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Big Picture: Yanks got outplayed
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Division Series
10/05/2002 8:23 pm ET 
Big Picture: Yanks got outplayed
By Ken Gurnick /

Joe Torre, second right, and coach Mel Stottlemyre, right, saw their postseason end early. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

The Yankees, who hold just about every postseason record there is, now are the only team to lose a postseason series to the Angels.

The Yankees can spend all winter trying to figure out how they lost in the first round to a Wild Card team with a monkey for a mascot, but the answer is pretty simple. In this series, the Angels were better than Aura and Mystique, and not by just a little bit. They actually made the 103-win Yankees look bad.

They outplayed New York in every phase of the game. They homered nine times, but they also hit-and-ran and were sacrifice bunting in the third inning Saturday. They turned two double plays Saturday, seven in the series. They made run-saving catches (Garret Anderson) and the Yankees (Bernie Williams) didn't. When given an opportunity, they capitalized. And when they had the Yankees down, they went for the kill and got it.

    Francisco Rodriguez   /   P
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 165
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Angels site
Anaheim's unsung starting pitching was better than the parade of New York's marquee names. And in the one game when it wasn't, the Angels bullpen was lights-out. The best reliever in the series wasn't Mariano Rivera but Francisco Rodriguez, whoever he is. Rodriguez is 20 and so inexperienced that he now has the same amount of career innings pitched in the postseason as he does in the regular season.

Who knew the Angels could do all this?

The Angels knew. This is a fundamentally sound and aggressive baseball team that plays hard all game and thrives on rallies. It is blue collar, relentless, tough and confident. Just like its manager. It never believes it will lose. Not even to the Yankees. Twenty four of the Angels had never before appeared in the postseason, and the inexperience meant nothing.

Back to The Yankees led in every game, but the Angels won the last three. If not for Mike Scioscia's controversial pitching moves in Game 1, it might have been a three-game Angel sweep. But even letting a winnable game get away didn't derail this team on a mission.

An entire series was captured in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday, when the Angels hit just about everything New York pitchers sent to the plate, and the Yankees couldn't get out of their own way. No Yankee team has ever had a worse inning in the postseason.

And no Angel team has ever had a bigger reason to celebrate. There is more than four decades of frustration written on the pages of Angels history, some of it painfully tragic. Winning a postseason series, especially against the Yankees, couldn't mean more to any other organization.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This article was not subject to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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