ANAHEIM, Calif. — When the Red Sox and Angels met in the 2009 American League Division Series, they were two of the three best franchises in the game.
The Sox won 95 games that season and the Angels 97. They scored a ton of runs, were stocked with premium talent and managed by respected figures in Terry Francona and Mike Scioscia.
The Angels swept that series, 3-0. Then they lost the ALCS to the powerhouse Yankees, who went on to win the World Series that season.
The Sox haven't been back to the playoffs since and neither have the Angels. That's certainly not going to change this season for Boston and probably not for Los Angeles, either. The Angels are 10 games out of first in the AL West and 4.5 games out in the wild card. They need to pass three teams to get in.
The Sox are 241-212 (.532) the last three years and the Angels 232-220 (.513). That's a lot of meh.
The Sox made a series of terrible decisions, signing John Lackey (away from the Angels) and Carl Crawford as free agents. Then they traded for Adrian Gonzalez only to trade him away 21 months later. Francona was fired and GM Theo Epstein got the Cubs to rescue him from the mess he created.
The Angels inexplicably traded for players like Vernon Wells and Scott Kazmir, moves that led to GM Tony Reagins stepping down. Even Scioscia, who has a contract through 2018, doesn't seem safe. His team, once a model for playing the game the right way, has lost its compass.
There is hope. The Red Sox hit the organizational reset button on Saturday when they dumped three bad contracts on the Dodgers. The Angels have Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Jered Weaver to build around.
But when the teams start a three-game series tonight, the spotlight will be elsewhere in baseball. At this time three years ago, the Sox and Angels were baseball royalty. Now they're just another couple of teams trying to figure it out.