This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
Sometimes, things just don’t work out the way you hope they will. Last night was such an evening. The Red Sox weren’t supposed to lose 5-0 to John Lackey and the Angels. The umpires weren’t supposed to have atrocious calls for both teams. It was supposed to be a hard fought battle with the Red Sox coming outahead. It just didn’t work out that way.
Shea Hillenbrand was a member of the Red Sox in 2003 when they made their run towards the postseason, but he wasn’t a member of the team by the time they faced the New York Yankees in the 2003 ALCS. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. After putting up all-star caliber numbers in 2002, many people would’ve guessed Hillenbrand would have been a part of the postseason run of 2003. It wasn’t meant to be. New guys stepped up to the plate and delivered big hits. Billy Mueller became a big component of that team. Who knew that would happen?
Hillenbrand was a member of the Angels in 2007 when they made another run at postseason glory. Unlike his Red Sox tenure, Hillenbrand did not have any previous highlights with the Angels when he was unceremoniously released in the middle of the season. When Hillenbrand was with the Red Sox, he had some pop in his bat, and carried that bat with him to Arizona, Toronto and San Francisco before he ended up on the Angels. Unfortunately for Hillenbrand, that pop in his bat didn’t show up in Anaheim and the team was left to find a new slugger to fill that void as they headed to the postseason. In the 2007 ALDS versus the Red Sox, the Angels lacked any real sluggers of any sort; the team collectively hit .192 in the 3 game sweep by Boston.
Like 2003, the Red Sox may be hoping that someone will rise to the occasion like Billy Mueller. Maybe it will be Victor Martinez, or Alex Gonzalez or Jason Bay even. It seems the Angels roster has been able to find a few bats to counter that 2007 Angels squad that even Hillenbrand couldn’t make his way into.
Here’s to hoping the Sox figure out a way to rise above the 5-0 loss in Game 1, and return to Fenway Park with a 1-1 series!