Friday, October 09, 2009

Is THIS the Year?

For years, the fans in California, when discussing Mike Scioscia as a manager, maintain that you can't claim the Angels' manager is among the elite if year after year he can't get his team beyond Boston in the playoffs. That may or may not be fair but it is understandable when each year brings hope only to have it dashed by the Red Sox. One win doesn't make it over by any means, but it is a huge step.

In all those meetings between the two teams, the Red Sox had the better team. So it really isn't a manager issue. Scioscia is about as solid a manager as there is. Even though the division series doesn't always mean the best team wins thanks to its five game format. A team can ride three horses for pitchers through a hot period and win a short series. That's why the division series should be seven games and not five (and eliminate the off days!). But in the Angels/Red Sox cases, the best team did win.

It really looks like the Angels are the best team among the two this year. The Red Sox have suddenly become an old, poor fielding team that can be had by good pitching and superior defense. Last night was a perfect example. John Lackey is a darn good pitcher. But he looked like a Lincecum last night against the futility of the Red Sox lineup. And Jason Bay and Mike Lowell made errors that point out their weaknesses on defense. The Angels simply outplayed their opponent. It wasn't even close.

Now the Red Sox need a vintage Beckett appearance to avoid being in an unfamiliar hole. Well, it's not that unfamiliar for anyone old enough to remember the Dave Henderson homer year. Apologies for bringing that up. But this may very well be the Angels' year to overcome their nemesis.

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