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ALDS schedule set

The Los Angeles Angels clinched the best record in the American League last night when Tampa Bay lost to Detroit, and opted for the longer division series schedule that calls for an extra day off.

Los Angeles, which will play the Red Sox for the third time in five years in the ALDS, will open at home against Boston on Wednesday. Game 2 will be on Friday. Tampa Bay will open its first-round series against the Twins or White Sox on Thursday, with Game 2 also set for Friday.

The scheduling is significant because it means the Red Sox and Angels will get to use their top two starters twice in the ALDS on regular days rest. In all likelihood, it will be Josh Beckett against John Lackey in Games 1 and 4, and Jon Lester against Ervin Santana in Games 2 and 5. Daisuke Matsuzaka likely will go against Joe Saunders in Game 3.

(For more on the top playoff rotations, see Dave Sheinin's piece on the MLB Sunday page in tomorrow's Post).

Boston probably benefits the most from this decision because it doesn't have to decide between Tim Wakefield and Paul Byrd as its No. 4 starter. In fact, Wakefield probably won't pitch in the first round, because that would mean replacing the catcher mid-game. The Red Sox' top catcher, Jason Varitek, does not catch the knuckleballer.

By Tom Heleba  |  September 27, 2008; 8:56 AM ET
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Lowell left last night's game hurt and Drew needed a night off because he was sore. Ortiz was going to be tried at first. If either Drew or Lowell can play, you may Ortiz at 1st in the playoffs and Drew DHing.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 27, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes! I was wondering when we'd get more analysis of Boston.

Posted by: Chris | September 27, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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