The Boston Red Sox have pretty much owned the California, Los Angeles and/or Anaheim Angels in the playoffs.
Dating back to 1986, the two teams have met for four series, with Boston eliminating the Halos three times. The Angels have also served as a nice doormat to begin a pair of Boston’s World Series runs in the last 16 years.
One of those came in 2004 when the Red Sox swept the Angels on their way to their first world title in 86 years. Three years later, the two teams were at it again in the 2007 American League Division Series, and once again, the Sox came away with a decisive sweep. Boston outscored its West Coast foe 19-4 in the three games, including a drama-free 9-1 rout in Game 3 in Anaheim.
You can relive that series-clinching drubbing Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NESN, the latest in the 2007 Red Sox Encore series.
Here’s what you might have forgotten about that game ahead of Wednesday night’s broadcast.
1. Old Man Autumn
Curt Schilling once again proved why he’s one of the best postseason pitchers in baseball history, as he made it look easy in the clincher. Schilling, not operating with anything near the velocity he exhibited in Boston’s 2004 World Series run, still baffled the Angels. When it was all said and done, the right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and issuing just one walk while striking out four.
After the game, Schilling credited a not-quite-yet-famous member of the Red Sox organization for his effectiveness: pitching coach John Farrell.
“He’s helped carve the new niche that I’m in as a pitcher, mentally and physically,” Schilling told reporters after the game.
2. The Dominican Bash Brothers strike again
It wouldn’t be a big playoff game against the Angels without David Ortiz and/or Manny Ramirez coming up huge. After a sleepy start against Anaheim starter Jered Weaver, the Red Sox broke through in a big way in the fourth inning. First, Ortiz hit a towering drive down the right-field line, a home run that gave Boston the game’s first run. Ramirez followed just a few a pitches later with a gargantuan blast to very, very deep center field.
The duo absolutely terrorized Angels pitching in the series — when the Halos were bold enough to pitch to them. Ortiz and Ramirez worked a combined 11 walks over just three games, and they made the pitches they saw count, going 8-for-15 with four of those eight hits being home runs.
3. Team effort
It’s sometimes easy to forget how good the 2007 Red Sox team actually was, but a seven-run eighth inning that blew open the game and the series provided a pretty good snapshot. Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp all collected RBIs in that inning, with Ortiz collecting a line-drive single and Ramirez walking mixed in along the way. Even Jacoby Ellsbury got a chance to contribute, being inserted as a pinch-runner for Ramirez and eventually scoring. Eleven Red Sox went to the plate in the eighth, and by the time it was all said and done, the Angels’ season was effectively over.
4. “Oh, yeah. He was on this team.”
This one was an absolute laugher, of course, with the Red Sox leading 9-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Terry Francona handed the ball to Eric Gagne for the final frame, and the 2003 National League Cy Young Award winner actually coughed up the shutout. It was more or less in line with his entire Boston run, as the Sox acquired Gagne at the trade deadline from Texas. He went on to allow 14 earned runs in just 20 regular-season appearances and didn’t fare much better in the playoffs. He was tagged for two runs in Cleveland’s seven-run 11th inning outburst in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. His only other appearance came in the World Series, as he pitched in a Boston blowout of Colorado.