ANAHEIM -- When the best hitter on the team broke his leg celebrating a game-winning grand slam, perhaps the Angels should have suspected this was not going to be their year. They lost
No one talks about curses in Anaheim anymore, not after a World Series championship in 2002 and division titles in five of the past six years, but the Angels might have been tempting fate. With two outs in the top of fifth inning on Monday, Red Sox first baseman
Haren immediately looked skyward, attempting to locate the ball, then down at his right arm. He took off his glove and sunk into a crouch, infielders circling him, manager
Haren stood at his locker after the game, forearm in a bandage, and said he expects to make his next start. He said the ball hit the meat of his forearm, not the bone, and doctors told him he was lucky. Forgive the Angels if they were not sharing his optimism. "We trade for this guy, are excited about it, and 'Bam,'" said center fielder
The Angels tracked him all year, starting negotiations with the Diamondbacks when
The Angels traded starting pitcher
Haren would fill the spot in the rotation vacated last winter by
It was fitting that the Angels were facing the Red Sox, their October bedfellows. In each of the past three years the Angels and Red Sox have met in the first round of the playoffs. In seven of the past eight years either the Angels or the Red Sox have been in the post-season. Usually, these are the teams that have a beat on the penance race; now they are just trying to hang around the fringes.
The Red Sox are eight games back in the American League East, five out of the wild card, as they send Lackey to his old mound for the first time Tuesday. Like the Angels, the Red Sox are stuck in the no-man's land between contention and irrelevance. Judging by their place in the standings, they do not look like full-fledged buyers. Judging by their track record, however, they are not sellers either. They will have to define themselves, too, in the next few days.
The line drive off Haren is a well-timed reminder to teams like these: The deadline offers plenty of opportunities, with few guarantees.