There have been many thoughts/observations offered here on Halos Heaven regarding the Angels loss to Boston in the 2008 ALDS. There are 2 main items that I think will remember about this series;
1) Lack of clutch hitting – I don’t want to run through all of the numbers again. They have already been posted many times over. With an additional timely base hit in games 1, 2, or 4 – or especially a clutch extra base hit – we could have either won the series in 4 games, or sent the series back home for game 5.
The lack of clutch hitting/clutch power hitting looks more glaring when you compare to Boston (Bay, Drew, Lowrie, Varitek) or to the 2002 Angels.
There is one player that seemed to show some ability to play under pressure (though he only had 4 opportunities). That was Kendry Morales, with a base hit off of Papelbon in game 1 and a double last night off of Masterson (2 hits in 4 AB’s). I know the sample size is really small, but he was also coming in cold (literally in Boston) off of the bench. He is someone to keep in mind for future clutchiness.
2) More than anything, the image that will stick in my head is Francisco Rodriguez hanging his head after the home run in the 2nd game. To me, this was the real turning point of the series. In game 2, the boys had fought back from early 4-0 and 5-1 deficits, and had FINALLY caught the Sox in the bottom of the 8th. If there is such a thing as momentum, we had it at that time. What we needed from K-Rod were 3 quick outs. What we got was worse than a punch in the gut to me. Imagine what it was to the players, knowing this is a short series…and you are now on the verge of your 2nd loss at home. It made the hill a little too steep to climb …there was no remaining margin for error, and it magnified every subsequent mistake or failure.
So, I agree that Howie was awful, Figgy was MIA for 3 of 4 games, Shields failed again in Fenway, and Willits and GMJ and Scioscia’s decisions and on and on. But these are the 2 things that stick in my mind when I think about why our hopes died again in the ALDS.