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What I saw in the fifth inning 10.06.08 at 7:13 pm ET
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Besides the Red Sox jumping out to a 2-0 lead …

– An Angels team whose running game has been neutered. But, remember, nobody really tries to steal off Jon Lester anyway. With Jason Varitek catching, just eight runners attempted steals against the lefty, with seven of them making it.

– The Angels didn’t go first to third with one of the league’s best at such a situation, Erick Aybar. He had been thrown out attempting the maneuver just once this season in 20 attempts. But on Chone Figgins single he held tight at second.

Ed Rapuano, the home plate umpire, is having an uneven night. This is his sixth division series umping. I will always remember Rapuano for being the umpire behind the plate during the great Pedro Martinez/Roger Clemens match-up at Yankee Stadium in 2000, which was won with a Trot Nixon homer. One of the greatest regular season games I’ve ever seen.

– My notes that reminded me that Alex Cora’s dream of having the left side of the Puerto Rican team in the WBC next year be himself and Mike Lowell is in serious jeopardy.

Howie Kendrick is having a tough series, this time bobbling Jacoby Ellsbury’s grounder to let Kotsay come in with the game’s first run. Dustin Pedroia made it 2-0 with an RBI double, exploding in celebration upon reaching second base.

What I saw in the fourth inning 10.06.08 at 6:48 pm ET
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– Another broken bat against Jon Lester. This is a tough stat to look up, but if we could I would imagine that the Red Sox lefty would be among the league leaders in breaking bats. This one came against Mike Napoli, who got buried in on the hands. It should be noted that Jed Lowrie participated in a research study last offseason testing new bats for Louisville Slugger. Good times!

Kevin Youkilis is playing with a lot of confidence at third base. In his time since moving over, he has made every conceivable play with panache. His latest effort was a long throw from behind the bag to end the inning.

– With John Lackey sitting at just 36 pitches entering the fourth, Dustin Pedroia was going to try and make him work. The second baseman did work a 3-0 count, but ended up grounding out on a middle-of-the-plate fastball. David Ortiz wasn’t waiting around, jumping on Lackey’s first pitch for a single. J.D. Drew tried to follow suit with runners on first and second, swinging and missing at the first pitch he saw. The Red Sox swing at the first pitch the fewest of any team in the major leagues (23 percent).

– The ball is not carrying at all, although the flag is very still.

– Lackey’s pitch count increase by 21, now up to 57.

What I saw in the third inning 10.06.08 at 6:32 pm ET
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– A lot of sports writers reloading travel web sites in preparation of potentially flying to Anaheim tomorrow morning. 

Jon Lester isn’t putting a whole bunch of hitters away, having thrown 54 pitches through three innings. He typically doesn’t get a mess of swings and misses anyway, ranking last among the Red Sox starters at 18.4 percent. Tops is Daisuke Matsuzaka at 24.4 percent. Lester has gotten five swings and misses in his first 54 pitches.

– Lester is getting a lot of ground balls, which would also be expected considering his staff-leading 1.40 ground ball/fly ball ratio.

– In the world of ownership, John Lackey is doing a pretty good job of it against this Red Sox lineup. Who has got the under?

– Already five Diet Coke cups in front of me.

What I saw in the second inning 10.06.08 at 6:11 pm ET
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– The Red Sox wanting nothing to do with Mike Napoli

Howie Kendrick being the Red Sox’ biggest ally. Sure Kendrick came in 2 for 5 against Lester, but that can’t make up for being 2 for 15 for the series (which he became after striking out with runners on first and second).

Kevin Youkilis getting two really good pitches to hit which he let go for called strikes before ultimately being called out on strikes on a really good fastball on the inside corner at the knees.

– The Red Sox taking a lot of first pitches from John Lackey. The Sox came into the game having taken few pitches per at-bat than the Angels throughout the series (3.85-3.75) and are clearly intent on spinning that around … unless you’re Mark Kotsay, who swung at the first pitch and grounded into an inning-ending double play. Why is Kotsay playing instead of Sean Casey? The Red Sox are prioritizing defense instead of Casey’s post-season batting numbers (.432 for his career) and blogging ability.

Alex Speier blogging his butt off over at The Game Day Blog. I don’t know if you realize, but we went all five hours last night without skipping a Gary From Chapel Hill beat.

What I saw in the first inning 10.06.08 at 5:52 pm ET
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Jon Lester hit 97 mph. Do you understand what you’re seeing here in terms of a velocity jump? Look back at Lester’s first start stateside, in Oakland, and you will find a pitcher whose fastball was topping out at 92 mph.

– A pitcher in Lester who worked in a rhythm. Gone are those days of agonizing Daisuke-esque delays between pitches.

John Lackey went after Dustin Pedroia for the first time in the series. Pedroia said after Game 1 he saw one good pitch to hit the entire game, with Lackey living on the outside edge. This time around the Angels starter came in back over the plate, giving the second baseman a good pitch to hit. Unlike most of the similar opportunities in the past few months, he missed it.

– A lot of cold people. 

Troy O’Leary throwing out the first pitch. I miss Charles Steinberg.

Score Flash: Angels 5, Red Sox 4 10.05.08 at 9:41 pm ET
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Erick Aybar’s one-out single against Red Sox reliever Javy Lopez scored Mike Napoli with the go-ahead run in the 12th inning.

Bottom 11th: Dude …. 10.05.08 at 9:25 pm ET
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Mark Kotsay is pinch-hitting for Kevin Cash. Kotsay is a .387 career pinch-hitter in 67 whacks at it. Kotsay just struck out. That’s the kind of energetic insight I’m offering at 12:16 a.m.

Striking out Kotsay was Angels reliever Jered Weaver, who is making his first career relief appearance. (And always reminds me of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.) He also reminded me that he hasn’t pitched well against the Red Sox in his career thanks to the single he gave up to Coco Crisp with one out in the inning.

Wondering what Crisp will do at first base? Weaver allowed 28 steals (80 percent success rate), tied for eight-most allowed in the American League.

Dustin Pedroia is now 0 for 5 for the sixth time this year, having done it once before against the Angels with Weaver as the starter. Pedroia is 0 for 13 in the series.

Seventh inning: Now playing the role of Hideki Okajima … Hideki Okajima 10.05.08 at 7:48 pm ET
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Remember how bad Hideki Okajima was in not allowing inherited runners to score? Well, since Aug. 1 he has only allowed one such baserunner to come in. After stranding two in the seventh, coming on for Manny Delcarmen with runners on first and second and two outs, just one of the nine have come around to score. Before that Okajima had allowed 12 of his 18 inherited runners to score.

This from GFCH: “In his regular season career at Fenway Park, Delcarmen has never gone two-plus innings without allowing at least one baserunner. He’s faced six-plus batters at Fenway 21 times and allowed two-or-more baserunners in 16 of those. He had never faced as many as six patters before in the post-season.”

Jose Arrendondo is on for his third inning. It is his second time pitching in three innings, having done so on June 1 when he threw 2.1 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays.

Arrendondo began his third frame by walking Ellsbury. The Red Sox are 20-4 with Ellsbury getting on base at least three times from the leadoff spot.

Dustin Pedroia is still without a hit in the series after flying out to center field. Fasten your seatbelts: The last time Pedroia went three straight games without a hit dates back to June 3-8, when he went a season-high five contests without a hit (0 for 15). There was just one other time he went hitless in as many as three games doing it from April 29-May 1 (not reaching base once). Amazingly, Pedroia has now gone hitless in back to back games (counting the streaks as one such instance) just seven times this season.

The Angels have brought Darren Oliver once again to face David Ortiz. Entering this at-bat Ortiz was 2 for 10 against the lefty with a double and a walk. Make that two walks. And thus ends another memorable one-batter Darren Oliver outing, leading us to the a Scot Shields. In the regular season against the Red Sox Shields is 2-4 with a 7.26 ERA, and t Fenway, Shields is 0-3 with a 13.85 ERA, yet he did the job here, getting Kevin Youkilis to swing and miss at strike three.

Fifth inning: A shot by Napoli with a Youkilis chaser 10.05.08 at 6:57 pm ET
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There’s a reason Mike Napoli was the most proficient hitter in the season’s last two months (see previous post). And Josh Beckett was just reminded why once again when Napoli took the Sox starter out over the left field wall for the second time tonight to lead off the fifth, breaking a 3-3 tie. It is the 32nd time in division series that a player has hit multiple home runs, and third time this post-season. Having already done it this post-season were Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria and Pat Burrell of Philly.

Useless Napoli info: He comes to bat during home games to the strains of “Yahhh!” by “Soulja Boy”.

Beckett had only given up two homers one other previous time in the post-season, having done so in Game 1 of the 2003 NLCS when he gave up six runs over 6 1/3 innings.

Alex Speier’s Jacoby Ellsbury stat is now in effect: When Ellsbury has reached base twice (as is the case tonight) as a leadoff hitter the Red Sox are 35-17. By the way, Ellsbury is hitting .500 (6 for 12) this series.

“He’s an exciting player. He was not playing at this level when we played them earlier in the season,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the game. “I’m sure he has had a positive impact … As we scouted them and looked at film and evaluated them before the series, he’s had as much of an impact as anybody over there as to why they’re playing well down the stretch and why they’re playing well in this series.” True enough.

Beckett leaves the fifth (and probably the game) with 105 pitches. The other times this season he has thrown 105? Last outing he went six innings, and on April 17 he went eight against the Yankees. The closest Beckett has come to this kind of pitch-efficiency (or lack thereof) was against Minnesota when he tossed 104 over five (giving up five runs on eight hits). Against the Angels on July 30 he tossed 100 over 5 1/3 innings in one of his worse outings of the season, an 11-hit, 8-run debacle.

Here comes GFCH: “Going into tonight, Jason Varitek had five postseason double play grounders in 47 GIDP situation at-bats, an 11 percent GIDP rate. Joe Girardi noted that he hit into seven post-season double plays in just 20 GIDP situations, all-time postseason high (35 percent). Varitek’s rate is lower than Manny Ramirez (21 percent), Nomar Garciaparra (19 percent) and Alex Rodriguez (14 percent). Omar Vizquel holds the post-season record for GIDP avoidance with 0 GIDP in 33 DP situation at-bats.” You’re not going to get better GIDP info than right here, at WEEI.com!

Kevin Youkilis just tied the game with a two-out double, scoring Ellsbury. Despite hitting .500, that was only Ellsbury’s second run of the series. It was also Youkilis’ first RBI of the series.

Jose Arredondo has come on for Joe Saunders, and is throwing 98 mph gas, getting Mike Lowell with a 3-2 heater on the outside edge and runners on first and second. Saunders finished 4.2 innings, giving up five hits, four runs, four walks and two strikeouts.

Score Flash: Angels 3, Red Sox 3 10.05.08 at 6:14 pm ET
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With two outs, Mike Napoli hit a 3-2 curveball from Josh Beckett over the left field fence for a game-tying two-run home run.

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