Red Sox Record for the Week of September 28: 4-3
Since last week’s regular season games didn’t matter much other than being tune-ups for the playoffs, which for the AL Wild Card-winning BoSox and AL West division-winning Angels begins Thursday night at 9:37 pm ET in Anaheim, I won’t spend time going over them except where mentioned and will instead preview and predict what to expect in this ALDS showdown.
Red Sox-Angels Playoff History
Boston Bruins fans don’t have much in common with LA Angels fans, except that they are both probably sick of seeing the same playoff opponent year after year end the hometown team’s season. For the Bruins faithful, it was the damn Montreal Canadiens who time and time again knocked the black and gold out of the NHL playoffs (until last season when the Bruins returned the favor). The Red Sox itself, until the 2004 ALCS, had a similar fate against the Yankees.
But for Angels fans, they likely have bad memories of the 1986, 2004, 2007, and 2008 playoffs, when they saw their team eliminated from postseason by the BoSox, who themselves would appear in three World Series and win two of them (1986: lost, 2004 & 2007: won it all). In fact, the Angels have never beaten Boston in postseason play.
Red Sox-Angels Pitching Match-ups
John Lackey (11-8) likely has nightmares about pitching against Boston. In 17 career games facing them, he is 3-9 with a 4.95 ERA, and that includes losing all three career postseason starts going back to 2007. Still, he must take comfort that he gets to face the Sox lineup at home to start Game 1 Thursday night, where his ERA in ’09 was 2.11, compared to 3.80 away. For the second playoffs opener in a row, he will face Jon Lester (15-8), who dominated Angels hitters in last year’s division series, holding them scoreless through 14 innings in Games 1 and 4.
Though it’s difficult to see how, the Boston lefty hopes to do even better this postseason against the West Coast powerhouse, while Lackey is looking to repeat or do better than his two earned runs in Games 1 and 4 in last year’s ALDS but get more run support and his first playoff win versus Boston. I don’t know about a win but with a lineup that batted .285 for the year to lead the majors, the Angels should be at least able to crack the scoreboard against Lester.