Red Sox, Beckett Shoot For Series Sweep and a Perfect Homestand

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Red Sox, Beckett Shoot For Series Sweep and a Perfect HomestandJosh Beckett takes the hill as the Red Sox look to break out the brooms at Fenway in the finale of the three-game set with the Angels.

Beckett and the Sox are riding a seven-game winning streak including a 10-game home winning streak — it's longest since a 13-game streak from May 2 to June 5, 2008. The wild card leaders, who are 52-21 at Fenway Park this season, are preparing to hit the road for their final road trip of the season after Thursday night's game. The Sox have a chance to get to .500 and beyond away from Fenway as they currently stand at 34-37 in gray uniforms.

When and Where

7:10 p.m. ET (NESN), Sept. 17, 2009
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.

Records

Red Sox (87-58, 2nd  place in AL East)
Angels (86-59, 1st place in AL West)

Head to Head

The Red Sox invoked their Fenway magic in Wednesday?s ninth-inning win over the Angels. The Sox improved their major league-best home record to 52-21.  The win extends their lead in the wild card race over the Rangers, who lost to the A?s,  to 6 1/2 games.  They are 7-0 on the eight-game homestand, and have won 10 straight at Fenway.

Skinny

The win evened the season series between the Sox and Angels at 4-4.  The winner of Thursday?s game will claim the season series, won by the Angels, 8-1, in 2008.  But the Sox and Angels may not be done with each other.  This set is a likely preview of the ALDS, where the Red Sox and Angels have met in three of the last five postseasons, with the Sox bouncing the Angels from the playoffs each time.

Starting Lineups

Angels Red Sox
Chone Figgins, 3B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Erick Aybar, SS Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Bobby Abreu, DH Victor Martinez, 1B
Torii Hunter, CF Jason Bay, LF
Kendry Morales, 1B David Ortiz, DH
Juan Rivera, LF Mike Lowell, 3B
Gary Matthews Jr., RF J.D. Drew, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B Jason Varitek, C
Jeff Mathis, C Alex Gonzalez, SS

Starting Pitchers

RHP Josh Beckett (15-6, 3.82 ERA) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (7-8, 5.52 ERA)

In his last start, Sept. 12 against the Rays at Fenway, Beckett pitched a rain-shortened, complete game, five-inning win, giving up four hits and walk, striking out four, as the Red Sox won, 9-1.  Beckett seems to have come out of the funk he was recently  in, allowing 14 home runs ? including a career-high five to the Yankees — in five starts from Aug. 12 through Sept. 2. In his last two starts he has not given up a home run, allowing a combined four runs on 10 hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in 12 innings.

In seven career starts against the Angels, Beckett is 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA (21 earned runs in 44 1/3 innings), going at least six innings in six of those games. He has lost each of his last three regular season starts to the Angels since 2008, with a 6.98 ERA (15 earned runs, 19 1/3 innings) in those games.   This is his second start against the Angels this season, including a 5-4 loss April 12 in Anaheim.  

Santana is winless in his last four starts. He has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.  This is his 20th start of the season, and he has had two stints on the disabled list, missing a total of 52 games.  

Santana is making his sixth career start against the Red Sox, posting a record of 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA (17 earned runs, 27 innings pitched)  This is his second start of this season against the Sox; he allowed three runs in five innings of work to take a no-decision in his first.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox

The Red Sox have an 10-game home winning streak and have won 12 of 14, and 23 of 30 at home since July 10.  

With Wednesday?s win, the Sox passed the Angels for the second-best record in the AL at 87-58 (.597).

The Sox have homered in 23 of their last 30 games, and have hit 48 total with multiple home runs in 14 of those games.  

Jacoby Ellsbury
recorded his team-high 54th multi-hit game Wednesday. Since 1954, Reggie Smith (57 in 1970) and Johnny Damon (54 in 2005, 57 in 2004) are the only Red Sox center fielders with as many multi-hit games.  He is batting .350 (28-for-80) in his last 11 games with 10 multi-hit games in that span.

Dustin Pedroia
has an eight-game hitting streak, batting .355 (11-for-31) with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI, and six runs scored.

Since snapping an 0-for-24 slide on July 24, J.D. Drew is batting .338 (44-for-130), 10th in the AL in that time.  He has hit safely in 21 of his last 26 home games beginning July 11, batting .350 (28-for-80).

The Red Sox are 21-2 (.913) when David Ortiz hits a home run. He is currently batting 10-for-20 (.500) in his seven-game hitting streak, and has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 home games.

Angels

The Angels will play 11 of their final 17 games against the three top teams in the AL ? Red Sox (one game), Yankees (three games), and Rangers (seven games).

The Angels are 24-15 against the AL East this season, 21-23 against the AL West, and 65-35 against the rest of baseball.

Despite Wednesday?s loss, the Angels lead the majors with 44 comeback wins. The team record for comeback wins is 45 set in 2004.

The Angels are tied for second in baseball with 42 road wins this season. Since the 2004 season, the Angels have the best road record in baseball, at 269-209.

Torii Hunter
extended his hitting streak to 12 games in which he is batting .354 (17-for-48) with three home runs and nine RBI.

The Angels have outscored the Red Sox 82-55 over their last 14 regular season games and have won 12 of their last 16 games.  

Vladimir Guerrero
, who is batting .294, is trying to hit .300 for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the majors. He is one of only three players in the last 40 years to hit .300 or better in at least 12 consecutive seasons, with Rod Carew (13 straight, 1971-83) and Tony Gwynn (17, 1983-99) being the others.

Black and Blue

Red Sox

Kevin Youkilis has missed the last two games with back spasms.

Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable for Wednesday?s game because of tightness in his back.

Angels

Pitcher Kelvim Escobar has been on the DL since June 7 with right shoulder irritation.

Pitcher Dustin Moseley has been on the DL since April 18 with tightness in his right forearm.

Pitcher Scot Shields has been on the DL since May 27 after left knew patellar surgery.

This Date In Red Sox History

In 1939 AL President Will Harridge overturns the umpires' decision to call the Sept. 2 Red Sox game against the Yankees at Fenway a forfeit and orders the contest to be replayed from the seventh inning as a 5-5 tie.  After the Red Sox fans had thrown a garbage onto the playing field at Fenway in protest of the Yankees making deliberate outs to take advantage of the 6:30 Sunday curfew, umpire Cal Hubbard ruled the Boston crowd's actions made it impossible to continue the game and awarded the game to the Yankees, 9-0.

Overheard

?We come back. They come back. It?s two good teams. A lot of things happened tonight. Playing at home in these types of games help.?
Terry Francona on Wednesday?s win against the Angels

Press Box

Red Sox

Alex Gonzalez is the newest Sox hero

Was Josh Beckett tipping his pitches during his recent struggles?

Tim Wakefield could rejoin the rotation Monday

Angels

The Angels couldn't wrap up the win

The Angels offense has a September chill

Mike Napoli is trying to recapture some Fenway magic

MLB

The A's one-hit the Rangers

Jorge Posada
and Jesse Carlson received suspensions for brawling

Things are getting testy for the Rays

Outlook

The Red Sox seem to have their Fenway magic working. Alex Gonzalez has solidified the defense and the bottom of the order. The Sox will now try to wrap up a perfect homestand and take the advantage in the season series from the Angels with their ace on the mound.

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Red Sox Pitching Feeling at Home on the Fenway Rubber

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Terry Francona Managing More Than the Team

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