Saturday, October 4, 2008

Angels in free fall

I hate the Angels. It's hard not to hate a team that always beats your team. Especially when they suck, but it seems like they always get up to play you and no one else. They Angels beat on everyone including the Yankees, but they yet again proved me wrong by showing their habitual inability to man-up and beat the Red Sox.

Not only did K-Rod fail to break this Sox curse that has plagued the Angels since 1986, but he also showed why he will never be one of the all-time great closers of the game. It's the same as Trevor Hoffman; he just can't get it done when it counts the most. 62 regular season saves mean jack and they are more meaningless when you have thrown fewer innings than times you have appeared in games. Closers who have trouble in the postseason tend to be the ones who have had to save the most games in the regular season.

Just look at Mariano Rivera. The two times he cracked 50 saves in the regular season he had blown saves in important games in the postseason. Hoffman had the same problem. In 1998 he saved 53 games and was demolished by the Yankees in the World Series. Dennis Eckersley had 51 saves in 1992 and was knocked around by the Blue Jays in the '92 ALCS. In three innings of work he gave up eight hits and had an ERA of 6.00.

Huge work loads in the regular season translate to postseason failure. In K-Rod's case we know that he also fails when his work load is normal so perhaps he just can't handle the spotlight now that he is a seasoned veteran and he doesn't have the ignorance of youth to fall back on like in 2002.

It looks like this series is over now, but game three is a very important game for the Sox. Josh Beckett will be throwing, and his performance will be of great interest to Red Sox Nation. How deep the Sox get into the postseason will rest heavily on Beckett's weak oblique. Game 3's performance will go a long way in easing or inflaming the nerves of Sox fans.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Speaking of big regular season workload equalling playoff failure; take a look at CC Sabathia. In 2007, he lead MLB in innings and blew up against the Sox. This year he seemed like he was pitching every other day in September, and got banged around by the Reds.