Postgame, Red Sox 7-3: Manager Terry Francona said after the Sox completed a sweep in Anaheim that an MRI on J.D. Drew's sore left hamstring revealed no significant damage or bleeding, giving the club another reason to feel good as it heads home.
Need more? Jon Lester, who was on the wrong end of a 5-1 score Friday in Seattle but may have actually had the most dominant start of the road trip, goes in Friday's series opener at Detroit.
The way the rotation is coming together the Sox have a great opportunity against some lesser opponents to really string some wins together. For now, enjoy the day off and check back in with us Friday as we follow all the action in the series opener at Fenway Park.
Final, Red Sox 7-3: Power and pitching does the job in the finale of the road trip, which the Sox end with a solid 6-4 mark. They slug four home runs, the big bomb a grand slam by Marco Scutaro in the eighth, to back Josh Beckett in his first win in eight starts.
Boston is 7-0 against the Angels this year and now heads home with plenty of confidence, all just three days after two straight damaging losses in Seattle.
That's been the theme all year — take a licking and keep on ticking. We'll see what sort of effect it has on the club when it opens a seven-game homestand Friday night against Detroit.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 7-3: Put a fork in the Angels. They're done. With just three more outs they will have lost for the seventh time in eight games, will be back down to .500 for the first time since June 3 and have now lost 10-game winner Joel Pineiro for 6-8 weeks. Also, their bullpen remains so shoddy it will never let them sustain any sort of winning streak down the stretch.
Michael Kohn comes on and issues two more walks — the seventh and eighth of the afternoon — before wiggling out the jam.
LA entered the day with its bullpen having walked 145 men, far and away the most in the American League, despite the fact that several other bullpens have actually thrown more innings.
Ramon Ramirez is on to try and wrap this one up.
End 8th, Red Sox 7-3: Manny Delcarmen needs 27 pitches to survive the eighth inning, giving up a double and a walk and getting out of it only when Bill Hall makes a spectacular leaping catch in shallow center for the final out. Got a bit hairy there. Ramon Ramirez is lined up to pitch the ninth.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-3: Marco Scutaro's afternoon: single, walk, single, walk, grand slam. Remember, he was in the middle of everything Tuesday night, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He actually has a hit in five straight at bats.
If the Sox can make this one hold up it will mark Josh Beckett's first win since April 10.
Manny Delcarmen, who has given up 12 earned runs over his last 3 2/3 innings, has taken over.
6:28 p.m.: Thank God for Fernando Rodney. He walks the first two men of the inning (Jeremy Hermida drew his second free pass since May 16) and after a bunt single serves up the grand slam to Marco Scutaro. Rodney's day is done one out later when he walks Kevin Youkilis.
6:23 p.m.: Marco Scutaro has just hit the second grand slam of his career, and what a series he is having. There are still no outs in the eighth and the Sox are up 7-3.
End 7th, 3-3: Since Reggie Willits got a gift double to start the fifth, Josh Beckett has retired nine in a row. Manny Delcarmen is up and warming so that might be it for Beckett after 112 pitches. He deserves a better fate, but perhaps will get that elusive win if the Sox can rally in the eighth.
Mid 7th, 3-3: Heck, if nobody is going to get a hit with men on, just keep hammering the Angels with the bases empty. Kevin Youkilis, one of several Red Sox hitters to leave runners in scoring position, smacks the team's third solo shot of the afternoon to start the seventh. It is Youk's 19th of the year and his first since the All-Star break.
End 6th, Angels 3-2: Josh Beckett approaches 100 pitches trailing but you could make a case that he should be unscored upon. If Jeremy Hermida was able to catch a two-out RBI single by Bobby Wilson in the first, that two-run rally never would've happened. And the run in the fifth was entirely due to a pop to second getting lost in the sun.
Beckett has thrown 59-of-96 pitches for strikes. With the bullpen in tatters for this one he will get at least one more inning.
Mid 6th, Angels 3-2: Nine have been left on base by the Red Sox, who are 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Facing nothing but Angels relievers after Joel Pineiro gets scratched, they've managed only two solo homers.
End 5th, Angels 3-2: If you could've picked any Angel to not be up when Bill Hall loses a pop in the sun, it might be Reggie Willits. Unfortunately for the Sox, Willits is the one who hits it and uses his great speed to turn the would-be out into a double.
A bunt moves Willits to third and a fly to center brings him in with the go-ahead run.
Mid 5th, 2-2: Rich Thompson comes on and navigates through the trio of David Ortiz, Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre. Commendable job by the Angels to use the bullpen to match Josh Beckett so far. Thompson has LA's first 1-2-3 inning and gets to face the soft bottom of the order in the sixth.
End 4th, 2-2: Mike Napoli snapped Josh Beckett's streak of consecutive outs at six with a two-out double in the fourth. Beckett's seventh ground ball out ends the inning. He has thrown 63 pitches and is looking very good with the exception of a few batters that got to him back in the second.
Rich Thompson is the third Angels pitcher of the game. Francisco Rodriguez did a nice job, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Mid 4th, 2-2: That's now 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position for the Sox after Kevin Youkilis grounds to short for the final out with Marco Scutaro on second. They should continue to get runners on against a bullpen that will be stretched thin and has struggled all year, but who's going to get the big hit?
End 3rd, 2-2: This one looked for a bit as if it might develop into a slugfest with the way both teams are a bit strapped in the pitching department. But as long as the Red Sox leave runners on base and Josh Beckett pitches like he did in the third, we will have another tight one on our hands.
Boston leads the American League with 54 games decided by two runs or less. It is tied with two other teams with the lead in one-run games (33).
Mid 3rd, 2-2: Jeremy Hermida is hitless in his last 13 at bats with seven strikeouts, the latest coming with two on in the third. Bill Hall followed with a strikeout of his own and the Sox have now left six on through three.
End 2nd, 2-2: Two things to note here. One, as mentioned in the previous post, the Sox may pay for not being able to break this one open in the top of the second, especially when you consider that Josh Beckett may not be long for this one.
Two, Jeremy Hermida's confidence in left field is not high. He had a bad error in the previous game when he sort of overslid a bloop down the line and he was very shy about getting to a Bobby Wilson liner in this one.
Hermida backed off what might've been a catchable ball (would've been the last out) and decided to play it safe, allowing the first of two runs to come in off Beckett. You could make a case that it was a good decision by Hermida, but you cannot make a case that he is supremely confident out there.
Beckett threw 30 pitches in the second.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: It may not matter in the end but the Sox leave the bases loaded again when Kevin Youkilis flies to left to finish the top of the second. A hit there would've put the Angels on the ropes early on.
Boston left 11 on base Tuesday night and have stranded four already in this one. Would be nice to see some guys on when guys like Adrian Beltre and Bill Hall get a hold of one.
4:11 p.m.: Pressed into emergency duty, Scot Shields couldn't hack it. Adrian Beltre tripled in the first game of the series, doubled in the middle game and has homered here in the finale, his 17th to get the scoring started. Not to be outdone, Bill Hall, in his first at-bat of the series, goes deep as well.
Hall has 11 homers in just 198 at bats.
Shields then allowed a double to Eric Patterson and back-to-back walks before finally being rescued with two outs and the bases loaded. Francisco Rodriguez is on in relief.
This could be the game we see the Red Sox' offense break out. There would be an asterisk next to it with the removal of Joel Pineiro just before first pitch, but that won't bother anyone in the clubhouse.
End 1st, 0-0: Two weak grounders to Kevin Youkilis and a strikeout of Alberto Callaspo, who had not struck out in 79 plate appearances, makes up a very impressive first inning for Josh Beckett.
Unless Beckett is extremely economical this one figures to be a battle of depleted bullpens at some point. If and when Beckett is gone, the Sox are operating without Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard.
The Angels obviously have bigger issues with starter Joel Pineiro scratched. Could make for some interesting middle and late innings.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The diagnosis for Joel Pineiro is a strained left oblique. Rushed into duty, Scot Shields works around a leadoff single in the top of the first inning. Shields gets David Ortiz looking to end it with Marco Scutaro on second.
3:38 p.m.: Joel Pineiro had some sort of issue warming up and has been scratched. Scot Shields gets the start for the Anges, who suffer a big blow in a critical contest (see previous post).
3:30 p.m.: We talked about what a win in this one would mean for the Red Sox (see previous post). On the other side, is this a must-win for the Angels? Could the Sox simply bury them with a sweep?
Los Angeles is 13 games back in the loss column in the wild card race. That figures to be too much to overcome. The Angels are 10 back in the loss column behind Texas in the AL West with 10 games remaining between the two teams, including six in Anaheim.
Mike Scioscia's bunch figures to still have an outside chance in that race, but a loss to the Sox on Wednesday would send them into a series this weekend vs. the Rangers with that much more of a mountain to climb.
Frankly, I don't see them staying with Texas, which just has the look of a team destined to do some special things this fall. But the Angels have owned their division for some time and will want a win Wednesday to have a chance to stay alive.
2:45 p.m.: What a difference a day, or two, has made. With wins in the past two days the Sox have given themselves a chance to finish this road trip with a 6-4 record, a pretty impressive result considering they're still a bit banged up and haven't had a winning West Coast excursion in years.
There is another 10-game trip in the horizon but before that comes a seven-game homestand that carries with it a pair of opponents ripe for the picking.
Detroit comes in first. The Tigers have lost 11 of 14 and are perhaps more injury-plagued than the Sox are now. Their postseason hopes are hanging by a thread and Boston can provide the death knell.
After that comes four straight against Cleveland. While the Indians have been playing a bit better of late they are still a last-place team and an easy target. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the Sox can follow up a 6-4 road trip with a very successful homestand. We'll see what the standings look like if that's the case.
Of course, they could go 5-5 on the trip. We'll see how all that shakes out in about 45 minutes.
2:15 p.m.: There have been so many tight games of late and both Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard have felt the effects. Terry Francona just told reporters he will likely rest both Wednesday afternoon in Anaheim.
That places more importance on Josh Beckett's ability to eat up some outs and likely hands the closer's role to Ramon Ramirez for a day. Scott Atchison got some eighth-inning duty the other day and Manny Delcarmen has been in the role before.
The one wild card — do you trust Hideki Okajima right now if you need him in a big spot? Sadly, Okajima has been struggling with some off-field issues that may be hindering his performance. Just not sure how long the Sox can wait for those issues to work themselves out.
Papelbon has thrown 7 1/3 innings in the past 11 days and Bard has appeared in six of nine games on this road trip.
In other news, J.D. Drew may get an MRI to see if there is anything structurally wrong with his left hamstring. He has been wrestling with this for some time now so he is after some peace of mind.
Back for more later on.
12:49 p.m.: J.D. Drew will miss another game with a tight left hamstring, leaving the Red Sox with another makeshift outfield of Jeremy Hermida, Eric Patterson and Darnell McDonald. Will have to double check this but I believe that is the 25th different outfield alignment this season.
Here is the complete lineup:
Marco Scutaro, SS
Darnell McDonald, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Eric Patterson, CF
Back in a bit with all the pregame updates as the Sox go for the sweep.
8 a.m.: Josh Beckett will make his second start since returning from the disabled list when the Red Sox aim for a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday.
The Sox, now 5-4 on their road trip, have been getting great efforts from the starting rotation. Beckett, who allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings in his comeback start five days ago, would love to add to that string.
Clay Buchholz and John Lackey combined to allow three earned runs in 14 1/3 innings through the first two games of the series.
Boston is 6-0 vs. Los Angeles in 2010.
Former Red Sox reliever Joel Pineiro goes for the fading Angels. First pitch is set for 3:35 p.m.