Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Reflecting on the Angels/Red Sox

To start, these were four of the best consecutive games in a playoff series perhaps ever played. These four games were hard fought for each of the 39 innings and there was doubt as to who would win the game until the final out was made. This series can best be described as being intense.

In the end, it came down to the Angels not being able to come up with the clutch hit while the Red Sox taking advantage of the uncharacteristic sloppy defense that the Angels played, particularly in the outfield. While the Red Sox did not play great, they did play well enough to win this series. I will give this credit to the nature of their regular season play. The Red Sox (and Rays) play in arguably the most competitive division in baseball and most competitive division in the past decade with four playoff capable teams. The nature of play in the American League East prepared the Red Sox for the playoffs better than that of the West, where two of the worst teams matched up with the Angels. Since much of September is played against their division, it makes sense that the Red Sox were better prepared for this series than the Angels were.

The Red Sox are now preparing to play in their fourth ALCS in six years, firmly allowing the Red Sox to take grasp as the team of the decade to this point. As Jerry Crasnick points out on ESPN.com (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2008/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&id=3630312), the culture that surrounds the Red Sox franchise has changed to that of confidence and I fully expect this to continue to be a factor against the Rays, as they play in their first ever ALCS.

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