The Red Sox and Angels will finally start their American League Division series tonight, with game one set for shortly after 9:30 pm ET out in Anaheim, California.

Amalie Benjamin examines how the Red Sox got to this point, after a long, grinding season that included more injuries and busts than they would’ve liked. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox have worked all season to get to this point. Steve Buckley notes that there are only four players remaining on the team that were here for the 2004 championship. Daniel Barbarisi says that curses and hexes aren’t part of the Red Sox psyche for themselves, so they don’t give them any thought when it comes to the Angels either. Lenny Megliola says that these teams don’t need to be introduced.

Rob Bradford goes behind the scenes to tell us how Victor Martinez landed with the Red Sox. Alex Speier has more on the player that saved the Red Sox season.

Adam Kilgore says that there are still questions about whether the Red Sox offense can perform against top-quality pitching. Michael Silverman looks at the slightly difference approaches used at the plate by the Red Sox and Angels. Joe McDonald says that the speed of Jacoby Ellsbury is a potent weapon for the Red Sox.

Ron Chimelis says that making Jon Lester the game on starter was an easy call. Mike Fine has Lester ready to go tonight, and drawing on his past playoff experience. Amy K. Nelson says that Lester’s poise is what sets him apart. Joe Haggerty has Lester atop the rotation for the Sox.

Dan Shaughnessy has Jason Varitek finding himself in a strange spot with the playoffs starting – the bench. Buckley has Varitek ready to come off the bench in this series.

Brian MacPherson looks at the peace of mind that Alex Gonzalez brings to the pitching staff. McAdam has Billy Wagner hoping for a different postseason result than that which he has become used to. Barbarisi has Paul Byrd getting a postseason roster spot. Tony Catinella claims that there is a lack of excitement for this postseason.

McAdam has the Sox-Angels ALDS matchups position-by-position. Paul Doyle also breaks down the series. McDonald says that it should be a close series, but the Red Sox should come out on top in the end. The E-T has Bill Burt’s picks. Couture also has a look at Sox-Angels.

Bill Doyle says Red Sox fans should be happy to hear Don Orsillo in the TBS booth this series.

The Globe Red Sox notebook has Manny Delcarmen getting left off the roster for the first round, but will wait to make a decision this morning on Rocco Baldelli. The Projo Red Sox journal has Victor Martinez happy to be in the playoffs once again. Bill Ballou’s notebook says that Varitek hasn’t been in this position since 1998.


Sean McAdam has the Angels looking to put an end to all the talk that they can’t beat the Red Sox. New Globe baseball writer Peter Abraham has a look at Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who has led his club to the postseason yet again. Bill Ballou has a look at the Angels’ reliance on speed.

John Powers has Bobby Abreu enjoying his time in California, and setting a good example for his Angel teammates. Joe McDonald has an Angels scouting report, and notes the depth of their roster. Powers has a look at John Lackey, who is starting the playoff opener for the third time for the Angels.

Abraham’s notebook says that the Red Sox aren’t the only team in this series worried about the speed of the other team.

Bob Ryan notes that it appears that the honeymoon is over in Los Angeles for Manny Ramirez, who has struggled since coming back from his suspension, and has reverted to some of his old habits from Boston as well.