Bay looks to keep rolling in April

Bay looks to keep rolling in April

ANAHEIM -- Jason Bay practically had to double-check the calendar after his two-homer Saturday helped lift the Red Sox to a 5-4 win over the Angels.

Though the left fielder is no stranger to long-ball heroics, he knows that the first month of the season has always been a little cold for him.

Bay now has 19 career homers in April, his lowest of any month. In fact, Bay's 48 RBIs in April are far and away the fewest of any month. The closest are the 69 RBIs Bay has in June.

He will try to add to that total on Sunday afternoon, when the Red Sox and Angels play the rubber match of this three-game series.

"I think I probably doubled my April stats from every other April," Bay said. "I usually stink for whatever reason. Maybe it was the longer Spring Training [this year], but once again, we're only five games in. I wouldn't write my ticket to the April Hall of Fame just yet. It's been nice to get off to a good start. Historically, it hasn't been that good for me."

Because the Red Sox -- aside from Kevin Youkilis -- have hardly come out of the gate swinging, a hot streak by Bay would be big.

"We've had a couple of guys scuffling, but that's the beauty the three or four months I've been here is we're not banking one or two guys," Bay said. "We're not saying, 'These are the two guys that are going to carry us.' We have good balance throughout."

Bay joined the Red Sox last July 31 in the blockbuster trade for Manny Ramirez. But the way Bay has blended in both with his personality and his big hits almost make it feel like he's been around longer.

"I do really think a lot of him," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I know I've said that a lot of times. There is no maintenance [managing Bay]. But winning games, we're trying to maintain that. Hitting the ball out of the ballpark is welcome."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
Beckett was in top form on Opening Day, firing seven strong innings against the Rays, allowing two hits and a run while striking out 10. Beckett has struck out 10 or more in a game nine times in his career. Beckett pitched well on the road last season, going 7-5 with a 2.85 ERA. In his career against the Angels, the righty is 2-2 with a 3.99 ERA. At Angel Stadium, he is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.

LAA: RHP Dustin Moseley (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
Moseley delivered a solid season debut, yielding three earned runs on nine hits across six innings against the A's on Tuesday while striking out four men and walking none. All the damage came in one inning when the A's bunched together four singles for three runs. Making good use of his two-seam fastball, Moseley got ground-ball outs when he needed them. He has faced the Red Sox twice in his career and has no record and an ERA of 8.10.

Tidbits
Angels outfielder Torii Hunter is 5-for-11 lifetime against Beckett. ... Mike Lowell is 3-for-4 against Moseley with two doubles. ... Shortstop Jed Lowrie hopes to break out of an early-season slump, as he has just one hit in his first 18 at-bats. ... Closer Jonathan Papelbon is all but certain to get a breather on Sunday, a day after notching a 39-pitch save.

Tickets
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On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 0-1, 9.00) at Athletics (Dallas Braden, 0-1, 4.50), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 0-1, 6.75) at Athletics (Dana Eveland, 0-0, 4.50), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 0-1, 4.50) at Athletics (Brett Anderson, 0-1, 7.50), 3:35 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.