On paper, Game 3 looked to be almost a lock for the Angels. Sending their best pitcher to the mound in John Lackey against Sox starter Jon Garland, who was pitching on 12 days' rest, made for a great outlook for the Angels.
But what looks good on paper isn't always necessarily the truth, as Lackey struggled in his ninth career postseason outing, picking up his first ever loss while throwing only five innings.
The offense didn't give Lackey any support either, as Garland shut down the Halos' offense, giving up only four hits and two runs.
Though it isn't a must-win for the Angels to avoid elimination, Game 4 looks to be a key swing game and the Angels offense must awaken and do it quickly.
Behind the numbers
Friday's loss marked the first time that the Angels have lost a Game 3 at home during the postseason.
Garland walked Chone Figgins to start the first but one batter later, Vladimir Guerrero hit into a double play and the Angels didn't appear to have any spark after that.
A look at key statistics through Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
||Rough start by Lackey hurts chances
||Struggles at the plate getting worse
|BA w/ RISP
||No chances for the Angels to bring runners home
||For the second straight game, all runs come off homer
||Defense didn't hurt Angels on Friday
||.333 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBIs
||Has at least one hit in all eight postseason games this season
||0-1, 9.00 ERA
||Five earned runs are the most he's allowed in a postseason start
Darrin Erstad's decision to go to third instead of taking a two-out double seemed to be a momentum killer. After that hit, Garland allowed only one hit in the next 11 batters.
The six runs by the Angels in the first three games of the series is the lowest three-game total of LCS play since Minnesota scored only five runs in Games 2-4 of the 2002 ALCS.
Overcoming tough odds
Since the ALCS moved to a best-of-seven format in 1985, the team holding a 2-1 advantage has advanced to the World Series 12 of 16 times, including each of the last five seasons.
"We feel we have a good young arm going against those guys, and the only way you're going to beat pitching is to match them pitch for pitch. We didn't get it done tonight, but we'll be back tomorrow."
-- Mike Scioscia
Kelly Thesier is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.