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Boston's bats go flat in Anaheim

The one run the Red Sox have this series belies their strong regular-season scoring.

October 10, 2009|Kevin Baxter

Runs have been hard to come by for the Red Sox in the American League division series.

Although Boston was third in the majors in scoring during the regular season, it took the Red Sox 13 innings to get on the scoreboard against the Angels. And that one, lonely fourth-inning run Friday is all they've gotten in the series. In fact, through two games the Red Sox have just two extra-base hits and as many strikeouts (13) as baserunners.

Kevin Youkilis, second in the American League with a .413 on-base percentage during the summer, has been on base once in this series. Which is one more time than David Ortiz, who has struck out four times in eight at-bats. As a team, Boston is batting .131, nearly 140 points lower than it hit during the regular season.

"They certainly have executed very well," Boston Manager Terry Francona said of the Angels' pitchers, especially Friday's starter, Jered Weaver. "Weaver, tonight he wasn't pitching out of the stretch very much. We didn't square up a lot of balls."

It's a slump of historic proportions when you consider that Thursday's Game 1 shutout loss marked the first time the Red Sox have been held scoreless in 69 postseason games, going back to Game 2 of the 1995 division series at Cleveland.

During the regular season the Red Sox were held to fewer than two runs in consecutive games just once, when the Yankees shut them out in consecutive games two months ago.

Mutual respect

Ortiz and the Angels' Torii Hunter were teammates for five seasons in Minnesota and even though both have moved on, they remain close.

"Oh, man, he's my best friend," Hunter said of the Red Sox's hulking designated hitter, to whom he sent a text message earlier in the week.

The feeling is apparently mutual. Asked Friday about comments Hunter made to fire the Angels up last month, Ortiz insisted that kind of leadership comes naturally to Hunter.

"That's him. That's Torii," he said. "He's got the football mentality. I have seen him snap like that before, believe me, tons of times. And every team needs a guy like that. Every team needs a guy that pushes.

"Even when he's up, you can see him all pumped up and going crazy out there just to get everybody going. That's big."

Medical update

Thursday night was an uncomfortable one for Francona -- and not just because of John Lackey's pitching.

Francona fell ill shortly before the start of Game 1 and wasn't even sure he'd be able to manage.

"I just got flat-out food poisoning. Everybody's probably had it," he said before adding with a smile, "believe me when I tell you I got rid of it."

Francona said he was feeling much better Friday. "I just have a headache," he said.

Short hops

Leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury is Boston's offensive spark plug but his fourth-inning triple, which landed just beyond the outstretched glove of Hunter, ended an 0-for-24 postseason slump for the Boston center fielder. And the run he scored two batters later was his first in seven playoff games.


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