With Game Two of the 2008 postseason game now in the books, I feel as though I can no longer hold back my criticism for my team. Make no mistake, I am an Angels fan and will be no matter how many postseason games they choose to throw away.
I feel secure enough with my love for them to be able to be, as all parents would say, “disappointed in them.”
I was at the first game of the postseason in Anaheim on Wednesday and decided not to enter an article because I was worried about jinxing my team. As it becomes more and more likely that yet again the Angels will be swept by a team they crushed in season—the Boston Red Sox—I no longer want to hold back.
In the first game, I witnessed several critical errors made by the Angels and had hoped that these errors would not be repeated in tonight’s game. Two days, loud shouting, and six beers later it is worthy to note that they did not correct any of the mistakes.
I find it absurd that, this evening, we brought in record-breaking closer Francisco Rodriguez to finish up the last out in the eighth inning after Scot Shields had struck out two batters and walked one. While K-Rod is a great closer, he has repeatedly flopped against the Red Sox, as many will remember the huge hit in last season’s postseason by Manny Ramirez.
K-Rod just doesn’t pitch well against the Sox. This cost us the game as he gave up a two-run home run to JD Drew.
Another huge error was allowing second basemen Howie Kendrick to continue stepping to the plate after two games of being up in key situations and striking out every time. Both in Game One and Game Two, Howie came up repeatedly with runners on base and occasionally bases loaded and he struck out each time.
None of his strikeouts were even close, as he either watched strike three float right passed him or swung at only balls. I am hoping that Kendrick, who is many times an underrated key player for the Angels, will be sitting out on Sunday in Fenway Park.
In both Game One and tonight’s game, the Angels have not played textbook “Angels baseball.” They have not been aggressive at the plate and have stolen one base in 18 innings. They went from first to third a couple of times, but one time in the first game was a huge mistake, being that the runner was slow moving Vladimir Guerrero and was out by a long shot.
The Angels really needed to avoid the out in that game and keep men on base.
In closing, I spend a lot of the season being angry and upset that not only do the Angels not get good media coverage, but that other baseball fans do not find them a legitimate team. I finally must admit that I do understand their argument.
The Angels play in a four-team division made up of some of the easier teams in baseball, allowing them to accumulate a pretty nice record most seasons. I think it makes them look like a better team then they really are.
Mike Scoscia finally took advantage of trades this season by stacking his lineup for postseason with big switch-hitter Mark Teixeira, who definitely did his job in tonight’s game. But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you have the best record in baseball season after season if you can’t win a game in the playoffs.
The next games in Boston will be telling, and as much as I would love the Angels to move on and eventually win the World Series, I am not sure that is going to happen. I think the organization really needs to evaluate the players closely before signing big deals for next year and the following years.
We have a lot of great players that are either always injured or are inconsistent and unreliable, and we just can’t afford that anymore. I look forward to watching the game on Sunday, but I have stocked my refrigerator full of beers just in case.