They teach it in Salt Lake City, Little Rock, Cedar Rapids and 40 miles down the road in Rancho Cucamonga, a breakneck brand of baseball known as the Angel Way. It is highly entertaining -- stolen bases, hit-and-runs, speed merchants rushing from first to third in a blur -- but come playoff time it has been highly suspect.
On Friday night, the Angels proved that their way works in October as well as it does in April. They ran the Red Sox out of Southern California and now have a chance to run their longtime nemesis right out of the playoffs. The Angels have taken the first two games of the American League Division Series, thanks to the philosophy they impart throughout their minor-league system, which they never abandoned even in the face of staggering post-season failure.
The Angels scored Friday after
This was the kind of game, taut and low-scoring, that the Angels usually lose to the Red Sox.
"We've had a tough time these last two games swinging the bat," Francona said. "That's an understatement."
The Red Sox counted on Beckett to save them and perhaps they counted on him too long. In the seventh inning, they had relief pitcher
"We're like that," Angels hitting coach
The rally was vintage Angels, but it started in the most unusual way, with a five-pitch walk to
Through two games, the Red Sox have received quality starts from Beckett and
The Angels, meanwhile, are breaking out of a post-season rut that has lasted about four years. They are finally taking advantage of one mismatch they have always enjoyed against the Red Sox: their speed. This season, the Angels had the third-most stolen bases in the major leagues while the Red Sox finished dead last in throwing out runners. The disparity became apparent in the seventh, when Kendrick and Izturis set up runs with steals.
The Red Sox have to hope that the start time for Game 3 on Sunday at Fenway Park -- 12 p.m. EST, 9 a.m. to the Angels body clocks -- will render their visitors a little groggy. Up until now, there has been no other way to slow them down.