In advance of next week’s showdown with the Angels, we thought we’d take a quick video tour down memory lane, and revisit the last three times we met California/Anaheim/Los Angeles in the playoffs.

Back in 1986, long before coming back from the dead became a regular part of the Sox’ repertoire, Dave Henderson single-handedly turned the tide of the ALCS with a home run that, if the Sox had ended up winning the World Series, might have supplanted Carlton Fisk’s as the most replayed dinger ever. As the story goes, the series returned to Boston where we simply levelled them, outscoring the Angels 18-5 in games six and seven. Here’s the clinching moment at Fenway:

After that, we didn’t celebrate another postseason series win at Fenway until 2004… against the Angels. But unlike the ’86 seven game grind, this one was quick and painless, with Papi providing the final blow:

Last year, we faced the Angels again in the ALDS. And again, we swept ‘em, outscoring them by a staggering 19-4 across the three game series. I will pre-warn you: the following video includes Eric Gagne in a Sox uni. Also, watch for Theo’s swift-ass exit from the Stadium after the final out, as if drawn by tractor beam to the case of Bud Light cans awaiting him in the visitor’s clubhouse.

The latest chapter in this saga begins next week. And while I don’t envision the cakewalk we enjoyed in 2004 and 2007, I believe that with Beckett pumped and primed (the guy turns it on in the postseason, so I assume he’s been saving the awesome for this very stretch), Matsuzaka being sterling on the road (perhaps necessitating that he start game two in Anaheim) and Lester being Lester, we’ll be able to hold our own. The offense is what frightens me, especially if Drew and Lowell aren’t part of our line-up. Still, after The Steal, we know that anything is possible. I just can’t wait to get it started.