After all of the preseason hype -- both Sports Illustrated and I picked them to win the World Series -- the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could not even win one game in the playoffs. The Boston Red Sox swept the Angels right out of the ALDS, the last victory coming in a 9-1 laugher.
In a game like this, there isn’t much to point to. Jared Weaver (0-1) pitched well, allowing two runs over five innings, but he turned the game over to a bullpen too early. Scot Shields, Justin Speier, and Darren Oliver combined to throw three innings an allow six earned runs.
The Angels’ best pitcher, closer Francisco Rodriguez, did not even enter the game. That was a big mistake by Angels manager Mike Scioscia. He should have brought in his closer in the eighth inning when the Red Sox were busy scoring seven runs and putting the game away. Maybe he can spend the offseason thinking back on that.
Curt Schilling (1-0) put together a dominating performance, throwing seven shutout innings at the fourth-best offense in the American League this season. He ceded to Hideki Okajima and Eric Gagne. Both pitchers looked sharp and were just getting their work in for the next round.
Offensively, the Red Sox big duo, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, are looking strong. Ortiz hit a Ruthian .714 in the series after a 2 for 3 day with a home run. Ramirez answered with his own home run and went 1 for 2 with two walks.
What ailed the Angels offensively in this series was the cold bat of Vladimir Guerrero. The Angels superstar struggled with a .200/.333/.200 line and was never really the force his team needed. Without any production from Guerrero, there was no way the Angels would match the potent bats of the Red Sox in support of their pitchers.
Now the Red Sox are advancing to the ALCS to face the winner of the Yankee/Indian series. It is 2-1 right now in favor of the Indians. The ALCS will start on Friday night with Josh Beckett (1-0), who threw a complete-game shutout in game one, on the mound for the Red Sox. Who opposes him remains to be seen.
Player of the Game: Curt Schilling – The starter went seven innings and rarely got himself into trouble. He kept chugging along until the Red Sox offense went off against a depleted Angels bullpen. If he needed, he probably could have gone another inning, but the arms of the Red Sox bullpen needed some work.
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