The Angels finished the season with statistically one of the worst bullpens in the game. And yet, of the eight playoff teams this fall, they're going with the fewest number of pitchers on their postseason roster: 10.
"Efficiency," Angels general manager Tony Reagins says.
That's one word.
And you know the story from here: If the extra position player or two manager Mike Scioscia is carrying comes into play in one of those crazy, long October scenarios that sometimes develop (think of the Tigers-Twins 12 inning affair Tuesday), the Angels will look like geniuses.
If Boston cranks it up and shreds their pitching, it'll be ripe for a Pandora's Box of second-guessers.
"We felt the starters we have all have the ability to go deep into games," says Reagins, referring to Game 1 starter John Lackey, who will be followed by, in order, Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders. "They're capable of that.
"And Ervin Santana gives us a bullpen arm with length."
Translation: Santana was the extra starter booted to the pen, so he's durable enough to work several innings of relief if needed.
Biggest question by far is whether the Angels trust closer Brian Fuentes enough to turn him loose in the ninth. My feeling? No way. Rookie Kevin Jepsen, a hard-throwing righty whose fastball is clocked in the mid-90s, could be a key.
Carrying 15 position players also givers manager Mike Scioscia multiple options.
"We felt Reggie Willits would give us the opportunity to do some things late in games with his speed and ability to play the outfield," Reagins says. "Bobby Wilson [a catcher by trade] can also play first and third base, so if we need to pinch-hit, he could do that or go back and catch."
Likes: Saw Aaron Boone in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday and he's doing great. He came back strong from that open-heart surgery this spring, made it back with the Houston Astros in September and now is doing some work for MLB Network this fall. He's not sure if he's going to play again next year. ... Former pitcher David Wells in a coat and tie on TBS' playoffs studio show? Who knew the guy cleaned up so well? Ha. ... Rick Sutcliffe is a terrific analyst. Enjoyed listening to him on the radio the past two days while driving to the ballpark. ... The Phillies hiring former infielder Dave Hollins as a special assignment scout. I got to know him after he left the Phillies, when he was playing for the Twins in the 1990s. He was the guy they traded to Seattle for a minor-league infielder named, wait, let me think ... David Ortiz ring a bell? ... Looking forward to reading Cornflakes with John Lennon, an upcoming memoir by Robert Hilburn, the former long time rock critic with the Los Angeles Times. ... Driving the Southern California freeways is so much better after Labor Day, when all the tourists have left and the kids have gone back to school. Don't get me wrong, there's always traffic, but it's so much lighter now. Relatively speaking.
Dislikes: The sound people in Dodger Stadium seriously need to settle down. It's a constant barrage of noise, from blaring rock and roll to stupid sound effects, including during some at-bats. For an organization with such a proud history as the Dodgers, it completely disrespects the game and makes them look like carnival barkers. It's as bad as I've heard anywhere. Just brutal. Almost as bad as umpire CB Bucknor.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"She stood there bright as the sun on that California coast
"He was a Midwestern boy on his own
"She looked at him with those soft eyes,
"So innocent and blue
"He knew right then he was too far from home"
-- Bob Seger, Hollywood Nights