- I said earlier this season that the A.L. was vulnerable this season, which was part of the reason I felt the Rangers should try to make a serious push to make the playoffs in 2005. Watching the Angels and the ChiSox -- a couple of underwhelming teams -- just drives that point home.
- St. Louis really needs to win today. If they don't beat Brandon Backe today, they are going to have to win three in a row against Pettitte, Oswalt, and Clemens. Not impossible, particularly given how weak Houston's offense is, but pretty damn hard.
- I was going to talk about Vlad Guerrero's disappearing act, and how it has been ignored by the press, but Tom Verducci has a piece today that addresses it. Still, it is worth pointing out...Vlad is .205/.270/.205 for the 2005 playoffs, after going .167/.286/.417 in the 2004 playoffs. And yet, he's been largely exempt from critism -- on the Fox broadcast last night, the Buck and McCarver seemed to blame Vlad's lack of production on the failure of the batters ahead of him to get on base. Why does Vlad skate, while someone like Barry Bonds gets crucified for a similar performance? Because Anaheim "plays the game the right way", and Vlad is a well-liked superstar...it doesn't fit the storyline to start painting Vlad as a player who can't get the job done when the lights come on.
- The Angels have been awful offensively in the playoffs. Now, they were a bad offensive club coming into the playoffs, so that shouldn't be too big a surprise, but they've gone to new levels of awfulness in the post-season. Coming into last night's game, they were hitting .239/.264/.402, and only the fact that they've been homering (9 homers so far in the post-season) has been keeping them in games. The Angels have 7 walks thru 9 playoff games. They have 3 steals in 7 attempts. They've made stupid decisions on the bases. And yet, the Angels' offense is supposedly the type of offense that teams need to succeed in the postseason. This is "playing the game the right way," according to Fox. But the team that is playing the game the right way is getting whipped by a team that is winning with strong starting pitching and home runs.
- No one seems to have noticed, but Lance Berkman is a having a real, real good playoffs.