Monday, October 8, 2007
The Angels came into this series with the previous record against the Red Sox in the back of their minds. Under Scioscia's time as manager, the Angels are 0-6 versus the Red Sox in the postseason. Before I knew that, I still thought the Red Sox were going to take the series. Josh Beckett has his stuff and John Lackey couldn't do much about it, while the Red Sox players, young and old, came to play. Curt Schilling has a great postseason record that got even better after he dominated the Angels. But he knew how to pitch to Guerrero having seen him a lot previously and he worked his pitches all around the strikezone to fool hitters. "He used to be able to reach back and sometimes hit 97, 98," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "When you're throwing less than that, your margin for error is less." The Red Sox are the Sox of 2004, but better, a lot better. The Angels were the poor prop in this scenario, but can you blame anyone? The Angels faced five straight bad teams to close the season in the White Sox, Devil Rays, Mariners, Rangers, and Athletics. Then they had to face the Red Sox, who had the best record in the American League, that is hard to adjust. The Angels batted .192 in the three games against Boston, with a .253 team slugging mark. The Red Sox hit .269 and had a .495 slugging percentage. Also, the Red Sox had their best hitters ready, while the Angels were missing there's. "Take Manny and Ortiz out of their lineup, and they're a different ballclub," Hatcher said. "That's basically what happened to us with Vlad and Garret hurt. And they didn't kick us until the eighth inning of the last game [when a seven-run eruption made it 9-0]. This wasn't a blowout series by any means. Our guys kept it close." So what's next for the Angels? I do not doubt that the Angels will be back next season, but they need a productive bat in their lineup to keep up with the improving Red Sox, Yankees, and Indians, among others. Alex Rodriguez might be available but they cannot rest everything with him. Miguel Cabrera is available and that would be a fallback if A-Rod does not opt out. They could also use another pitcher, which may come by shopping Figgins and Santana. What is next for the Red Sox? The Red Sox look like they will be facing the Indians which means they should do exactly what they did against the Angels. One thing is for sure, in the late innings of these games take out Ramirez for Jacoby Ellisbury. Also, go Beckett, Schilling, then Matsuzaka to give him more time to rest. Otherwise, they have a good chance to take the series and head to the World Series.