Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sox/Angels Game 4 Reactions

The Red Sox beat the Angels 3-2 on a walkoff single by Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the 9th. Manny Delcarmen gets the win, and Scott Shields takes the loss. Because of the win, the Red Sox take the series 3-1 and will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS.

This was one of the most exciting games of the postseason thus far.

*Jon Lester pitched another great game (7IP 4H 0ER 0R 2BB 4K's), and has been absolutely incredible this postseason so far (14IP 10H 0ER 1R 3BB 11K). With Josh Beckett injured to start the postseason, and then being pretty mediocre in his game 3 start, the Red Sox really needed Lester to step up big and play the role Beckett did last year. He's accomplished that so far.

*Dustin Pedroia finally got a hit, and boy was it a big one. Pedroia doubled off the wall to drive in the Sox second run. And sorry Lackey Pedroia's hit was not a "fly ball anywhere else in America [except in Fenway Park]." It would have been a homerun. Regardless to what Lackey actually believes the Monster helps both teams. I did not see the Angels use that to their advantage.

*Speaking of John Lackey, he really showed me he is on the verge of becoming a big game pitcher this series. He was mowing through the Sox in game 1 when he stupidly threw a fastball to Jason Bay (who looked AWFUL against his curveball), and Bay hit it for a 2-run HR. In game 4, Lackey was pitching very well and was victimized by a bobble by Howie Kendrick at second which scored the first run. Clearly frustrated however, Lackey then proceeded to throw a meatball to Pedroia (who was 0-for the series at the time) who took the ball off the monster. Lackey is a good pitcher, but lets his emotions get the better off him too often. Regardless, he was the only reason the Angels were even in that game.

*The Angels managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the 8th with a 2-out single from Torii Hunter. Masterson made an awful pitch and Hunter hammered it. In the top of the 9th, pinch hitter Kendry Morales lead off with a double, was pinch ran for by Reggie Willits, who got to 3rd on the next out. So the Angels have a runner at 3rd base with one out. Mike Scioscia stupidly puts the suicide squeeze play on, and Aybar misses the bunt and Jason Varitek tags out Willits before he got back to 3rd base. However, the ball popped loose after the tag. After and argument from Scioscia, the call stood and Aybar proceeded to fly out. My question is this. What is Scioscia thinking there? I understand the Angels are a scrappy team that manufactures runs and all that, but just put the ball into the outfield and you take the lead. If you don't think Aybar can do it, then pinch hit for him with Matthews Jr, or someone who can. Putting the squeeze on there is dangerous and it backfired on them, and really lost them the series. Oh, the "out" call was the correct call as well. Varitek tagged Willits, not once but twice before falling to the ground and having the ground knock the ball out. In this case the runner did not cause the ball to pop loose, like what happens at home plate. Therefore, I believe it was the correct call, contrary to whatever the Angels want to believe.

*I really do feel bad for Torii Hunter. He was the only player hitting with runners in scoring position (Hunter was 5-11, with the rest of the team going 3-29), and now has been eliminated from the postseason in the first round four straight times. Hunter has always been a player I enjoyed watching and rooting for.

The Angels did not play like they were capable of, and regardless if they were "the better team" as John Lackey so eloquently stated, they lost the series. The Angels have pending free agents this offseason in Mark Texieria and Francisco Rodriguez, and have some series decisions to make. That being said, I do expect them to win the AL West again even if those two players leave because it's such an awful division.

Regardless, still a fun series to watch, and I feel was the most competitive of the four Divisional Series that were played. I'll have full analysis and previews of the League Championship Series by Thursday.


Pat04232 said...

Who do you think they should re-sign between K-Rod and Teixeira?

I say Teixeira because of the way K-Rod's velocity has gone down and the money he'll be looking for.

Good thoughts about these games dude

jgrull said...

I'm goign to go with Texieria as well. He helped solidify that lineup once they traded for him and aside from Torii Hunter, was the only person getting on base at a consistent rate the entire series.

If the Angels ever want to win a postseason series, Vlad really needs to step up and actually do something.