It could have been a comeback for the ages. Instead, it ended up being an embarrassing finish to an otherwise memorable season.
's Note: I am not a sore loser, this recap was ready last night but apparently the database server took the loss pretty hard and didn't shut down until this morning.)
Howie Kendrick dropped the ball and any hope of a Halo comeback
The Halos had themselves set up nicely to at least make things interesting against Mariano Rivera after scratching out one run off him in the eighth. The feeling was in the air, the Angels could do it. They could pull off the unthinkable, beating Mariano Rivera at home in the playoffs. They just needed a little luck to get that one run. Daunting as Mo might be, the way the Halos have come back late so many times, I know I wasn't the only one who thought they could get that run.
What I didn't think was that the Angels' defense would let them down at the worst possible time. How do you even blow two straight sacrifice bunt plays? What really bites is that if they had even made one of those plays, they may not have given up a single run in ninth. But the fact of the matter is that they did allow those runs and decimated their comeback series in the process. The look on Torii Hunter's face during the second Angel pitching change of the eighth inning said it all. Kneeling in the outfield with his hat off, shaking his in dejection. The Halos were defeated and they knew it.
You can say what you want about the breaks of this series. Yes, the Angels probably should've won Game 2. They got squeezed by bad umpiring in Game 4. The strike zone wasn't much better for the Halos in Game 6. All of that is just excuses. The fact of the matter is the Yankees outplayed them. The Angels put up a valiant fight, but it wasn't enough. When push came to shove, the Yankees stepped up and the Angels shot themselves in the foot. Now they'll have to think about that all off-season long.
Behold the face of the Angels' dejection.
- If this really was Vladimir Guerrero's last game as an Angel, it is nice to see him go out the way he did. He finally atoned for his past post-season failings with several big hits in the ALDS and ALCS. And it is only fitting that his final game featured an idiotic baserunning blunder. It is vintage Vlad, the way we should all remember him.
- I understand that Mike Scioscia felt that Joe Saunders was probably his best chance at getting a double play to get out of that fourth inning jam, but in a game with this much riding on it, he needed to have a quicker hook. Saunders' clearly didn't have it going tonight and should've been lifted at the first sign of trouble. It may not have mattered at that point, but that just wasn't point of the year to show trust in the starter, especially after Sosh showed had such a quick hook with John Lackey the game before.
- So the Angels were the second-highest scoring team in the league and now you are telling me that their offense failed them yet again in the post-season? Do we really have to go down this "how do we fix the offense" road yet again? Someone bludgeon me with a frying pan, please.
- Losing is bad enough, but losing to the Yankees makes it even worse. Dammit I hate the Yankees.