What a stinker
Playing against the team I dislike even more than Oakland, John Lackey gives up 6 runs in the first inning. That was pretty much the game, as the Angels outplayed the Red Sox for the rest of the game.
To salvage the doubleheader, Ervin Santana returns from his long walk into the cursed earth of Salt Lake to face a dangerous lineup, on the road in a park where he has pitched horribly the only two times he has started there. It has the makings of a massacre, as he'll be facing Josh Beckett, who attempts to do what Lackey could not: win his 16th game of the year. As I write this Beckett is ahead of Lackey among Cy Young contenders, though both have to be behind ERA leader Dan Haren, Our own Kelvim Escobar, who has seriously stepped up to ace status this year, whiff-o-maniac Eric Bedard, and everyyear candidate Johan Santana.
Back to Ervin though, while him facing Beckett looks like a complete mismatch, just one year ago they were comparable pitchers, and in fact, Santana was better. Both pitched 204 innings, and won 16 games. Santana allowed 181 hits, Beckett 191. Beckett threw 36 gopherballs, 15 more than Ervin, and walked 4 more (74). Beckett's only advantage was in strikeouts, but even there its not a huge difference (158 to 141). If you're dogmatic about your DIPS, then Santana was a little hit lucky compared to Beckett. Those 17 fewer strikeouts say he should have allowed 5 more hits than Beckett. That means Santana "should have" allowed 20 more hits in play, but 15 fewer homers and 4 fewer walks while recording the same number of outs. Even if you assume half of those hits in play are doubles, Santana was a full win better than Beckett last year.
Unfortunately, this is 2007 not 2006. I hope we can turn back the clock and get a good performance out of 2006 Ervin while Vlad hits a pair of bombs off 2006 Beckett, but if not, at least I won't have to watch the disaster unfold as I'll be bidding up the price of LaDanian Tomlinson for my fantasy football draft.