Sunday, April 24, 2011
Rapid reaction: Red Sox 7, Angels 0
By Gordon Edes
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- And to think the Red Sox used to dread making trips to the West Coast.
What more could they want? Chartered flights, good weather, plenty of transplanted fans, great sushi and Mexican food, and opposing teams more than willing to make them feel as comfortable as possible. What’s a little jet lag compared to all that?
On Sunday, the Sox completed a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels, 7-0, giving them five wins in six games on the Coast, having split a pair in Oakland.
Not once in four days did the Sox look up at the scoreboard in Angel Stadium and find themselves behind. They were required to work overtime to beat the Angels in the first game of the series, a 4-2 win in 11 innings, but the home team did not score a run off a Sox starter in 22 innings over the last three games of the series.
Jon Lester shut them out on four hits in six innings Friday. Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed one hit in eight scoreless innings on Saturday. And on Sunday, John Lackey gave up six hits in eight scoreless to beat his former team for the fourth time in four starts since they made little effort to keep him as a free agent following the 2009 season. Lackey didn’t glare up at the owner’s box a la Roger Clemens to John Harrington 14 years ago, but the message got there just the same.
In winning for the eighth time in their last nine games, the Sox continued what has been an extraordinary run of starting pitching. In that span, Sox starters have allowed two runs or fewer in all nine games, posting an ERA of 0.88 (6 ER in in 61 1/3 innings).
The weekend shutouts were the first consecutive shutouts by the Sox since June 19-20, 2007, against Atlanta, in games started by Josh Beckett and Julian Tavarez.
* The Angels have now lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Sox, including seven straight at Angel Stadium. This was Boston's first four-game sweep against the Angels since 1980.
* Carl Crawford hit his first home run, coming in his 20th game and 81st at-bat with the Sox. He also singled.
* Adrian Gonzalez had his second three-hit game for the Sox, with a double and two singles, and drove in two runs.
* The manager, Terry Francona, sat his hottest hitter, Jed Lowrie, and looked smart for doing so, as Marco Scutaro walked, singled twice and scored two runs.
* Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended the exercise of comparing his catcher’s ERA to that of Jason Varitek, as he has caught both of Lackey’s starts and Lester’s start on this trip with terrific results.