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"It's A Different Year": Thursday Halolinks

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Angels want a new mind-set against Red Sox --
"Success breeds confidence. It was important for us to play well as a team there, especially for some of the guys in this clubhouse who weren't sure." Matthews didn't name names; he didn't have to. Kendrick batted .118 with seven strikeouts and looked unsure of himself at times in the field in last year's division series.

Scioscia announces Game 1 lineup -
And the Mathis-Mike Napoli debate will be a game-to-game decision, based more on defense than offense (as has been pointed out ad nauseum this season).

Red Sox-Angels Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
"Last year was last year," snapped a smiling Torii Hunter, the Angels' leader and most gregarious player. "I don't want to talk about last year. You can if you want, but I don't give a damn about last year."

Some predictions:

AL Division Series Experts' Picks -

Staff Picks -

34 MLB experts give picks for Red Sox-Angels - Sporting News
Twenty-four of our panelists like the Angels to beat the Red Sox and advance to the ALCS.

Why the Red Sox will beat the Angels - Hardball TImes
I feel confident that the Red Sox are the better team and should be headed to the ALCS.

And from our new friend at "Monkey With A Halo"

10 Reasons Why the Angels Will Beat the Red Sox (and 5 Why the Won’t) - Monkey With A Halo
The start of the ALDS is a little more than 24 hours away and the Angels and their fans are eager to learn their post-season fate. Here are ten reasons why the Angels should at long last defeat the Red Sox:

They're only playoff opinions . . . - Los Angeles Times
Time to make my pick: This is the best balanced Angels team of the Scioscia era, and it matches up great with everyone but the Red Sox, who might have an even deeper lineup and certainly have a better bullpen. Yes, the hex has to end some time. I just don't think this is the year. The Sox in four . . .

Philadelphia Phillies miffed over early playoff starts -
"Being the defending world champs, I think it's kind of a little weird that we get both games at 2:30," said pitcher Cole Hamels, who is Philadelphia's Game 2 starter against the Colorado Rockies. "I don't think it's fair. I definitely don't think it's fair for the fans because this is all about home-field advantage or just baseball in general.

Red Sox Versus Angels ALDS Preview :
Could these two offenses be more evenly matched? In one of his old Abstracts, Bill James wrote that if you have two players with the same OBP, take the one with the higher batting average. The reason is that hits do more damage than walks, and we that here. The two teams differ by just two points in OBP, but the Angels batting average is 15 points higher, and they outscored the Red Sox. But the write still takes the Sox.

ALDS: Red Sox-Angels, Keys to Series - Yahoo! Sports
Our experts break down this series and give you their predictions for the outcome.

This Just In: Angels beat Boston, Twins beat Yanks, in ALCS. - Bleacher Report
Isn’t that what predictions are based on, anyway? Stats mean nothing in the playoffs. It’s all momentum, gut feeling, confidence and curses - or the end of them. And this curse is over.

Five years after defecting from Cuba, Morales has arrived -
After three years of bouncing between the majors and minors and five years after defecting from Cuba on his 12th attempt, Morales has arrived.

Wilson far from alone this postseason -
"It feels like I'm in his spirit in a way," Wilson said. "It's like I'm not alone. It kind of feels like I'm playing with Nick in my heart. He's always going to be with me. It almost feels like we're a team, doing this together."

October 8 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on October 8.
1908 - The Chicago Cubs won the National League pennant when Mordecai Brown beat Christy Mathewson 4 - 2 in the playoff of the disputed game on September 23 when Fred Merkle failed to touch second base.
Born 1948 - Rick Stelmaszek, catcher (26 AB with the 1973 Angels...batted .154)

Top Ten plays of the year. I'm surprised Torii Hunter's home run robbing catch isn't one of these.