The Angels needed a big a win tonight and that is exactly what they got, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in this best of 5 series. And all they needed to do it was to focus on the little things.
Give it up for the little guys!
Big Game Hunter’s big blast powered the Angels in Game 1 but this win was all about thinking little. The Angels finally gave up a run to the Red Sox in the fourth inning but that was just a little bitty problem for them as the Halos responded in the bottom half of the inning by pushing across a run by employing a little bit of small ball in the form of a sacrifice fly from Kendry Morales.
After that Mike Scioscia put the game in the hands of his little guys. Spurred on by a leadoff walk to Vladimir Guerrero, an event that normally has little chance of happening, Sosh went small yet again, pinch-running with Howie Kendrick who put the pressure on Boston by stealing second base. The big boppers, Kendry Morales and Juan Rivera, couldn’t cash in Kendrick, but that was when little Maicer Izturis stepped up and did what he has done so well all season, coming through with runners in scoring position, sending a rope right back up the middle to give the Angels the lead.
That tiny one-run lead wasn’t enough though. Not for little Erick Aybar who inspired so little fear in the Red Sox that they played him too shallow and ended up paying for it in a big way after Aybar smashed a ball just over the head of Jacoby Ellsbury to add two insurance runs to the Angels’ lead.
To be fair, the little guys got a big helping hand from big Jered Weaver who kept the Red Sox bats baffled all night long. With the way he got out there and dominated their line-up from the first pitch on Boston didn’t even have a little chance at winning this game, they had none. If there is an overlooked aspect of this whole series it is how utterly flat this Boston team has been. The have had absolutely no energy at all from the first pitch of the Game 1. It isn’t even like they are lacking confidence so much as totally disinterested in the game altogether. Tonight they seemed perfectly pleased to just sit idly by as Weaver mowed them down and he was more than happy to oblige.
That’s the spirit, Boston. Keep up that great intensity.
- Bobby Abreu is making a strong play for ALDS MVP. He is totally locked in at the dish and putting all kinds of pressure on the Boston pitchers. He doesn’t have any RBIs to show for his efforts, but he is scoring runs and getting the starting pitchers off their games.
- The two thru six hitters in the Boston line-up are now a combined 4-for-36 with just one RBI on the series. And people doubted me when I said that this Boston offense wasn’t a scary as in previous seasons. Ha!
- Jered Weaver did well to pitch deep into the game but you just had to know that the Bullpen of Doom was going to introduce some sort of drama into the proceedings. After doing nothing all night the BoSox still managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth. Nothing happened, but against a team that is actually playing like they give a crap, the Angels could be in big trouble.
- I thought Mike Lowell was supposed to be limited in the field because of his bad hip? His glove work is really the only thing keeping these games from becoming blowouts. He’s made at least three different spectacular plays this series and saved a number of runs in the process.
- Jered Weaver
As good as John Lackey was last night, Jered Weaver was even better tonight. Both starters went 7.1 innings, but Weaver was far more dominant, allowing just two hits while striking out seven. The two hits he allowed were really the only two well struck balls Boston had against him all night. I said before the game that Weave needed a strong outing if he wanted to prove his mettle as a top-of-the-rotation starter and he passed that test with flying colors.