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Monday, October 06, 2008

One More Night: Angels 5, Red Sox 4 (12 Innings)

The Angels can't even lose right, though God knows they tried. In the second, with two out, three Angels, Howie Kendrick, Torii Hunter, and Erick Aybar, all converged on Jacoby Ellsbury's routine pop to center, only to have ... none of them catch it. With the bags loaded, all three runs scored, and the Angels once again looked like Little Leaguers.

It wasn't the only miscue. Hunter badly misjudged his ball hit down the line and was gunned down trying to bag second, by about ten feet; it wasn't close, and it was starting to look, again, as though the Angels' heads were elsewhere. Yet despite the confusion, despite the impressive string of stupid plays that the Angels seem to invent every time they face Boston in the postseason, they were saved by a pair of home runs by Mike Napoli, who stood alone among the Halos as doing almost everything right; indeed, it was his leadoff single in the 12th that Aybar (the forgotten man in the Angels' second inning trio of suck) eventually got him home from second on an RBI single.

It's possible that some of this game, the good things anyway, had to do with Mike Scioscia's refusal to give in yesterday. Asked why the Angels were on the brink of yet another three-game sweep at the hands of Boston, he replied

"Well, first of all, we're not getting eliminated tonight, so I'm not going to answer that question," Scioscia said, defiantly. "And we'll talk about that if it comes up, because we're not going to talk about it now."

Pressed on the matter, Scioscia repeated, tersely, "We're not getting eliminated tonight, and we'll talk about it at some point."

One more night is all the Angels get now; they got that far thanks to flawless bullpen work from Jose Arredondo, Darren Oliver, Scot Shields (!), Francisco Rodriguez (despite walking two), and Jered Weaver, who picked up his first postseason win (in his first postseason appearance) in the process. Win today, and they go back to Anaheim.

Postscriptum: Howie Kendrick finally got his first postseason hits, a pair of singles. He was two of 16 men the Angels stranded, with Torii Hunter being the principle villain, leaving six behind. It was a terrible offensive performance. I expect a similarly bad outing tonight against Jon Lester, who has pwned the Angels this year, and in the prior matchup in this postseason.

Yahoo boxAngels recap

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The game was ugly, but the team won--so, let's assign credit where it is due.

It does seem to affirm my suspicions that the way to retool the team is to add bench depth, especially in middle infielders (and in middle relief, if, as is most likely, Frankie goes), not add a single big name, either in the lineup or the rotation, so that it would be possible to mix-and-match at the bottom of the order, if necessary.
That is an absolutely stinking game review.

If you are incapable of getting any enjoyment whatsoever from a game like that there is no point in you watching sport at all.

UK Halo
The whole game seems to be a clinic on why the Angels are down 2-1 in this series. With two men on, GMJ comes up against Papelbon. I am not privy to even half of his big game malfunctions but suffice to say, I didn't feel any drama at all and called his big whiff on a high fastball before Papelbon even put his glove in his hand. The ensuing fist pumping and Boston cheers had a touch of irony to it.

The Angels won this game despite their various misfortunes and need to continue to persevere against a Red Sox team whose progression to the next round is hardly inevitable. Give props to the players who hung in there like Mike Napoli.
UK Halo -- you must be kidding. The Angels have suffered from a cranio-rectal inversion this whole postseason, brief as it is, and you want me to be sunny? Hell on you, I'm a season ticket holder. I damn well am paying for better than these pathetic antics.
No love for Joe Saunders in this one? Were it not for the boneheaded Hunter-Kendrick miscue, he likely would have gritted his way through the sixth on one-run ball. In friggin' Fenway. The guy was really good.

And no mention of Figgins going 3-for-7 and playing some killer defense?

On the basis of those two omissions, I have to side with UK Halo here. You're beating the boys for surviving, and that's ungenerous. You may have season tickets, but you seem too native to abuse here. It feels a little sadistic at times, Rob.

Let up, just a little, will you? There's not much time left, and I'm up to my gullet in snide this season with Palin and her ilk. Let's be better than that.
'Jered Weaver's first post season appearance' is incomplete without adding on 'first this year' or 'first one out of the bullpen'.

He started ALDS Game 3 last year, so i'm thinking you meant one or the other above.

An ugly win it was, but it was a win and we're still alive. Props to Nap and the all the pitchers. Saunders pitched a hell of a game and should have left with a 4-0 shutout.

Last night was a perfect example of why Mike likes to carry 3 catchers post season. Thank God though he knew Wilson wasn't ready so I'm glad he didn't this year, and Nap was able to score from 2nd in the 12th so no matter.

God speed, Mr. Lackey.
Interesting that you mention Weaver's postseason experience. I wasn't sure if he had or hadn't been in the postseason, so I checked his B-Ref page, which shows zero postseason appearances. I meant what I wrote at the time, but you're right — he was on the mound (and took the loss) for the concluding game of last year's ALDS, and actually pitched decently against a tough lineup, but took the loss anyway.

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