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The Sox will throw Lester and Beckett on short rest — if they make it to Game 4

Oct 10, 2009, 1:25 PM EST

For the second straight night the Red Sox’ hitters had no answer for the Angels’ pitchers, and for the second straight night the Angels won convincingly. Speed and timely hitting did it this time, with a Howie Kendrick steal followed up by Maicer Izturis’ poking one through the right side, followed by an Izturis steal, followed by a HBP and a triple and that was all she wrote.  The Angels are up 2-0 heading back to Boston, and while the 2004 ALCS was nice and everything, miracles like that don’t grow on trees.  Boston is on the brink of oblivion, and they know it.

Evidence: Francona plans to bring Jon Lester back for Game 4 — if there is a Game 4 — on short rest.  Beckett would get the same short rest in the unlikely event of a Game 5.  Lester has pitched on short rest only once in his career, allowing four runs (including two homers) over five innings on April 23, 2008.  Oh, and that was against the Angels.  Beckett last pitched on short rest in September of 2004 against the Expos. He had better results: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER 8K and the win.  You probably don’t remember that one as much as his only other time starting on short rest.

Generally speaking, though, it’s a sucker’s bet to throw a starter on three days’ rest in the playoffs.  Teams have done it 72 times since the three-tier playoff system kicked off in 1995. Those teams have lost 45 of those games and have won only 27. Indeed, teams have lost eight of the last ten times a manager was desperate enough to start a guy on three days rest in the postseason.

But maybe it works if a team is really, really desperate:  you’ll recall that the Red Sox started Derek Lowe on two days rest in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS against Yankees. That worked out pretty well.

  1. W. Root - Oct 11, 2009 at 5:16 AM

    Beckett would get the same short rest in the unlikely event of a Game 5.
    Aside from the editorializing about the probability of Boston reeling off a whole two-game winning streak, the article author apparently isn’t intelligent enough to first check the schedule and see that Beckett would start game 5 on normal rest, as there is an off-day between game 4 and game 5.

  2. bh0673 - Oct 11, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Let’s hope somehow the Red Sox can pull it out. The last thing I want to see is the Yankees face the Angels and the rally monkey mentality of their fans.

  3. Angel Fan - Oct 11, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    They threw there best, oops guess he ain’t the best. Papelbon blows it! Angels don’t need the monkey when they play the Red Sox. Go eat your beans!

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