Wow... talk about a confidence boost. In the first game ..."/> Wow... talk about a confidence boost. In the first game ..."/>

Post-Game Report: Angels vs. Red Sox (7/18/08)


Wow… talk about a confidence boost.

In the first game back from the All-Star break, the Angels came out swinging and walked all over the Boston Red Sox, beating them 11-3. After watching the Halos score three runs in the bottom of the first inning, ace John Lackey came out and promptly gave up a two-run homer to Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis. And though it seemed like this would be a repeat of the nightmare that was last October, Lackey and the Halos would turn that fear into motivation on their way to beating the pants off the Red Sox.

Lackey pitched a great game, giving up just three runs on five hits while striking out six during his seven strong innings. Not only did Lackey win the game and boost his record to 7-2, but he also recorded his 1,000th career strikeout, against none other than Youkilis.

The offense was the real story of tonight’s game, though. Garret Anderson went 4-4 with 5 RBIs while Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick both drove in a pair of runs against Red Sox pitching. The Angels pounded out 14 hits, and with the win tonight, opened up the AL West lead to 7 games.

Top 3 Angels Performers:

1) Garret Anderson looked 10 years younger tonight and reminded us all just how valuable he’s been to this organization. Anderson went 4-4 with a homer and drove in 5 runs during the beatdown of Boston. Garret is now batting .272 with 9 homers on the season.

2) Maicer Izturis looked great at the plate tonight. Izzy went 2-3 with a triple, a double and 2 RBIs. The triple came on a a freak play during the 6th inning, when Maicer hit a soft fly to left field that Manny Ramirez tried to catch on a slide. Manny missed it, rolled over the ball, then held onto it and watched while Izturis rounded the bases.

3) John Lackey, as previously mentioned, recorded his 1,000th career strikeout tonight during his 7 great innings of work. Lackey regained his ace form tonight and only yielded 5 hits to a very solid Red Sox offense.

Honorable mention goes to the Angels’ defense, which turned 3 double plays and shone bright throughout tonight’s game.

Jeff Weaver of the Game: Tonight’s Jeff Weaver goes to catcher Jeff Mathis. Though Mathis was pretty solid behind the plate, he did absolutely nothing while standing next to it with a bat. Mathis went 0-4 and lowered his batting average to .211.

Play of the Game: Tonight’s play of the game came on the defensive side of the ball. In the top of first inning, J.D. Drew came up to bat with one man on, and hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Howie Kendrick dove to catch it, but the ball bounced off of his glove and right to shortstop Maicer Izturis, who grabbed it, touched second base and threw to first to complete an awesome double play.

Honorable mention to Izturis’ triple, which made Manny Ramirez look like a Little Leaguer in left field.

What to look for next game: On Saturday, we’ll have a great pitching matchup, as Josh Beckett will go up against All-Star Joe Saunders. Saunders will look to build upon Lackey’s success and once again shut down the Red Sox during the day game at Angel Stadium. Look for Garret Anderson and Vlad Guerrero to hit well; both veterans seem to have an extra spring in their step after a long break earlier this week.

Next game: Saturday, 12:55 PM (Fox)

(Photo credit: Yahoo! Sports)