With both teams battling for the AL wild card, tensions should be even higher this time around as the right-handers return to the mound for the opener of a critical three-game series at Fenway Park.
In a 6-2 Boston win on July 18, Lackey drew a warning after hitting then-Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra one pitch after David Ortiz hit a three-run home run to give Boston a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning.
Two innings later, Schilling hit Angels catcher Bengie Molina in the back and Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia was ejected after arguing with umpires. Schilling earned the win and Lackey took the loss in that matchup.
Since then, the Red Sox and Angels have gone an identical 26-13 to cement their status as playoff contenders. Boston leads Anaheim by 1 1/2 games for the wild card entering this series.
Boston beat Detroit 6-1 on Sunday for its seventh straight win at Fenway, ending a stretch in which it played 23 of 26 games against opponents with records below .500. The Red Sox took advantage of the soft schedule, winning 20 games.
However, next up are consecutive three-game home series against Anaheim and Texas—Boston’s closest pursuers in the wild-card race.
“I think we can beat any team right now,” Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon said. “Our team is rising up.”
Anaheim enters the series with 10 wins in its last 11 games and slugging third baseman Troy Glaus back in the lineup. Glaus was activated from the 60-day disabled list Sunday and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks and a run scored in a 4-2 win over Minnesota.
Glaus injured himself on a dive at Minnesota on April 30. He stayed in the lineup for nine more games as a DH until May 11, when he sprained his right knee while striking out in a game against the New York Yankees.
He then underwent shoulder surgery May 21.
Glaus, a three-time All-Star and MVP of the 2002 World Series, has 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and a .291 average in just 110 at-bats this season.
“It was frustrating,” Glaus said. “We’re all professional ballplayers. We’re not professional rehabbers. We’re not professional sit-around-the-house guys. We all appreciate what we have and what we’re given a chance to do. It hurts to be away. It hurts to not play. This is our job and this is what we love to do.”
Adam Kennedy hit a game-winning, two-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday, two days after his tiebreaking two-run shot helped the Angels to a 9-6 win.
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