A look at the best-of-five American League division series between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels:
Schedule: (All times Arizona time) Game 1, Thursday, at Anaheim, Calif. (6:37 p.m.); Game 2, Friday, at Anaheim, Calif. (6:37 p.m.); Game 3, Sunday, at Boston (TBA); x-Game 4, Monday, Oct. 12, at Boston (TBA); x-Game 5, Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Anaheim, Calif. (TBA). (All games on TBS).
Season series: Los Angeles won 5-4.
Red Sox: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.301, 8 HRs, 60 RBIs, franchise-record 70 SBs), 2B Dustin Pedroia (.296, 15, 72, 20 SBs), C Victor Martinez (.303, 23, 108 with Cleveland and Boston), 1B Kevin Youkilis (.305, 27, 94), DH David Ortiz (.238, 28, 99), LF Jason Bay (.267, 36, 119), 3B Mike Lowell (.290, 17, 75), RF J.D. Drew (.279, 24, 68), SS Alex Gonzalez (.284, 5, 15 with Boston after trade from Cincinnati; .238, 8, 41 overall).
Angels: 3B Chone Figgins (.298, 5, 54, 114 runs, 101 BBs, 42 SBs), RF Bobby Abreu (.293, 15, 103, 30 SBs), CF Torii Hunter (.299, 22, 90), DH Vladimir Guerrero (.295, 15, 50), LF Juan Rivera (.287, 25, 88), 1B Kendry Morales (.306, 34, 108), 2B Howie Kendrick (.291, 10, 61), C Mike Napoli (.272, 20, 56), SS Erick Aybar (.312, 5, 58).
Red Sox: LH Jon Lester (15-8, 3.41 ERA, 225 K in 203 1-3 IP), RH Josh Beckett (17-6, 3.86, 199 K in 212 1-3 IP, 25 HR in 32 starts), RH Clay Buchholz (7-4, 4.21).
Angels: RH John Lackey (11-8, 3.83 ERA), RH Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75, 174 Ks in 211 IP), LH Scott Kazmir (2-2, 1.73 in 6 starts for Angels; 10-9, 4.89 overall), LH Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60 in 31 starts; 7-0, 2.55 in 8 starts since DL stint).
Red Sox: RH Jonathan Papelbon (1-1, 1.85, 38/41 saves), LH Hideki Okajima (6-0, 3.39), Billy Wagner (1-1, 1.98 with Boston), Daniel Bard (2-2, 3.65), Ramon Ramirez (7-4, 2.84), Paul Byrd (1-3, 5.82).
Angels: LH Brian Fuentes (1-5, 3.93, major league-leading 48/55 saves), RH Ervin Santana (8-8, 5.03 with 23 starts), RH Matt Palmer (11-2, 3.93), LH Darren Oliver (5-1, 2.71), RH Jason Bulger (6-1, 3.56), RH Kevin Jepsen (6-4, 4.94).
The Red Sox have beaten the Angels in 12 of their last 13 postseason games dating to 1986, when Dave Henderson homered off Donnie Moore in Game 5 of the AL championship series. Boston is 4-0 in playoff series against the Angels, sweeping them in the 2004 and 2007 division series, going on to win the World Series both times, and winning 3-1 in the first round last year. ... The home team took two of three in each series between the teams this season. ... Bay homered twice in Anaheim on April 11, again on May 13 and again in Boston on Sept. 17. His 12 RBIs against the Angels are the most for any non-division foe. ... Neither Lester nor Buchholz faced the Angels this year. ... Ortiz and Lowell batted .167 against the Angels, with three extra-base hits and 21 strikeouts. ... Pedroia had four hits against the Angels on May 14. ... The Angels caught Ellsbury stealing three times in six tries, more than any other team. ... Papelbon was 2 for 2 in save opportunities, but the Angels were the only team with more walks (four ) than strikeouts (three) against him. ... Boston last visited Angel Stadium on May 14, when Ortiz went 0 for 7 and stranded 12 runners in a 12-inning Red Sox loss. ... Three Los Angeles power hitters struggled mightily against the Red Sox this season: Guerrero (.211 with a solo HR for only extra-base hit), Morales (7 for 35, 0 HRs and 12 Ks) and Rivera (.194 with 1 extra-base hit and 3 RBIs). ... Hunter had a big season vs. Boston (.367, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs). ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia tweaked his rotation to put Kazmir and Saunders on the mound at Fenway Park, where both have had success. ... Kazmir made 2 previous playoff starts against Boston while with Tampa Bay in the 2008 ALCS, getting no decisions. He left Game 5 with a 7-0 lead after throwing 6 sharp innings, but Tampa Bay's bullpen gave up eight runs. ... The Angels won seven of their last eight before the playoffs, while Boston won four straight after six losses in a row.
Red Sox: Boston won 95 games for the second straight year, and it is the only team that has won at least 95 games in each of the last three seasons. The Red Sox finished eight games behind the Yankees in the AL East and eight ahead of Texas for the wild card. ... Papelbon has never allowed a run in 25 postseason innings over 16 games. ... Beckett was edged for the Game 1 start by Lester. Beckett is 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA in the postseason over his career, but he was 3-2 with a 6.02 ERA over his last nine starts. ... Martinez, acquired at the trade deadline, has displaced longtime catcher Jason Varitek as the starter. ... Alex Gonzalez, who was with the Red Sox in 2006, has solidified the shortstop position since coming back to Boston on Aug. 14. He has made just one error. ... The Red Sox once again sold out every game at Fenway Park this season, and set a franchise attendance record.
Angels: The Angels captured their third straight AL West title and sixth playoff berth in eight years with 97 victories, three off last season's major league-best pace. ... Despite clinching the division just last week, they finished 10 games ahead of second-place Texas, the majors' biggest margin in a division. The AL West had three winning teams out of four. ... Los Angeles led the majors with a .285 batting average. ... The Angels became the first team in major league history with 11 hitters who had at least 50 RBIs. ... Los Angeles set club records for runs (883), RBIs (841) and hits (1,604) with a starting lineup that featured nine .300 hitters in mid-August. ... The Angels had four 20-homer hitters (Rivera, Morales, Hunter, Napoli) for the first time since 2000. ... Hunter had one of his best seasons when healthy, hitting a career-best .299. ... Morales made quite a breakthrough in his first full major league season, picking up for departed Mark Teixeira at first base. ... The Angels committed 85 errors, the fewest in team history. Hunter and Aybar lead Gold Glove contenders list. ... Scioscia became the first manager to reach six playoffs in his first 10 seasons.
- Return of Big Papi. Ortiz might have hit his emotional low point — but not his low batting average — in Anaheim on May 14 when he went 0 for 7 and stranded 12 runners. He told reporters afterward, "Sorry, guys. I don't feel like talking today. Just put down, 'Papi stinks.'" Ortiz was batting .185 with one homer and 18 RBIs on June 1; he hit .264 with 27 HRs and 81 RBIs the rest of the way.
- Adenhart's Memory. A grieving Angels team pulled together after the tragic death of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart in an April car accident. He has been a constant presence this season, with his jersey hanging in the dugout at every game and his locker remaining pristine in the corner of the room at Angel Stadium. When Los Angeles clinched the AL West title last week, players celebrated with the jersey, dousing it in champagne before heading out to the outfield wall to pour more bubbly over a picture of Adenhart. His family will get a full share of the Angels' playoff winnings.
- Red Sox Rotation. The Boston starters all have issues heading into the playoffs. Lester was hit just above the knee in his penultimate start, but he held Cleveland to two hits in 6 1-3 innings in his final outing. Beckett has been inconsistent at times, including a stretch in which he allowed 14 homers in five starts. Buchholz didn't join the rotation until midseason and Daisuke Matsuzaka made only 12 starts, joining the rotation for good on Sept. 15.
- Abreu's Impact. Although Abreu joined the Angels shortly before spring training, he's been a perfect fit. He reached 100 RBIs and 30 steals for the fifth time. He also entered the final weekend batting .361 with runners in scoring position, fourth-best in the majors. He has a .303 career postseason average, but the 35-year-old is hungry for his first championship ring.
- Boston Injuries. Lowell has been hobbled all year by a hip problem. Gonzalez was hit in the hand by a pitch on Friday night, but was back in the lineup for the season finale. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who made the All-Star team for the first time in his career, has had back problems and will probably sit out the first round.
- Secret Santana: A starter could be a key to the Angels' bullpen. Santana won't be in the first-round rotation, but the right-hander could play a prominent role in relief, particularly if tightness in Bulger's right shoulder persists. An All-Star last season, Santana pitched a shutout in the Angels' division-clinching win over Texas last week. He pitched well out of the bullpen in the 2007 playoffs as well.