ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Over the past 10 days, the Angels have played the Yankees and Red Sox seven times, with a very good chance that they'll be seeing at least one of those clubs -- and possibly both -- when the playoffs start in less than two weeks.
Advantage or disadvantage for a club to be playing high-powered potential playoff opponents so close to the start of the postseason?
"The schedule's a joke," manager Mike Scioscia says. "You should be playing within your division at the beginning of the season, at the end of the season and in the middle of the season.
"The fact that we were back east [playing Boston] last week and that [the Yankees are] coming out West doesn't make sense."
Perhaps the root of Scioscia's anger is sleep deprivation. The Angels started last week's trip east with one game in New York on Monday, a makeup of an earlier rainout.
Traveling from Southern California following a Sunday game, the Angels arrived in New York around 1:30 a.m. Monday.
Then, after that night's game, they arrived in Boston around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday for the start of a three-game series.
Following the finale in Boston on Thursday, another night game, the Angels arrived at their next stop on the three-city trip, Texas, around 3 a.m.
Wednesday's home finale against the Yankees marked the end of a stretch in which the Angels played 20 games in 20 days and 41 games during a 43-game stretch.
"I don't know if there's ever been an off day more needed for this team than our day [Thursday]," Scioscia says. "The East Coast trip was tough."
Their reward, though, is just around the corner. Entering Wednesday, their magic number was five to clinch a third division title and a fifth in six seasons. While Scioscia says the schedule has been "a grind" lately, he's also learned something about his club.
"I think the depth of our team has surfaced," he says. "It's gotten us through what, looking back, has been a grind."
Likes: Still love the Rally Monkey in Anaheim. He's timeless. ... Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. The four Yankees who date back to 1996 remain class (and winners) today. ... Texas pitching Kevin Millwood to pitch the other night even though he was so close to it guaranteeing his $12 million option for 2010 was the right thing to do. ... Hey, with Minnesota chasing Detroit, we've got one race. Of course, the Twins have six games left with the red-hot Royals -- and are projected to face Zack Greinke twice. Hey, they wouldn't want to back into the playoffs, would they? ... President Barack Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman this week. Letterman remains the master of the late night. ... James Maddock's disc Sunrise on Avenue C has been a wonderful find. ... Big finish last week as the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons held off New Boston Huron 20-19. Next victory for the Falcons: Friday night against Grosse Ile.
"Now the years are rolling by me
"They are rockin even me
"I am older than I once was
"And younger than I'll be
"That's not unusual
"No it isnt strange
"After changes upon changes
"We are more or less the same"
-- Simon and Garfunkel, The Boxer