Game 4 gives Lackey second chance
Follow-up of ALDS opener comes with must-win pressure
BOSTON -- John Lackey is getting another shot at the Red Sox. This time, there is no margin for error.Lackey will be on the mound for the Angels in Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Monday night at Fenway Park. The Angels enter the game down, 2-1, in the series and must win to force a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday in Anaheim.
They made it this far by holding on for a 5-4 victory in 12 innings in Game 3 on Sunday night. The Angels, Lackey said, should be soaring for Game 4."I think the confidence level has to be high right now," Lackey said. "Any time you go into a game like that -- extra-inning games -- a lot of times, that carries over." Lackey faced the Red Sox in Game 1 and lost, 4-1. He went 6 2/3 innings and allowed just a two-run home run to Jason Bay. That was just one of four hits the right-hander allowed, along with two walks and four strikeouts. "Honestly, I'm not planning on making too many adjustments," Lackey said. "I felt pretty good last time out there. I'm just out there trying to execute pitches and trying to minimize a mistake or two." Lackey, who was 12-5 with a 3.75 ERA during the regular season, has lost back-to-back playoff starts against the Red Sox. He was also the losing pitcher in a 4-0 loss to Josh Beckett in the opener of the 2007 ALDS. But that doesn't lessen the Angels' confidence in him. "He's our horse," reliever Scot Shields said. "We definitely feel pretty good with him on the mound. He's been our horse all year." Lackey will be going up against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, a 16-game winner during the regular season who pitched seven strong innings in his Game 1 matchup with Lackey to get the victory. The only run Lester allowed was unearned.
GAME 4: JUST THE FACTS
|Angels starter: RHP John Lackey|
|2008: 16-7, 3.49 ERA|
|2008 on road: 7-2, 3.23 ERA|
|2008 vs. Red Sox (reg. season): 2-0, 2.81 ERA|
|2008 ALDS Game 1: 0-1, 2.70 ERA|
|Career vs. Red Sox (reg. season): 3-6, 5.54 ERA|
|Career postseason: 2-3, 3.51 ERA (10 games, eight starts)|
|Red Sox starter: LHP Jon Lester|
|2008: 16-6, 3.21 ERA|
|2008 at home: 11-1, 2.49 ERA|
|2008 vs. Angels (reg. season): 0-0, 7.20 ERA|
|2008 ALDS Game 1: 1-0, 0.00 ERA|
|Career vs. Angels (reg. season): 1-1, 7.78 ERA|
|Career postseason: 2-0, 1.10 (four games, two starts)|
|Red Sox lead series, 2-1. The Red Sox's streak of 11 consecutive postseason wins over the Angels came to an end with a 6-5 loss in Game 3.|
|Game 1: Red Sox 4, Angels 1|
|Game 2: Red Sox 7, Angels 5|
|Game 3: Angels 5, Red Sox 4 (12)|
|Did You Know? The only time the Red Sox have lost a postseason series after taking a 2-0 lead in their history was in the 1986 World Series against the Mets.|
"I think we're probably going to expect a lot that we saw in Game 1," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think both guys are throwing the ball well right now. They both threw the ball well in Game 1. We're going to anticipate from our side that John's going to bring his game onto the field and give us a chance to win. I don't think we're going to expect anything other than a tight game and a pitchers' duel."Vs. Red Sox: In the regular season, Lackey is 3-6 with a 5.54 ERA in 13 career starts against the Red Sox. At Fenway Park: Lackey is 2-4 with a 6.34 ERA in eight starts at Fenway Park, his highest ERA at any AL park. Playoff experience: Lackey is 2-3 with a 3.51 ERA in 10 games, including eight starts, in the postseason.
Loves to face: Mike Lowell, in both the regular season and postseason, is 4-for-25 (.160) against Lackey.Hates to face: David Ortiz is 13-for-38 (.342) against Lackey in regular-season and postseason action, with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs. Why he'll win: Two of Lackey's three career wins against the Red Sox have come this season, including a complete-game performance at Fenway Park. Pitcher beware: Lackey's ERA against the Red Sox is his second highest against any AL team. Did you know: Lackey's last postseason victory was in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series against the Giants.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.