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Red Sox bats silent again

10/10/2009 - Boston Red Sox

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The last time it was done, Derek Lowe was gesticulating toward the Oakland A's dugout, Jason Varitek was a starting catcher, and Pedro Martinez wasn't a Phillie.

It's been six years since a team has come back from being down 0-2 in a five-game series, and the Red Sox were the last team to do it, when they beat the A's in 2003.

Only three players are left from that '03 team, and two haven't played an inning in this series, in which Boston now trails 0-2 after a 4-1 loss Friday night to the Angels.

Tim Wakefield, who isn't on the ALDS roster; Varitek; and David Ortiz were all on that 2003 team. Wakefield said the team's approach back then was simple.

"We've got to win the next day, or we're going home," Wakefield said. "That's the attitude you have to take. Win today."

It will be an easier task now that the Red Sox are heading back to Fenway, where they were 56-25 this season, their second-best mark at home in the last 59 seasons. But Fenway won't cure all the team's plentiful hitting woes.

"We've had a tough time these last two games swinging the bat," manager Terry Francona said. "That's an understatement."

They managed just eight hits in the first two games, with the Angels posting the first playoff shutout in team history with Thursday night's 5-0 win.

Here is a breakdown of some offensive numbers over the last two days:

• Red Sox batters have gone 1-2-3 in nine innings this series and have sent the minimum of three batters to the plate 10 times.

• Boston's 3-4-5 hitters are 2-for-23 with six strikeouts.

• They've had multiple baserunners in just three of 18 innings.

• They are 1-for-15 with runners on base.

• The only player with more than one hit for the Red Sox this postseason is Jacoby Ellsbury, who has used that recent hot streak to go 2-for-27 in his last 27 postseason at-bats.

• In Game 1, the Red Sox saw just 18 pitches with runners in scoring position (0-for-5).

• In Game 2, they also saw 18 pitches with runners in scoring position (1-for-4, a Victor Martinez RBI single).

• They were held to fewer than five hits in each of two consecutive games just twice this season, but that was also the case in the first two games of the postseason. The last time they had fewer than five hits in consecutive games versus the Angels was May 1989.

• The last time the Red Sox didn't lead after any inning in the first two games of a playoff series was the 2004 ALCS.

There weren't many answers coming from the Red Sox clubhouse after the game. Kevin Youkilis grew irritated by repeated questions, asking reporters to stop coming in waves. And he was at a loss for his struggles -- he has just one hit in eight at-bats and no walks this postseason.

"I can't put a finger on it," he said. "You hit the ball, sometimes you get out. I can only speak for myself. It's baseball; that's all I can say."

Perhaps it's the Angels' starting pitching. John Lackey and Jered Weaver have combined for both wins and an ERA of 0.61, allowing just six total hits. Conversely, Boston's starters, including Josh Beckett on Friday night, have a 4.97 ERA this series.

Beckett was cruising heading into the seventh inning. He had thrown only 75 pitches, giving up a run and three hits. Then the Angels -- who were last in the American League last year in pitches per plate appearance but improved to fifth this year -- worked the count against him, making him throw 28 pitches in the seventh. That eventually led to a three-run triple by No. 9 hitter Erick Aybar.

"I was just not making pitches when I needed to," Beckett said. "That Aybar ball was right down the middle. I didn't have to go back and watch it; I saw right where it went."

As for some sort of positive outlook on a comeback, the numbers are not very encouraging. Since 1969, the first year of five-game series, only seven teams have come back after going down 0-2. Only four have done it in a division series. But the Red Sox have done it twice, winning Game 5 on the road (2003 against the A's and 1999 against the Indians) both times.

"Don't feel the pressure," David Ortiz said when asked what he remembers from '03. "Keep it simple."

Grady Little, not Francona, was managing that 2003 team. But Francona -- in 2004 when Boston was down 0-3 to the Yankees -- and Little shared a similar philosophy.

"It's one thing Grady told us: 'You've got to win Game 3,'" Wakefield said. "You have to go out there with the attitude that it's do or die."

They'll have the chance, at least once more, Sunday at 12:07 p.m. ET.

Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer for ESPN.com and ESPNBoston.com. You can reach her at amy.k.nelson@espn3.com or at twitter.com/amyknelson.