-20, the Sox have the best postseason record of any team (minimum 20 games) since 2003. (The Cardinals are next at 23-17.)

Terry Francona leads the Sox to the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, becoming the only Sox manager to reach the playoffs more than twice. Of those five playoff berths, four have come as the wild-card champion, the most of any manager ever.

Angels
The Angels have lost their last six home playoff games, going back to the 2005 ALCS against the White Sox.

The Angels are 1-9 in their last 10 playoff games against the Sox, including a record of 0-5 in Anaheim.

The Angels outscored the Red Sox 86-58 over the last 15 regular-season games and are 13-4 in their last 17 games against the Sox.  

Mike Scioscia is the first manager in history to lead his team to the playoffs six times in his first 10 seasons managing.

Angels starting pitchers posted an ERA of 2.52 (63 earned runs in 224 2/3 innings) in their final 34 games of the regular season, lowering their season ERA to 4.44 and improving from 12th to fourth in the AL in that time.

Angels starters lead the AL with six shutouts and 70 wins.

The 2009 Angels are the only team in history with 11 players to record at least 50 RBIs each.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Josh Beckett
missed his penultimate start of the regular season and received cortisone shots because of back spasms. He should be cleared to pitch Game 2 of the ALDS.

Tim Wakefield, hampered by an ailing back and leg, will not be on the ALDS roster.

Manny Delcarmen’s back has been stiff since a car accident on Saturday. He will not be on Boston’s ALDS roster.

Rocco Baldelli’s left hip renders him an uncertainty for the ALDS roster.

Nick Green is hampered by an ailing back and leg. He will not be on the ALDS roster.

Angels
Reliever Jason Bulger received a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Sunday and is questionable for the ALDS.

This Date In Red Sox History

In 1915, the Red Sox lost the opening game of the World Series 3-1 to Philadelphia. Boston then won the next four games and the World Series.

Overheard

“I think once you get one Game 1 under your belt, it makes every other game easier. It’s going to be crazy here, just like it was last year, when we went to Tampa. But that’s what makes it fun.’’
– Jon Lester, on starting Game 1 of  the ALDS

Press Box

Red Sox
The Red Sox will count on their power arms in the ALDS.

Jon Lester is up to the challenge of starting Game 1.

Jonathan Papelbon looks to pad his October numbers.

Kevin Youkilis cares about his craft — maybe too much.

Some keys to the series.

Angels
John Lackey is still looking for October success against the Sox.

Home has not been an advantage for the Angels in the ALDS.

The Angels will be watching Jacoby Ellsbury very closely.

Early-season adversity motivated the Angels.

Brian Fuentes chose the Angels with the postseason in mind.

MLB
The Yankees took Game 1 from the Twins.

The Phillies and Cliff Lee dominated the Rockies in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Jim Leyland says “shame on us” for not winning the AL Central.

The Dodgers and Cards stumbled down the stretch, but got a fresh start.

Managers could play a big role in the playoffs.

Outlook

The Sox and Angels have certainly seen a great deal of each other in recent postseasons, and the Sox have certainly gotten the better of the Angels. While the Sox have made it look easy in the past, the Angels could have a better showing this time. The Angels’ offense is stronger than last season, but the Sox will have confidence in their favor.

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