Though they fell short of their ultimate goal by losing to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, the Angels can look at 2009 as a success for at least one reason -- they finally got past the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs. After losing to the Red Sox (usually in lopsided fashion) three times in the previous five falls, the Angels swept the Sox out of the first round of this year's postseason to get that monkey off their backs.
"We just battled," Angels center fielder Torii Hunter said after the final loss to the Yankees. "We had a big mountain to climb. We overcame Boston. We came over here and played some of the best games I've ever played in my career. There's nothing to hang our heads low about."
Indeed. Since the postseason was expanded to three rounds with the addition of the wild card in 1995, no American League team has beaten both the Yankees and the Red Sox in the same postseason.
But reaching Game 6 of the ALCS before finally bowing out was an improvement over recent postseason performances by the Angels.
"I think in some respects we played a higher level of baseball certainly a little longer than last year," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But the bottom line is there's always an amount of disappointment, an amount of emptiness when you don't reach that final level with a team you had very high expectations for." Watch LIVE Postseason Coverage Online!