Sunday, October 09, 2005

All Comes Down to Chacon

Friday's matchup smelled like your classic David vs. Goliath matchup. Big Unit vs. Paul Byrd. Heat vs. some finesse. Hall of Fame vs. journeyman scrub. And, as so often happens, Goliath went down, with a little help from Garret Anderson and Aaron Small.

The key to the game, and to the series, in my opinion, was for the Angels to get to Junkees' awful middle relief. And they did exactly that. With the win, LA is one win away from duplicating their '02 performance.

And with that, the Junkees' season rests on the arm of Shawn Chacon. Chacon did well near the end of September. But: he had two excellent starts against the punchless Blue Jays (with apologies to Reed Johnson). He had another good outing against the dead Orioles. But he had a bad outing against the Red Sox. How will he do against another very good club?

In terms of offense, the Angels are probably closer to the Blue Jays than the Red Sox, but with two major differences: they've got a big bopper in Vlad Guerrero, and no Moneyball here: LA will run. If guys like Figgins and Kennedy can get on base and get Chacon rattled, the Angels will have a very good shot at sending Snorre and the Junkees home.

And if the Angels can't pull it out tonight, there's always game 5, where they have home-field advantage (thanks Buck). But then again, home field didn't help them in game one, with the same pitchers on the mound. So here's hoping they can wrap things up tonight.

----- Boston losing doesn't bother me. They didn't have it this year. In a way, they were lucky to get as far as they did. The starting pitching was awful: Clement faded down the stretch, Wells had that awful inning, and there was no sure arm like Pedro or the '04 Schilling. And the pen was shaky, to put it nicely. Plus, you can't win with just two bats. Once Manny and Ortiz went quiet in October, nobody else was there to pick up the slack.

Besides, if the Junkees win the ALDS, the ChiSox would be a much tougher opponent for them, especially the way their pitching has performed (the two ex-Junkees in particular, Conteras and El Duque, were huge in the ALDS). But let's not think about that right now, okay?

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