October 1, 2008

ALDS 1: Red Sox 4, Angels 1

Red Sox - 000 002 002 - 4  8  1
Angels - 001 000 000 - 1 9 1
Jason Bay crushed a high fastball from John Lackey to deep left with two outs in the sixth, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. RBI singles from Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz provided some ninth-inning insurance.

Lester started off on the wrong foot, allowing two hits and a walk in the first inning. He left the bases loaded and although he allowed an unearned run in the third, he also stranding two more baserunners. After Torii Hunter's single gave LA a 1-0 lead, Lester retired 13 of his next 15 batters, including striking out the side in the sixth. Only one of his 21 outs was hit beyond the infield.

Justin Masterson allowed a couple of singles in the eighth, but a bone-headed baserunning play from Vladimir Guerrero cut a potential rally short. Vlad, who can barely jog, tried to go from first to third on a pop single to short right and Kevin Youkilis gunned him down by -- seriously -- 35 feet.

Jonathan Papelbon took care of the Angels in the ninth -- as many of the "fans" had packed up their noisemakers du jour and gone home.

Ellsbury had three hits and a stolen base; he also reached on a three-base error by right fielder Gary Matthews. And he made a diving catch on a sinking liner for the first out in the LAA eighth. ... Pedroia walked twice, Yook singled and walked, Bay doubled and donged, and Lowrie singled and scored.

In the NL: the Phillies beat the Brewers 3-1 and the Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-2.

***

Jon Lester (3.21, 143 ERA+) / John Lackey (3.75, 116 ERA+)

Results of the ALDS Poll:

Corrected Lineups:
Red Sox                Angels
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Chone Figgins, 3B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Garret Anderson, LF
David Ortiz, DH Mark Teixeira, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B Vladimir Guerrero, DH
J.D. Drew, RF Torii Hunter, CF
Jason Bay, LF Howie Kendrick, 2B
Mike Lowell, 3B Mike Napoli, C
Jed Lowrie, SS Gary Matthews Jr., RF
Jason Varitek, C Erick Aybar, SS

IP H BB K WHIP AVG OBP SLG

Lester 210.1 202 66 152 1.274 .256 .320 .368
Lackey 163.1 161 40 130 1.231 .260 .315 .435
Lester finished 4th in the AL in ERA.
          W-L    RS   RA   DIF  EXPWL  OPS+ ERA+
Red Sox 95-67 845 694 +151 95-67 108 114
Angels 100-62 765 697 + 68 88-74 96 109

AVG OBP SLG RS/G RA/G ERA
Red Sox .280 .358 .447 5.22 4.28 4.01
Angels .268 .330 .413 4.72 4.30 4.00
So we hit better, get on base more often, have more power, score more runs, and allow fewer runs. ... Tell me again: Why the Angels are favoured in this series?

Is it their closer? Which of these three closers do you like?
    IP    H  BB   K   ERA  OBP  SLG  WHIP IR/S
A 68.2 54 34 77 2.24 .314 .316 1.288 18/7
B 69.1 58 8 77 2.34 .245 .315 0.952 30/4
C 67.1 39 19 66 1.60 .248 .255 0.861 6/2
Closer A has walked a ton of batters and his ability at preventing inherited runners from scoring is putrid. At least one writer gives huge weight to a worthless stat and thinks A is the AL MVP. ... I'm assuming you know who A & B are (think Angels and Boston). Any writers considering Frod for MVP should probably slot Joakim Soria (C) even further up on the ballot.

***

Lackey's last outing? 2.2 IP, 12 hits, 10 runs! In four September starts, batters pounded him to the tune of a 1.042 OPS (.356/.420/.622). Since July 5, he has a 5.42 ERA in 94.2 innings. ... He did well in his two starts against Boston, though: July 18 (7-5-3-2-6) and July 29 (9-2-2-2-4).

Before the issue of Josh Beckett's oblique forced a shuffling of the rotation, there was talk that Lester should pitch Game 3 at Fenway because of his poor road record this year. That will not happen, though Lester would be pitching Game 4 in Boston, if necessary.

Lester's splits from this season:
      GS   ERA   IP    H   BB   K  AVG  OBP  SLG
Home 17 2.49 115.2 103 35 86 .240 .303 .361
Road 16 4.09 94.2 99 31 66 .275 .341 .375
I think the home/road ERA split is exaggerated -- and, ultimately, should not cause anyone to worry. (For those who care, his home/road records were 11-1 and 5-5.)

First, let's note that in both 2006 and 2007, Lester did not have much of a split.
2007   IP     ERA    OPS
Home 23 4.30 .775
Road 40 4.72 .740

2006 IP ERA OPS
Home 49.1 4.74 .807
Road 32 4.78 .825
So why the bigger split in 2008? Well, two of Lester's worst starts of the year came on the road. He allowed six runs in five innings in Houston on June 28 and gave up seven runs in 2.1 innings in Toronto on August 23. If you toss out those bad days, his road ERA drops a full run -- from 4.09 to 3.09.

Of course, those starts did happen, but when you are working with a small sample size, a crappy outing or two -- for whatever reason -- can have a larger than deserved effect. Also, there is a touch of poor luck with his road BABIP (batting average on balls in play) -- a somewhat high .321.

Lester saw Los Angeles once this year -- April 23 at Fenway. 5-9-4-2-1, 80. The Angels won 6-4. Lester has pitched in Anaheim twice (once each in 2006 and 2007), allowing 14 hits, seven walks and eight runs in 8.1 innings.

According to the Globe, Beckett threw lightly on Tuesday: "30 throws from 60 feet, moved back to 90 feet and made 20 throws, then moved back to 60". Francona: "Everything was very encouraging. Everything was real positive." ... Plenty of additional links in Art Marrone's column.

BP's Joe Sheehan agrees with me: Red Sox in 4 (though he adds: "There is no result — a sweep, a five-game series, either team winning — that would come as a surprise.).

Finally: The Boston media is misrepresenting Manny Ramirez's latest comments about his time in Boston. The Herald's Gerry Callahan writes that Manny's "problem with Boston [was] us. You and me. Fans and media." Actually, what Manny said was this:
The fans in Boston got your back no matter what, but I'm talking about the people who write all this bull because it means so much to them.
So: the fans are great and the writers are dicks. And that's the reason for the media's negative spin.

Remember: SHOTS = VICTORY! We're 7-for-7!

***

Other games today:
NLDS 1: Brewers at Phillies at 3
NLDS 1: Dodgers at Cubs at 6

1,020 comments:

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phil said...

Good times.

phil said...

^^

Jere said...

Dirty ALDS Water, ALD-teSsie, Joy to the WorAldS....etc

Jere said...

a grand evening

nixon33 said...

WATER! FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!

ish said...

Sager says Bay is replacing Manny.

Bay: "A lot of people like to look at it that way - I don't, and that makes it easier for me."

"I'm glad everyone was able to see Jon Lester - I didn't know anything about Jon Lester until I got here."

Sarah Gates said...

Hope I get home in time to do this again on Friday! Night all!

Pepe Lepew said...

Oh, that's actually kind of neat. Jason Bay's first-ever playoff game. I didn't realize that.

Joe Grav said...

You can stick your 100 wins up yer arse!

ish said...

Day 1 is complete. Get some sleep, wake up tomorrow and watch the FKR and the CWS.

ish said...

Ellsbury told Heidi he didn't think he was going to be able to get to that ball for that diving catch. Then he said he must've had power boots or something.

phil said...

Ellsbury had three hits and a stolen base;

Actually, he had two: in both the fifth and ninth innings.

Jere said...

No faith! NESN's little bumper used to say "home of the Boston Bruins...and the World Champion Boston Red Sox." Just heard it now, and they've removed the "world champion" part. They must've done that for October, in case at some point some other team takes our crown. But wait, the WS won't end until possibly November. Why would they take that out? Terrible.

Zenslinger said...

Good times. Tense all the way through until we got our insurance runs, and even then.

Crowd at The Bar was a mix of casual Red Sox fans and leftover Dodger fans rooting for the Angels. I was riveted and didn't drink too terribly much so tomorrow won't be a disaster (such are the advantages of West Coast living and baseball).

Thinking about who really came through for us...there's Bay and Ellsbury, of course. But I have to hand it to Lester. Getting out of jams, but also, to me at least, that seventh inning was just extraordinary. He's up above 100 pitches, well above, but delivered that seventh. That and Masterson hanging in there -- what a game. Given that the Angels had more hits early, and that there was only the single BB by Lester, I've got to hand the game ball to him. Ace-level performance. Huge win.

Zenslinger said...

Sox pitching: 0.00 ERA.

And, yes, Shields ain't what he was a couple years ago.

Jake of All Trades said...

I was at the game and had a heck of a time. Some notes:

-Love your "noisemakers du jour" quote. They were passing them out at the entrance. My wife and I politely declined, causing the girl at the turnstile to look at our Sox gear and sarcastically taunt us with "It doesn't matter which team you root for - you can still make noise!" Um, my hands work just fine thanks.

-Still on the noisemakers, I'm surprised/impressed/afraid that they found a way to make something more annoying than thunder sticks. It was a sign ("What A Year" with the Angels logo as the A) made out of a similar plastic to window blinds. There were creases in it so you could fold it like an accordion (I overheard many discussions from people who couldn't figure out how to do this). Once folded, slapping it against your hand made a loud, piercing "thwack" type noise. Excellent...

-We were in right field, even with the foul pole and about a dozen rows back. Crowd was probably 65/35 Angels/Sox mix near us. The Angels seem to have what I call "the loudest fair weather fans in baseball." They chant when prompted by the scoreboard, and boy do they know how to use those noisemakers du jour. Still shocks me to see so many people leave a 2-1 game early to beat traffic, but that let our friend a couple sections over join us for the ending so it was fine by me.

-I hereby submit "Mr. Septober" as my nomination for a new Ellsbury nickname.

-Lester has always been my wife's favorite player since hearing him referred to as "the young lefty" on the radio the night of his debut a few years back. Tonight was the debut of her new (and now lucky) "Lester is Bester" t-shirt.

-It took us nearly 2 hours to get to the game from LA even though we left at 4pm local time, but only 40 minutes to get back. We live under 20 minutes from Dodger Stadium though, so on both sides of the drive we periodically turn down the radio to say "If the Los Angeles Angels played in LA, we'd be there by now..."

-I'll be there again on Friday. On the 10-game playoff winning streak vs. Anaheim I've been present for the last 5 at the Big A...

redsock said...

Actually, he had two: in both the fifth and ninth innings.

He also doubled in the first.

redsock said...

"Mr. Septober"

I like it.

The one time we were there, we realized that most of the fans in the park had no clue about the game, their own team or their opponent. Things have not changed.

L-girl said...

Jakes/Trades, thanks for the report! Sounds like things have not changed since we were there. I'm sure it was partly the contrast with Anaheim that made me fall in love with Dodger Stadium.

Angels "fans" are the worst commercial, pre-packaged, non-baseball people I've seen in any park.

Jake of All Trades said...

The one time we were there, we realized that most of the fans in the park had no clue about the game, their own team or their opponent. Things have not changed.

Pre-2002 the regular season was easily a 70/30 Sox/Angels split for regular season games and never a sellout. At least they've started coming out to support their own team since then. There are a few passionate ones here and there, but the majority are still stepford fans. They also play "Build Me Up Buttercup" after "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" as a sort of Bizarro California "Sweet Caroline."

On the 10-game playoff winning streak vs. Anaheim I've been present for the last 5 at the Big A...

Correction: Late night post-game euphoria had me counting wrong. I've been to the last 4 Anaheim vs. Boston playoff games. But I also attended YED there in 2002 to account for my 5 post-season "wins."

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