Top 3: Three not such a magic number for the Sox

October 01, 2008 - 3:53 pm

During the 2007 playoffs, the Sox walked 18 times and had 23 RBIs in the third inning. Bot marks were the most by any team in any inning during any postseason since 1903. The runs were helped in no small part by the fact that the team hit a whopping .403. Yet that strength coincided with one of their opponent's: Angels starter John Lackey has been at his strongest this year in the third inning, holding opponents to a .198 average and .233 OBP in the frame. Jed Lowrie, the first Red Sox rookie shortstop to start a playoff game since Jody Reed, took an 0-2 hit by pitch to reach first in his inaugural playoff at-bat. He then wiped out Angels shortstop Erick Aybar when Jason Varitek grounded into a 1-6 forceout. Varitek was then, in turn, forced out when Jacoby Ellsbury bounced into a forceout. Dustin Pedroia walked with two outs to advance Ellsbury to second. Pedroia walked 50 times in the regular season but struck out 52 times, marking the first time in his career that he had ever struck out more than he walked. He did, however, keep another streak intact, recording more extra-base hits (73) than whiffs. That brought up David Ortiz with two outs. In the third inning of last year's Division Series between the Sox and Angels, Ortiz smashed a two-run homer off of Lackey. This time, Lackey fed Ortiz a steady diet of off-speed pitches, throwing four straight curves. Ortiz popped up the last, and has now stranded three runners tonight.