Welcome to the ALDS Angels Live Blog! Be sure to add me to your MSN Messenger friends list and chat with me while watching the game on TBS today!
October 3rd, 2007 – 3:15 PM: 15 minutes to game time! The Rockies just beat the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS.
It’s hard to believe the season has gone by so quickly, and here we are in the first day of playoffs! Combine the excitement of this season with the feeling that, as I get older, every year is only half as long as the one before it, I suppose the 2007 baseball season was just destined to fly by as if it were piloted by Chuck Yeager.
This isn’t the match-up I’d have wanted though. In fact, I’m downright terrified of the Red Sox. The Angels are probably the only team in baseball who’d rather face the Yankees than anybody else in the playoffs, but I have to remember that all these fears and hopes are based on years past; they mean nothing today. Yeah, Boston has eliminated the Angels from the playoffs twice. In 1986, in infamous Dave Henderson home run against Donnie Moore. In 2004, the Red Sox swept the Angels on their way to a World Series Championship.
But that is all meaningless. The regular season is meaningless. The only thing that matters are the next five games.
And we’ve got just as good a shot as anybody.
3:39 PM: Top of the First, no out, 0-0: Play ball! I’ve just been informed that Figgins (leading off tonight, as usual) ended the year on an 0-22 slump. But still he batted .330. I suppose I would have known that if I had actually watched the last few games of the season, rather than suffer through Hudler burnout and a desire not to watch my team phone it in and rest.
WOOHOO! Figgins leads off with a hit off Dustin Pedroia’s glove! Good start!
3:46 PM: Middle of the First, 0-0: Figgins gets on with a single, steals two bases (well, both were hit-and-runs), and Garret Anderson strikes out to end the inning. Speaking of GA, his eye looks HORRIBLE. Apparently he has conjunctivitis, and it has nearly swollen his right eye shut. I have no idea how he can see a pitch clearly with that, but the doctors cleared him to play, so again, what do I know?
3:58 PM: Bottom of the first, 1-0 Boston: Dammit. Lackey Meltdown Inning #1. A solo home run by Kevin Youkilis. No biggie, a solo shot won’t hurt you. But then he puts two runners on, and requires a visit from the coaching staff.
Nice. Pop-up by Lowell. 2 out. J.D. Drew up. Ack! Dad’s home, I gotta help him out of the car.
Woohoo! I come back in, the Angels got out of it! 1-0 Boston.
4:19 PM: Top of the 3rd, no outs, 1-0 Boston: Well, it looks like Lackey got his meltdown inning out of the way early (knock on wood), and it wasn’t too bad. He blew through them in the 2nd. Single to Varitek, double play, single to Lugo, caught stealing.
Now TBS is becoming like ESPN. They just missed an at-bat because they had to get their commercials in. 1 out, Willits at bat. If you’d have told me in March that Reggie Willits would have had the year he’s had, I’d have called you crazy. But Willits above anybody else in this lineup has proven how flexible and loaded the Angels are.
You know, I have no idea who is calling this game, but I like ’em. They’re low key, they’re not overtly rooting for Boston like McCarver and Buck would be doing, and they’re definitely not Hudler and Physioc. Somebody tell Arte Moreno to hire these guys.
Willits pops out to Manny Ramirez. Figgins up again. It was nice to see him lead off with a hit. That first at-bat can lay the ground work for an entire series. Don’t believe me? If A-Rod gets a hit in his first at-bat tomorrow, look to see how big the smile on his face is.
Strikeout. Beckett is on his game so far, I’ll give him that. Middle of the 3rd, 1-0 Boston. Let’s go Big John Lackey!
4:31 PM: Bottom of the 3rd, 1 out, 3-0 Red Sox: Double to Youkilis, and a shot by David Ortiz that still hasn’t landed. Seven hits Lackey has given up so far. Dammit.
Now a walk to Manny Ramirez. You can see it on his face, the frustration. I’ve been saying it all year, Arte Moreno needs to hire a good sports psychologist. This pitching staff can handle the physical side of the game; they’re toast on the mental side. And while Lackey has been mentally tougher this year, allowing many fewer meltdown innings this year, look at Ervin Santana, Scot Shields, and Francisco Rodriguez.
Lowell singles to center, Manny scores.
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.
4:56 PM: Top of the 5th, no outs, 4-0 Red Sox: It appears that even innings are GOOD for Lackey, odd innings BAD. Lackey blew through the Sox in the bottom of the fourth.
Of course, Beckett has blown through the Angels in every inning.
Izturis pops up, but had a **** of an at-bat, going into a full count. More Angels need to be doing that.
HEY! Jose Mota got a job for the playoffs! He just did some commentary from the field level. If I have to see a familiar face from the Angels broadcasting team, at least it was Mota. If Hudler had shown up, I may have puked.
Kotchman strikes out. 5 K’s, 14 consecutive batters retired by Beckett. Yeah, he owns us tonight.
Let’s change that. GO ANGELS! Ah, Kendrick grounds out. 15 straight.
****, it’s an odd inning. Cross your fingers, pray for John Lackey.
5:28 PM: Top of the 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Boston: 19 straight outs for Beckett. The guy OWNS us tonight. The heart of the order is batting this inning, with Vlad up right now. He’s 0-for-2 tonight. ****, everybody except Figgins is 0-for.
Hey! Vladimir Guerrero gets a hit! OK guys, time to start a rally here!
Just please don’t break out a monkey in the dugout…
Now Garret Anderson pops up. I’d like to blame his eye, but if that’s the case, then everybody seems to have an eye infection tonight. Two outs.
And Izturis grounds out. Josh Beckett is unbeatable.
5:38 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Boston: Ervin Santana is in the game, Lackey is out. Seems weird to see Ervin in there in relief. And it’s not at all comforting. Last year, it would have been great. But unfortunately, Santana is the strongest indicator of the mental fragility of the Angels pitching staff this year. Though he looks pretty decent right now… Two strikeouts, a pop fly foul caught by Izturis, and the inning is over. Good job, Ervin.
6:10 PM: Final Score: 4-0 Boston: OK, Lackey wasn’t horrible. Sure, he had his problems, but he hung in there and pitched a decent game. Not great, but acceptable.
I sure with the bats had shown up.
Garret Anderson looked silly at the plate tonight. I don’t care what he says, having his right eye (the lead eye for a left-handed batter) swelled shut like that had to affect him, and it showed. But he wasn’t alone. The entire lineup might as well have dragged along seeing-eye dogs to Fenway as effective as they were.
OK, so we’re down 1-0. It’s not the end of the world. But the offense has to show up Friday, and they have to pound Matsuzaka early and often.
If not, it’ll be a sad day in Anaheim on Sunday.
God I hate the Red Sox.
In just a few minutes, the first pitch of the 2007 playoffs will be thrown. In roughly 3 hours 38 minutes, the Boston Red Sox will host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game 1 of the ALDS on TBS!
And, I will be liveblogging it.
Join me here and on MSN Messenger as you watch the game! Just load up the front page of this blog, refreshing it occaisionally as I update the post. Sign into your MSN Messenger and add my as a friend so you can chat with me, ask questions, rag on me for being an Angels fan, whatever you want! My MSN screenname is:
Here’s a few examples of my previous liveblogging efforts:
I’ll see you here at 3:30 PM PST (6:30 PM EST)!
The playoffs are about to begin, and in an effort to make the players seem more accessible to the fans, MLBlogs has given accounts to a few of them, including our own Chone Figgins!
It would have been nice had they given him this blog in April, as following along with Figgins while through his breakthrough season would have been a fascinating read. But I’ll take what I can!
So, be sure to stop by to give him a read and a comment or two! Be sure to notice who made the first comment in his first post!
Is it really October already? Has the 2007 regular season come and gone, or was what we witnessed just a dream, an opium hallucination of baseball euphoria? While it may have been a pleasant trip into the ether or a nightmare spawned from the Prince of Darkness himself, depending on which team you root for, the baseball fan in you has to admit that this may have been the greatest regular season ever played.
And tomorrow, we head into the playoffs, where none of what happened between April and September matters. Where anybody can be a hero or a goat, where the work of 162 games pays off or dries up, where you go home happy or you just go home.
With that, it’s time to make some picks, which I’m notoriously bad at.
Chicago and Arizona: Coming from the National League "Comedy Central," the Cubs didn’t have to be great to get here. Sure, their offense has been spectacular these last few months, but it’s going to have to be better to get through Brandon Webb and the Diamondbacks. Only thing working against Arizona is the youth; if they fold under the pressure of the playoffs, Chicago will roll over them. Prediction: Arizona in 4
New York and Cleveland: I don’t see why this one is such a toss-up. The Yankees have been the hottest team in baseball since June, and while the Indians are a really good team, they just can’t out-muscle the Yanks. Provided the pitching doesn’t implode or the starting rotation in particular succumb to the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the Yankees should make quick work of the Indians. Prediction: New York in 3 What I’d like to see: The Yankees sweep Cleveland, with A-Rod going 15-for-15 with 15 home runs. Then the Yankees facing the Angels in the ALCS, where they get swept, but A-Rod goes 20-for-20 with 20 home runs. Then he opts out, and gives the finger to those who booed him in the Bronx last year.
Philadelphia and Colorado: Get a coin. Flip it. Heads, the Rockies win in 5. Tails, the Phillies win in 5. That’s the best you can do to predict this one. Both teams are running on adrenaline as well as talent, and both have earned their place in October because of outstanding Septembers. Trying to predict a series that is fueled 90% by emotion is futile. Might as well try to predict the winner of every NCAA football rivalry this year. Yeah, I’d have taken USC over UCLA last year, too. Result of Coin Flip: Phillies in 5
Anaheim and Boston: Yes, I said Anaheim. Get over it. No, I don’t have a problem with "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim." If Arte Moreno wants to call them the "Tokyo Angels of London by way of direct flight from Beijing with a stopover in Moscow" that’s his choice, so long as it helps sell merchandise and brings more money into the club and puts a better team on the field. Yeah, I’m stalling. I really don’t want to make this pick. Boston is the better team, no doubt. But since when does that matter? Boston is also tired, having had to push their way through September, while the Angels have coasted through the last few weeks of the season, resting up. But everybody else sais "Boston in 4," and I want to be one of the cool kids, too! Prediction: Angels in 4. There, I said it. Get over yourself, Red Sox Nation. Your team is not the greatest thing to ever happen to America. In fact, lose that Red Sox Nation ****. You stole it from the Raiders, and their fans will snap your necks and eat your children.
OK, folks, here it is, my pathetic attempt at prognostication of the MLB postseason. Be sure to stop by here next week to laugh at me.
It’s been all over the Angels home page for over a month: Register for the post season ticket lottery! The only way to get tickets for the post season! Separate drawings for the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series! So, naturally, I entered.
And my number was called.
I couldn’t believe it, but you’re actually looking at a JPEG of my ticket for the first Angels home game of the ALDS (left). Naturally, I used a bit of Photoshop to delete the more important parts of the ticket, mainly the bar code and ticket number, as I know some ******* out there will copy it, print it out, and be sitting in my seat.
I’ve never been to an MLB post season game before. OK, let’s face it, until recently the Angels really haven’t BEEN to the post season, so in my youth and young adulthood there weren’t many chances. Sure, I could have gone to one or two NLDS games at Dodger Stadium, but I’ve never really been a huge Dodgers fan, at least not enough to pony up the dough for playoff tickets.
And, truth be told, I didn’t expect to be going this year. I have little faith in "ticket lotteries" and such. And besides, the first person I’d want to go to these games with is my dad, and it ain’t easy getting wheelchair seats.
You have no idea what a pain in the butt it is, as a matter of fact.
If you’ve ever bought tickets over the internet (which is the only way you can purchase these, by the way), you know what a pain it is. Compound that with the fact that, to get wheelchair seats, you have to fill out a form, submit it, hope and pray someone gets back to you, then hope and pray that they’re the seats you want, otherwise you have to do the process all over again.
It took me six hours to get these tickets yesterday.
If my dad wouldn’t have wanted to go, it would have taken about two minutes on the ticketmaster site. Of course, I would be sitting in the 500 section past either foul pole instead of great seats in left field…
Here’s hoping my luck (and the Angels luck as well) holds. One of my dreams has always been to see a World Series game with my dad.
If the Angels get there, you better believe I’m going to work my tail off to get us a ticket.
OK, on to actual Angels news.
Well, there isn’t any. To tell you the truth, the last two days since the clinch have been very anticlimactic. In a way, it’s been like watching Spring Training. Mike Scioscia has been resting his stars, getting a few at-bats and more playing time to those who need it, stretching his pitching rotation (there will be six different starters in the last six games) and basically using this time to rest. I can’t say I blame him. Is it worth having the best record in baseball if, when you get to the playoffs, you’re too exhausted to take advantage? Boston is going to find out, as they’re in a tight race for the American League East (and have looked exhausted for the last month).
Ervin Santana pitched himself right out of the playoff roster last night. I didn’t watch much of the game, as Ken Burns’ "The War" is on PBS and that has been eating most of my evenings this week. But I did see Santana give up four runs early, the Angels come back with a 5-run 5th, then Santana give the lead right back to Texas in the bottom of the inning. So, by all appearances, I’ll have better seats for Game 1 than he will.
And tonight was proof that Scioscia is just giving the youngsters some work. Dustin Moseley started, and was pulled before the 5th inning for Darren Oliver… even though he hadn’t given up a single run. That’s good, though. These guys will be the long relief in October; you gotta get ’em some innings.
It’s kind of hard to believe that there are only four games left in the season. It hit me tonight, when Hudler and Physioc were talking about the Texas starting pitcher, a kid named A.J. Murray, who was making his first Major League start tonight.
Hudler: I want to wish Murray a lot of luck tonight
Physioc: Why would you want to do that, Rex? He’s pitching for the other team! (Because wishing player NOT on the Angels well goes against every broadcasting "principle" these two useless laugh-tracks know.)
Hudler: Because he’s gonna get shelled out there tonight against these Halos!
Murray went 5 innings, gave up 5 hits, 4 K’s, 1 walk, and a single earned run, earning the victory.
As Hudler and Physioc were blathering on about that, making a team that may well be the best in the Majors this year look bush league simply through their idiocy and one-sided "announcing," I didn’t get mad tonight. I thought Well, they only have four more games until the playoffs, then I don’t have to hear them anymore.
I startled myself. Only four more games until the playoffs! ONLY FOUR MORE GAMES OF HUDLER AND PHYSIOC!
You know it’s bad when you can’t wait for the networks to start broadcasting your games, and you look forward to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver…
My, oh my, has this season gone by QUICKLY…