Monday, October 10, 2005

Angels Will Need to Juggle Rotation for ALCS

The Angels starting rotation is in tatters with Colon leaving his start tonight with a shoulder injury and Jarrod Washburn suffering from menstrual cramps. That leaves the Angels with, essentially, a three-man rotation of Paul Byrd, John Lackey and Ervin Santana. If needed, Kelvim Escobar could be available to start a game as well. The Angels will likely rely on Byrd to open the series against Jose Contreras tomorrow night. In two previous starts against the Halos Contreras is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA. Byrd faced the Chi Sox once this year and was victorious despite giving up 5 runs in 6 innings for a 7.50 ERA. While Contreras has been red-hot to end the regular season and against the Bo Sox in the Divisional Series, Byrd has struggled giving up 4, 4, 5 and 5 runs in his past four starts respectively. Byrd's last 'quality' start was on September 18th when he pitched 6.2 innings, giving up 7 hits but just 1 run.

On paper the White Sox, who are rested and ready to face a jet-lagged Angels squad, appear to have a clear advantage in game one. The Angels will rely on guile, adrenaline and probably a case of Red Bull to pull themselves together for tomorrow night's game. I am not optimistic for the Halos to win game one but if they can pull out a victory in game two they will be well positioned. The Angels game two starter is a big mystery at this point. It could be the aforementioned Washburn but do not be surprised to see Escobar or even Scot Shields make a spot start if needed. The Angels will get a day off after game two and will then host the Sox in Anaheim for the next two games and a third if necessary. Lackey will start game 3 and if the Angels can get Colon back for game 4 and Santana for game 5 they will have a good chance to put the Sox on their heels. If the series goes back to Chicago Scioscia will likely try to have Lackey and either Colon or Santana available for those last two games.

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