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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Will the Angels ever beat Boston in the playoffs (10 games and counting)?

In the offseason, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim picked up perennial gold-glover Torii Hunter and trumping that, they made the biggest trade deadline move in baseball by picking up switch-hitter Mark Teixeira. The Angels had an unbelievable regular season and rolled to the AL West title.

Yet last night in game 1 of the ALDS versus Boston, the Angels continued to fall apart against the Red Sox in October. Boston won 4-1 and has now won 10 games in a row against Anaheim in the playoffs, spread over four postseasons.

As expected, Jon Lester delivered an awesome start for Boston. He went seven innings, gave up one run (unearned) on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Anaheim starter John Lackey was good too. He lasted 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the third after Jed Lowrie's error begat Torii Hunter's (2 hits, RBI, walk) RBI single which knocked in Garett Anderson.

Boston came back in the sixth when Jason Bay (2 hits, 2 RBIs, run) blasted a two-run bomb off of Lackey, which scored Kevin Youkilis. Nursing the slim 2-1 lead going into the ninth, Boston gained some breathing room with two more runs. Jacoby Ellsbury (3 hits, run, RBI, two steals) knocked in Lowrie with an RBI single and David Ortiz beat the shift by lining a single up the middle which plated Ellsbury.

Justin Masterson-one of Boston's postseason keys-gave up two hits (both bloops) in the eighth but was able to wiggle out of the inning without allowing a run. He got two great plays: Youk gunned down Vlad Guerrero, who tried to take third on a single. Ellsbury also made a web gem worthy diving catch in center.

All that was left for the Red Sox was a save by Jonathan Papelbon and he obliged by striking out the side while giving up a hit.

Winning game 1 was huge for both teams as it gives Boston the split it needed on the road while also placing even more pressure on the favored Angels. Game 2 tomorrow night finds Dice-K opposing All-Star Ervin Santana. If the Angels win, it's a whole new series. If they lose, I'm saying it ends Sunday at Fenway.

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