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3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

Posted on: August 21, 2011 7:36 pm
 
Late August, and if you're looking for stretch-run drama, well, you'd better go find a good book. May I recommend David Halberstam's Summer of '49? Great book chronicling an epic Red Sox-Yankees pennant race. Sigh.

There's still time for things to change, of course, but as we sit here today (unless, of course, you're standing), there is less than a four-game difference in only one of eight potential playoff races. (I'm dismissing the half-game separating the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East because both clubs have all but formally qualified for October: The Red Sox own a 7 1/2-game margin over Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card chase).

No, after Detroit's beat-down of Cleveland, the only real drama heading into this week is in the NL West, where the Giants have pulled back to within 1 1/2 games of Arizona. The Diamondbacks were and are a nice story, but not quite so much after getting swept in Atlanta.

Anyway, for all of this, I blame California.

The Not-So-Golden State right now is playing harball at a level ranging from head-shakingly bad to maddeningly sporadic and is in danger of being shut out of postseason baseball for the first time since 1999:

-- The World Series champion Giants, playing catch-up with Arizona, currently rank 29th in the majors in runs scored and seemingly have more players on the disabled list than on the active roster. Carlos Beltran, hello?

-- The Dodgers' back-to-back NLCS appearances in 2008-2009 currently are tied up in divorce/bankruptcy court.

-- The Padres' 90-win season of a year ago has turned to dust.

-- The only way the Athletics will see October is in Moneyball -- literally. The movie opens Sept. 23.

-- The Angels were nearly extinguished by Texas last week before rising from the ashes with a four-game winning streak that has moved them back to within four games of the Rangers.

Starting in 2000, the Angels have made the playoffs six times, the Athletics five, the Giants and Dodgers four each and the Padres twice.

Now? The Giants are clawing and the Angels have regained a faint pulse. Those two right now are a couple of the last hopes to goose a stretch-run that is threatening to boost football's television ratings even more.

Now, with colleague Danny Knobler hopefully somewhere with his feet up and an ice-cold lemonade nearby ... on to this week's 3 to Watch:

1. Time was, the Red Sox looked loaded and dangerous. Aw, truth be told, they still mostly look that way, but with Clay Buchholz out until mid-September, Daisuke Matsuzaka done for the season and Kevin Youkilis, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury all hurting, they're vulnerable. The pitching situation in particular is why they acquired Erik Bedard at the July 31 deadline, and it is Bedard who takes the ball in the series opener of Red Sox at Rangers, Monday night (8:05 ET) at the Ballpark in Arlington. It's an intriguing four-game series for a few reasons, not the least of which is because, if the season ended today, these two teams would face each other in the first round of the AL playoffs. One thing to watch between now and then, though: The Rangers' schedule down the stretch is more difficult than the Angels, with seven games against the Red Sox, six against Tampa Bay and three against Cleveland (the Angels have two against the White Sox and three against the Yankees, but they also get Baltimore again).

2. Speaking of tough schedules, what Manny Acta's Cleveland Indians are facing is pure torture, and the Indians did not get off to a good start in Detroit over the weekend, where Cleveland was swept. Thanks to early rainouts, the Indians are in the midst of playing 45 games in 44 days. They've got two home doubleheaders -- White Sox and Twins -- the final full week of the season. Before that, though, Seattle pulls into town on Monday, and Cleveland dives into its double-dips with Mariners at Indians, Tuesday afternoon and evening (1:05 and 7:05 ET) at Progressive Field. It doesn't get any easier with rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis (hamstring) on the disabled list and with slugger Travis Hafner nursing a right foot strain (he left Sunday's game in Detroit and the Indians will know more Monday).

3. Two teams struggling mightily to tighten a couple of AL races hook up for a quick two-game series, and by the time Chicago rookie Zach Stewart is finished facing Los Angeles' Jered Weaver in the finale of White Sox at Angels, Wednesday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium, we'll have a better idea of whether Ozzie Guillen's club is in or out in the AL Central, and whether the Angels are serious players in an AL West race that right now is Texas' to lose. The White Sox took two of three from the Rangers and are five games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Thanks to the Sox, the Angels were able to gain a couple of games back on Texas to pull to within four in the AL West. Considering that Texas pushed the Angels to six back last week and was one out away from seizing an eight-game lead on the Angels last Thursday night, Mike Scioscia's club is living large.
Comments

Since: Jun 25, 2007
Posted on: August 23, 2011 4:57 am
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

Call me a "True Believer" but I've been a baseball for 44 years & I think a 4 game lead is very surmountable. The Angels post season starting rotation will probably rank #1 if they get in. Here there is hope.



Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: August 22, 2011 9:49 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

Just wanted to make sure you noticed the article is about the pennant race in California. 



Since: Jul 2, 2011
Posted on: August 22, 2011 7:03 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

GIANTS AND ARIZONA BOTH HAVE THE BULLPENS WHERE IF THE STARTING
PITCHERS GET TO THE 7TH INNING WITH A LEAD ITS LITES OUT ZONA SHOWING
TYPICAL CHOKE JOB AS NOBODY ON THE TEAM HAS MUCH PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE
GIANTS JUST GOT WACKED WITH INJURIES [BELTRAN] SHOULD ANY OF THE GIANTS COME OFF THE D/L
OR ZONA GET OFF ITS FUNK YOU GOT YOUR WINNER, ANGELS WOULD HAVE A BETTER CHANCE BEATING
ANYONE BUT THE RANGERS THEY JUST DONT MATCH UP WELL WITH THE PITHCHING HELP THE RANGERS
HAVE AQUIRED ITS EASY THERE ARE BOSTON-NEWYORK =NEW YORK WILD CARD=THEN /BOSTON/DETROIT/TEXAS

WIN THERE DIVISIONS AND THE REST IS OVER,,,,,,,,,,Wink

 



 




Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: August 22, 2011 6:58 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

So, the only 3 to watch are in the AL? There is baseball played in the NL too. Just wanted to make sure you noticed...
I think that's why the headline says "The Not-So-So-Golden State Edition". Golden State meaning California.



Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: August 22, 2011 5:27 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

He didn't mention that the Angels and Texas play each other six more times - to which the Angels would have to take likely
4/6 or 5/6 -  AND play above their heads for the rest of year while Texas, with all the great players and defending AL champ pedigree, is going to just nosedive?  Huh? 

Angels also have 4 in Toronto in late Sept where they usually don't do well, and the 3 yankee games as mentioned.  That could be
an Angels 2-5 or 3-4 record in those seven given how they have played this year.  If the Angels can make it, great, but that offense better show up against the likes of NY or BOS!! 



Since: Jul 15, 2008
Posted on: August 22, 2011 4:05 pm
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

Gaining on the Rangers? Wait! The Angels are only able to win ONE out of 4 games against the Rangers in Anaheim, and then sweep the ORIOLES, and that convinces you that the Angels are gaining on Texas? They ought to beat a deadbeat team like Baltimore, but come on, beat Texas in California when you have the home court advantage. Get some balls!!



Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: August 22, 2011 5:06 am
 

3 to Watch: The Not-So-Golden State edition

So, the only 3 to watch are in the AL? There is baseball played in the NL too. Just wanted to make sure you noticed...


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