October 15, 2005
Right Where They Want Them
A sweep at home was a reach for the Angels. The Chicago White Sox put together the best road record in the major leagues this season, so if there was any surprise that they took one of the three games in Anaheim this weekend, it is that the one win came against the Angels' best remaining starter, John Lackey. Tonight's contest sees the Angels facing an old nemesis, Freddy Garcia, who has a career mark of 11-3 against the Halos, including a 6-1 record in Anaheim.
Los Angeles will send Ervin Santana to the hill in a situation that has become something of a weekly event for the rookie right-hander-- pitching the biggest game of his young career. Santana, who went 5-2 with a 4.06 ERA over the last month of the regular season, has compiled a 9-3 record at home, including a shutout of the White Sox way back in May, limiting opponents to a .233 batting average over 14 starts at Angels Stadium.
If this game were being played on the road, there would be good reason to be nervous, but I have a feeling that Santana will come up with a big game today-- seven innings, two runs or less-- before handing it off to the bullpen. The bigger question of where the Angels are going to find some offense might come from making minor adjustments, like starting Josť Molina, 7 for 15 against Garcia in his career and the Angels' best defensive catcher, and using Bengie Molina as the DH.
Mike Scioscia might also consider starting Jeff DaVanon in centerfield to give the Angels a hitter who has a more patient approach at the plate. But my hunch tells me that Vladimir Guerrero will finally make his presence felt in the postseason, and Santana's performance will energize the Angels to a win tonight and a big shift in the momentum of this series.
Posted by Andrew Torres at 8:10 PM