Back-to-back home runs by David “Big Papi” Ortiz and Manny RamÃrez in the 4th inning and another outstanding postseason start by Curt Schilling helped the Sox defeat the Angels 9-0 and sweep them in this ALDS series. Schilling gave the Red Sox seven shutout innings even though he probably wasn’t as sharp as he would have liked. The Sox will now await the winner of the Indians-Yankees series starting Friday night in Boston.
Jered Weaver didn’t pitch all that badly for the Angels even though he gave up the back-to-back jacks. It was his bullpen that failed him and also a lack of offense by the Angels ultimately did them in today and also in the short series.
After setting down the side in the 1st inning, Weaver ran into a jam in the 2nd. Weaver walked Manny to start the inning and Mike Lowell followed that up with a double to give the Sox runners at second and third with nobody out. J.D. Drew had the first chance to bring a run in but he ended up grounding back to Weaver for the first out. Weaver then got strikeouts of Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp to work out of the jam.
In the 1st inning, Schilling allowed a 1-out hit to former Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera but worked out of it. In the 2nd, he gave up a 1-out hit to Macier Izturis but then got Howie Kendrick to hit into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Schilling got himself into trouble in the 3rd inning. Juan Rivera led off with a single. Schill followed that up with a strikeout of Angels catcher Mike Napoli. He then got Chone Figgins to ground into a fielder’s choice that retired Rivera at second. Cabrera followed that up with his second hit of the afternoon moving Figgins over to third. Schilling decided to pitch around Vladimir Guerrero to load up the bases for Reggie Willits, who took over for Garrett Anderson at the start of the 3rd. The move paid off as Schilling got Willits to foul out to Varitek, who made a great catch on the ball.
Big Papi led off of the 4th inning for the Red Sox and took a fastball from Weaver and planted it into the right field seats to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Manny followed that with a home run of his own to give the Sox the 2-0 lead. I am sure Weaver was a little pissed at Manny because he admired it for a few seconds before running the bases. Weaver settled down after the back-to-back blasts as he got Lowell, Drew and Varitek to end the inning.
Big game Curt was virtually flawless the rest of the way. He set the side down in order in the 4th, a single to Napoli in the 5th, and a perfect 6th. In the 7th, Izturis led off with a double and went to third on a Kendrick ground out. Schilling then got Rivera to pop up the ball in the infield to Youk for the second out. He finished off his outstanding performance with a strikeout of Napoli. You knew Schilling was done for the day as he gave his customary wave to the home plate umpire on his way back to the dugout.
Weaver was long gone in the 8th as Scot Shields replaced him in the 6th. He retired both batters he faced that inning and struck out the side in the 7th. He started out the 8th with a walk of Lugo and then was replaced by Justin Speier. The wheels then fell off for the Angels as they would see their ALCS hopes dashed. Pedroia laced a double to left that scored Lugo for a 3-0 lead. Pedroia went to third on the throw to the plate. Youk made the first out of the inning as his sacrifice fly scored Pedroia to put the Sox up 4-0. Big Papi then hit a single and Speier walked Manny. Jacoby Ellsbury came into pinch-run for Manny. A Lowell double would score Big Papi with Ellsbury stopping at third. Speier was pulled from the game as the Angels brought in Darren Oliver to face Drew. They also pulled the infield in for Drew and he hit a grounder to Morales at first. Morales went to home with the throw but a speedy Ellsbury beat it because of a bad throw by Morales. That gave the Sox a 6-0 lead. Varitek continued the flood of runs with a double that knocked in Lowell for a 7-0 lead. Crisp poured some more salt into the Angels’ wounds as he hit a 2-run single to put the Red Sox up by a commanding nine runs. Lugo, who had started the inning with a walk, was the second out of the inning as he popped out. Oliver got Pedroia to ground into a fielder’s choice for the final out but the damage was complete as the Sox went into the inning up 2-0 and came out ahead by nine runs.
Ellsbury replaced Manny in left and Hideki Okajima took over for Schill on the mound in the 8th. Figgins led off the inning with a double. Oki then settled in and got Cabrera and Guerrero. He issued a 2-out free pass to Willits but got Morales to fly out to Coco to end the inning.
Dustin Moseley came in and the 9th and had a pretty easy inning as he only allowed a single to Youk. He got Eric Hinske, who pinch-hit for Big Papi, to strikeout and got Ellsbury to ground into a double play.
Eric GagnÃ© came out for the Red Sox in the 9th inning. Izturis led off with a ground-rule double to right field. He went to third on a wild pitch by the Canadian with Kendrick at the plate. Kendrick brought in the Angels first run in 15 innings as he hit a sac fly. GagnÃ© finished off the game by getting two pinch-hitters, Nathan Haynes and Robb Quinlan to strikeout and fly out respectively.
A brilliant outing by Schilling today propelled the Sox to the postseason. The meat of the order did a lot of damage to the Angels. The Red Sox bullpen was outstanding as they allowed 1 run in the series. Ultimately, it was the injuries to the Angels that probably did them in as well as they went with out Gary Matthews, Jr., Bartolo Colon and obviously not a 100% Vlad and Anderson.
When the ALCS starts on Friday night in Boston, it will be only their fourth game in 11 days. I am not a big fan of this TV schedule affecting the start days of the games but then again with the series between the Indians and Yankees not being finished, I can understand it a little. But if the Indians finish off the Yanks tonight, both teams will have to wait until Friday. The same holds true in the National League as the Rockies and Diamondbacks won’t start their series until Thursday night in Phoenix.
Notes and Musings:
Curt Schilling last pitched in a game back on September 25th. He threw six innings in the win over the A’s, giving him his 9th win of the season.
The Rally Monkey was on hand for today’s game. The Angels also handed out these annoying things called rally paddles.
Angels 1B Casey Kotchman missed the game today with a non-baseball related injury.
Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher was removed from the Angels plane on early Saturday morning before it took off when he starting to vomit. He ended up flying back later that day. He was in the dugout for today’s game and from all accounts he is doing much better.
Jackie Mac from the Boston Globe said it was unlikely to see Eric GagnÃ© throw at all in this series unless it’s a blowout or the Sox are out of pitchers. Of course he came in and gave up a run in his one inning of work today
Amalie Benjamin from the Globe reported that Manny was awfully chatty with the media during BP. Has Manny turned a new leaf? Doubtful. He’s probably just enjoying the attention.
Garrett Anderson left the game because he couldn’t see the ball in the outfield due to the conjunctivitis in his right eye.
Manny and Big Papi’s back-to-back home runs were the first time this season they have done it. They have done it before in the postseason though back in 2005 against the eventual World Series champs, Chicago White Sox.The best part of the home runs was the fact that before Big Papi hit his, the announcers were talking about how the double wall in right field would make it hard for a Big Papi to hit a home run. And no quicker then they finished it, the ball was in the right field seats.
The only other time the Angels scored in the series was against Dice-K in the second inning of Game 2.
The Red Sox have won nine straight games over the Angels in the playoffs.
I am so glad that the ALCS is being broadcast on FOX. No more friggin Frank TV ads. I lost count after 10 again.
Big Papi reached base 11 of 14 times during the series.