Friday, September 28, 2007

Here we go again.

The match up Angel fans were dreading. With memories of Dave Henderson versus Donnie Moore and Jarrod Washburn versus David Ortiz still fresh in the minds of Angel fans, the Angels vs Red Sox will meet for the third time in Halos post season history.

So, does this mean Angel fans should save their playoff ticket money and not bother showing up ? Does this mean that history is going to repeat itself yet again ?

I say no. Why did I come to this conclusion ?

Because frankly, the Angels haven't played that poor against Boston this season especially if you take away the three game sweep Boston handed the Angels in April when the Halos couldn't have beaten the Bad News Bears. The Angels are 4-3 over their last seven games against Boston, which includes winning two of those four games in Fenway Park.

As of this writing, neither the Angels or Red Sox are playing exceptionally good baseball. Boston is 4-6 over their last ten games while the Angels are 5-5. However, things appear better for the Angels at this point than for Boston.

First off, the 2007 Angels are a much more talented team than the one that took the playoff field in 2004. There will be no Adam Riggs or Alfredo Amezega in the starting lineup this season. Under performing starters like former Angels Darin Erstad and Adam Kennedy have been replaced by Casey Kotchman and Howie Kendrick.

The Angels will need Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson, Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera primarily to keep up their production while the rest of the line up doing their job of getting runners on, over and in. If the top four in the Angels line up produces the offense should be able to score some runs. Even more so if Guerrero is able to play right field and the Angels can add slugger Kendry Morales into the lineup at designated hitter.

On the pitching front, the Angels will be able to use Kelvim Escobar as a starter instead of out of the bullpen. The thing Mike Scioscia is going to want to avoid is John Lackey and Scot Shields bringing their historical bad showings against Boston into the playoffs.

As far as injuries go. There is some question about the availability of center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., but other than GMJ the rest of the roster seems to be as healthy as to be expected this late into the baseball year.

Unlike 2004, it will be the Red Sox who will face the Angels with many of their contributors at less than 100%.

Sluggers David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, while always dangerous aren't having seasons up to their normal power standards. Rookie of the Year front-runner Dustin Pedroia is slumping. Kevin Youkilis and Hideki Okajima are nursing injuries. On top of several starters having disappointing seasons like J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Coco Crisp and Jason Varitek.

As far as the Red Sox pitching goes. Other than likely Cy Young award winner Josh Beckett and closer Jonathon Papelbon, it's hard to call any Red Sox pitchers dominant. So the Angels should get chances to score off Boston, and it will come down to their execution with runners in scoring position.

Prediction : Angels in 4 games. They'll split in Boston and win their two home games.

John Lackey will oppose Red Sox ace Josh Beckett in Game 1 Wednesday in Fenway Park, and Kelvim Escobar will start Game 2 Friday against Curt Schilling.
Love to hear what you think!


AngelsWin said...

Good stuff Eric, time to show Boston who's boss, especially in front of their own fans!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

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