You’ve no reason to believe this, because I don’t believe in posting predictions, but back in April I told my wife the Angels would win 95 games and win the division by eight games. They finished 94-68 with a six game margin over Seattle. I didn’t think the Mariners would finish second — I figured it would be Oakland — but the important thing is they’re going to the post-season.
My regular readers know I think Billy Beane, Moneyball and sabermetrics in general are vastly overrated, and in some cases are exploited by con artists trying to extract a buck from the gullible. That’s a subject for another time. So is the A’s 76-86 record, one game out of last place. Sometime this winter, I’ll write about how Beane’s lab-rat approach to the A’s has run a once-proud organization into the ground.
But the issue at hand is the playoffs. The Angels face Boston, while the Yankees take on Cleveland. Boston has the home field advantage. Games 1 and 2 are in Boston, Games 3 and (if necessary) 4 are in Anaheim, and Game 5 (if necessary) is back in Boston.
The Red Sox have worried me all year long. Frankly, I think the Sox are the team most likely to go to the World Series. But I do think there’s also an opportunity here for the Angels. If they can take one of the two games in Boston, then they return home for Games 3 and 4. The Angels were 54-27 at home, the best home record in the league. So if they win a game in Boston, then win Games 3 and 4 at home, they take the series. But that’s more easily written than done; the Sox at home were 51-30, and 45-36 on the road.
The Angels’ bullpen has been shaky in recent months, as both Francisco Rodriguez and Scot Shields have been less than slam-dunk.
Rodriguez’ ERA pre-All Star break was 2.33, post-All Star was 3.45. I have more thoughts about Frankie’s future, which I’ll also save for another column. Interestingly, against Boston this year his AVG was .118. Overall he averaged 4.5 walks per 9 IP, but against Boston it was only 1.9. Of course, in a five-game series long-term trends really don’t mean much. But for now we’ll hold onto that optimistic note.
If you’re a pessimist … Since the All-Star break, if you got a runner on base against Frankie, you stood a pretty good chance of scoring him. His ERA with runners in scoring position post-All Star was 9.31. With the bases empty, it’s 0.57. With RISP, his WHIP was 1.66, his OBP was .356, and his SLG was .351. With the bases empty, his WHIP was 1.15, his OBP was .284, his SLG was .333.
So the best way for Boston to beat Frankie is to work him for a walk.
Anyway, on to other matters …
I’m currently working on processing the Arkansas Travelers photos I shot last June. I’m about one-fourth through them.
I’m also still working on editing video highlight clips from the recent trip to the Arizona Instructional League.
All this, of course, depends on available time. My wife returns Monday evening from Australia so my free time will be less than the last couple weeks. But I’m plowing on.