ALDS Game 1: LA Angels at Boston – 6:35 PM ET

ALDS Game 1: LA Angels at Boston – 6:35 PM ET

The first game of the two divisional series’ amongst the American League’s “Fearsome Foursome” is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET on Wednesday


2007-10-03

The first game of the two divisional series’ amongst the American League’s “Fearsome Foursome” is scheduled for 6:35 PM ET on Wednesday, when the Red Sox host the Angels from Fenway Park. Behind the league’s only 20-game winner, Josh Beckett, Boston plays as a –160 favorite. Here’s a closer look at the Game 1 matchup.

This contest offers one of the most intriguing pitching matchups you’ll find for the entire month of October, as a pair of right-handers who both made big names for themselves in recent postseason action square off. In fact, Beckett and John Lackey are the same two pitchers that won the clinching games of the World Series in 2003 & 2002 respectively. As for 2007, Beckett was 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.141 WHIP while the Angels’ ace was 19-9 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.214 WHIP. Interesting to note that Lackey worked as an underdog just seven times this season, and never bigger than +110. He was 5-2 in those starts.

Beckett has been to the playoffs just once in his career, going 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA in six appearances, including five starts, with Florida in 2003. He notched two shutouts in that run, most notably when he limited the New York Yankees to five hits in a 2-0 win on three days' rest in Game 6 of the 2003 World Series to give the Marlins the title.

Lackey will pitch in the third postseason of his career, which includes a phenomenal effort as a rookie in 2002. He went 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in five appearances - three starts - and allowed one run over five innings while pitching on three days' rest in a 4-1 victory over San Francisco in Game 7 of the World Series.

The one glaring weakness in this matchup for Lackey is that the Angels have a woeful record when Lackey faces the Red Sox, losing 10 of 11 games. Lackey is 1-6 with a 6.27 ERA in those contests, including 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA in two outings this year. In particular, the two big bats in the lineup have ripped the Halos horse: Manny Ramirez, is 10-for-23 (.435) with four homers against him, and David Ortiz, is 10-for-26 (.385) with two homers.

The Angels' top slugger, Vladimir Guerrero, is ailing after sitting out four of the final six regular-season games due to a sore triceps muscle. The injury may force Guerrero, who is 5-for-23 (.217) in his career against Beckett, to serve as designated hitter.

Boston swept Los Angeles in a division series in 2004, en route to its first World Series title in 86 years. While the Angels knocked the powerful Yankees out of the playoffs in 2002 and 2005, and own a winning record against New York since 2002 (29-25), their play against Boston has been poor in that span. Excluding the 2004 playoffs, the Angels are 21-30 against the Red Sox since 2002, including 10-19 at Fenway Park.

The Top StatFox Super Situation for this game favors the hosts:
Play On - Home teams (BOSTON) - where team's hitters draw 4 walks or more/game on the season against opponent with a hot starting pitcher- ERA less than 2.00 over his last 3 starts. (77-32 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.6%, +43.3 units. Rating = 4*)

While the top trend sides with LA:
LACKEY is 17-6 (+14.6 Units) against the money line as a road underdog of +100 or higher over the last 2 seasons. (Team's Record) The average score was LACKEY 4.8, OPPONENT 3.0 - (Rating = 3*)

Outlook: Considering that these two teams were separated by just two games over the course of a 162-game schedule, and the two pitchers are the respective aces of their clubs with similar statistics, the current price on this game seems a bit high. Boston of course holds the edge over Los Angeles by taking five of seven games at home. If there is any edge, it would have to go to the Red Sox for that reason, but you are on your own playing this one at –160.

ALDS Game 1: LA Angels at Boston – 6:35 PM ET News

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