It is Boston versus the Angels in the ALDS for the 3rd time in 5 seasons. I could do one of those “Our Catcher hit this many homeruns, Their Catcher hit that many homers” sort of preview things, but...Yawn. You can’t watch ESPN for ten minutes without a Red Sox update so you all know the gory details of the chowdage spilling out onto our fine field, so all of America has been brainwashed with the travails of John Henry’s rentals and Peter Gammons’ crushes. So let’s talk about the Angels... BUT... Let’s preview this series a little differently. Let’s play word association with Missus Halofan.
Missus Halofan and I started dating in May of 2002 and she has been an Angels fan since two months before the 2002 World Series. Before we got together she had no affinity for sports whatsoever. Now she listens to sports talk radio all day. Her family has marveled at the transformation. She is still too embarrassed to tell her artsy friends that she cannot go to the art opening or event because she is watching an Angels game, but she has mentioned her disdain of certain towns in the US because of their baseball teams to some of her yuppier-type acquaintances.
She is still learning the finer points of the sport, but we all are. She wears totally nerdy jersey regalia to games and gets mad and screams when things go wrong, just like us. She hates Boston and has told complete strangers in Boston apparel to go back to Massachusetts if their team is so great. So she is one of us. She has a soft spot for Gary Matthews Junior because she says he has a nice ass, the best ass she has ever seen on a man. So she is not one of us completely and I think we could use an expert “non-expert” to preview the Angels as they enter this series.
Here is missus Halofan’s series preview:
GAME 1 Starting Lineup
3B - CHONE FIGGINS: Speedy Gonzalez (she can say that she is half-Mexican)
LF - GARRET ANDERSON: Thriving in the 2nd spot, whatever you call it where the guy bats after the leadoff hitter
1B - MARK TEIXEIRA: Power hitter and you can count on him to be patient and get on base. Protects Vlad.
DH – VLADIMIR GUERRERO: Every Pitcher’s nightmare
CF – TORII HUNTER: Homerun stealer, extra run stealer, great defensively and a threat in the batter’s box.
2B - HOWIE KENDRICK: He is one of our best guys for getting hits.
C - MIKE NAPOLI: He is a clutch power hitter.
RF – GARY MATTHEWS Jr.: He started coming around at the end of the season.
SS – ERICK AYBAR: A cute little dynamo. He has had some great plays on defense and some good clutch hits throughout the season but I am free-associating and I don’t know how much I can back this up with statistics.
SERIES STARTING PITCHING
GAME 1 – JOHN LACKEY: When he is on he is the best, when he is not on, he is not the best, either way he is fearless. I don’t know enough about the technical aspects of pitching to describe how he does it but he is not afraid when he is up there doing it.
GAME 2 – ERVIN SANTANA: A great strikeout pitcher, he doesn’t walk a lot of batters, he is very calm and cool this season; A great improvement from last season.
GAME 3 – JOE SAUNDERS: I don’t know what to say to describe his pitching but you can usually count on him. He is a Lefty and some batters just can’t hit him.
DARREN OLIVER: I am not surprised he made the playoff roster, he has been real good.
JOSE ARREDONDO: Pretty reliable
SCOT SHIELDS: He is good except when he is not, he has some days when he cannot locate his pitches and it is pretty bad, but otherwise he has a lot of good days.
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: The bomb. It is rare he gives it up even when he makes us sweat.
JUAN RIVERA: A good power hitter who would be even better if he had more playing time. He gets on base too.
ROBB QUINLAN: He is good against lefties, right? He is unpredictable otherwise... or maybe that just makes him predictable (laughs). He comes in ready to play, though.
I forgot to ask her about Jered Weaver and Jon Garland, who will be pitching out of the bullpen and failed to mention Jeff Mathis will likely be catching Ervin Santana on Friday – the fact that she did not mention Mathis pretty much says it all as she has, throughout the season, shouted “Why don’t they put in Napoli” as Mathis strikes out with men on base.
But this is how an average Angels fan of average baseball acumen understands the team she loves.
Go Angels! Play Ball !!