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Ken Rosenthal on D&H 10/29 10.29.09 at 5:50 pm ET
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FoxSports’ Ken Rosenthal made a guest appearance on the D&H Show on Thursday afternoon to talk about Game 1 of the World Series, a 6-1 Phillies win over the Yankees, and his prediction for how Pedro Martinez will fare in tonight’s Game 2 match-up.

Click here to listen to the full audio and read below for some highlights.

That was quite a performance by Cliff Lee last night, wasn’t it?

That was one of the great performances that I’ve ever seen in person and how he carved up the Yankees, how they had no chance, how he came to be — as [Fox broadcasters] Tim McCarver and Joe Buck said — performing as if he was getting his work in for Spring Training. The whole package was just frankly unreal.

How did you see the series playing out before Game 1? What your take? What was your prediction?

I picked the Yankees in 6. And, obviously, now you look at it and if they lose tonight they are in trouble. I have a hard time believing that Pedro is going to hold them down the way that Lee held them down. And I will say this, that the difference tonight is Charlie Manuel can go to the bullpen whenever he wants to. If Pedro is stinking it up — and I’m not saying he will — but if that scenario takes place, you got J. A. Happ, you got Joe Blanton, you have a group of relievers who haven’t pitched in eight days. So, they can practically turn this into a bullpen game and I will not be surprised if they do if they need to.

I don’t agree with Manuel pitching Pedro in Game 2…having said that, the drama for tonight is off the charts.

Well, I don’t think Manuel is thinking about that but I’m with you. I can’t recall the last time exactly when I was this excited to go to the ballpark. And it’s not just because of Pedro, although he is a huge part of that, it is because the Yankees lost Game 1 and they’re in a situation tonight where they definitely need to win and the Phillies are not like the Angels, they’re not like the Twins, they’re not like any other team really. They can stand up to the Yankees and it’s going to be really great theater tonight and very interesting to watch.

What’s your take on [Pedro] saying he’s the most influential player to perform in Yankee Stadium?

I think what he meant, and I don’t want to put any words in his mouth, is that he influenced the most emotion. Certainly he has influenced quite a bit of emotion. I don’t know that even Pedro would say he is a more influential person than Babe Ruth or any of the other Yankee greats. But, that press conference yesterday was absolutely fascinating. I know people in Boston are well aware of this; Pedro is not just one if the greatest pitchers in history, but one of the most intelligent players I’ve come across, one of the most well-spoken, and that thing yesterday was just a tour de force. And he had some points he wanted to make, and he got them out there about the New York media, about the confrontation with [Don] Zimmer. There are very, very, very few players I can count on one hand who can have that kind of press conference and speak so eloquently on a number of issues whether you agree with him or not.

Where would you put him [on the all-time great pitchers]?

He’s right there at the top. And we’re talking right now about Pedro in his prime in this discussion that we are having. In that aspect, yeah, I don’t know anybody better. Certainly [Roger] Clemens had his moments, Randy Johnson had his moments, there are a whole host of pitchers, [John] Smoltz. You can go right down the line. Roy Halladay for that matter. In terms of electricity, sheer stuff, and the ability to win, he dominated.  Pedro was the guy. I remember one year, I can’t recall which season it was exactly, it might have been 1999, but it was an MVP-type year. I remember writing a column, “Hey, he should be the MVP,” because not only does he impact the one game he pitches, but he impacts the other four because he saves the bullpen and he has this mystique about him. He was and to some degree he still is a transcendent figure. People have their opinions about him and that’s fine. He’s certainly angered people over the years, but he was absolutely brilliant in his prime. There aren’t many pitchers who I would get as excited about seeing.

I have more questions about the other starting pitcher tonight. A.J. Burnett has more to prove than Pedro does.

That’s fair and even if the atmosphere will be charged tonight, and it will be charged, he is going to be that much more tested because he is an emotional guy, he does get pumped up and carried away at times and he really actually has pitched very well in the postseason. You could even make the case in the last start he should have been out of the game before he was. Yeah, I see what you are saying, but my question is how is Pedro’s stuff going to match-up against the Yankees? Not only an American League line-up, but the DH, the highest scoring team in the majors, a team that generally abuses guys with that kind of stuff.  He has to know how, if his breaking ball is good, that will be an advantage. The other thing that we don’t know is how tight are the Yankees going to be? If they are tight and if they are stretching a little bit at the plate, then it plays right into Pedro’s hands.

Are the Phillies built like an American League team?

They’re not quite that, but they’re pretty darn good. [Pedro] Feliz and [Carlos] Ruiz are not great offensive players at their position. Ruiz, the catcher, has certainly had a good postseason, done a lot of really good things, a lot of big hits. When [Jimmy] Rollins and [Shane] Victorino are going, and they haven’t always been going this season — especially Rollins, they’re very dynamic. One of the huge differences already in this series is Rollins and Victorino vs. [Chone] Figgins and whoever batted second for the Angels in that series, mostly [Bobby] Abreu. That was a huge thing that the Yankees shut down the Angels’ 1-2 guys and they didn’t do that last night.

Is Charlie Manuel an old school guy?

That is totally accurate. What is inaccurate is the perception of him because of the way he speaks, because he is from North Carolina not West Virginia, is that he is dumb. Anyone who knows him or been around him for any length of time knows he isn’t dumb. He might not speak as polished as some people and whatever, but it bothers me when he went to Philadelphia for the first time [after] they hired him and the people of Philadelphia were all over [him] because of his accent. As if that city or any city for that matter was full of Nobel Prize winners walking the streets. Hey, he is a regular guy who has overcome a lot physically, being in Japan, all kinds of things happened to this guy and the proof is on that field every day. Look at that team, look how they played for him. And, yeah, they’re talented, no question about it, but there are other talented teams that don’t play as well as the Phillies do.

What are the offensive problems going on right now with guys like Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher? What’s going on with them?

I’m not sure with Teixeira. Swisher in the previous series was rushing a bit and just not himself. Teixeira actually in the final two games had kind of come around a little bit. Remember, he had the big bases-clearing triple and a couple of hits in the Game 6 as well. I’m not convinced his problems last night was totally Cliff Lee. Last night, Cliff Lee held Teixeira and A-Rod 0-for-8 with 5 K’s. That’s impressive and I want to see more tonight before I make any judgments.

Any predictions tonight for Pedro?

I think more like 4 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs. I love Pedro and I was warned last night by a member of the Phillies offense not to bet against this guy and we all know why. He’s brilliant out there and has got the heart of a lion, but I just think the Yankees are going to get him.

Were you buying [Manuel’s] explanation for pitching Pedro tonight in Yankee Stadium.

Very simple. Pedro is pitching better than Cole Hamels, so you want Pedro on the mound instead of Cole Hamels. Also, and it hasn’t been talked about that much, Cole Hamels has been very inconsistent all season, you know that. He has been better at home: 3.75 at home ERA, 4.99 on the road. That means something to me and the idea of splitting the left-handers, there is some merit in that because you don’t give the switch-hitters a chance to get comfortable. They’re going left, right, left obviously pacing left, right, left. At the same time, if Pedro goes  2 2/3 tonight, we are going to see J. Happ and it’s going to switch all the switch-hitters around anyway. So, I understood it, it’s a bit of a questionable move , but Cole Hamels has really been an iffy guy all season long, especially in the postseason.

Who wins the managing match-up in you eyes, Manuel or Girardi?

I don’t know. They’re both guys that will leave themselves open for a lot of second guessing and this series will probably end up a second-guesser’s delight. They’re opposites. Charlie goes by his instincts, Joe Girardi goes by information from scouts, from numbers, and yet they still do things that make people scratch their heads and that’s the beauty of baseball.

What did you think of Girardi’s moves out of the bullpen last night?

Well, he has a problem. His problem is that he has so many young relievers that he can’t really put much trust in any of them. None of them are performing that well. So, I didn’t mind [Phil] Hughes starting off the inning. In fact, I said in the broadcast that Hughes is more comfortable in the wind-up or at least didn’t rush that much. I thought maybe that would help him, but obviously that didn’t make a difference. The [Damaso] Marte move was the right move, I didn’t mind David Robertson coming in. You could have had [Phil] Coke pitch to [Raul] Ibanez. It was one of those games where they weren’t beating Cliff Lee no matter what and the disturbing thing is that his relievers are simply not performing.

Read More: Charlie Manuel, Cliff Lee, Joe Girardi, Ken Rosenthal
Oct. 27, 2004: Remembering the Ecstasy, Five Years Later 10.27.09 at 2:26 am ET
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Five years ago, a total lunar eclipse — the first ever during a World Series game — occurred in the night sky shortly before midnight at Busch Stadium, shortly before Keith Foulke prepared to launch what would be the final pitch of the 2004 season to Edgar Renteria.

A swing and a soft ground ball later, the ball would find its way back into the glove of the Red Sox closer, and he lofted it over to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who eagerly awaited the underhand toss. Sealing it in his glove with one foot on the bag, Mientkiewicz threw his arms up, lifting his right index finger in the air, while Foulke turned in jubilation toward Jason Varitek, catching him in an elated leap of triumph. The Red Sox, on the strength of a 3-0 win in Game 4, were World Series champions for the first time since 1918 after sweeping the Cardinals.

When Mientkiewicz caught the ball — a ball he later would refuse to give to Red Sox management — every citizen of the diehard, passionate and avid fan base known as Red Sox Nation erupted into a frenzied state of mass hysteria. In Boston, delirious fans jumped into ponds, ran up and down Yawkey Way riding on broomsticks like they were Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus,” and flipped over cars.

They were unfazed by the armored Boston Police officers who looked ready to pounce on the first fanatic to get in their way. They did not care about midterms, deadlines or their Yankees-fan bosses’ threats that they would be fired if they did not arrive on time for work the next morning. This was the party they anticipated for decades. It was here at last.

Many laughed, many cried. Some screamed and others shouted. There were sighs of relief and howls of joy. “Dirty Water” blasted through stereos and “Sweet Caroline” echoed its “So good!” feeling in the exhilarated atmosphere. Bill Buckner received a full pardon.

College students climbed up lamp posts, hollering at the top of their lungs. People of all ages danced better than Patrick Swayze throughout Kenmore Square. And the celebration was not limited to those in America, but those in all corners of the globe. Those lying six feet under were given recognition for their loyalty as well, as many greeted their loved ones with World Series memorabilia.

This was the moment every member of the Nation had long awaited. Eighty-six years after the Red Sox had won their fifth World Series championship, the title was returning to Boston. They had accomplished the seemingly impossible. They were not just another championship team. They were the team. The best. The world’s greatest.

No team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in any playoff series to win four straight. This team did. The fans had suffered long enough. Those who died waiting, it was said over and over, were finally able to rest in peace.

Boston Red Sox, 2004 World Series champions: Could it get any better than this?

In the aftermath of Renteria’s final out, Red Sox players stormed the field in a celebration that would carry them all the way back to Boston. In the clubhouse, showering under the ice cold spray of bottled champagne, Johnny Pesky was at last able to receive the trophy he had whole-heartedly desired since his Red Sox team lost the 1946 World Series in St. Louis 58 years earlier. Curt Schilling gave a toast to the “greatest Red Sox team ever.” Shortstop Orlando Cabrera labeled the team a dynasty.

And Manny Ramirez, the World Series MVP, the disgruntled outfielder who was almost packaged in an offseason trade that would have sent Alex Rodriguez to the Sox and Manny to the Texas Rangers, offered one of his more profound statements, saying, “God sent me back here for a reason, and that’s why I am here.”

Theo Epstein, the engineer who built the band of lovable idiots, took part in the festivities as both a fan and a proud employee of the franchise. “A whole lot of people can die happy now, and a whole lot of people can live happy now — and we plan on doing it,” he said.

Terry Francona, in his first year as the team’s manager, got his wish to see his eccentric group of ballplayers jump onto each other like kids bouncing on a trampoline. Reliever Curtis Leskanic fell to the ground and attempted to make a snow angel in the grass in honor of how the Patriots celebrated a playoff victory.

Emotions were high throughout the Nation. Kevin Millar, who drew the leadoff walk off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the ALCS, reflected after the game that it was an “amazing feeling.”

Fans who had lived through a lifetime of letdown and disappointment were finally rewarded. There were converts from the dark Yankee Universe who finally were able to validate their reasoning for crossing over. And there was 18-year veteran Ellis Burks, who was at last able to end his career by bringing home a championship.

Already, people were talking about the parade. Already, fans were preparing to hate on the Yankees (as Manny Ramirez did when he held a poster reading “Jeter is playing golf today. This is better!”). And Derek Lowe already was anticipating returning to Yankee Stadium without having to hear the “1918” chants (though that would be the last night he would wear a Sox uniform).

Lowe’s jersey that he wore during his win in Game 4 would be immortalized in the Hall of Fame along with Cabrera’s glove, Schilling’s and Foulke’s spikes, Pedro Martinez‘ cap, and several other treasured artifacts.

Not since the Boston Tea Party, it seemed, had the city exploded in such a fervent and zealous outburst. Red and navy shirts and jerseys streamed across the Boston Common and alongside the Charles River. It was a declaration of independence from the so-called Curse of the Bambino. The Sox were finally champions.

These are the images and the sounds that will forever be etched in the memories of Red Sox fans around the country. It was a night that no Sox fan will ever forget. Whenever someone asks a citizen where he or she was on Oct, 27, 2009, at 11:40 p.m., the answer will be an easy one. Everyone can distinctly remember what they were doing. Whether they celebrated from the comfort of their home, from the streets lining Beantown, or at the park in St. Louis, Red Sox fans will surely remember the moment that their prayers were answered and their faith rewarded.

The championship drought was over. Red Sox fans could ask for nothing more than the opportunity to soak in that moment of glory.

Read More: 1918, 2004 Anniversary, 86 years, world series
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

Kevin Millar on D&C, 10/9 10.09.09 at 12:42 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about his role as a commentator on the MLB Network, his picks for tonight, his view of Kevin Youkilis‘ intensity level, and his stance on the catcher-pitcher relationship. Here are the transcript highlights. Click here for the full audio on demand.

Is this MLB Network paving the way for a post baseball career or are you just having fun?

You know what, I’m having fun right now. I just came up here it’s a great network, I’m having fun. I’m working with Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter and Victor Rojas last couple days. You know what, it’s been fun, but I want to play, I’ll still play, but if it ends I would love to do something like this.

If somebody told you prior to last night’s Red Sox-Angels game that this team would not only only get four hits and not a base hit and not score a run, you would have said the odds happening on that would be what?

I would have said probably zero.

It was a great-pitched game, obviously, the Torii Hunter home run put the Angels up and gave them momentum, but I thought it was going to be a battle because [John] Lackey could be as tough as possible also, and you know obviously he threw a great game and got in trouble that one inning and the Sox couldn’t get anything across.

Who do you like tonight, then?

Well, you got to go to [Josh] Beckett. To me, that’s the one thing I thought the Red Sox … If this comes to a bullpen type game, they have the advantage because they have so much power at the back end of that bullpen with [Jonathan] Papelbon, [Daniel] Bard and [Billy] Wagner and it just doesn’t stop, and you could think they could just play a six- or seven-inning game. If Beckett’s on, he’s as tough as ever also, but on the flip side, who are the Angels starting tonight?

Jered Weaver.

You got Weaver, he’s won 16 games, Beckett’s won 17. I know Weaver pitches well at home. It’s going to be a battle. These two teams match up pretty well against each other.

Are you surprised at the way the Jason Varitek [situation] unfolded? … They bring Victor Martinez in and Terry Francona was not hesitant to send his captain to the bench and pinch-hit for his captain when he was in there and it appears he’s not going to see any action in this series.

It’s always a tough thing, and [Jorge] Posada‘s going through it right this second, same type thing. You have a guy like Varitek who’s been there and obviously the trade for Victor around the July deadline it started making things a little bit uneasy I would say, you know, I’m not on the team. You have Mikey sit down a couple of days, I know Ortiz sits down a day, and then Varitek. It was kind of a revolving thing, and that’s not an easy situation because Varitek being your captain and being your leader on that club. There are so many other intangibles that Jason brings that we sometimes as fans just look at stats and numbers and, “OK, he’s hitting .204 or .327″ or there’s more in this game behind the scenes that happens. Varitek gets paid to put down fingers also and know lineups and execute different things. It’s tough, but as we get older we get different roles that we’ve got to take also. And personally, that’s what happens.

When you have four guys in three spots, somebody is going to sit, somebody is going to be unhappy about sitting. What happens in the clubhouse dynamics when they make it known they are not happy with the way it’s going?

It can affect the other guys, but Jason Varitek is a professional. All four of these guys are professionals. You are not dealing with an amateur player that can cause problems. You want guys to play, let’s get that straight, but you’re not going to make everybody happy. You’ve got 25 guys, everyone wants to play. I mean, [Casey] Kotchman was a starter before he came over, he’s been on the bench and I’m sure he’s not happy, but these guys are professionals. That’s a good clubhouse. That seems like a great group of guys.

What is your take on the pitcher-catcher relationship on the battery here. Do you care if a pitcher feels more comfortable with a catcher even if that catcher can’t hit?

We had that discussion yesterday on the Posada-[A.J.] Burnett situation. I think that’s important that you want that pitcher comfortable throwing to that catcher because that’s the game. I mean, you’ve got to pitch and you’ve got to catch the ball. Offensively, you’re going to hit and score some runs, but especially when you’ve got a horse like Beckett or a horse like Lester.

[Regarding Kevin Youkilis], where do you come down on that school of thought in terms of how a guy prepares and how a guy succeeds or fails?

I think Youkilis brings it every day. He’s a ballplayer. You’ve got to love that. There’s a lot of haters in this world. Guys want to bring you down. Kevin Youkilis gives everything he has on every pitch. You have to respect that, especially in Boston. That’s a perfect scenario. This is what you want, this is Boston Red Sox stuff.

I understand if it’s a 9-2 game in the eighth inning and he’s 3-for-3 and he’s slamming his helmet down or slamming his bat. That could be tiresome sometimes to teammates and guys that are struggling. I can see that side of it could wear you out, so Youkilis has to pick his spots. The guy brings it every day and you have to respect that. This is a ballplayer . I wouldn’t listen to anything if I’m him about somebody saying, “You’re offending a 16-, 17-year veteran.” That whole veteran thing, it’s … listen, veterans and rookies and all that stuff, treating this guy weird, or you’ve got to respect that guy ‘€” that’s great. But you know what? Let Kevin be Kevin. And that’s the way he plays the game.

Did you ever have an argument with Youkilis?

Never. I mean, he didn’t play a whole lot when I was there because I was there in ’03, ’04 and ’05 and Billy Mueller was there so [Youkilis] spot-started. But that’s who he is. … He’ll have a demeanor sometimes where playing against him, he could rub you the wrong way. David Ortiz can rub you the wrong way if you don’t know him. I love David, he’s the nicest man in the world and the biggest smile and biggest heart, but you could watch David’s mannerisms sometimes from the other side. Guys will ask me, “How is this guy?” He might walk with his head down or he might hit a home run and it’s a slow trot around the bases. If you don’t know these guys from the other side, yeah, they could rub you the wrong way. It kind of looks like the old Paul O’Neill, when he kind of whined about everything. But these guys come at you, and they come out to win.

There might be a little extra anger for Beckett when he goes on the mound. Do you like Beckett a little more edgy, a little more angry, or could it go too far?

No, I like him when he’s got the edge. I think that’s part of him. He’s a bona fide No. 1 guy. You’ve got to give him the edge. I think he’s better that way. He’s a boy from Texas, a big hunter. Hey, go out there with the edge. He got the old Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens mentality. Go out there with the edge. It’s a big game for the Sox tonight. It’s not a must-win, but you don’t want to go back to Boston with an 0-2 deficit and now you’re in an elimination game.

Would you take Miguel Cabrera on your team?

Yeah, this is not a bad guy by any means. Who hasn’t been out and gotten a little drunk late night somewhere, sometime in their life? The new thing is obviously the involvements with the wives. I don’t know the fight with the wife. That is a little disturbing and I understand that side of it, but a guy coming in drunk? Come on. He got caught. How many times have you walked in drunk and you didn’t get caught from the public? Most of the times you come in, pass out on the couch and no one knows about it.

The Angels have denied again and again ramping up for this series, that the Red Sox’ hold over them is absolutely nothing. What does last night accomplish for them?

Yeah, you have the articles, you have the questions. But I think the one intangible is Torii Hunter, and that was before the home run. He is a great leader I love to watch this guy play, but then he hits the three-run home run and that was more than just a home run. That home run and that energy he showed in the dugout that was all the questions you’re hearing about. “You guys can’t beat the Red Sox.” For a week straight, they had to answer that same stuff. “How are you going to beat the Red Sox”  He hits the big home run and its like “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. That’s what I’m talking about.” You appreciate that energy and I think that’s the guy that could get this club over the top. But just his mentality and let’s stop the nonsense.

It’s kind of like the 86 years, that’s all we heard in ’03. This group, all we heard about was 86 years, this and that, and 25 cabs, and we’re like, “What? That’s nonsense. These are a bunch of ballplayers, you can’t even name us. You don’t even know who Mueller is and Millar and Todd Walker at that point, and Ortiz.” This was the group that came in and I believe that changed that nation a little bit, was the ’03 team, and that’s what Torii Hunter can bring to the Angels is, “Stop the nonsense. Let’s turn this page.”

Red Sox vs. Angels Game 2 Preview 10.09.09 at 12:08 pm ET
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The Boston Red Sox entered the visitor’s clubhouse in a familiar situation 24 hours ago when they were all set to begin their postseason run opposing the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS for the fourth time since 2004. Yet, after Angels starter John Lackey held Boston scoreless for 7 1/3 innings limiting the batters to only four singles in last night’s 5-0 Angels’ win, the Sox now find themselves in an unfamiliar 1-0 deficit heading into Game 2 of the series.

Even though Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester did not show his usual command on the mound, the left-hander’s lone mistake resulted in a three-run home run to Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter to give the Halos a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning-one they would not relinquish.

Tonight, the Red Sox attempt to shake off the offensive rust that resulted in no extra-base hits and no runs and turn the home-field advantage in their favor by heading back to Boston with a 1-1 series tie. With the chance to clinch the ALDS at Fenway, the Sox call upon right-handed ace Josh Beckett (17-6, 3.86) to resume his postseason dominance and blank the Angels the way Lackey silenced Boston’s bats in last night’s defeat.

Despite struggling the second half of the season, October has always been one of Beckett’s best months of the year. After leading the Florida Marlins to a World Championship in 2003, Beckett was outstanding in his postseason debut as a member of the Sox in 2007 where he compiled a 4-0 record with a microscopic 1.20 ERA. Last year, the Texas native struggled in the postseason with an oblique injury, though he managed to pick up one win along with posting an overwhelming 8.79 ERA.

In his career against the Halos, Beckett owns a 2-3 record in eight starts with a respectable 4.13 ERA including an 0-1 mark in two starts this year with a 4.50 ERA. In his last start opposing Los Angeles on Sept. 17, the hard-throwing right-hander hurled eight strong innings of three-run ball earning a no-decision in Boston’s 4-3 loss.

Confident that they have shaken off the so-called “hex” of being incapable of beating the Red Sox, the Angels look to continue their quest for their first World Series since 2002 by sending Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75) to the mound. Like Beckett, Weaver had difficulty matching his consistency from the first half of the season. After putting together an impressive 10-3 record along with a 3.22 ERA in 18 starts, the right-hander finished the year going 6-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break.

Winning a career-high 16 games for the Halos, Weaver has dominated the Sox in 2009 collecting a 1-0 record with a hardly-visible 0.66 ERA in 13 2/3 innings. In eight career starts, Weaver has managed a 2-2 record against the Sox with a reputable 3.99 ERA.

Though the Angels won Game 1 of the set, they did so with questionable calls that seemed to go against the Red Sox. After first-base umpire C.B. Bucknor called Angels’ second baseman Howie Kendrick safe twice following a Kevin Youkilis tag, replays indicated that he was indeed out. Though it did not affect the scoring of the game, it did drive up Lester’s pitch count.

Here is how both pitchers have fared against their opponents’ batters:

Josh Beckett vs. Angels batters

Bobby Abreu (88 career plate appearances) .203 AVG, .375 OBP, .333 SLG, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 19 walks, 23 strikeouts

Vladimir Guerrero (39) .242, .359, .455, 1 double, 2 home runs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Maicer Izturis (28) .370, .393, .481, 3 doubles, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Chone Figgans (25) .364, .440, .455, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts

Gary Matthews, Jr. (22) .143, .182, .190, 1 double, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Howie Kendrick (20) .421, .450, .579, 1 home run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Juan Rivera (20) .111, .200, .111, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Torii Hunter (17) .333, .353, .400, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jeff Mathis (7) 2-for-7, 2 doubles, 2 strikeouts

Kendry Morales (7) 0-for-7, 3 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (7) 0-for-6, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Erick Aybar (5) 2-for-5, 1 strikeout

Robb Quinlan (3) 0-for-3, 1 strikeout

Reggie Willits (3) 0-for-2

Jered Weaver vs. Red Sox batters

David Ortiz (24 career plate appearances) .350 AVG, .417 OBP, 700 SLG, 2 home runs, 1 double, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Kevin Youkilis (22) .300, .364, .600, 2 home runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (18) .353, .389, .529, 1 home run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (17) .313, .353, .313, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (15) .231, .333, .385, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (12) .375, .583, .375, 4 walks

Jason Varitek (12) 3-for-12, 2 doubles, 2 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (11) 3-for-11, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

Brian Anderson (6) 1-for-6, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Jason Bay (6) 0-for-5, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Joey Gathright(5) 3-for-5

Jed Lowrie (5) 1-for-5, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Alex Gonzalez (3) 1-for-3, 1 strikeout

Red Sox at Angels Game 1 Match-Ups 10.08.09 at 1:11 pm ET
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It has almost become too inevitable. Year after year, fate has destined the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels to square off against each other in the first-round of the postseason. That is how it was in 2004. That’s how it was in 2007 and 2008. And that’s how it is now in 2009.

It has almost become too predictable. The Angels will give the nod to their hard-throwing ace John Lackey and the Red Sox will send to the mound their home-grown left-hander Jon Lester to ignite the best-of-five set, the same match-up that took place to start the ALDS a year ago.

Finishing the regular season as victors of the AL wild card, the Red Sox (95-67) find themselves in the same position as last season — traveling 3,000 miles to begin their quest for the eighth World Series title in franchise history, and the third of the decade. The Angels (97-65) finished with the second-best record in the American League, in the process securing home-field advantage for at least the ALDS.

When Lester (15-8, 3.41 ERA) takes the mound in the bottom of the first inning, he might recall his brilliant outing in Game 1 of the ALDS from a year ago. On Oct. 1, 2008, Lester hurled seven strong innings, striking out seven and walking one to earn the win in the Sox’ 4-1 victory, allowing only one unearned run.

Days later, the left-hander would be summoned in Game 4 of the series, where he blanked the Angels over seven shutout innings, but received a no-decision as the bullpen blew the save in the eighth. The Sox won the game 3-2, however, sending them to face off in what would be a seven-game, dramatic series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, a game in which Lester insists that he was throwing as well as at any time in 2008.

In his postseason career, Lester owns a 2-2 record with a minuscule 2.25 ERA in seven appearances, five which were starts, memorably including his victory in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series clincher against the Colorado Rockies.

Though Lester enjoyed tremendous success against the Angels last October, the Halos have challenged him during the regular season. In four starts, Lester has a 1-1 record and a robust 7.78 ERA against the team. Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu has seen Lester more times than any other hitter on the Halos’ roster, batting .308 in 14 plate appearances with two doubles, one walk, and one strikeout.

For the Angels, the fiery Lackey (11-8, 3.83) continues to search for his first postseason win against the BoSox. In Game 1 of the ALDS last year, Lackey held the Red Sox scoreless for six innings before surrendering a two-run home run to Jason Bay in the seventh. Lackey would get two outs in the inning before exiting and ultimately being tagged with the loss.

In his rookie campaign in 2002, Lackey was unbeatable in the postseason, leading the way with a 2-0 record in five appearances and three starts including a Game 7 WS win vs. the San Francisco Giants to crown the Angels champions. Since then, Lackey has yet to record a playoff win, posting an 0-3 mark with a 4.00 ERA in six starts. Two of the three losses came against the Sox — one in 2007 and the other in 2008.

In the regular season, Lackey has not fared much better opposing the Red Sox. The Texas native has gone 3-7 with an 5.25 ERA in 14 career starts. His most recent loss came on Sept. 15 where he limited Boston to three runs (two earned) in seven innings but was handed the defeat in the 4-1 Sox victory. Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez has hammered Lackey in the past, collecting a .476 batting average in 25 plate appearances.

Now, feeling like deja vu for both teams, the Sox look to continue to ride on Lester’s hot streak while the Angels hope they can end their seemingly never-ending pursuit to walk away with a playoff series win against the Red Sox.

Here is how both pitchers have matched up against their opponent’s batters:

Jon Lester vs. Angels batters

Bobby Abreu (14 career plate appearances ) .308 AVG, .357 OBP, .462 SLG, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Vladimir Guerrero (11) .400, .455, .500, 1 double, 1 walk

Chone Figgans (9) .250, .222, .375, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Maicer Izturis (9) .375,  .444, .625, 2 doubles, 1 walk

Gary Matthews, Jr. (8) 3-for-6, 2 home runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Robb Quinlan (7 ) 1-for-7, 1 strikeout

Juan Rivera (6) 2-for5, 1 double, 1 walk

Howie Kendrick (5) 2-for-5, 1 double

Erick Aybar (4) 2-for-3, 1 walk

Jeff Mathis (4) 1-for-4, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Torii Hunter (3) 2-for-3, 1 double

Mike Napoli (3) 0-for-3, 1 strikeout

Reggie Willits (3) 2-for-2, 1 walk

John Lackey vs. Red Sox batters

David Ortiz (37 career plate appearances) .333 AVG, .405 OBP, .667 SLG, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (30) .185, .267, .296, 3 doubles, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts

Victor Martinez (25) .476, .560, .524, 1 double, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (22) .300, .364, .550, 1 double, 2 triples, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Mike Lowell (22) .143, .182, .143, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

Rocco Baldelli (17) .176, .176, .176, 6 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (17) .375, .412, .500, 2 doubles, 1 walk

Kevin Youkilis (17) .294, .294, .647, 2 home runs, 2 strikeouts

Alex Gonzalez (11) .364, .364, .455, 1 double, 2 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (10) 2-for-10, 2 strikeouts

Chris Woodward (5) 0-for-4, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jason Bay (4) 1-for-2, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Brian Anderson (3) 0-for-3

Joey Gathright (3) 1-for-2, 1 hit-by-pitch

Casey Kotchman (3) 1-for-3, 1 strikeout

Read More: ALDS, Angels, game 1, john lackey
Red Sox vs. Indians Preview 10/4 10.04.09 at 11:15 am ET
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Game No. 162: The finale.

While manager Terry Francona huddles over the desk in his office, studying his notes and putting the finishing touches on his postseason roster, Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (7-4, 3.74) prepares to shake off the rust accumulated from his disastrous outing on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Lasting only five innings, Buchholz was pounded for seven runs and eight hits- five of which were home runs- on the same night that the Red Sox (94-67) clinched the AL wild card courtesy of a Texas Rangers’ loss.

Before Tuesday’s horrendous outing, Buchholz had not lost a game since Aug. 13 when he was outdueled by Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander in a 2-0 defeat. Since then, the Red Sox were victorious in all eight of Buchholz’ starts prior to the 8-7 loss to Toronto.

Making his first career appearance against the Cleveland Indians (65-96), the right-hander looks to rebound from his worst start in over a month as the Red Sox conclude their regular season at home this afternoon. Pitching in Fenway this season, Buchholz owns a 2-2 record with a 3.83 ERA in seven starts.

Fired earlier in the week, Indians manager Eric Wedge concludes his tenure with the Tribe as the team attempts to avoid a four-game sweep after losing 11-6 in last night’s game. In the final game of their disappointing season, the Indians call upon the right-handed Tomo Ohka (1-4, 5.45 ERA) to start in the place of former Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson, whose previous start was pushed back to Wednesday due to a rainout Tuesday night.

Spending most of his time with Cleveland in the bullpen, Ohka takes the mound for only his sixth start of the year. In those starts, Ohka has yet to win a game posting an 0-4 record with a substantial 6.45 ERA.

In his career, the 33-year-old Kyoto native has made three starts opposing the Red Sox going 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA and yielding three home runs in 16 innings. Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell has fared exceptionally well against the journeyman batting .366 with three home runs and a .422 on-base percentage in 45 career plate appearances.

Though Buchholz has never faced Cleveland, here is how Red Sox batters have performed against Ohka in the past:

Tomo Ohka vs. Red Sox batters

Mike Lowell (45 career plate appearances) .366 AVG, .422 OBP, .634 SLG, 3 home runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts

Alex Gonzalez (34) .212, .235, .242, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

J.D. Drew (17) .200, .294, .200, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Jason Bay (13) .444, .538, 1.111, 2 home runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz (12) .417, .417, .750, 1 home run, 1 strikeout

Nick Green (7) 0-for-7, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (6) 2-for-5, 1 double, 1 walk

Chris Woodward (5) 3-for-5, 1 home run, 1 triple

Rocco Baldelli (3) 0-for-3

Jason Varitek (2) 0-for-2

Brian Anderson (1) 0-for-1

Red Sox vs. Indians Match-Ups, 10/3 10.03.09 at 11:40 am ET
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Turning in 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball on Thursday silenced all the doubters who questioned the physical shape of Jon Lester. Whiffing seven batters in six innings in last night’s 6-2 win quieted all the skeptics who were uncertain if Daisuke Matsuzaka could continue his consistency. Tonight, it’s Josh Beckett’s turn to reassure those concerned about his health as he squares off against the Cleveland Indians (65-95) in the third game of a four-game set.

After missing his last start due to mild back spasms, Beckett (16-6, 3.78) returns to the mound tonight ready to make his final start of the regular season. A late scratch on Monday, the right-hander threw a successful 62-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Shortly after, Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona reported that “everything went great,” suggesting that Beckett would be good-to-go for his postseason tune-up.

Though the ace struggled through a month-long slump for the Red Sox (93-67) during August, Beckett has since shown signs of regaining his dominant first half form, compiling a 2-1 record with a 3.66 ERA in five September outings. Needing only one strikeout to set a career-high, the Texas native prepares to face off against the Indians for the first time this season.

In his career, Beckett has had his troubles pitching against Cleveland, posting a 1-4 mark with a bloated 6.46 ERA in five outings. At Fenway this year, however, Beckett has been exceptionally efficient, going 9-1 and compiling a 3.42 ERA in 15 starts.

Tied with the Kansas City Royals for last place in the AL Central, the Indians call upon the left-handed Aaron Laffey (7-8, 3.91) as he attempts to pitch the Tribe out of the basement and end the season on a high note. Having lost five straight starts, Laffey has not won a decision since Aug. 6 against the Minnesota Twins, when he tossed 5 1/3 innings allowing three runs in the 7-4 victory.

Laffey is making his first career start against the Sox, though he did make an appearance against Boston earlier in the year in which he pitched three shutout innings in relief to record the lone save of his career. Though the Red Sox batters have seen little of Laffey, Casey Kotchman has enjoyed plenty of success facing the lefty. In five career plate appearances, Kotchman has yet to record an out against Laffey, going 5-for-5 with two doubles.

Here is how each pitcher has fared against their opponents batters in the past:

Josh Beckett vs. Indians batters.

Jamey Carroll (20 career plate appearances) .333 AVG, .400 OBP, .333 SLG, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Travis Hafner (15) .333, .467, .833, 1 home run, 1 double, 1 triple 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Jhonny Peralta (12) .400, .500, .500, 1 double, 2 walks

Shin-Soo Choo (6) 2-for-6, 1 home run

Asdrubal Cabrera (3) 2-for-2, 1 walk

Kelly Shoppach (3) 0-for-2, 2 strikeouts, 1 hit-by-pitch

Aaron Laffey vs. Red Sox batters

Brian Anderson (6 career plate appearances) 0-for-6

Joey Gathright (5) 1-for-5, 2 walks

Casey Kotchman (5) 5-for-5, 2 doubles

Chris Woodward (3) 0-for-3

Nick Green (2) 0-for-2

Jason Bay (1) 0-for-1

J.D. Drew (1) 0-for-1

Mike Lowell (1) 0-for-1

David Ortiz (1) 0-for-1

Dustin Pedroia (1) 0-for-1

Jason Varitek (1) 1-for-1

Read More: aaron laffey, Josh Beckett,
Red Sox vs. Indians Preview 10/2 10.02.09 at 3:01 pm ET
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In 2004, it was Derek Lowe who resurrected the Boston Red Sox pitching staff in the ALCS to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to New York Yankees. In 2007, it was Jon Lester who walked off the mound a World Series winner in Game 4 against the Colorado Rockies a year after battling cancer. Now, in 2009, the Red Sox need Daisuke Matsuzaka to be the next X-factor in the playoff rotation behind the daunting trio of Josh Beckett, Lester, and Clay Buchholz.

When Daisuke (3-6, 6.08) took the mound on Sept. 15 to make his first start since landing on the disabled list back in June, dozens of questions surfaced as to what role the Japanese right-hander would play — if any — on the Red Sox’ (92-67) postseason roster. Even the Sox had their doubts about his potential contribution. Three starts later, Matsuzaka has proven that he has regained the dominant form that made him an 18-game winner a year ago.

Posting an abysmal 1-5 record with an exorbitant 8.23 ERA before his DL stint, Matsuzaka has since recovered and impressed in his return going 2-1 with a minuscule 1.96 ERA. His lone defeat came last Saturday when he was outdueled by Yankees ace CC Sabathia in a 3-0 loss. Though his only mistake was a Robinson Cano solo home run, Matsuzaka was still tagged with the loss despite hurling seven strong innings of one-run ball.

Last night, the Red Sox snapped a six-game losing skid by defeating the Cleveland Indians, 3-0, thanks to the brilliant outing of Lester and his 6 1/3 shutout innings. Tonight, the Sox entrust the ball to Matsuzaka as he makes his final regular season start.

In his two career starts against the Indians, Matsuzaka owns a 1-1 record with a 4.26 ERA. He has yet to oppose the Tribe this season. At home this year, Matsuzaka has struggled to a 1-4 mark and an appalling 6.58 ERA, though he did win in his Sept. 15 return by turning in six shutout innings with five strikeouts against the Los Angeles Angels.

With nothing left to play for except to escape the shame of finishing last in the Central division, the Indians (65-94) send left-handed pitcher Jeremy Sowers (6-10, 5.09) to square off against the Sox. A former 2006 first-round draft, Sowers has yet to fulfill expectations with Cleveland. In 70 career starts (71 appearances), the Vanderbilt product has compiled an 18-29 record and a less-than-mediocre 5.12 ERA.

Not having won since Sept. 4, Sowers looks to end the season on a positive note, especially after suffering the shortest outing of his career on Sept. 19. That day, he was pounded for six runs in one-plus innings of work.

Here is how the two pitchers have fared in their careers against their opponent’s batters:

Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Indians batters

Travis Hafner (6 career plate appearances) 2-for-6, 1 double

Jhonny Peralta (6) 0-for-6, 2 strikeouts

Kelly Shoppach (3) 2-for-3

Jeremy Sowers vs. Red Sox batters

Brian Anderson (12 career plate appearances) 1-for-11, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Kevin Youkilis (9) 5-for-8, 2 doubles, 1 home run

Mike Lowell (8) 1-for-7, 1 double, 1 walk

Dustin Pedroia (8) 3-for-6, 1 walk

Alex Gonzalez (7) 1-for-6, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Nick Green (7) 2-for-7, 2 doubles, 1 strikeout

Rocco Baldelli (6) 1-for-5, 1 double, 1 walk

Jason Bay (6) 1-for-4, 1 double, 2 walks

J.D. Drew (6) 0-for-5, 1 walk, 1 strikeouts

Jason Varitek (5) 1-for-4, 1 home run

Jacoby Ellsbury (4) 2-for-4, 1 double

Casey Kotchman (3) 0-for-3

Jed Lowrie (3) 2-for-3, 1 double

David Ortiz (3) 0-for-3, 3 strikeouts

George Kottaras (2) 0-for-2

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, jeremy sowers,
Red Sox vs. Indians Preview 10/1 10.01.09 at 10:18 am ET
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The most recent pitch Jon Lester threw was turned around by Yankee Melky Cabrera and lined directly into the left-hander’s right knee. Now, six losses and an AL wild card berth later, the Red Sox welcome the return of Lester to the mound to square off in the first of a four-game set against the Cleveland Indians.

After being swept for a second straight series, culminating with a three-hit shutout by Toronto’s Roy Halladay in a 12-0 pounding, the Red Sox (91-67) look to end the regular season on a high note as they open their final series tonight at Fenway against the Indians (65-93).

David Ortiz and Alex Gonzalez were the only regulars manager Terry Francona inserted into the lineup last night, as the Sox lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Sox starting pitchers have not earned a win since Clay Buchholz won last Thursday in Kansas City.

Nearly unbeatable since the All-Star break, Lester (14-8, 3.52) was batted around last Friday in the Bronx for his first loss since July 19. Before limping off the field in the third inning against the Yankees, Lester was shelled. His final line: five runs on eight hits and three walks in the 9-5 defeat.

Guaranteeing that he would not miss his turn in the rotation, Lester prepares for his final regular-season outing tonight. In his five previous starts vs. the Indians, the left-hander has yet to lose a decision, going 2-0 with a 4.76 ERA. In his lone start this year opposing Cleveland, Lester scattered five runs in six innings on seven hits and three walks, ultimately winding up with a no-decision.

One day after firing manger Eric Wedge, the Indians send rookie Carlos Carrasco to make only the fifth start of his career. Still searching for his first major league win, Carrasco has struggled in his time in the majors with an 0-3 record and a hefty 9.00 ERA.

Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Phillies in 2003, Carrasco was part of the deal that sent 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to Philadelphia on July 29. After compiling a 5-1 record with a 3.19 ERA in Triple A this year, Carrasco was recalled from Columbus on Sept. 1 to make his major league debut against the Tigers. Lasting only three innings, the 22-year-old yielded six runs on nine hits, three of which were home runs.

Looking to audition for a spot as a starter next season, Carrasco takes on the Red Sox for the first time in his career, in only his second road start. Just a half-game ahead of the Royals in the AL Central, the Indians will try to avoid finishing their disappointing season in the basement as they hand the ball over to the rookie.

Jon Lester vs. Indians batters

Jhonny Peralta (15 career plate appearances) .154 AVG, .267 OBP, .152 SLG, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Grady Sizemore (15) .182, .400, .636, 1 home run, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Travis Hafner (11) .300, .273, .300, 1 strikeout

Kelly Shoppach (9) .429, .556, 1.000, 1 home run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Asdrubal Cabrera (6) .333, .500, .333, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jamey Carroll (3) 1-for-3

Shin-Soo Choo (3) 0-for-2, 1 strikeout

Andy Marte (2) 0-for-2

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