The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are down 2-0 in the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox and while I hold out hope - I'm already counting the reasons why they've lost the series and the opportunity to move on.
The Angels' pitchers have just been good enough - but not great enough really overcome uneven hitting by the Angels' lineup. You see guys like Garret Anderson, Mark Teixeira, Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter string along hits. You see Chone Figgins finally be able to do a little of his thing here-and-there.
Then you have a guy like Howie Kendrick, who maybe the best hitter the Angels' have as far as being able to make contact - he's not going good right now, so he is not putting the bat to the ball. He seems to be swinging at the junk he otherwise make good contact with, if he isn't in this slump. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem the plate discipline to lay-off pitches, so he has to swing for his life.
The best at-bat in the Angels' past two games against the Red Sox - maybe catcher Mike Napoli's bases loaded walk in the seventh inning in the Angels' 7-5 Game 2 defeat. It allowed the Angels to get within one run of the Red Sox [5-4] and ultimately allowed the Angels to tie the game in the eighth inning.
I wish the Angels had more hitters like Napoli [and Teixeira] who have an idea of what their doing at the plate - instead of guys who are 'hack-first' guys, who despite their successes, are prone to give away at-bats [GA, Vladimir Guerrero] from time-to-time.
Maicer Izturis - with his season-ending injury, there has been no viable options to give Kendrick and/or shortstop Erick Aybar a breather.
Francisco Rodriguez - he's always 'the man,' in my book, but he imploded in Game 2 and doesn't end on a particularly high note [if Friday night was his last appearance as a Halo]. Couldn't the Angels have ridden Scot Shields a few more innings during Game 2? It seemed like Angels' manager Mike Scioscia pulled too quickly, just to find a reason to get K-Rod in the game.
Jason Bay - how was this guy ever going to replace Manny? This guy has starred for a second division team and now he is supposed to be a key part of a championship contender? I think that was one of the complaints I either read or heard. I wasn't particularly impressed or enamored by the guy, but except for his atrocious 2007 season, he does two very important things right [get on-base and hit for a lot of power].
J.D. Drew - for me, he is a easy guy to hate and pile on, but he is kind of this silent assassin these days. He seems to be a guy that will beg out of the lineup for time-to-time and is merely a Major League Baseball player because he is very good at it. On the other hand, between last year's postseason, this year's all-star game and now with his game winning home run in Game 2 - Drew has really put together an impressive resume within the last year.
Jonathan Papelbon - he's an ass in the biggest way, but he is probably branded as confident and also a character. You come up with some positive code words to describe a cocky prima donna with an ego like Papelbon because he seems like he comes from Anytown, USA.
Not to take away anything from Papelbon - it is disheartening for opposing batters and opposing team's fans, but it seems like when he comes into a game, it is pretty much 'lights out.'