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Monday, September 22, 2008

How To Win Postseason Home Field Advantage Without Really Trying: Angels 2, Mariners 1

The magic number for the Angels to win home field advantage all the way through the postseason is four after tonight's game, but as the boys at RallyMonkey observed earlier, this amounts to one lousy game. (However, trying to minimize said game when it's between you and a World Series appearance seems a might ridiculous.) It was a fine effort, and as with many of the team's post-clinch lineups, missing a number of key players; Garret Anderson sat this one out, and Howie Kendrick only got a couple at-bats, per Mike's plan. Sean Rodriguez, taking over for HK-47, whiffed in all his at-bats, meaning he was only an at-bat away from a golden sombrero.

The difference in this game was the outfield screwup between Raul Ibanez and Mariners center fielder Jeremy Reed; both were late getting the ball in, and as a consequence, Reggie Willits' single cashed in catcher (yes, it needs emphasizing) Jeff Mathis from first. Upon championships are such trivialities built. Willits went 3-for-4, his best day in a long, long time, and a wonderful thing to see him back like that.

Vlad homered, the Angels' only other run in the contest. Ervin Santana limited the M's to a single run through eight, and Frankie nailed down the ninth without too much fuss.

The Angels got their 97th win to make a winner of Ervin Santana, while the Mariners took their 99th loss; let us give credit along the way to Ryan Rowland-Smith, who pitched well, got the L, but will probably be in the Seattle rotation come next year.

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With his nine strikeouts (against zero walks), Ervin now has 209 for the season. A.J. Burnett stands at 220, and Roy Halladay is at 201. Santana has one more start. He's unlikely to catch Burnett, but stands a good chance of finishing ahead of Halladay. Ervin's 16th win matches a career high, set in 2006. And only 102 pitches in 8 innings. Very nice.

One final point: the Halos clinched home field advantage over Boston tonight.
Yeah, I was reading the Times recap over coffee this morning and realized I totally forgot to mention Ervin's excellent game. He's likely to be part of a three-man rotation in the first round if the Angels can clinch home-field advantage.
Well, Rob, there is a two-way contest going on. While the Angels are battling for home field advantage, the Mariners are battling to keep their slim lead in the Strasburg Sweepstakes.

Truly one of those infrequent situations in which a win-lose scenario is actually a win-win.
Yeah, Bob Timmermann is covering that.
Yes, Mathis is a catcher, but I've never thought of him as 'slow', or even 'runs good for a catcher'. I think of him as pretty athletic. Despite his offensive limitations, i've never considered speed as one of them.

Not conclusiveley, but i'd think him faster than half the guys on the team, maybe the league.

Now if it was Napoli running, that'd be worth mentioning, but the key point as you mention was the outfield error.

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