Red Sox Faced With Do-Or-Die Situation in Game 3 at Fenway

Red Sox Faced With Do-Or-Die Situation in Game 3 at Fenway What the Red Sox have to do on Sunday is pretty simple: Win or go home for the winter.

After losing the first two games to the Angels in Anaheim, the Red Sox have have their backs against the wall in a must-win game at Fenway Park.

Clay Buchholz takes the mound in his first postseason start to try and extend the Red Sox’ season for at least one more day. But Scott Kazmir hopes to put an end to the Red Sox’ winning ways against the Angels in the postseason.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Sox return to Fenway, down 0-2 to the Angels, an unfamiliar situation for them against their familiar ALDS opponent. The Sox offense has yet to emerge, having managed just eight combined hits and one run in the first two games. After going 14 consecutive postseason games without a win from a starting pitcher, the Angels now have two in the last two games.

SKINNY

The Sox have been in this situation before, most recently down 3-1 to the Indians in the 2007 ALCS. While it’s a daunting position, they have overcome it before. In 2007 they came back to beat the Indians before sweeping the Rockies in the World Series. The Sox hosted the Angels for three games in the regular season at Fenway, taking two-of-three in September, beating John Lackey and closer Brian Fuentes before falling to the Angels bullpen (Kevin Jepsen and Fuentes) in the final game.

STARTING LINEUPS

Angels
Red Sox
Chone Figgins, 3B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Bobby Abreu, RF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Torii Hunter, CF Victor Martinez, C
Vladimir Guerrero, DH Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Kendry Morales, 1B Jason Bay, LF
Juan Rivera, LF David Ortiz, DH
Maicer Izturis, 2B Mike Lowell, 3B
Mike Napoli, C J.D. Drew, RF
Erick Aybar, SS Alex Gonzalez, SS

STARTING PITCHERS

RHP Clay Buchholz ( 7-4, 4.21 ERA) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (10-9, 4.89 ERA)

After starting the season with Triple-A Pawtucket, Buchholz was called up for the second half, taking regular turns in the rotation.  In his final eight starts — against the Blue Jays (twice), Rays (twice), Orioles (twice), Royals, and Indians — he was 5-1 with 3.50 ERA. In his last two starts, against the Jays and Indians, he was 0-1, (14.63 ERA) giving up 13 runs (all earned) on 13 hits, including six home runs, and three walks, with 10 strikeouts in eight combined innings.

Buchholz is making his first career postseason appearance. He did not face the Angels this season. In three career games against the Angels he is 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA, allowing 22 hits and eight walks with 12 strikeouts in 17 innings, while the Angels hit .319 off him. His win against the Angels came in his major league debut, Aug. 17, 2007.

Kazmir is making his sixth playoff start. He is 1-1 with a 4.21 ERA in the postseason, giving up 12 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings. In two postseason starts against the Sox, while with the Rays in the 2008 ALCS, he did not earn a decision, posting a 4.35 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 10 1/3 innings. The Rays were 1-1 in those games. 

He has made more career starts against the Sox than against any other team. In 23 career games against the Sox, Kazmir is 8-7 with a  3.59 ERA, allowing the Sox a .241 average. Kazmir was 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA with the Angels after being acquired from the Rays on Aug. 28.

STAT SHEET

Red Sox
The Sox are batting .131 (8-for-61) against the Angels in Games 1 and 2.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-4 with a run scored in Game 2, ending an 0-for-24 stretch in the playoffs. He is the only player in the Sox lineup with more a multi-hit game and more than one hit.

The loss by Josh Beckett in Game 2 ended his six-game postseason win streak going back to the decisive Game 6 of the 2003 World Series, when he was named Series MVP.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless inning in Game 2, extending his scoreless inning streak to 26 over 17 career postseason appearances, the most career innings in major league history without allowing a run. It is the second-longest scoreless innings streak to begin a postseason career behind Christy Mathewson’s 28 shutout innings from 1905-1911.

For the ninth consecutive time the Sox have lost Game 2 after losing Game 1 of a postseason series.

The Sox are 16-11 in 28 overall postseason series, going 5-2 in the ALDS, 4-5 in the ALCS, and 7-4 in the World Series.

The Sox are 12-3 in the postseason against the Angels since Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS, including an 11-game win streak through Game 2 of the 2008 ALDS, the most consecutive victories in major league postseason history by a team against a single opponent.

Angels
The Angels are hitting .228 (13-for-57) in Games 1 and 2.

Bobby Abreu is 2-for-4, with four walks, for an on-base percentage of .750.

The two hits Jered Weaver allowed over seven innings  in Game 2 were the fewest ever for an Angels starter going at least seven innings in a playoff game.

The Angels had gone 14 straight playoff games without getting a win from their starting pitcher before John Lackey and Jered Weaver posted back-to-back wins in Games 1 and 2.

The Angels are 4-7 all-time in clinching games in the postseason.

The Angels are 9-12 all-time in ALDS games over five total series played.

The Angels set a team record with 47 come-from-behind wins  and 37 wins against left-handed starters, this season

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox
Tim Wakefield
, hampered by an ailing back and leg, is not on the ALDS roster.

Manny Delcarmen’s back has been stiff since a car accident Saturday, and he is not on the ALDS roster.

Rocco Baldelli’s left hip has kept off  the ALDS roster.

Nick Green is hobbled by an ailing back and leg and is not on the ALDS roster.

Angels
Reliever Jason Bulger received a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Sunday, but is on the ALDS roster.

THIS DATE IN RED SOX HISTORY

In 1999 the Red Sox face the Indians in Game 5 of the Division Series. Both starters struggle, and the score is 8-8 in the fourth when an injured Pedro Martinez enters the game in relief. He pitches six no-hit innings, as Troy O’Leary hits a grand slam and a thee-run home run, both after Nomar Garciaparra is intentionally walked. The Red Sox win the game 12-8 and advance to the ALCS.

OVERHEARD

“If I had an answer, we wouldn’t have lost the first two.”
– Sox manager Terry Francona, when asked how to start hitting and win Game 3

PRESS BOX

Red Sox
Clay Buchholz hopes to extend the Sox’ season.

The Sox’ lineup will look very similar to Games 1 and 2.

The Sox have had their backs to the wall before.

Billy Wagner has strengthened the Sox’ bullpen.

Alex Gonzalez is among the postseason elite.

Angels
The Angels are in control.

Fenway doesn’t faze Scott Kazmir.

Bobby Abreu is getting the credit he deserves.

Darren Oliver has reinvented himself with the Angels.

Erick Aybar is showing his offense.

MLB
The Cardinals are the first team to bow out of the postseason, thanks to the Dodgers.

The Phillies and Rockies were snowed out in Denver.

So, the Phillies will go with J.A Happ instead of Pedro.

Joe Mauer has a sore hip.

OUTLOOK

Clay Buchholz is facing the biggest challenge of his young career. Pitching against a potent lineup in his first postseason game will be a daunting task. The Sox offense can help him relax and get into a rhythm by getting some runs for him early. That will also not be an easy takes against a tough lefty who has been successful against them.

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