|Fourth inning: Beckett battlin’||10.05.08 at 6:24 pm ET|
First, a correction: Jacoby Ellsbury became the first player ever to drive in three runs with a postseason single, but Placido Polanco did indeed hit a “three-run” single in Game 1 of the 2000 NLDS. Here’s how it went down, as documented at the time by the New York Times:
“Placido Polanco smashed a line drive past Maddux for a single to center that scored both Clark and Lankford. As Andruw Jones made a throw to home plate that was too late to get Lankford, Polanco rounded first base and headed for second. Braves catcher Paul Bako made a wild throw to second base for another error, and Hernandez scampered home.”
That game was ultimately more notable for another reason entirely: though the Cardinals won going away, starter Rick Ankiel threw five wild pitches, and his career as an effective pitcher was over.
Back to Game 3 of the 2008 ALDS, also known as “Josh Being Dice…” Beckett, who retired Erick Aybar on a harmless fly to center, is clearly not long meant for this game, having given up another hit (a single) to the now 3-for-3 Figgins. Figgins is now the second player to collect three hits in a playoff game against Beckett, joining Derek Jeter, who accomplished the feat in Game 3 of the 2003 World Series.
Beckett escaped further harm, despite giving up a two-out infield single to Mark Teixeira and walking Vlad Guerrero to load the bases, when Torii Hunter bounced into a 6-4 forceout. Beckett has now needed 91 pitches through four innings. In his three postseason complete games, Beckett has thrown an average of 110 pitches.
In the bottom of the inning, Jed Lowrie ripped a single leadoff single to left field. Lowrie, of course, was a monster this year against left-handed pitching, assembling a .338/.409/.525/.934 line against southpaws as a rookie. Lowrie monitored the Sox closely last postseason, when his close friend Jacoby Ellsbury (the two were roommates in several different minor-league stops, as well as this year in spring training) had an incredible postseason. Though Lowrie would like to imitate his teammate’s success, he was skeptical of his odds of winning everyone in the U.S. a taco by stealing a base. (“I’ll leave that to Jacoby,” said Lowrie.)
Jason Varitek followed by grounding into a double-play. It’s been a rather inglorious series for the Sox captain, who is 2-for-10 and has grounded into a pair of double plays. In his postseason career, he has now hit into five twin killings.
Coming into tonight, the Sox were seeing the fewest pitches per plate appearance of any team with 3.54 per trip to the dish. Amazingly, the Angels–as free-swinging as the ’70s–were leading the Angles with 4.11 per plate appearance. Through four innings tonight, the Angels were averaging 3.96 pitches per plate appearance against Beckett. The Sox had seen 3.89 pitches per plate appearance against Saunders.
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