It took extra innings in an extra game on the schedule but the Twins finally won the right to face the Yankees in the ALDS. That means they got their drunken asses on a plane last night and will drag their hungover asses to the field this afternoon. It also means CC Sabathia might actually look good in a post-season game. The Yankees have the edge in every category “on paper” while the Twins are relying on sheer adrenaline and momentum. It will take a choke of epic proportions, even for veteran gaggers like A-Rod and CC, for the Twins to have a shot.
The Sox will play the late game Thursday: Lackey vs. Lester in the home of the thundersticks and rally monkey. Lackey has been good, but Lester has been better. I think Red Sox Nation has to feel good about this series. The Angels have been good all year, but “speed on the base paths” isn’t really enough to get it done. The Sox line-up one-through-six is better, the Sox pitching is deeper, and the Sox have Papelbon who has never been scored upon in the post-season. And the Sox have history on their side. How can it not be in the heads of guys like Figgins, Vlad and even Scioscia what has happened between these teams in recent Octobers?
One factor that cannot be measured on the field is the impact of Nick Adenhart:
The makeshift memorial in front of Angel Stadium’s main entrance is about the size of a pitcher’s mound now. Hats, stuffed animals, sparkling lights, rosary beads, inscribed baseballs and hand-lettered signs are all arranged in a neat circle around an easel that holds a painting of Nick Adenhart in mid-throw.
In the Angels’ clubhouse, Adenhart’s locker is largely still how he left it on the night of April 8, from cap to shoes. His image and No. 34 adorn the outfield wall, where Jered Weaver communes before each start with the new friend who was planning to room with him this season.
“It’s always in the back of your mind,” Weaver said. “You’re never going forget a guy like that. When something like that happens, it makes you take into consideration that not every day is promised, and you have to go out there, every out, and give it everything you have. It’s a tough thing.”
This is something that can drive a team. There will be a lot of emotion in the stadium and the Angels will be playing with a tenth man in their hearts. One more day and it begins.