Links 5-5-2010: Sox down Halos 5-1, Papi still in, Ellsbury takes BP

So, about that game yesterday. I would have lifted Jon Lester in the 8th against Mike Napoli with the score 1-1. Yeah, I know he hasn’t done much this year, but he’s got a career .285/.393/.520/.913 line against lefties; he was also 2-2 in the game. I think Lester was up to 103 pitches when he came to bat, a little short. Napoli singles, and the Angels have two one with no outs. Thankfully, Mike Scioscia believes in the sacrifice, and Dustin Pedroia came through with an inning-ending double play (which may not have actually been two), but I don’t think the extra drama was needed. Anyways, give Dustin credit and the win went to Lester, which he deserved.

Jonathan Papelbon also came on and mixed it up quite a bit. With a four-run lead, you can afford to try some stuff out. His splitter was probably the best I’ve seen from him all year, which helped speed things along.

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Links 4-13-2010: Lester’s ok, slow games, running opponents, Ellsbury, Kelly debuts

Is Jon Lester a “slow starter”? Many are saying so, but I don’t buy it. Yes, the walks and the hits, but take a look at Minnesota’s spray chart from yesterday. I don’t think they hit him as hard as people are saying they did.

Minnesota's hits from 4-12-2010

To me, it looks like a lot of short liners and bloops to left field and a couple of singles off of Lester. Those farthest two balls to right belong to Scott Atchison, not Lester. There was that grounder to Scutaro that took a bad hop, and a grounder deflected by Kevin Youkilis. I think Lester is doing just fine. Don’t believe the current ERA; his FIP is 3.54 this year.

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2009 ALDS: More info and analysis

Unsurprisingly, the New York Yankees have elected to start their Divisional Series tomorrow, so that means the Red Sox will play game 1 against the Angels on Thursday. Here’s what the schedule looks like:

Game 1: Thu @ LAA, 9:37PM
Game 2: Fri @ LAA, 9:37 PM
Game 3: Sun @ BOS, 12:07 PM
Game 4: Mon @ BOS afternoon (if needed)
Game 5: Wed @ LAA

Red Sox roster

Pitchers (10)
Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz
Jonathan Papelbon, Billy Wagner, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Takashi Saito, Ramon Ramirez, Manny Delcarmen

Positional (14)
Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Alex Gonzalez, Mike Lowell, Casey Kotchman, Jed Lowrie
J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay, David Ortiz, Rocco Baldelli/Josh Reddick, Joey Gathright]

That leaves one spot up for grabs. The Sox could add Daisuke Matsuzaka to avoid pitching Lester on short rest in Game 4, or add another middle infielder, given the shaky status of Lowrie.

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2009 ALDS Preview: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Now that we’ve clinched our playoff berth as the AL wild card, it’s time to scout our competition. First up, the LAAoA. If that ain’t a mouthful. The Red Sox have owned them in the postseason, but they are not as weak as they were last year. Here’s a quick look at how we stack up side by side.

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2008 ALDS Game 1: Lester shines, 4-1

It was a well-pitched game by John Lackey, but a 2-run home run by Jason Bay would put the Sox ahead to stay. Welcome to the playoffs, Jason. Jon Lester settled down to throw seven strong innings, and the Sox pushed across two more runs against Scot Shields in the 9th to seal the deal. 1 game to none, Red Sox.

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