The Dragon Has Finally Been Slain
I suppose I could just let the picture tell the story because it is worth a thousand words but I’ll supply a few since I have the chance. I have wanted to talk about this series so many times but I kept my mouth shut — maybe for the same reason players don’t talk to their pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter. I can’t even tell you how much pain the Red Sox have caused Angels fans over the past five years. High hopes crushed year in and year out. Winning 100 games only to see the effort go to waste with three losses to the Red Sox. Seeing a team score runs during the regular season only to be shutout by Boston’s arms. Going head to head only to see the bullpen blow it or a reliable starting pitcher get smacked. Yet the Angels did to the Red Sox the exact inverse of what had been done to them three straight times.
This time around it was Boston that was unable to hit in the first two games. This time around it was Boston that got shutout and held to eight hits over two games despite having several talented hitters in the lineup. This time around it was Boston’s reliable, dominant closer who got lit up in the most improbable fashion. The Angels beat Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Jonathan Papelbon to sweep the series — one of the most potent playoff threesomes of all-time, given their history. Talk about a monkey off someone’s back, this was a freaking elephant lifted. To provide you with some more perspective on the sweep, Jonathan Papelbon had never given up a run in the playoffs prior to blowing Game 3. Never! Paps had a 0.00 ERA and 0.62 WHIP in 26 playoff innings until the Angels got to him on Sunday. The Angels were down to their final strike before rallying to take the lead. This is a new team and a new era and the curse has finally been broken.
Now, before I get too damn giddy pissing my pants, I have to caution that in this bizarro playoff world that the Angels beat the Red Sox, that means their recent run of dominance over the Yankees could come to an end. This is one team down of hopefully three, but it was probably the biggest. What a relief.