10/04/07 4:18 PM ET
History on both Angels', Sox's side
LA needs a better offensive showing in Game 2 to tie series
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Truth be told, the Angels have been doing very little for quite a long time. Even in their last five regular-season games, they totaled only 10 runs.On Thursday, both teams alternated a light workday. They were "optional" workouts, but, judging by the attendance, obviously players considered it their only option. A break in the Sox's momentum did not concern Francona, who said, "A day off can never be a bad thing. You don't forget how to play -- and I was pleased by every aspect of [Wednesday's] game." "I'll be honest with you," said Scioscia, addressing the new Division Series scheduling with more byes that extends the five-game tourney to potentially eight days. "This is a weird setup. And the fact the Series stretches so long, we'll see if it affects any team. "Our guys are disappointed at the offensive effort, and we want to get out there." When they get out there on Friday night, Fenway Park will be back to its boisterous self. In other words, it will be a typical day at The Fens ... April, July or October. "Every game here is treated like a playoff game. And I think that's the culture we want to have," said Francona, perhaps touching on a reason the Angels have dropped five consecutive postseason games here, reverting to Game 2 of the 1986 ALCS.
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"Every game means so much," Francona added, "so that when you get into games that do mean so much, it doesn't make you do something you don't want to do. You don't react in a negative way."In this place, another football concept, "taking the crowd out of the game," can be huge. "This is not an easy place to play. You feel like the fans are on the field with you," said reliever Brendan Donnelly, now an injured member of Boston's bullpen who recalls coming here with the Angels for the '04 Division Series. An East-West adjustment could also be at play here. Until the season's last weekend (when the Angels took two out of three in Oakland), the AL West was baseball's only division in which every team had a winning record at home and a losing record on the road. So while the Angels' streaky offense is regarded as always capable of sparking, it has been mostly flammable in Angel Stadium, and a flameout elsewhere. The man at the ignition, Figgins, at least wielded a more potent swing on Wednesday night than he had in a week, while dealing with tender wrists. Figgins' first-inning single -- the Angels' lone knock off Beckett until Guerrero's single in the seventh, snapped an 0-for-28 drought. Figgins also drilled a pair of liners -- although both turned into outs on Coco Crisp's sliding catch in the sixth and left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury's diving catch in the ninth. But even those outs had to be heartening to the Angels, who know how torrid Figgins can be when he embarks on a streak. Figgins began his season 12-for-99 and ended it with that 0-for-28 slump, but in between he was a .437 hitter for nearly four months.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.