Purgatory Online

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I'm quite sure I don't know what the hell everyone is talking about after the Red Sox's 9-3 win over the Angels yesterday.

The L.A. Times's Mike Penner is all but telling us that neither the Dodgers nor the Angels have a chance. Ditto Rob. Steve Bisheff at the Register is calling it a "mismatch." Meanwhile, guys who haven't seen an Angels game all year, let alone recently, are smugly claiming that the game they saw yesterday typifies the team. And T.J. Simers...is Simers off his meds? Or is this column a joke? Either way, I want my two minutes back.

Well, nuts to all y'all.

Lookit: I didn't even see the game yesterday. I listened to the radio broadcast. So maybe I'm missing something, but that sure didn't sound like a typical Angels game. It sounded like there were some defensive screwups that cost them big, and this is not a team that regularly screws up on defense.

Outside of Boston's seven-run fourth, the Angels actually outscored the Red Sox. That's not a whole lot of comfort, since MLB rarely lets you take a mulligan on stuff like that, but it points out that those who would seek to bury the Angels now are doing so because of one inning. An inning that went like this:

-D Ortiz walked.
-K Millar homered to left, D Ortiz scored.
-J Varitek singled to left.
-O Cabrera walked, J Varitek to second.
-B Mueller struck out looking.
-G Kapler singled to right, J Varitek to third, O Cabrera to second.
-J Damon grounded into fielder's choice to third, J Varitek and O Cabrera scored on throwing error by third baseman C Figgins, G Kapler safe at third on throwing error by third baseman C Figgins.
-S Shields relieved J Washburn.
-M Bellhorn struck out swinging.
-M Ramirez homered to center, G Kapler and J Damon scored.
-D Ortiz grounded out to second.

Both Varitek's single to left and Kapler's single to right were apparently close to being outs. So if the Angels get a little luckier, or maybe if Figgins and Amezaga get ten minutes' more sleep, it's a two-run inning instead of a seven-run inning. Again, this doesn't matter now, because the game is lost, and fair play to the Boston Red Sox. But it should tell you that this series is far from over.

As Richard points out, the Angels did get to Schilling a little bit; the Angels had nine hits to Boston's 11, all of them against Schilling. Tonight's game is pretty close to a must-win for the Angels, but there's no reason to believe that, if Colon can outduel Martinez, the Angels will be flying east to annihilation. Escobar versus Arroyo? Lackey versus Wakefield? Which of those games is unwinnable?

I am also stymied by the general feeling that Scioscia screwed up big-time by starting Amezaga. This was hardly a concession; Amezaga, you'll recall, also started against Mulder and Zito in games the Angels needed to win the division in the first place. I grant you that those starts were against lefties, and Dallas McPherson does not hit lefties well, but let us also note that Dallas McPherson did, in fact, get into yesterday's game early enough to go 0-for-3, including a groundout with the bases loaded.

In any event, what it all boils down to is that the Angels have their backs against the wall tonight. If they lose, they'll be in big trouble. But if they win, they're right back to even. And you'd better believe they've got a shot at winning.

Which, if you do the math, means they're still in this thing.