Thursday night was an ugly one for the Red Sox, but this series is far from over. While the Red Sox don't have much room for error, they have their ace on the mound and are in a good position to even the series at one game apiece before it heads back to Boston.
1. Josh Beckett needs to be the stopper.
Beckett is the ace of the Red Sox’ staff. He needs to command his mid-90s fastball and put the Angels’ hitters away with his devastating slider. Keeping Chone Figgins and Bobby Abreu (combined .390 OBP vs. Beckett) off the bases is the key to keeping the Angels at bay. In a short series, the Red Sox cannot afford to go down 0-2 and leave the elimination game in the hands of the inexperienced Clay Buchholz.
2. Can the Red Sox change momentum?
Thursday night, the Angels won their first-ever Game 1 in a division series. Led by their emotional and productive leader, Torii Hunter, the Halos feel this is the year they break the Red Sox hex. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia need to get on base to create easier scoring opportunities for the meat of the order. When facing quality pitching, the Red Sox cannot afford to sit back and wait for the three-run homer. Table setters need to bring energy that filters to the rest of the lineup.
3. Stay with approach on offense.
The Red Sox have earned the reputation of being patient at the plate and driving up pitch counts. The "take what the pitcher gives you" philosophy and the exploitation of opposing bullpens have been consistent trademarks of this offense. After being shut out in Game 1, hitters could have a tendency to abandon their plan and become overly aggressive. That plays right into the hands of Jered Weaver, who has shown he will make mistakes out over the plate when forced to repeat quality pitches.
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