And, of course, the Angels would continue the trend in subsequent run-ins with the Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants, lifting themselves off the diamond to emerge victorious after faltering starts that caused their loyalists so much anxiety. Well, the Angels, bless them, now have put themselves in a position to match their worthy predecessors by being cuffed around by the Yankees, 4-2, in a match that was decided before most of the thirsty folk at Angels Stadium had the opportunity to quaff enough to even register a blip on a breathalyzer test. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 History well might repeat itself, as it so often does, but there are a few differences that one must take into account, and these differences don’t exactly portend a bright future for the Angels. For one thing, the Angels don’t hit nearly as well as they did three years ago oh, where have you gone Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon, Scott Spiezo, David Eckstein and, yes, Darin Erstad? when they pushed across 31 runs in the four games against the Yankees. And, for another, this Yankee team, with the additions of Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Alex Rodriguez and the impressive rookie second baseman, Robinson Cano, to go with venerable standbys Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams and a resuscitated Jason Giambi, is a far more imposing group than that one that surrendered so meekly against the Angels. Just ask the Angels’ Game 1 starter, Mr. Bartolo Colon, who found out just how skilled the Yankee batsmen are in the first inning even after he commenced it by retiring Jeter and Rodriguez. Despite throwing wicked fastballs that exceeded 95 mph and placing them in what appeared to be difficult vicinities, Giambi, Sheffield and Matsui singled in succession to load the bases, which were quickly unloaded by Cano’s double over Garret Anderson’s head in left field. If the Los Angeles Angels of 2005 follow the playoff script of the Anaheim Angels of 2002, then those hoarse-voiced, red-attired, ThunderStix-armed patrons of the team need not worry too much these nervous hours about the calamity that beset their heroes Monday night at their Orange County ball orchard. If you will recall, those Angels of three years ago who wound up winning a world championship lost their AL Division Series opener against the New York Yankees, then rebounded spectacularly with three straight victories to eliminate the Yankees in the best-of-5 arrangement. Actually, Cano’s hit was tainted, since it appeared that the notoriously laid-back Anderson might have caught it had he retreated in a more aggressive fashion. Colon must have had similar sentiments, since he glared at Anderson at the end of the inning as he walked toward the Angels’ dugout. “Sure, Anderson should have caught the ball, and I’m sure Juan Rivera (the Angels’ DH Monday night) would have caught it had he been in left field, where he should have been,” steamed one Angels official who shall remain nameless because he savors drawing a paycheck from Arte Moreno. Before the Angels even had an opportunity to test that supposedly lousy Yankees pitching, the Yankees were in front by a 3-0 margin that would turn out to be enough on a mild evening when Mike Scioscia’s troops failed offensively except for Bengie Molina’s seventh-inning home run and an RBI single this is not a typo! by the too often unproductive Erstad in the ninth. All you hear about these Yankees is how vulnerable they are because of their pitching, which certainly was quite effective Monday night when Mike Mussina didn’t yield a run during his 5 2/3 innings of work and when his successors, Al Leiter, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera, kept the Angels under control. The Angels would seem to have the decisive edge in this evening’s match when John Lackey (14-5, 3.44 ERA) goes up against a rookie gentleman from Taiwan named Chien-Min Wang (8-5, 4.02 ERA), but they seemed to have a decisive edge with Colon going up against a Mussina coming off recent elbow problems. But it made no difference on a night when the exclusive restaurant at the stadium, the Diamond Club, was populated by such personages as a great musician, the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, a great jockey, Corey Nakatani, a great slugger, Reggie Jackson, a great eater, 350-pound-and-climbing Bobby Bonilla, a great liquor guy, Bernie (The Prince of Tabs) Selmanson, and a great usher, Long Beach’s very own Hank (Frenchy) Fuquay, who patrolled the side entrance at Section 122 with his customary diligence. Naturally, Mike Scioscia was reminded afterward about the opening-game post-season failures of his 2002 team, but that didn’t quell his disappointment. “It wasn’t by design then, and it isn’t by design now,” he said. “We’re just going to have to go out and do what we need to do and step it up offensively.” Scioscia himself became the subject of intriguing conversation at least to those in the media looking desperately for a lively angle during pre-game batting practice after Arte Moreno, the Angels’ owner, responded to a reporter’s question about the possibility of Scioscia being lured away by the Dodgers to replace the ousted Jim Tracy. “I’d never keep a person from pursuing a job that he wanted,” said Moreno. Later, Moreno said he was “just being sarcastic’ and that he would do everything within his power to keep Scioscia if such a scenario should unfold, which it won’t since Scioscia is contractually obligated to the Angels for a couple of more seasons and since he has no urge to return to an organization that once rejected him cruelly. After Mike Scioscia concluded his post-game media session in a press box conference room, he walked toward the elevator and came across his Yankees counterpart, Joe Torre. “This isn’t easy,” said Torre, shaking his head slowly. “Let us get one tomorrow night,” pleaded Scioscia. “Shh,” responded Torre, and that’s precisely what the Yankees did to the Angels throughout the proceedings that sent the 45,142 souls in the park home in a worried state that’s quite understandable. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!