|Guerrero's postseason struggles continue|
Written by Bjoern Hartig (Contact & Archive) on October 02, 2008
Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero cemented his superstar status and future Hall-Of-Fame aspirations with his eleventh consecutive season hitting .300+ and slugging 25+ home runs, a feat only achieved by Lou Gehrig before. But it has been a different story in the postseason for Big Daddy Vladdi, as Angels fans call him. In 16 postseason games with the Angels, Guerrero has put up a measly .183/.269/.233 batting line, production hardly acceptable for a utility middle infielder, let alone a superstar of Vlad's caliber. This lack of postseason hitting has been mostly attributed to the lack of protection he had before. But this year, he is surrounded by Mark Teixeira and Torii Hunter and indeed, he was 2 for 4 in last night's game and also reached on an error by Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie. However, even though as the designated hitter, he did not take the field, he still managed to add another chapter of postseason disappointment to his resumé.
Trailing 1-2 in the bottom on the eight inning, Guerrero stood on first base after his second hit of the night. With one out, Torii Hunter (barely) blooped the ball ofter first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Guerrero ignored the stop sign from third base coach Dino Ebel and took off for third base even though Youkilis had the ball under control almost immediately after it hit the ground and threw out Guerrero by several steps (Video). So instead of first and second with only one out, the Angels had a man on first with two outs and failed to score in the inning, eventually losing the game 1-4.
With their backs against the wall already, the Angels will try to even the series on Friday with Ervin Santana on the mound facing Daisuke Matsuzaka, probably the best pitching matchup for the Angels in the series, because even though Matsuzaka (18-3, 2.90) had the better record and ERA than Santana (16-7, 3.49), Santana had the better K/9 and especially KK/BB ratio (8.79, 4.55 to 8.27, 1.64) and lasted more innings per start, although this may not be that relevant as both teams feature excellent bullpens.
What else do the Angels need to get back into the series? First, Chone Figgins and the bottom of the order will have to contribute a little bit more on offense as the Angels leadoff man and the number 6 to 9 hitters produced exactly zero hits or walks the game one. Hopefully, inserting Juan Rivera for Gary Matthews Jr. will help here. Second, while the hitters in the heart of the order Anderson, Teixeira, Guerrero and Hunter each had at least two hits, the Angels have not picked up an extra base hit yet, which obviously makes it more difficult to put some big numbers on the scoreboard.
Maybe Vlad will make up for his baserunning blunder by hitting the second postseason home run of his career. So far however, Dice-K has only given up one long ball to Angels hitters, namely to Torii Hunter, but has also faced the Angels only once so far in his career, a loss this season in which he gave up three runs in only five innings. Santana has not pitched against Boston this year, although they have had success against him in the past, with Mark Kotsay (7 for 18) and the always dangerous David Ortiz (5 for 9, 1 HR) leading the way. On the other hand, Santana clearly has elevated his game to a new level this season and the Angels are confident he will lead them to victory in a crucial game two.