This is the part where I am supposed to be a total Angel homer and talk about how this series isn’t over. I’m supposed to go on and on about the intangible characteristics of the Halos that are going to allow them to pull of a huge comeback now that they are down 3-1 to the Yankees. That is what I am supposed to do, but I just can’t bring myself to do it because I don’t believe it.
Your mission: win the ALCS down 3-1. Yeah, that’s impossible.
Nothing in this series has inspired me to believe that the Angels are capable of pulling off the improbably 3-1 series comeback. To put it simply, the Yankees have dominated the Angels in every facet of the game. They have out-slugged the Angels (8 Yankee homers to the Angels 3), out-pitched the Angels (4.26 Yankee ERA to 4.45 ERA of the Angels), out-fielded the Angels (3 Yankee errors to the Angels 6) and generally outplayed them. Heck, the Yankees even has as many steals as the Angels do in this series. This puts the Angels in the unenviable position of not having to just improve their performance in one facet of the game, but pretty much all of them. That just isn’t going to happen over the course of one off day, not with the Angels on the brink of elimination.
But before I delve too deep into doom and gloom let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute because undoubtedly some Halo fans still think they have an outside shot at pulling this off. Game 5 is at home for the Angels and they have John Lackey going, a pitcher who has a good track record in crucial situations. He could definitely out-pitch AJ Burnett who might very well assume the series is over and not focus as hard as he should in the game. Game 6 heads back to New York where the Yanks will be feeling a little bit of pressure to not cough up their series lead. The Angels have beaten Andy Pettitte once and I see no reason they can’t do it again, especially if Joe Saunders can replicate his Game 2 performance. That would force a Game 7, but that is where this comeback story’s wheels come off.
The Angels would be forced to throw either Jered Weaver or Scott Kazmir, neither of which looked good in their earlier starts in the series. And then there is the elephant in the room… literally. New York’s Game 7 starter would be none other than CC Sabathia who has already dominated the Angels twice this series and likely wouldn’t have any trouble doing so again. If they couldn’t beat him on short rest on the road, there is no way they can beat him in Game 7 on normal rest at home.
Don’t call it a comeback, because there won’t be one.
And that is a best case scenario, if we really want to be honest here. It completely ignores the fact that Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Chone Figgins, Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales have all done basically nothing at the plate the entire series. Let’s not even talk about the fact that Alex Rodriguez has been so good in the ALCS that he could probably beat the Angels by himself in one of these next three games. Confidence and determination can accomplish a lot, and the Angels are seldom lacking in either department, but not against a team as talented as the Yankees.
Trust me, I would like to believe that the Angels can pull of this impossible task. A handful of teams have performed this miracle before and we all know that the Yankees are the one team to ever blow a 3-0 lead, so it isn’t impossible in the strictest sense of the word. I just think that it is impossible under these circumstances. The path in front of the Halos is simply to rough. They’ll put up a valiant fight, I hope, but it just won’t be enough.