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Red Sox Need To Keep Angels Off Bases04:04

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For the fourth time, the Red Sox and the Angels face off in the first round playoff series Thursday night. In the past three match-ups, the Sox won.

“Traditionally in the post-season, the Angels seem to fall apart against Boston,” baseball analyst Glenn Stout tells WBUR. “That’s, sort of, the psychological leap that the Angels are going to have to cross if they’re going to have any success,” even though the Angels come in with a 5- 4 record against Boston for this season.

WBUR Video: Will The Sox Go All The Way?

Nevertheless, Boston had a somewhat streaky record at the end of this season — lots of consecutive wins and lots of consecutive losses. The real question, Stout said, is whether the players have had enough rest and can focus on using their pitching staff to keep the Angels’ offensive players at bay and off-base.

The Red Sox' best advantage, said Stout, is their pitching staff while the Angels bring a strong offensive team.

"The most important thing for them when they're facing the Angels is to shut down that running game ... because what happens with the Angels is when they get on base and if they can start to run crazy, that changes everything," Stout said. "All of the sudden, your pitchers are pitching a little more defensively, they're throwing a lot more fastballs. That plays into the Angels' game."

One question, however, is whether the Sox can get over their inconsistent performance as of late and whether the players have had enough time to come back refreshed.

"This is sort of a new team. It's been changed on the fly and we're going to find out (with) some of these younger players, how they're going to hold up," Stout said.

At the end of the day, Stout said the winner of this series will likely go on to play the Yankees, who have been "white hot" this year, including in Wednesday night's game against in Minnesota, where they won 7-2.

"The Yankees are looking very, very tough, and whoever comes out of this series between the Red Sox and the Angels, I think they're going to have to go through the Bronx, and that's going to be tough on anyone."

Click “Listen Now” to hear the interview with WBUR’s Bob Oakes.

This program aired on October 8, 2009.

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