Saturday, October 04, 2008

JD Drew's 9th Inning Dagger in K-Rod's Heart

Imagine my surprise (not quite pleasant given the fact that the Sox were up 5-1 when I went to bed) to wake up and find out that the Red Sox beat the Halos last night in the top of the 9th courtesy of J.D. Drew's two run, home run. The first thing that came to mind was what a dagger in the heart this must be for the Angels. How could it not be the proverbial "gut punch" that Sportsguy, Bill Simmons, so frequently references to have the best closer in baseball give up the game winning runs after his team has clawed back from a 4-0 first inning hole?

Trust me, I've been there. All I need to do is mention 1978, 1986, and 2003 to remind my fellow Sox fans that we've felt the pain. Granted, this was only game two of the ALDS so it's not quite the same as some of the heart wrenching losses the Sox suffered (plus, the Halos did win the World Series as recently as 2002) bu still, the Angles won 100 games this year, they beefed up the middle of their lineup with studs like Torii Hunter and Mark Teixeira and arguably had the best closer in baseball in K-Rod after his record setting 62 save season.

As an Angel's fan (yes, I'm talking to you Mr. Humbarger) one has to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask what on earth could you could have possibly done to merit this "Groundhog Day" like misery. Seriously, the Sox dominating the Halos in the ALDS is becoming almost as automatic as the Celtics and Lakers meeting in the finals back in the early eighties. It's like the Duke's hoops team punching an automatic ticket to the Final Four during the 90's. It's like knowing that the Patriots were a favorite for the Super Bowl as long as Tom Brady was at the helm in the 2000's.

It's good to see that Angel's skipper, Mike Scioscia, hasn't given up hope yet. Then again, what else is he going to say after a demoralizing loss last night when faced with the prospect of going to one of the unfriendliest places on earth (since 10/17, 2004 the Sox are 9 for 11 int he post season at home) down 0-2. Oh yeah, and he's facing this century's version of Bob Gibson in game three in Josh Beckett.

Mike tried to keep his chin up after the game saying, "This game ain't over until somebody wins three games," said Scioscia. "The [players] are down, [but] we go into Boston, win a game, and the pressure is back on them." I give Mike credit for putting his best game face on but seriously, there will be next to no pressure on the Sox if they lose game three at home. You know why? Because they have another home game the next night and history has show that they own the Halos in the ALDS.

What do you think? I'm I being to cocksure? Your comments are welcome below.

Photo Credit: LA Times Newspaper


Doug Haslam said...

I feel we did to K-Rod what we did to Mariano Rivera so many times- get to him in a big game. K-Rod is the Angel's biggest weapon and if he can't recover they're dead.

This is big time.

adamcohen said...

Nothing I like more than the Mike Scioscia face, which we have seen a lot of in recent playoff memory, and a vulnerable K-Rod is the best way to bring that face out.

What a game last night. Bay and Drew came through in the clutch. Tito made a great call starting both Kotsay and Cora against Santana. Stress was high throughout, but for a team built for the playoffs there is nothing better than coming through.

That said, I don't care if it's your 40th birthday Aaron but I'll blame you for jinxing this if the good guys don't close this one out ;)

Ted said...

Francisco is certainly good but he's just as certainly overrated. Closers I'd take above him right now: Rivera, Lidge, Nathan, Papelbon, Wood, maybe Valverde.

He's not bad. He's clearly a quality pitcher. But tons and tons of opportunities converted at a good-but-not-great rate do not equal the best reliever in baseball.

Adawg said...

@Ted, totally agree. Heart matters a whole lot more than number of saves.

@adamcohen that's fair - if I jinx the #redsox, you all can publicly flog me. ;)

@dough yup, this doesn't mean good things for K-Rod and the Halos.

Warren said...

As @dough said, last night's game was definitely a confidence buster for K-Rod. And the saves record means diddly, right, Bobby Thigpen?

It was great for Drew to go from zero to hero in one game. He owed us, since he took the summer off.

Even if Beckett doesn't close it out, we are well positioned to finish it in Boston.

KFFBOS said...

Agree with Doug, this just reminds me of how we had Mariano's number for a good period of time. Overall though Scioscia needs to be held accountable for poor managerial decisions; the highlight being leaving Vlad in to run in Game 1, second being having his RF in with Papi up in the 9th last night (if he hadn't had to run that far he may have held onto that ball since it was in his glove).

Not enough is made of Tito and his decision making in the Playoffs. The guy not only 'goes with his gut' (Cora last night) but does the little things like having Tek sac bunt, putting Crisp in for Papi, etc. He just seems to shine in tough moments whereas others seem to shrink...Grady Little anyone?


RealtorLefebvre said...

I have to agree with Adawg. Facing the daunting task of opposing an apparently healthy Beckett and if they live to see another game, Johnny "Nobody-Brings-Up-My-Cancer-Anymore-Because-I've-Kicked-So-Much-Butt-I've-Proven-To-Be-So-Much-More-Than-Just-A-Survivor" Lester, you gotta hand it to Scioscia for at least seeing the glass 1/3 full.

Still, 11 straight post-seasons losses to the Sox has got to be hard to stomach regardless of the spin you throw on it (or DON'T throw on it, in the case of K-Rods's hanger to JD Drew in the 9th).

Adawg said...

@kyle @warren @realtorlefebvre thanks for dropping by. Great comments. Kyle, totally agree that not enough is made of Tito's coaching down the stretch. My dad and I were just talking about that today. Especially contrasted with Scioscia's "I've gotta win 100 games & let K-Rod break the save record" mentality. Given their 50 game lead in the AL West, they probably didn't really need to keep their foot on the accelerator like they did.

RedFish said...

Hey...what happened to the guy who argued with me that JD isnt clutch? Hello...

Adawg said...

@redfish we had him whacked and buried in cement below the new Yankee stadium! ;) Viva le JD Drew!

tomhumbarger said...

Adawg - us Angels fans have not given up the ship yet, but I was so traumatized by Friday's game that I wasn't able to look at my computer for 48 hours. And you have to admit the Angels have resilency...and the big bats are going to awaken if given enough time. The Sox didn't look too good last night and it was a miracle that they even scored 5 runs! Tonight should be fun...

Angels Fan Tom