Red Sox-Angels: ALDS Preview

JB McCandlesCorrespondent ISeptember 27, 2008

Wednesday will mark the third time these two teams have met in the ALDS since 2004. In 2004, the Red Sox swept the Angels on their way to winning the World Series for the first time since 1918. Last year, the two met again in the ALDS, and again the Red Sox swept the Halos.

The last three times that the Red Sox have reached the World Series, they have started their World Series run against Anaheim. This year, the Angels will be looking for revenge. 

The Red Sox could also be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder as well, loosing eight of nine to the Angels in the regular season. Most of these matchups took place in mid-to-late-July, when the Red Sox were in the midst of dealing with Manny Ramirez.

The last time the Red Sox played the Angels was the last time that Manny wore a Red Sox uniform. 

The 2008 Red Sox will get a huge test by heading out west for a best-of-five series. Not only are the Red Sox on the road, they are playing the best team in the majors. Game one could be a pitching dual for the ages.

Toeing the rubber for L.A. will be John Lackey. Lackey had a typical year for his standards. He was 12-5 with a solid 3.75 ERA. Boston will hand the ball to Josh Beckett, who was without question the best pitcher in baseball last year.

Although he didn't win the Cy Young award, he was unstoppable in the postseason. He shut down the Cy Young award winner for 2007 twice in the ALCS. 

The Angels, who have been known for their small ball, could be cutting the ball in half all over the field. They have added Torii Hunter and Mark Teixeira. The Red Sox have taken a step back on offense by trading away Manny Ramirez.

The Angels' bullpen will be the more dominant, as usual. The Red Sox's bullpen has struggled all year, but Hideki Okajima and Justin Masterson have stepped up as big time set-up men for closer Jonathon Papelbon. 

The concern for the BoSox is health. J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell have been battling injuries all August and September, but it hasn't slowed the team too much; however, it may have prevented them from winning the A.L. East.

The Angels don't have too many concerns. If there is a concern for the Angels, it will be their competitive edge. The Angels haven't played a meaningful game in some time. 


Who will win and why

The Boston Red Sox have dominated the L.A. Angels in the postseason in the past few years. The tides changed this year, with the Angels taking eight of nine in the regular season, but the Angels' competitive edge is way down since then.

The Red Sox have been playing their best ball in the past two months. The Angels will go up 2-0 in this series, but when the series heads back to Boston, the Red Sox will look to their fans for some rejuvenation, and they won't look back, winning the final three games of the series.