Angels wilt under ALCS pressure
Amidst the proffering of what-ifs, Hunter shook his head. "I've always said, if 'if was a fifth, we'd all be drunk,'" adding, "I have no idea what happened."
He wasn't alone. A team that has been lauded for years for its fundamentals and solid defense did a pratfall on the biggest stage of the season. In a fitting bookend, the Angels made two errors that allowed two runs to score in their final inning of defense in the final game of the series on Sunday. Those mirrored the two critical miscues they made in their first inning of defense in Game 1, which set an ominous tone for this sloppy series and ultimately doomed any chance they had at upsetting the mighty Yankees. In the end, the only ones upset were the Angels, who bemoaned not only had they lost, but also that they had so many chances to win in this series and didn't capitalize.
"One play, or a couple of plays could change a whole playoff series," said
Yes, the Yankees were fortunate, but what will haunt Figgins and the rest of the Angels this winter is that most of the Yankees' breaks were very much unforced errors on the part of the Angels. The Yankees were far from perfect themselves in Game 6; they left eight runners on base in the first four innings, hit into three double plays and left the bases loaded three times and even -- brace yourself -- saw
As Figgins well knows, the Angels made it too easy on the Yankees. They had their chances to win -- all but Game 4 -- but they threw it away as surely as
It was one last indignity for a proud playoff team that barely resembled the powerhouse regular season version that won 97 games and swept the Red Sox in the ALDS. In all, only one of the team's errors did not contribute to a Yankee run in the series, and that list of gaffes doesn't even include the pop-up in Game 1 that fell between Figgins and shortstop
While the Angels had at various points demonstrated sloppy base running, ineffective starting pitching, shoddy defense and a failure to hit with men on base, Game 6 was one terrible, imperfect storm that was just more of the same. More bone-headed base running. More fielding miscues. More missed opportunities at the plate. And more reason to wonder just what went wrong.
"At times, we played good baseball," said Angels manager
Their offense went just 3-for-15 with runners on base.
On consecutive plays as the Yankees were trying to give away outs, the Angels instead managed to give them right back. First,
By the time Rivera struck out