|Los Angeles Angels go quietly in first-round playoff sweep by Boston Red Sox|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 07 October 2007 22:03|
For the second time in three years, the Angels were bounced in a three-game sweep, losing 9-1 Sunday to close out their season.
The Red Sox did the same thing in 2004 on their way to winning the World Series.
``We have nothing to hang our heads about,'' Angels starter Jered Weaver said. ``We're the AL West champions, we had the best home record in baseball. There's obviously some positives to take out of this season.''
But the sting of a sweep won't go away soon.
``We're not happy,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We fully felt we were going to come in and play better and we didn't.''
Even coming back to California didn't help. The Angels' 54 home victories were the most in baseball this season, and they hit .305 in their home park during the regular season.
But Vladimir Guerrero and the rest of the Angels hit .192 as a team, were 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position and scored a mere four runs in the three games.
``He's only one person,'' second baseman Howie Kendrick said about Guerrero. ``We as a team have to pick him up when he's down.''
Guerrero was 0-for-3 with a walk Sunday, and finished 2-for-10 in the series with no runs and no RBIs.
``They pitched Vlad very, very tough,'' Scioscia said. ``But you have to beat good pitchers even when they're on and we weren't able to do that.''
The Angels were banged up, too, although Scioscia refused to use that as an excuse.
Garret Anderson had to quit after two innings because conjunctivitis in his swollen right eye made it difficult seeing the ball in left field. Gary Matthews Jr. didn't make the division series roster because of injury and leadoff hitter Chone Figgins' left wrist bothered him.
First baseman Casey Kotchman missed the game because of a non-baseball-related injury.
``Not having really any protection behind Vlady with G.A. going out with the eye injury, Kotchman going down and Matthews not playing in this series kind of put a little damper on the offensive situation,'' Weaver said.
The third and seventh innings typified things for Los Angeles, which stranded eight runners.
The Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but defensive replacement Reggie Willits popped up to the catcher, ending the threat.
``I wish I could've got a hit right there, but it just didn't happen,'' he said.
In the seventh, with the Rally Monkey hopping on the big screen, Maicer Izturis doubled to lead off and took third on Kendrick's groundout. Designated hitter Juan Rivera followed and popped up to first base, slamming his bat in the dirt and shattering it.
Then Curt Schilling struck out Mike Napoli, ending the inning and silencing the plastic noisemakers that sounded a hopeful beat.
``We just kind of fell into a little funk,'' Kendrick said.
Of course, Boston's pitching had a lot to with the Angels' feeble offense.
Josh Beckett tossed a four-hit shutout in the opener. The Red Sox bullpen combined to hold the Angels hitless in Game 2 after they saw rookie starter Daisuke Matsuzaka for the first time.
Then Schilling dissected the Angels while pitching in the postseason for the first time since 2004. The 40-year-old right-hander retired 10 of 11 batters during one stretch.
``We beat a lot of good clubs, a lot of good pitchers without hitting the ball out of the ballpark for long stretches of this season,'' said Scioscia, ``but unfortunately, we weren't able to carry that continuity into the playoffs.''