Red Sox in. White Sox out.

By Judy Asman

LOS ANGELES,Calif.(RUSHPRNEWS) 10/07/08—After a heartbreak loss for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Fenway Park on Monday night, Major League Baseball has set the schedule for the American League Championship Series.

For the Boston Red Sox—who beat the Angels 3-2 in a game that was scoreless until the fifth inning—it’s off to St. Petersburg to face the Tampa Bay Rays.

While the Angels rallied in the eighth and tied the game at 2, the Red Sox answered back when Jason Bay set up the winning point with a one-out, ground rule double off Scott Shields. Jason Lowrie finished the job with a two-out single stroke through the right side, bringing Bay home from second.

Ray\'s pitcher Grant Balfour struck out Ken Griffey to help Tampa Bay win their first playoff series in team history.It was an emotional loss for the Angels whose 100 won games in the regular season was a franchise record. At the top of the ninth, it looked like the Halos might take the lead. Reggie Willits was on his way back to third base from the home plate when tagged out by Boston catcher Jason Varitek.

It started when Howie Kendrick’s bunt helped Willits get to third. But when Erick Aybar couldn’t get his squeeze bunt down, Willits found himself midway between bases and charging back to third, with Varitek on his back. The ball was dislodged from Varitek’s glove while making contact with the ground and after tagging Willits. Angels coach Mike Scioscia protested the out call. But the call stood, holding the Angels at 2.

At U.S. Cellular field in Chicago, the Rays closed out the 3-1 series by beating the White Sox 6-2, and making team history by taking their first playoff series. Grant Balfour struck out Ken Griffey to end the game.

The Rays will meet the Red Sox on their home field at Tropicana Field on Friday. By that time, the Los Angeles Dodgers would have had their first face-off against the Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. On Sunday, the Phillies closed out their series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a score of 6-2 at Miller Field.

No freeway or subway World Series this year.

Before the playoffs started, much talk centered on the possibility of freeway or subway World Series, either between the Angels and Dodgers and or the Cubs and White Sox, who haven’t had a Chicago World Series rivalry in 102 years. Now with the Angels and White Sox out, the drama of a cross-town championship contest is out.

The New York Mets and Yankees had a subway series in 2000, while the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants had a Bay Bridge series in 1989. The latter was perhaps the most memorable as it was rocked by the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in Game 3, causing deaths, injuries to thousands and significant damage to the area. Ten days later, the series resumed at Candlestick Park in San Francisco with an attendance of more than 64,000 people, and the A’s taking the sweeping 4-0 victory.

Playoff Schedule

ALCS
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays, Fri. Oct. 10, 8:37 p.m., ET

NLCS
Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies, Thurs. Oct. 9, 8:22 p.m., ET

About the author: Judy Asman is RushPRnews’ sports columnist. Her media career started in the late 1980s, when she was a college disc jockey and promotions director for KUSF-FM, San Francisco. She earned her Master’s in journalism and public affairs at American University in Washington, DC and served as a producer for Potomac News Bureau and C-SPAN’s “America and the Courts.” Judy is also the producer of judythefoodie.com. You may contact Judy at judyasman@rushprnews.com