The Boston Red Sox had history on their side going into their American League Division Series with the Los Angeles Angels.
Now they need hits.
The four the Red Sox managed in each of their two losses probably won’t be enough in Game 3 today in Boston (9 a.m., TBS). And they’ll probably need more than one run – their total in those two games – to avoid a sweep.
The passionate fans at Fenway Park will shout for their players but can’t swing the bats for them. The team with five 20-home run hitters faces two options: start hitting or start packing their bags.
“I don’t think the panic button or any more undue pressure is really going to be that beneficial,” said Jason Bay, who hit 36 homers this season but has one hit in the postseason. “Guys know where we’re at.”
Boston is in a much different place than it was in its past three division series against the Angels – sweeps in 2004 and 2007 when the Red Sox won two World Series titles, as well as a 3-1 series win last year.
Now the Angels have a chance for the first postseason sweep in team history.
“We’re not concerned with any of that,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “No one has a handle on a series until you win that third game and you clinch it.”
For starters, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz must avoid getting too amped up for his first postseason start.
The 25-year-old right-hander went 2-9 last year and was called up to Boston on July 21 this season. He was 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA and struggled in his past two starts.
“I know the nerves are going to be there in the first and second inning,” he said. “After the first pitch and first couple of batters I’ll try to take it back to where I was in the middle of the season. Just rely on (my) fastball to get ahead and (keep) going from there.”
But a strong performance by Buchholz won’t be enough without support.
The heart of Boston’s lineup has struggled with Victor Martinez going 1-for-7, Kevin Youkilis 1-for-8 and David Ortiz 0-for-8 with four strikeouts.
“There is no big picture for us,” Youkilis said. “We have to go out and win a ballgame or we’re going home.”
Moyer still recovering
Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer is recovering at a Philadelphia hospital from a blood infection.
Moyer’s wife, Karen, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that her 46-year-old husband is fine now after an infection following abdominal surgery.
Moyer, a former Seattle Mariner, was expected to stay another night at the hospital. He had surgery last week on tendons in his left groin and lower abdomen.
Moyer went 12-10 with a 4.94 ERA in 30 appearances this season.
Injured Tolbert off roster
The Minnesota Twins have taken third baseman Matt Tolbert off their active roster because of a strained left oblique muscle.
Tolbert was injured on a check swing during a second-inning at-bat in Game 2 against the New York Yankees.
Manager Ron Gardenhire says Tolbert will be replaced on the roster by third baseman Brian Buscher.