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Playoff Rotations Set - John Lackey/Jon Lester: Monday Halolinks

Angels' season-ending sweep injects sense of optimism --
Joe Saunders called the decision to shut himself down and receive a cortisone injection in his sore shoulder in early August "one of the best I've made in my career," and the evidence was on display again Sunday in the Oakland Coliseum.

Angels 5, Athletics 3 - FOX Sports on MSN
Saunders pitched five effective innings, Mike Napoli homered and the Los Angeles Angels closed out an impressive regular season with a 5-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. The AL West champions swept the three-game set against the A's and will host the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of their division series Wednesday or Thursday. Saunders (16-7) allowed two runs and six hits as the Angels marked their 100th day in first place.

ALDS matchup: Angels vs. Red Sox - Stan McNeal - Sporting News
Prediction: Red Sox in five. Too much power -- at the plate and on the mound.

Torii Hunter, Angels 'Doing Something Different' In Playoffs This Year - Bleacher Report
Earlier this week, Angels center fielder Torii Hunter appeared on a local sports talk radio show to discuss the playoffs, declaring in no uncertain terms that the Angels will be "doing something different" this year.

How they got there: 2009 Angels - Video - takes an in-depth look at how the Angels made the 2009 postseason

Team Reports -
About playing the Red Sox... "It's a different year, man," right-hander John Lackey said. "They've got different people. We've got different people. Don't read too much into it. "We're tired of answering these questions. You're probably tired of asking them. But until we win -- it's going to be there."

Team Reports II -
The Angels confirmed their starting rotation for the first round of the playoffs. RHPs John Lackey and Jered Weaver will start Games 1 and 2 at Angel Stadium. LHP Scott Kazmir will start Game 3 in Fenway Park, and LHP Joe Saunders will pitch Game 4 (if necessary).

Video highlights from yesterday's game:

Figgins makes great stop and strong throw -
Chone Figgins makes a great stop behind third base, then fires across the diamond in time to get the out at first

Napoli knocks a solo home run to right field -
Mike Napoli knocks a solo home run over the left-field fence, his 20th of the season

Are The LA Angels Tough Enough To Beat Beantown? - Bleacher Report
Pressure. Who can handle it and who can’t. And that’s what’s going to decide whether west coast cool can beat east coast heavy in 2009.

It must be fun to be a Boston Red Sox fan - Joe Posnanski -
"You guys can talk about RBIs if you want, I just ... we ignore them in the front office ... and I think we've built some pretty good offensive clubs. If you want to talk about RBIs at all, talk about it as a percentage of opportunity, but it's just simply not a way or something we use to evaluate offensive players.", Theo Epstein, Red Sox General Manager

Hunter has postseason flair -
In 25 postseason games with the Angels and Twins, Hunter is a .316 hitter (more than 40 points higher than his career average during the regular season) with three home runs, 13 RBIs and 15 runs scored. He led the Angels with five RBIs in last season's ALDS loss to the Red Sox and tied for the team lead with seven hits in the four games.

Boston Red Sox - Red Sox tab Lester, Beckett 1-2 - The Boston Globe
Lester will start Game 1, ahead of Josh Beckett, in a move that has much to do with his ability to bounce back if needed, but also much to do with the way he is pitching. Clay Buchholz will start Game 3 at Fenway Park.

Blyleven: How to handle the pressure of the playoffs -
Now that the playoffs have arrived, it’s time to look at a question that is as old as the game itself: Why do some players thrive under postseason pressure, while others wilt? What is the best way to approach the postseason and make the most of such a tremendous opportunity?

Keith Law: Scouting the Los Angeles Angels - ESPN
Finally, an Angels lineup built for the postseason (need ESPN Insider subscription)

Halos healthy, deep entering ALDS rematch - News
"I really like this team, where we are," veteran right fielder Bobby Abreu said. "I feel like it's our time, I really do."

ShysterBall: And that happened 10/05/09
Angels 5, Athletics 3: Has a team ever bounced back from as horrible an April as the Angels? We can't know because the reasons for the horribleness are partially unquantifiable, but hats off to Anaheim for a great season regardless. I have no rooting interests in this year's playoffs, and when that happens I tend to adopt a team. The Yankees and Red Sox are never going to be that team because they don't need me and I don't much like them. I have some historical issues with the Twins, and even if I didn't, if they pull it out on Tuesday, their bandwagon is going to be pretty full. The Tigers are an old flame, but I can't see myself getting involved with someone who doesn't have their stuff together. The Phillies are my team's division rival, and I can't bring myself to root for them at any time before the World Series, and maybe not at all. The Cardinals and Dodgers made that list of teams to whom I could conceivably sell my allegiance and I am an NL guy at heart, but the Angels are at least shaping up to be the team I'd like to see come out of the AL.

A Minor Review of 2009: Los Angeles Angeles - FanGraphs Baseball
Prospect ranking season is just around the corner. In anticipation of that, we present an intro series looking at some of the players who deserve mentioning but probably will not be appearing on their teams’ Top 10 lists.

Oz says Figgins may cost too much :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
When asked Saturday about the reality of the Sox going after Los Angeles Angels leadoff hitter and free agent-to-be Chone Figgins this winter, Guillen spoke honestly. ''I don't think Figgins,'' Guillen said. ''To be honest with you, would we like to have players like him? [Bleep], everybody does. But this kid is going to cost you a lot of money. If we figure out this guy is going to solve our problem, then [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] will take a shot because Jerry wants to win.

Torii's Storiis: Molitor, Abreu: two of a kind
When I first came up to big league camp with the Twins in 1997, Paul Molitor was nearing the end of his career, and he had a big impact on me. What's interesting is that I now see so many similarities between Molitor and Bobby Abreu, who has been such a great teammate this season.

Major League Baseball Standings and Team Records - ESPN
Major League Baseball (MLB) standings on

October 5 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on October 5.
2002 - The Anaheim Angels shock the New York Yankees by scoring eight runs in the fifth inning and going on to a 9 - 5 victory. The victory give Anaheim its first postseason series victory ever, as they win their ALDS matchup, three games to 1. Shawn Wooten hit a home run for Anaheim while Jorge Posada adds a round-tripper for New York. Jarrod Washburn gets the victory for the Angels.