Josh Beckett was outstanding in the first game of the ALDS last Wednesday night at Fenway Park, and it is quite likely that the Los Angeles Angels believed they had taken the best punch the Red Sox would muster in the Series. And then came Curt Schilling…
This afternoon in Los Angeles, Schilling sent a shot across the bow of the remaining teams in the 2007 post-season. He reminded baseball fans from Bangor, Maine, to Melbourne, Australia, why he is considered to be one of the great ‘money game’ pitchers of this generation. At Angels Stadium, in the third-and-final game of the ALDS, he pitched seven scoreless innings to propel the Red Sox franchise into its third ALCS in the last five years. ‘Schill’ allowed six hits and one walk while striking out four Angels hitters… he had his splitter working today as he got eight ground outs (accounting for nine outs).
Curt Schilling schooled The Halos today in The City of Angels… AP photo
The Angels mounted two serious threats during the game, but on both occasions Schilling rose to the challenge. In the third inning, the Angels left the bases loaded when Schilling retired CF Reggie Willits on a foul pop to Jason Varitek. In the seventh inning, in what was still a 2-0 game, the Angels got a man to third base with one out… the bug righty induced a pop up from Juan Rivera and then whiffed Mike Napoli on a nasty splitter.
The Sox scored seven runs in the eighth inning to effectively end the series.
The Sox put runners on second and third bases with no one out in the top of the second inning, but failed to score. LA starter Jered Weaver retired JD Drew on a come-backer to the mound, and then struck out both Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp to end the threat.
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the fourth inning to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead… it was the first time this year that Ortiz and Ramirez went back-to-back with the long ball.
Big Papi hit his tenth post-season home run for the Red Sox—the new franchise benchmark… AP photo
The offense then remained relatively quiet until the eighth inning, when they scored seven runs to salt the game away. Scot Shields walked Julio Lugo to start the inning and then was pulled in favor of Justin Speier, who surrendered an rbi-double to Dustin Pedroia and a sac fly to Kevin Youkilis to extend the lead to 4-0. But the bats weren’t done yet—far from it!
Big Papi singled, Ramirez walked and Mike Lowell hit an rbi-double. J D Drew hit a grounder to first base which Kendry Morales fielded and threw home, but Jacoby Ellsbury—who pinch-ran for Ramirez—was safe and the lead was now a half-dozen. Varitek’s rbi-double made it 7-0… and Crisp’s two-run single accounted for the Red Sox final runs.
LA scored a meaningless run in the ninth inning off Eric Gagne to account for their only run.
With today’s win, Schilling improved his career post-season record to 9-2, 1.93! The eleven day layoff had no adverse effects on the team’s ace.
I STILL say Theo needs to sign him to a contract for 2008! They have a window after we win the World Series, and it needs to get done…
Ramirez’ home run was his 22nd career post-season homer… he is now tied with former NY Yankees OF Bernie Williams for the most post-season home runs in major league history.
The Red Sox have won NINE consecutive post-season games against the Angels franchise, dating back to the 1986 ALCS. The Sox came back from a 3-1 deficit in 1986 to advance to the World Series against the NY Mets… the Sox swept the 2004 ALDS en route to its World Series victory, and now have swept the 2007 ALDS.
LA slugger finished the series 2-for-10… both hits were singles.