To mark the momentous occasion that is the 2008 Playoffs we asked a couple of esteemed guest writers to talk about their favorite team's chances this postseason. We don't know any Angels bloggers (or fans for that matter), so we recruited Phillas, one of our California commenters, to talk about a team that is geographically close to him. Please to enjoy.
For a hundred-win team, the Angels don't seem to get much notice. Sure, they've got some recognizable names, but really how many Angels games have you seen this season? Since they played the NL East during the interleague portion of the schedule, probably more than you recall.
The AL West was piss-poor: the second-place Rangers (!) were 79 'n 83, 21 games behind Los Angeles. Oakland and Seattle finished even worse. With no competition, and no story line to compete with the Central race or the Satan Rays, the Orange County club quietly cruised through the season, for better or worse.
The starting pitching really did kick ass, except for Weaver (but fuck him anyway). Still, things devolved somewhat: John Lackey had a 5.08 ERA over his last 10 games and Jon Garland was pitching more like Judy Garland with a 6.29 ERA in his last ten. Of course the big story was Francisco Rodriguez with his 62 saves and his 13 siblings. Only one of those numbers is an MLB record (as far as I know).
Anaheim's offense statistically was merely average for the American League. Mark Teixeira was pretty darn decent after coming over from the Braves. He had 13 HR's with 43 RBI's in 53 games for the club. Mad Vlad's 27 dingers were consistent with last year, but his best years are behind him.
Maicer Izturis was lost for the season with a dumb thumb injury. Howie Kendrick is recovering from a hammie owie. This leaves the infield a bit short-staffed. A coupla rooks are being thrown in the mix, and Sean Rodriguez at 2nd is the one to watch. First base isn't a big worry as Teixeira and your mom play there.
The outfield is what kills the competition. Between Juan Rivera, Reggie Willits, Vlad, and Jr. Matthews, opposing teams should be nervous. Torii is useless. Garrett Anderson did decent DH duty, but I wonder if his phlebitis is acting up.
So how does LA match up with Boston? The Angels were 2-1 when they visited Fenway, and went 3-0 at home. Looks pretty good for the Angels for a short series. After that they'd get either the ChiSox or the RayRays. Anything's possible in a 7-game series. So we could be seeing the team that brought us the goddamn rally monkey for a few weeks to come.