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Red Sox vs. Angels Game 3 Preview

10.11.09 at 10:33 am ET
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If anyone had told Clay Buchholz back in April that all of Red Sox Nation would be relying on him to resurrect the Red Sox from an 0-2 deficit to the Angels in the ALDS, chances are he would not have believed them. When the right-hander began the year with Triple-A Pawtucket, little did he know that he would hold the fate of the 2009 Sox season in his hand.

After aces Jon Lester and Josh Beckett failed to deliver wins in their respective outings, the Red Sox look to Buchholz (7-4, 4.21) to keep their postseason run alive as he makes his first career start in the playoffs. Treading on the brink of elimination, the Sox need Buchholz to turn in his best performance since he pitched a no-hitter in his second career start on Sept. 1, 2007. With the Sox managing to accumulate only one run in 18 innings, Buchholz cannot be certain that he will receive a decent amount of run support, adding to the pressure that every pitch could decide the outcome of the game.

When Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield were placed on the disabled list and free agent signings Brad Penny and John Smoltz both fell short of meeting expectations, Buchholz emerged as a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox. Though he struggled in his first few starts after being promoted from Triple A, the Texas native was stellar in September, going 4-1 in six starts with a 2.87 ERA.

Buchholz faltered in his last two starts, surrendering 13 runs in 11 innings, including six home runs. In his career opposing the Angels, Buchholz has not fared much better, owning a 1-2 record with an exorbitant 6.35 ERA. Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero has hit particularly well against the right-hander, collecting four hits in nine plate appearances.

On the flip side, Scott Kazmir (10-9, 4.89) returns to the postseason for the second consecutive year. Though he now dons an Angels jersey instead of a Rays uniform, Kazmir has posted a 1-1 record with a 4.21 ERA in five career playoff starts. In the 2008 ALCS facing the Red Sox, the left-hander gave up a total of five earned runs in 10-1/3 innings over two starts ‘€” both of which resulted in no-decisions.

Spending a portion of the season on the DL, Kazmir had difficulty finding consistency while with the Rays, posting an 8-7 record and a hefty 5.92 ERA in 20 starts. After being dealt to the Angels on Aug. 28, Kazmir was rejuvenated, going 2-2 with an impressive 1.73 ERA in six starts.

Against the Red Sox, Kazmir has made 23 career starts, recording an 8-7 record with a 3.59 ERA. While many Red Sox batters have seen little success against the left-hander, second baseman Dustin Pedroia has hammered Kazmir, batting .517 with three doubles, one triple, and one home run in 36 plate appearances.

With the season on the line, the Red Sox have no room for error. Returning to Fenway, where they compiled the second-best home record in the majors, the Sox look to recapture the come-from-behind magic that allowed them to overtake the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.

Here is how both pitchers have matched up against Sunday’s opposing batters:

Clay Buchholz vs. Angels batters

Chone Figgins (9 career plate appearances) 2-for-6, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Vladimir Guerrero (9) 4-for-9

Jeff Mathis (8) 1-for-5, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Torii Hunter (6) 1-for-5, 1 walk

Maicer Izturis (6) 1-for-4, 1 double, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Bobby Abreu (5) 1-for-5, 1 home run

Howie Kendrick (5) 1-for-5, 1 strikeout

Juan Rivera (5) 0-for-5, 2 strikeouts

Erick Aybar (3) 0-for-3

Gary Matthews, Jr. (3) 0-for-3, 2 strikeouts

Robb Quinlan (3) 1-for-3, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

Reggie Willits (3) 0-for-3, 2 strikeouts

Scott Kazmir vs. Red Sox batters

David Ortiz (50 career plate appearances) .205 AVG, .300 OBP, .364 SLG, 1 double, 2 home runs, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (45) .250, .333, .600, 2 doubles, 4 home runs, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (45) .237, .333, .316, 3 doubles, 6 walks, 14 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (44) .188, .386, .313, 1 double, 1 home run, 9 walks, 11 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (36) .517, .600, .793, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 6 walks, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (20) .300, .300, .350, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Jason Bay (17) .267, .353, .533, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (11) 5-for-11, 1 strikeout

Alex Gonzalez (10) 4-for-10, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Brian Anderson (8) 0-for-6, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (8) 1-for-7, 1 triple, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Jed Lowrie (7) 0-for-3, 4 walks

Casey Kotchman (5) 2-for-5, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Red Sox Struggles Against Top Pitchers Continue

10.11.09 at 9:40 am ET
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As mentioned in today’s story, the Red Sox have struggled all year against above-average starting pitching, a trend that continued when Angels starters John Lackey and Jered Weaver combined to fire 14.2 innings and allow one run on six hits in Games 1 and 2.

That continued a pattern that took place throughout the regular season, when Weaver (twice) and Lackey (once) had solid starts against the Sox. In 36 games this year, the Sox faced a starter who finished the year with a sub-4.00 ERA (min. 162 innings). Those starters went 15-10 with a combined 2.72 ERA, and turned in quality starts in 26 of those 36 outings.

Here is a detailed look at the Sox’ performance in those games (apologies for the absence of the date of the games) — the ERA represents the pitcher’s year-ending mark:


Pitcher ERA IP ER Decision
Greinke 2.16 6 0 W
Herndandez 2.49 7 3 ND
Jurrgens 2.6 6.33 2 ND
Jurrgens 2.6 8 3 L
Halladay 2.79 9 1 W
Halladay 2.79 5 4 L
Halladay 2.79 6 4 L
Halladay 2.79 9 0 W
Vazquez 2.87 7.67 1 L
Happ 2.93 5.67 5 W
Santana 3.13 7 2 W
Lee 3.22 8 0 ND
Sabathia 3.37 7 4 L
Sabathia 3.37 7.67 0 W
Sabathia 3.37 6.67 3 W
Sabathia 3.37 7 0 W
Verlander 3.45 8 0 W
Jackson 3.62 4 4 ND
Millwood 3.67 5.67 1 ND
Millwood 3.67 7 0 W
Weaver 3.75 6.67 0 W
Weaver 3.75 7 1 ND
Danks 3.77 6 2 W
Danks 3.77 6 3 L
Lackey 3.83 7.67 2 L
Buehrle 3.84 7 1 W
Lannan 3.88 6.33 3 ND
Niemann 3.94 3 5 L
Garza 3.95 7 1 W
Garza 3.95 7.67 0 W
Garza 3.95 7 3 ND
Garza 3.95 7 2 ND
Garza 3.95 6.67 4 ND
Garza 3.95 7.33 3 L
Porcello 3.96 4.33 3 L
Porcello 3.96 1 1 ND

Fenway Park Road Closures for Game 3 of ALDS

10.11.09 at 7:51 am ET
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The Red Sox released the following information to remind fans, attending ALDS Home Game One today, about street closures in the neighborhood of Fenway Park.

The 2009 Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon is taking place today and will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the race starting, and ending, at Roberto Clemente Park in the Fenway with over 5,000 participants.  The following street closures will affect the neighborhood around Fenway Park per the City of Boston Transportation Department and the Boston Athletic Association:

Park Drive has been closed since 5:00 a.m. for set up (service road remains open).

Traffic will be delayed on various streets intermittently between 7:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (and maybe beyond) to allow the runners to proceed along the course.  The course begins at Roberto Clemente Park and goes through the Riverway and over Route 9 into Brookline. The course then passes Jamaica Pond and the Arborway on its way to Franklin Park, with a turnaround in the Franklin Park Zoo. Returning from Franklin Park, the course follows the Arborway to the Jamaicaway to the Riverway before finishing back in the Fenway on Park Drive near the rose garden and Veteran’s Memorial.

Once all the runners pass the intersection by the Landmark Center, the police will re-open that intersection (around 8:10am) until the runners return from Franklin Park (around 8:35am – wheelchair leaders) and then shut it down again. Police will be “pulsing” traffic through when it is safe to do so.

The Red Sox urge all fans attending the game at Fenway Park on Sunday to take Public Transportation.

ALDS Game 3 Live Chat

10.11.09 at 7:22 am ET
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ALDS Game 3 Live Chat

Bay transcript Saturday Fenway

10.10.09 at 5:32 pm ET
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October 10, 2009

Jason Bay

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: Looks like we got a little bonus.

JASON BAY: This was part of the deal for the off day. (Accompanied by daughter Addison.)

THE MODERATOR: First question for either?

Q. Jason, what has been the Angels’ game plan against you guys when you’re batting? What can you do to disrupt their rhythm in pitching?

JASON BAY: I don’t think, you know, for the most part it’s not a team we play a lot during the season, so, you don’t see them a lot, but the few times we have seen them, you know, I think we saw Weaver twice in the regular season and I think maybe we got one run. Just one of those things where I don’t know if it’s a situation where he pitches well against us. I mean, obviously his numbers indicate he pitches well against most teams. But maybe they — he matches up well against us. I don’t know. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ALDS, Bay, Red Sox,

Buchholz transcript Saturday Fenway

10.10.09 at 5:29 pm ET
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October 10, 2009

Clay Buchholz

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: First question for Clay today.

Q. As you were watching Josh and Jon work the other nights, were you taking some mental notes? What did you see from their work that you can apply to your job?

CLAY BUCHHOLZ: You know, just goes back to what these guys do. They hit and run. They run when they get on base. I think they did a pretty good job of holding the running game. There was a couple of stolen bases here and there.

But I think they varied their times pretty well to minimize the damage they could do on the bases and they’ll try to do the same thing, the first pitch strikes. They threw a lot of first-pitch strikes to get in some pitchers’ counts. Go out there and try to do the same thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Buchholz, Red Sox,

francona Transcript Saturday Fenway

10.10.09 at 5:27 pm ET
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October 10, 2009

Terry Francona

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: First question for, Terry.

Q. How are you going to change, start hitting and win this game?

TERRY FRANCONA: If I that had answer we wouldn’t have lost the first two. We haven’t had a very successful approach to those two games. They’ve executed very well and we haven’t made a lot of adjustments and we’ve paid the price for it. What’s happened has happened. Now we’ll show up tomorrow, do what we always do on early games, have 12 pieces of bacon, a Red Bull and go get ‘em. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Francona, Red Sox,

Pedroia Transcript Saturday Fenway

10.10.09 at 5:23 pm ET
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October 10, 2009

Dustin Pedroia

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Workout Day

THE MODERATOR: First question for Dustin Pedroia.

Q. Dustin, you guys obviously were in this situation before in ’07, down 3-1. How does that experience help?

DUSTIN PEDROIA: I think it does to a certain extent. The first two games didn’t really go very well this series for us. But, you know, we’re still here. We’re at home. So we play a lot better at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox,

Francona: We might adjust our batting order

10.10.09 at 5:17 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona said on Saturday that he might change the batting order for his team entering a do-or-die Game 3 against the Angels on Sunday afternoon against lefty Scott Kazmir.

“We might adjust our batting order a little bit, but the same guys will play,” Francona said.

Kazmir is 8-7 in 23 lifetime games against the Red Sox, including 2-0 this season while he was with Tampa Bay. The Sox are batting just .131 (8-for-61) in the two games against Los Angeles, with just two extra-base hits.

Read More: batting, Francona, Red Sox,

12 pieces of Bacon and a Red Bull

10.10.09 at 5:15 pm ET
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Red Sox manager Terry Francona delivered a rallying cry for his troops on Saturday at Fenway entering Sunday’s noon do-or-die game against the Los Angeles Angels.

“We’ll show up [Sunday], do what we always do on early games, have 12 pieces of bacon, a Red Bull and go get ‘em.”

The Red Sox are down two games-to-none entering Sunday’s Game 3, needing to win Sunday and Monday at Fenway to force a Game 5 back in Anaheim on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Jon Lester threw on Saturday at Fenway and Francona pronounced him on track to make the Game 4 start on Monday if necessary. Mike Lowell, who was hit on the right thumb by a sharp one-hop grounder in Friday’s loss, did not come in for treatment, indicating to Francona that he’s okay.

In other Saturday developments, Daisuke Matsuzaka threw on flat-ground in right field while Game 3 starter Clay Buchholz went through a very brief five-minute mound session in the bullpen.

Read More: ALDS, Angels, Francona, Red Bull
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