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10/07/07 9:36 PM ET
Angels have something to build on
Halos can take positives from season, plus playoff experience
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- This was not a time for perspective. This was a time for absorbing the full impact of a season ending too soon, a time of icing down for the last time, packing bags and saying farewell to buddies. The perspective, Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows from experience, comes later, when the mind clears and raw emotions of summer and autumn give way to a winter calm after the storm. "As much as you try to peel off layers as to what happened," Scioscia said in the aftermath of Sunday's 9-1 loss in the third and final game of the American League Division Series, "to get to this point with what our roster and organization were dealt all season is a terrific compliment. "It's not going to make us feel better when we wake up tomorrow. But as disappointing as this is, you saw what the young kids did, how those guys jumped into the season and played well. You have to be proud of those guys, happy for them. "We had a terrific season -- just not as far as we wanted." A record crowd of 45,262 -- highest since the 1998 stadium renovation -- arrived on Sunday clad in red and hopeful of their club getting back in the series. But the tourists from Boston spoiled all the fun. As the Red Sox move on to the AL Championship Series, the Angels will reflect on a season of achievement, of long stretches of inspiring play before a seemingly endless string of injuries caught up to them near the finish line. Three and out meant seven consecutive postseason defeats for the Angels going back to 2005, when the White Sox took four in a row after losing Game 1 of the AL Championship Series. It's also six consecutive postseason losses at the hands of the Red Sox, who also swept the Angels in the 2004 ALDS. The Angels began the season with substantial injury issues -- Chone Figgins' two finger fractures, starters Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon recovering from arm problems -- and it ended with Gary Matthews Jr. (knee tendinitis) and Casey Kotchman (non-baseball medical condition) out of the lineup. Kotchman, one of the members of the exciting youth movement, fell ill. Weaver showed the right stuff in his postseason debut, making only two mistakes that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez turned into runs with back-to-back homers in the fourth. "He pitched his heart out," Scioscia said of his 24-year-old right-hander with the sweeping motion and gold-plated future. "Maybe he didn't get quite as deep [one hitter into the sixth inning] as he wanted to, but he made big pitches when he needed to get out of jams.
"He has the makeup and talent to pitch in situations like this."Weaver grasped that this was a significant step in the process. "Like [Scioscia] said, we have nothing to hang our heads about," Weaver said. "We're AL West champions, [with] the best home record [54-27] in baseball. There are some positives to take from our season. We just didn't really finish up well in September."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.