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ANGELS FYI

Angels are better off playing at Fenway Park

The team has fared worse against Boston in Angel Stadium and are winless in five playoff games against the Red Sox at home since 2004.

October 07, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

For all the angst Fenway Park seems to cause the Angels, who suffered walk-off losses there in each of their last three American League division series against the Red Sox, they have actually fared worse against Boston in Angel Stadium.

While the Angels won a playoff game in Fenway Park last October, a dramatic 5-4, 12-inning victory in Game 3, they are winless in five playoff games against the Red Sox at home since 2004, including Games 1 and 2 last season.

"The goal is to win the first two in our house -- one, minimum," Angels pitcher Joe Saunders said. "If we can win the first two here, we'll be a really tough team."

The Angels won eight of nine home playoff games in 2002, the year they won their only World Series title. Since then, they have lost nine of 11 postseason home games.

"The fact is we haven't played well at home," Manager Mike Scioscia said, "but we haven't played that well on the road, either, in a lot of our recent playoff series."

Bulger improving

Reliever Jason Bulger, who received a cortisone injection in the front of his throwing shoulder Sunday in Oakland, said there is "no doubt" in his mind he will be ready for the division series.

Bulger, who went 6-1 with a 3.56 earned-run average in 64 games and could play a key role against Boston, played catch during Tuesday's workout and will throw a light bullpen today.

"Everything feels good," Bulger said. "I'm very convinced I'll be ready to go."

The Angels must submit their 25-man playoff roster by 10 a.m. Thursday. Game 1 is Thursday night.

"Jason has made tremendous progress," General Manager Tony Reagins said. "We're confident he will be part of the 25."

Mind games

The first question to Angels Game 1 starter John Lackey at Tuesday's news conference came from a Boston reporter: What will be the key to overcoming the hex the Red Sox have on your team?

"Their hex, huh?" Lackey smirked. "I don't know how to answer that. They have a great team. It's a definite challenge, but it's a new year. We've kind of moved past that. We're focused on this year."

The Angels lost all four playoff matchups with Boston, in 1986, 2004, 2007 and 2008.

"In 1986, a lot of our guys weren't even born," Scioscia said. "The way we played in '04 and '07, we probably could have been playing any team in baseball at that point, and it was going to be tough for us to get it done."

Short hops

Utility infielder Maicer Izturis said he is "100%" after missing the weekend series in Oakland because of a minor left knee injury and a stomach ailment.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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