The Angels and the Red Sox: That Was Then and This Is Now, Part Deux!

Mark BenderCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2008

AngelsWin/BleacherReport columnist and L.A. Angels Co-Community Leader

Last year, at this time of the Major League Baseball season, the Boston Red Sox were the team taking major strides towards the playoffs. The L.A. Angels were the team that was “banged up,” and physically challenged as they battled for their playoff position. As history tells the story, the Red Sox, soon to be the World Series champions, held the home-field advantage against the struggling Angels.
What a difference a year makes!  

Now, in 2008, it is the Angels who are the dominant, “fully rested” team, and the Red Sox are the “banged-up” team. And, as luck would have it, the Angels are now the team with home-field advantage against the Red Sox. 

The Red Sox manager, Terry Francona, needs to make the hard decision of playing for the division win versus resting his players in preparation for the wild-card spot in next week’s playoff games.

It is similar to last year when Mike Scioscia and the Angels lost their momentum in the playoffs after resting their “banged-up” players the last week of the regular season. It’s really a tough call in these cases, but that’s what makes this time of year so much fun. You’ve got to love baseball with all the guessing games that go on!

J.D. Drew, out since Aug. 17, has recently returned to the Red Sox's lineup—sometimes, though, a player doesn’t “play up to their potential” when he returns from the DL. Mike Lowell is also having his share of physical problems and is currently due back in the lineup this week. It will be interesting to see how they do.

The Angels clinched their division on Sept. 10. Mike Scioscia has since been able to give his bench players like Reggie Willits, Gary Mathews Jr., and Rob Quinlan a chance to play on a regular basis, while giving his everyday starting players a well-needed (and deserved) rest from their long season.

Over the course of the 2008 MLB playoffs, I will be writing a series of articles that are being jointly published on AngelsWin and Bleacher Report.

I look forward to an exciting playoff season and sharing my experiences with my fellow sports fans.