Loads of questions abound with the Angels as they are now just a few hours away from first pitch in this year’s ALDS against the dreaded Red Sox, but one question looms above them all. Every single Angel player needs to ask themselves “where’s your head at?”
The Angels head’s are about as healthy during the ALDS as this dude from Scanners.
Sure all the Angels are talking tough and saying the right things, but does anyone really believe that the Red Sox haven’t gotten inside of the Halos’ collective head? Even if it is only just a little itch in the back of their mind, each and every Angel has to have some doubt as to whether or not they really are jinxed when it comes to facing Boston.
When weighing the talent of these two clubs against each other, you’d be hard pressed to find a consensus on which team has the edge if there is even one at all. What this series will boil down to is what state of mind the Angel players talk themselves into. Last year, the Halos were a collective nervous wreck. Vladimir Guerrero was trying so hard to prove he could hit in the post-season that he tried to hit the ball 500 feet with every swing. Howie Kendrick was gripping his bat so hard in his at-bats that he left sawdust in the batter’s box. Chone Figgins constantly looked like he was on the verge of vomiting on his own shoes. That team never had a chance at winning the series because they were so scared of NOT winning the series.
This year’s club can’t make that same mistake. Instead of trying to think of the right thing to say about facing the Red Sox, the Angels need to spend more time making themselves believe it. It was only a few weeks ago when the Angels had a borderline meltdown in a regular season series in Boston when the bounces and, especially, calls started to go against them. It was pretty clear to anyone watching those games that the entire Angel roster was wound up tighter than Mike Scioscia’s belt at an all-you-can pasta bar. And that was just the regular season, not the post-season where every game is do-or-die.
When it comes to staying relaxed during the playoffs, it is do as Sosh says not as Sosh does.
The most guilty person of these extended brain cramps is the one guy who is most responsible for the team’s general mindset: Mike Scioscia. His last post-season managerial jobs have been characterized by passiveness, indecision and loads of second-guessing. Everyone on the team takes their cues from Mike Scioscia, so he needs to step up and do something to loosen the team up before the series starts. More importantly, the first time something goes wrong for his club, Sosh can’t just give a quizzical stare and go into a managerial shell for the rest of game. If the team’s field general can get his own head on straight this post-season how can anyone possibly expect the soldiers to do any better?
So will Scioscia and his boys finally learn from their mistakes of season’s past and come out confident and aggressive rather than scared and passive? We’ll find out early tonight because the answer will be etched all over Mike’s face.