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Angels, Scioscia should be embarrassed

Oct 26, 2009, 12:47 AM EDT

The Yankees didn’t overpower them. Just once in the series did the Bombers really come out to play and turn a game into a rout. No, the Yankees were the better team going in and should have won this series anyway, but the Angels served it up on a platter.
Most notable were the eight errors, all of them legitimate and several of them costly. Even uglier were the mistakes on the basepaths, none more hideous than Vladimir Guerrero getting doubled on a routine fly to shallow right on Sunday. The hitters got less and less patient as the series went on. Only the pitching remained solid, but it was given so little to work with.
And while the players lost the series, Mike Scioscia’s star definitely lost some luster. Given the chance, he practically always went against the percentages and he had several decisions come back to bite him. And while Scioscia can’t control what happens on the field, the fact is that the team that he had a huge hand in assembling went out and choked. The Angels play the kind of baseball that old vets and writers lap up, but the fundamentals went right out the window against the Yankees.
Oddly enough, it turned out that the player the Angels are all ready to phase out was the star of the series. Guerrero went 10-for-27 with a homer and five RBI against the Yankees. He previously delivered the series-clinching hit against the Red Sox, and he ended up collecting at least one hit in all nine of the Angels’ postseason games. Unfortunately, Sunday’s baserunning blunder might be remembered at least as much as anything else he did against the Yankees.
Many other Angels wilted. The team totaled just three homers in the series, and the running game was pretty much a non-factor, even if Erick Aybar did go 3-for-3 stealing bases (the rest of the team was 1-for-2). Scott Kazmir struggled mightily in his start and threw away the Angels’ chances of a comeback win in Game 6 with a careless toss in his relief appearance. Chone Figgins was the biggest goat on offense, but the Angels should have been prepared for that going in.
Because Guerrero and Alex Rodriguez shined in the ALCS, Figgins perhaps now stands alone when it comes to active postseason futility. He did score one of the team’s runs Sunday after a flare to left off Mariano Rivera that barely eluded Derek Jeter’s glove. That’s about as close to hitting with authority as he came all month. He hit .130 against the Yankees, and he’s at .172/.223/.246 in 122 career postseason at-bats. Scioscia refusal to move him down after so many awful plate appearances hurt the team.
But if standing by Figgins was Scioscia’s worst sin, he would have had a fine series. Scioscia was handed what was essentially a lifetime contract from the Angels prior to this year, and he’s certainly not going to lose his job over a poor series. However, the regular-season success will only go so far.
Scioscia loves ignoring the numbers and playing favorites, and because his clubs keep winning, he gets the benefit of the doubt. It’s something that could begin to change if the October results don’t turn around. Scioscia’s teams have averaged 95 wins the last six years, yet are 2-5 in postseason series. The Angels should have more than the steroid-fueled 2002 championship to show for all of their recent success.

  1. gary - Oct 26, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    If you are going to accuse the 2002 Championship Angel’s team of being one of the dirtiest teams of all times, why don’t you name the dirty players? It shouldn’t be hard if there were so many. Cheap shot and lousy reporting. You just lost a lot of credibility and I WON’T BE SIGNING UP FOR YOUR DRAFT GUIDE EITHER!

  2. Oscar D - Oct 26, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    Baseball is fixed. Until there is real competitive balance (an equal sharing of revenue or salary cap) the Yankees will always be on top. True they will not win the World Series every year but with true competitive balance fans of 20+ teams would think they have a legitimate shot at the title not the 6 or 8 that do now. The reason the Giants, Jet, Knicks, Rangers, Devils and Islanders are not dominant is they must compete on an equal basis. If Minaya was a competent GM the Mets would rule the NL as well. Baseball would be as popular as football if the fans in KC, Seattle, KC, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and all of the other small market teams could compete on an equal basis.

  3. Oceansize - Oct 26, 2009 at 1:17 PM

    Sure Scioscia made some mis-steps in this ALCS, but I hardly see this as proof they he’s somehow not the great manager that the media makes him out to be. All’s I know is, prior to Mike coming to the Angels, being an Angel fan sucked because the most you could hope for was a .500 record. Since he came on board, being an Angel fan has been heaven, repeatedly and consistently making the playoffs. Angelks fans could never say that before Mike Scioscia. To see what he’s done without a tremendous number of top-notch players over the last decade has been a joy to behold.

  4. bb - Oct 26, 2009 at 1:56 PM

    yeah…thats why the knicks suck…salary control.
    no…they just suck.

  5. James - Oct 26, 2009 at 7:34 PM

    I would suggest that there is greater risk of failure in juggling a lineup in the post season than in sticking with what got you there. The Yankees played better baseball. It wasn’t the lineup that failed, so much as it was the eight errors.
    Scioscia and the Angels have nothing to be embarrassed about. They played with tremendous resolve all season long (you know the details). If anyone should be embarrassed, it’s you for writing such a cheap shot piece.

  6. halloraj - Oct 26, 2009 at 7:48 PM

    There is a reason that Scioscia is universally regarded as the games best managers by the players and coaches. He is the best. Players love playing for him, they win a lot of games, and you hardly ever hear of an Angels player stepping out of line.
    The truth is, the Angels played poorly and still had a shot at beating the Yanks. Scioscia desrves blame when they play bad, but it doesn’t make him any less of a manager on the grand scale.
    I trust what people on the inside say versus some hack sportswriter with a grudge (weak steroid crack.)

  7. Jeff Smart - Oct 27, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    I’m not so sure you’re from around here Mr. ‘SoCal resident’; you obviously don’t know much about the Angels or baseball fans in general. Why did you write in? To simply view your lame thoughts in print?
    You sound Canadian to me.

  8. JS - Oct 27, 2009 at 3:24 PM

    Boy, sure is easy to take swipes after the fact; MS remains the best manager in baseball, and knowledgable baseball people know that.
    Nobody accomplishes more with less, and if the Angels spent like the drunken sailor Yankees, they’d be in the WS right now.

  9. Jeff - Oct 27, 2009 at 6:15 PM

    This was the only completely intelligent post ANYONE has made on here

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