Dark Clouds on the Horizon?

Uggh.

I hate this feeling I’m developing in my stomach. 

The euphoria of Sunday’s wrap-up of the American League West title has faded like the hangover the club had after the clubhouse celebration, and has turned into worry as the Angels got swept in Texas, putting for almost no effort in the three-game series.  In retrospect, it looked like the hangover from Sunday night’s celebration lasted through Wednesday, when the Angels suffered their worst defeat of the year, losing 16-2.

Ouch.

I have to recognize that, when Scioscia decides to rest his players instead of fighting for home field advantage, he knows what he’s doing.  I can’t let the specter of past defeats haunt the feelings I have going into the playoffs.

But the Angels fan in me simply can’t do that.

It’d be easier to explain my worry had the Angels not won the World Series in 2002.  Before that, this team had been Red Sox or Cubs Lite, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at every turn.  In 2002, it seemed safe to say that all that was in the past; that the Pearly Gates had finally opened to allow the Angels into the fraternity of clubs with a good future.

Because of that victory, it’s easy to ignore what’s happened since.  But right now, I have trouble forgetting it.

-In 2004, the Angels got swept in the ALDS by the soon-to-be champs, the Boston Red Sox.  Despite having home field advantage (hmm…  maybe it isn’t THAT big a deal…), they lost all three, including Game 3 by a walk-off home run to David Ortiz.  In case you don’t remember, the Halos didn’t have a single left-handed reliever in 2004, so they brought in Jarrod Washburn to pitch to Big Papi in the 10th.  He threw exactly 1 pitch, then Game Over.

-In 2005, the Angels beat the Yankees in the ALDS, then faced the White Sox in the ALCS.  All seemed fine and dandy until an umpire made a stupid call, and Scott Podsednik ran to first on a strikeout.  The Angels left the field, as the umpire had screwed up and made a signal that sure as **** looked like an "OUT!" call, but he claimed was a "Strike" call.  The inning wasn’t over, the White Sox went on to win the game and later the ALCS, and then (at our expense once again) became World Series Champs.

So I can’t get this feeling out of my head that the 2002 World Series may have just been a hiccup.  Perhaps the Gods of Baseball Curses just took a few years off, as between 2002 and 2005 exactly 213 years of baseball curses were lifted.

It worries me because it looks like we’ll be facing Boston in the ALDS, one way or another.  And the Angels under Mike Scioscia are 16-22 at Fenway Park.  They’ll play two games in Fenway, two in Anaheim, then back to Fenway for a single game, should the series go that long.  So, by resting players and ironing out the staff, it seems that Scioscia is gambling on coming back from Boston with at least one victory.

I’m not sure I’d roll the dice on that one.  But then again, the Angels coaching staff has forgotten more about baseball than I’ll ever know, so who am I to worry?

Well, combine that with the second-half implosion of the bullpen (particularly Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez), I think I have plenty to worry about.

****, I already made a prediction about K-Rod that I pray doesn’t come true.

I was hoping that my tickets would be for Game 1, not the First Home Game.

Now, I suppose, I have a chance to see a series clincher.

I only pray that it goes to my team.

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