As much as I hate to say it, it is looking more and more like the Yankees are going to the World Series. Sloppy defense is what is killing the Anaheim Angels right now.
While nothing more would please me to see a freeway series with the Los Angeles teams, I do not see Anaheim or the LA Dodgers making it to the World Series.
If you saw Saturday night’s Yanks-Angels game, or if you were there, then you know how bitterly cold it was. It is not an excuse. You have to execute plays. Angels’ shortstop, Erick Aybar made such a bone-headed play by not touching the second base bag in the, I believe, 11th or 12th inning.
You can say all you want umps never make that call. This is the playoffs. The umps have to make every call because it is the playoffs. So I do not want to hear it. You are just pissed it did not go your way. Get over it!
Angel’s centerfielder, Torri Hunter, has always been a tremendous player to me. I have nothing but admiration and respect for him. Here’s what he had to say about all of the foolish mistakes the Angels are making:
We’re beating ourselves. We’re playing great games, and then right when we make a mistake, they take advantage of it.
They’re a veteran team and they don’t make many mistakes, so you have to minimize yours. And we’re not doing that right now.
My friend, that goes without saying. The Yankees have been in this spot so many times, they know what needs to be done.
The Yanks can do what the Mets have never been able to do during the regular season, take advantage of your opponents mistakes. You have to make them pay for it. Make them regret it. Shake the other team up. This is how you do it. This is how games are won, particularly during the postseason.
Even if you make mistakes, shake it off and keep going. Act like it did not phase you. There are some pitchers out there that when they give up a home run, they do not even watch the ball leave the park. They stay on the mound facing home plate and get themselves focused again.
This is what the Anaheim Angels need to do if they want to make this into a series again. They are going home now. Game 3 is on their turf with among the greatest fans in all of baseball. With the fans behind them and the weather in their favor there is no reason for them to lose, unless they forget out to play the game.
There is nothing more terrifying than playing at Yankee Stadium in the postseason. You look at the history there and you are in awe. The fans are loud and very aggressive, not to mention obnoxious. That’s New York for you. You cannot change that. You have to shrug it off.
One of my favorite baseball movies is “For The Love of The Game” with Kevin Costner. He plays the role of a pitcher. What is interesting is how he pitches. Right before he throws the ball, he shuts everything and everyone around him out. It is like there is nobody there except himself, the catcher and the hitter. It is the only way he can focus and not let everything, from his personal life to the opponent’s fanbase, get to him.
This is what the Angels need to do.
Message to the Anaheim Angels:
Forget it is the Yankees that you are playing. Forget it is the playoffs. Forget you are playing for your lives right now.
This is all you. You got this far for a reason…you are a great team. You are among the best teams in baseball. This is how you arrived on one of the biggest stages in baseball called the American League Championship Series.
You are back at home. Make the fans work for you.
Pitchers: Make your pitches.
Defense: Stand behind your pitchers. Make your plays. Your pitchers need the backup. They are not going to strick out every batter that comes to the plate. EXECUTE! EXECUTE! EXECUTE! You are making stupid mistakes. Enough is enough! Practice your fundamentals before playing the game.
Offense: WAKE THE HECK UP!!! You were among the scariest in baseball with all of you hitting over .300. Where is that now? You were like the good guys version of Murderer’s Row.
BOTTOM LINE: Angels you are beating yourselves. The Yankees are not beating you. You are handing them the wins. If you can pull it together, you got this in the bag.
NO EXCUSES! GET IT DONE!
Game 3 begins today at 4:13pm. Jered Weaver vs Andy Pettite. Who do you think will win it? ERA’s say Weaver wins this one. In this series, it means nothing. It is all about the defense.