After winning 100 games in the regular season and playing their first two playoff games at home, the Angels have very little to show for it. They've fallen behind two games to none to the Red Sox, and are on the brink of elimination as the series heads back East for Game 3 tonight. The team now looks to do what only four of 35 teams were able to since 1995, and that's come back to win the next three games to take the series. Needless to say, it's going to be a tough task.
The bright side however, is that the team has Joe Saunders on the mound for Game 3, and he's been wildly successful in his career against the Red Sox. Saunders is 4-0 with a 2.75 ERA in six career starts versus Boston, and the Angels will need another stellar outing from him tonight if they're going to have a chance. Saunders will face off against Josh Beckett, who has struggled this season due to a series of injuries, but who also has a history of post-season dominance. Beckett was 0-2 with a 7.43 ERA in his two meetings with the Angels this season, but last October, was a masterful 4-0 in four starts with an ERA of just 1.20.
If the October version of Beckett shows up, the Angels might be in some trouble, especially since the team's lack of clutch hitting has been a big reason for their recent post-season failures. The Angels have gone 66 consecutive post-season innings without a home run, and have left 35 runners on base through the first two games of this series. The team's bats will need to come through more like they did against Boston during the regular season, where the Angels took five out of six from the Red Sox in Fenway Park.
All of these statistics just hammer home the point that when it comes to the Angels and the Red Sox, it's two completely different stories in the regular season and the post-season. And here's one more stat to emphasize it: the Red Sox have beaten the Angels in 11 straight post-season games. All the positive thinking in the world isn't going to keep something like that from creeping into the backs of the players' minds if the team finds itself down early. And playing on the road facing an 0-2 deficit, it might just be too much for the Angels to overcome.