ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Facing a stunningly swift termination of their season, the Angels worked out under sunny skies Wednesday afternoon still attempting to figure out what's hit them in this AL Championship Series.
"They've obviously said they didn't want to let me get on base," said leadoff man Chone Figgins, saddled with a .125 batting average and .263 on-base percentage in this ALCS. "They're doing their damndest to make that happen."
Doing a pretty darn fair job of it, too.
"All year, we've been good," outfielder Bobby Abreu said of the Angels' struggles with runners in scoring position. "We're doing too much, that's what it is. Sometimes we're swinging at bad pitches."
Yeah, but CC Sabathia didn't make them chase in Game 4. If the Angels weren't swinging, they were going to be behind 0 and 2 in each count before they knew what hit them.
"The Yankees ... have been able to dictate terms of how this game unfolds with getting some early runs and getting on the board early," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They were getting to their power arms in their pen in Games 1 and 2. And obviously, on the mound, they're doing a terrific job against us."
The Angels this season ranked second to the Yankees in runs scored and several other offensive categories in the AL.
The Angels are at their best when they run, but it's difficult to do that when few of them are reaching base. And of those who did, some complained that the cold, hard ground made it difficult to run in New York.
Back here in Anaheim, that's not the case. But lefties Pettitte and Sabathia have kept baserunners in check consistently. Pettitte threw to first base 17 times during his time on the mound in Game 3.
"Their pitching," Figgins said. "It's not a surprise, but they're keeping the big innings from happening. We need to make the pitches they're making. And their big guys are coming up with home runs. They're getting the huge hit and we haven't done that on our side."
Bottom line is, the Yankees have swarmed the Angels so thoroughly that the Angels not only have been off their game, but they haven't been able to get anywhere close to retrieving it.
"We've been waiting for that since the first game," Torii Hunter said. "We haven't quite gotten there yet, but it's getting late.
"The bell's about to ring."
The Yankees, meanwhile, mostly had their game-faces on Wednesday -- even though there was no game.
"We didn’t come out here to win three games in a series and be happy about it," outfielder Johnny Damon said. "That's why we're here for practice today.
"And we're going to go out and have a great practice. We're not going to go through the motions."
Likes: That last quote from Damon, delivered so earnestly, was a gem. ... What a bonanza for the Mariners, catcher Kenji Johjima opting out of the final two years of his contract to go play in Japan. Talk about a win-win proposition. And according to Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly, the Mariners owe him nothing. ... Manny Mota to receive the Ray Boone Family award at the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation's annual dinner/gala Jan. 16 in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. ... Bruce Springsteen bringing his mother onstage Tuesday night in Philadelphia to dance with him on Dancing in the Dark. Sure wish I could have been there for a three hour-plus show -- on an off night during the NL Championship Series, nonetheless. But I'm glad several baseball writer friends were able to attend. As well as Dodgers manager Joe Torre and GM Ned Colletti.
Dislikes: Balloon Boy.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well, I can't tell lies, 'cause they're listening to me
"And when I fall asleep, I bet they're spying on me tonight, tonight
"'Cause they're waiting for me
"They're looking for me
"Every single night they're driving me insane
"Those men inside my brain"
-- Cheap Trick, Dream Police