In a game that took over five hours to play, the Red Sox were lucky they still had a chance going into the 12th inning in an eventual 5-4 defeat.
Josh Beckett clearly didn't have his best stuff, but battled to help keep the game close during his five innings pitched. Beckett walked four batters during he game, a total he had taken his previous three outings to meet.
Given a gift from the Angels in the bottom of the second, the Red Sox were in the thick of it all. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a pop-up to shallow center field with the bases loaded, and a defensive miscommunication allowed the ball to drop and all three runners to score.
Joe Saunders pitched admirably other than his defense letting him down on that play. He clearly didn't have history on his side, as the Angels had lost 11 straight to the Red Sox, dating back to the 1986 NLCS.
It seems as if the umpiring in these playoff games, and not just the Red Sox vs. Angels series, have no clue what they are doing behind the plate. Ellsbury was called out on strikes in the bottom of the 11th on a pitch that was well off the plate. Earlier in the game, Mike Lowell clearly checked his swing on a pitch, which was ruled he went around, and he eventually struck out.
Too bad players and coaches cannot speak about such awful umpiring, because something needs to be said, or done about it by the commissioner's office. It is very frustrating to see games changed because of bad umpiring, no matter what team you are rooting for. The object of the game is for the parameters to be the same for each team and player that steps on the field, and that clearly wasn't the case Sunday night.
Both bullpens came up huge in this game, with Boston's finally cracking after seven innings of scoreless relief in the top of the 12th inning. Jonathon Papelbon pitched a textbook two innings in the 10th and 11th innings.
Fransisco Rodriquez had some trouble in the one inning he pitched, and seemed to have been bailed out of a bases loaded jam by the poor umpiring by home plate umpire Kerwin Danely. Nonetheless, he got through the inning to keep the game going. Javier Lopez eventually allowed the winning run for the Angels in the top of the 12th.
Tonight is Game Four, which features Game One pitchers Jon Lester for the Red Sox and John Lackey for the Angels. If the Red Sox want to finish out the series tonight, they had better come up with an answer for when they face the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters for the Angels—Mark Teixeira, Vlad Guerrero, and Torii Hunter—who have been beating up on Red Sox pitching.
The Sox will need Dustin Pedroia to start hitting the ball, as he is 0-for-13 in the series. They also need the Angels to keep playing the type of baseball they have been; making mistakes, allowing numerous two-out runs, and failing to mount multiple-run rallies when they do score in an inning.
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