The Angels packed their bags Sunday for another trip into the pressure-cooker, as they will face the Boston Red Sox in a key three-game series that begins Tuesday at Fenway Park. The playoff race is on and the Angels are in full stride.
They've won 10 of their last 11 games.
They got third baseman Troy Glaus back Sunday after a 97-game layoff because of shoulder surgery. Although he's not been cleared to play in the field, he gives the club added sock as a designated hitter.
They also could soon be getting left-hander and presumed ace Jarrod Washburn back from the disabled list, although it probably won't happen until they face the Cleveland Indians in a three-game series that starts Friday.
Oh yes, and the Angels are the American League's second-best road team with a 37-27 record after sweeping the Yankees in a three-game series that capped a 5-1 trip to New York and Tampa Bay the last time they left Angel Stadium.
"This was what I was pointing to on the calendar two months ago," said Glaus, who walked twice and scored the winning run on Adam Kennedy's two-run walk-off homer that gave the Angels a 4-2 victory Sunday over the Minnesota Twins.
"I wanted to be able to catch that flight to Boston. It's a big series and I wanted to be a part of it."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia often jokes with reporters about how he pays no attention to the out-of-town scoreboard and ignores the AL standings.
"We're not paying attention to what other clubs are doing," he said. "Our destiny is in our hands. There's no frustration here. The standings can flip-flop 17 times before we get to the end of this thing. We'll play them and you guys add them all up at the end and tell us how we did."
For the record, Mike, your Angels trailed the West-leading Oakland A's by two games and are 1 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race after Sunday's games.
"When you get to Boston it's always an intense atmosphere," Scioscia said. "As far as we look at it, it's no different from any other series, although I'm sure the atmosphere is going to be exciting. There's going to be a lot of interest, but it won't affect what we do."
The scalding Angels certainly have caught the Red Sox's attention. The Angels lead the season series, having won four of six games played at Anaheim.
"They're swinging the bats," said Boston's Curt Schilling, who will face John Lackey in the opening game Tuesday night. "Offensively, they're really good. Right now, they're hitting the ball on a consistent basis. ... A bunch of teams are playing good baseball in this league right now and, unfortunately for us, it's all the guys that we're in the hunt with in the Wild Card."
ANA: RHP John Lackey
11-10, 5.00 ERA in 2004
0-1, 7.50 ERA vs. BOS in 2004
0-4, 6.44 ERA vs. BOS lifetime
BOS: RHP Curt Schilling
16-6, 3.38 ERA in 2004
1-0, 1.13 ERA vs.ANA in 2004
2-0, 1.47 ERA vs. ANA lifetime
This is an important series, I predict a 2-1 series win for the Angels!