Behind enemy lines

Our daily look at what others are saying about the Red Sox-Angels matchup.

  • According to the Los Angeles Times, the Angels are confident that slugger Mark Teixeira is capable of big things in the first postseason appearance of his six-year career. They’ve certainly seen nothing to suggest otherwise: In 54 games for the Angels after coming over from the Braves July 29, the slugging first baseman hit .358 with 13 home runs, 43 RBIs, and a 1.081 OPS.
  • Also in the Times, Angels manager Mike Scioscia says something that Boston fans of a generation ago never would have believed: The Red Sox are a team built around outstanding pitching.

    “If you look at their starting rotation and you look at their ability to close out and hold leads, that’s the real heartbeat of that club,” he said. “They’ve got some guys throwing the ball very well in their rotation. They’ve got a premier closer. And they’ve been holding leads.”

  • Orange County Register columnist Mark Whicker picks Angels record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez as the AL MVP. (Yes, MVP.) He’s either pandering to his readership or needs a refresher course on the general meaninglessness of the save stat. For the record, Bobby Thigpen finished fifth in the MVP voting when he set the previous saves record (57) games in 1990.
  • The OC’s Bill Plunkett is picking the Angels in five. We’re still awaiting word on Jim Plunkett’s pick.
  • The Angels’ may have found a far more appealing cheerleading option than the Rally Monkey.
  • The Angels estimated a crowd of 10,000 at their sendoff rally.
  • Finally, in a semi-related note, here is our obligatory Manny Ramirez link for the day — a column by the LA Times’s Bill Plaschke urging the Dodgers not to sign the new toast of LA to a lucrative free-agent deal in the offseason. Writes Plaschke:

    Acquiring Ramirez for prospects is already one of the best trades in Dodgers history.

    But if the Dodgers allow these two months to sucker them into signing him to the rich long-term deal he will demand, the trade will be one of their worst.

    For the long-term future of the organization, Manny Ramirez is not Mr. Right, he is only Mr. Right Now.

    He is a brilliant, Hall of Fame hitter. He is also a 36-year-old man with aching knees who will want the Dodgers to pay him until he is beyond 40.

    He has feasted on National League pitching, loved National League ballparks. But because of his fielding problems, he will soon be needing the comfort of an American League designated-hitter role.

    . . . He has been the veteran leader both in the clubhouse and on the field, easing tensions, relaxing swings, turning up the music, making winning fun. But what he’s done in 15 minutes can’t change who he’s been for 16 years.

    Manny may be a solid baseball citizen while pursuing a new contract, but Manny is still Manny.

    He punched a teammate. He knocked over a 64-year-old club employee. He feigned injury to miss two important series. And that was just this season.

    Somewhere, we suspect, Curt Schilling is nodding in agreement.

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