Thursday, September 25, 2008

By Mark W. Bender Columnist / LA Angels Co-Community Leader.

At this time of the Major League Baseball season last year, the Boston Red Sox were the team taking major strides towards the playoffs. The LA Angels were the team that was “banged up”, and physically challenged as they battled for their playoff spot. The Red Sox held home field advantage against the Angels, and history has told the story of the struggling Angels and the soon to be World Series Champion Red Sox.

What a difference a year makes! In 2008 it’s the Angels who are the dominant “fully rested” team, and the Red Sox are the “banged up” ones. And, as luck would have it, the Angels are now the team with home field advantage against the Red Sox. Red Sox manager, Terry Francona, must make the hard decisions between playing to win the division versus resting his players in preparation for the wild card spot in next week’s playoff games. Similar to last year when Mike Scioscia and the Angels lost momentum in the playoffs after resting their “banged up” players the last week of the regular season. It’s really a tough call in these cases. But that’s what makes everything so much fun this time of year. You’ve gotta love baseball with all the guessing games that go on!

Out since August 17th, J.D. Drew has recently returned to the Red Sox lineup, but sometimes a player doesn’t “play up to their potential” when they return from the DL. Mike Lowell is having his share of physical problems and is currently due back in the lineup this week. It will be interesting to see how they do.The Angels clinched their division more than 15 days ago on September 10th. Mike Scioscia has since been able to give his bench players like Reggie Willits, Gary Mathews Jr., and Rob Quinlan a chance to play on a regular basis, while giving his everyday starting players a well needed (and deserved) rest from the long season.

Over the course of the 2008 MLB Playoffs, I will be writing a series of articles that are being jointly published on and I look forward to an exciting playoff season, and sharing my experiences with my fellow sports fans.
Love to hear what you think!

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