As much as anyone, [Vladimir] Guerrero had been to blame for the Angels' woeful performances recently against the Boston Red Sox in the postseason. Because of injuries and wear and tear from his often reckless style of play, Guerrero had appeared hapless in the outfield, and listless at the plate in three consecutive postseason series losses to Boston. He had often flailed at fastballs beyond his reach, took hacks in pitchers' counts and took strikes in hitters' counts. Guerrero's clutch hit was as much redemption for him as it was for the Angels, who had never beaten the Red Sox in a postseason series and had lost nine of their past 10 postseason games against Boston heading into this year's ALDS.
Jorge Arangure Jr., ESPN.com
The Angels might not have thought so much about the past if the Red Sox had not constantly rubbed it in their faces. On Sunday, they trotted out Dave Henderson to throw the first pitch, significant since Henderson hit the home run for the Sox back in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS, when they trailed 3-1 and were down to their last strike. Henderson's homer sparked a comeback, and in Anaheim, "one strike away" became a mantra. Twenty-three years later, one strike away finally means something else.
Dan Jenkins, SI.com
The Red Sox's front office will not step back and say, "Wait 'til next year." The last time the Sox made a disappointing first-round exit, getting swept by the White Sox in 2005, the team purged Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar, Edgar Renteria and Bill Mueller, and brought in [Josh] Beckett, Mike Lowell, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta and others. Someone will take the hit for this season too. Bet on [Jonathan] Papelbon.
Ken Rosenthal, foxsports.com
We all know factors beyond a team's control -- a fly ball in the lights here, a blown call there - are magnified in the postseason because so many fewer games are played than in the regular season.
We all know role players can become prominent in a short series.
We all know superstars can become ordinary in October. . . .
But the roulette wheel of October baseball doesn't compute at the gut level in which the Dodgers currently reside.
They need a World Series appearance to validate their progress;_ylt=AiPg6UNh1KRh6LEyA7T6YXsRvLYF?slug=sh-dodgerscardinals10 1009&prov=yhoo&type=lgns.
Steve Henson, Yahoo Sports ::
OK, what was that? Where did the Cardinals go? I don't think I've ever seen a quality team fade and disappear as quickly and quietly as the 2009 Cardinals, who utterly reeked in getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.
And that's what we'll take into the postseason: the perplexing mystery of why this team imploded in the final stages.
We'll wonder about bats that went hollow, good vibrations that turned negative and bold trades that didn't fully pay off.
No spin here, this was an epic failure.
Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post Dispatch
Lots of people figured the Cardinals would be the strongest NL team in the playoffs.
But there is very little difference between the four teams, and it was Joe Torre's team that played with more confidence, just as the Dodgers had against the Cubs a year ago.
"Congratulate the Dodgers," Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said. "Joe Torre managed a hell of a series."
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune