Happy Birthday, Oil Can Boyd!

This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com

The 2009 postseason is upon us, and as the Red Sox prepare to face the Anaheim Angels once again, it’s time to celebrate the Sox career of someone who helped start the 23 year postseason dominance over the Angels ballclub.

It should go without saying that the Red Sox postseason dominance over the Angels since the 1986 ALCS is nothing more than happy coincidences and the fact the Sox have simply found themselves stacked up well against the foes from the American League West.

That being said, it is great to be able to use this fact when discussing the hopes of our 2009 Boston Red Sox.

By 1986 Dennis ‘Oil Can’ Boyd had established himself as a workhorse in the Red Sox rotation. In 1985, Boyd led the team in innings(by more than 40!), starts, wins, ERA, complete games and shutouts. With the rise of the Cy Young & MVP Award winning Roger Clemens, Boyd settled in nicely behind the Ace and won 16 games himself.

Clemens and Boyd along with Bruce Hurst, set the pace for the 1986 ALCS when they faced the 92 Win Angels.

In the early going, that pace wasn’t exactly what championship teams are built on as Clemens stumbled in an eventual 8-1 loss in Game 1. Bruce Hurst did his usual steady pitching and the team won an easy Game 2 with a 9-2 victory. Oil Can Boyd cruised along in Game 3 until becoming unhinged in the 7th inning, giving up 3 runs on two home runs that also gave the Angels the lead in a tight 1-1 game.

Games 4 and 5 were both 11 inning battles with each team squeaking out a win, setting up Game 6 to feature Oil Can once again versus the Angels lineup. In the first inning, the Angels got 2 2-out runs. Thought it may have seemed dire at the moment, Oil Can Boyd set down the Angels for the next 6 innings before Brian Downing cranked a homer in the 7th. By then the Sox had built an 8-2 lead en route to a 10-4 victory.

Roger Clemens rediscovered his ability and was brilliant in Game 7 as the Red Sox steamrolled the Angels in a 8-1 victory.

The starts by Oil Can Boyd and Roger Clemens were the beginning of a 10 game postseason winning streak by the Red Sox against the Angels that finally ended with the Angels’ Game 3 victory in the 2008 ALDS. Despite the single victory, the Angels’ franchise remains winless in their 4 attempts to beat the Red Sox in a postseason series.

With the Red Sox taking on the Angels in the 2009 ALDS, we should wish a happy birthday to the man who started the dominance! For his great Red Sox career and being a part of postseason history, Happy 50th Birthday, Oil Can Boyd!

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