Game 3: The new Bobby Abreu

bobby_abreuDENVER — Go ahead and ask Todd Zolecki from MLB.com for the proof, but I totally called the Angels’ comeback over the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALDS at Fenway Park. Totally saw it coming.

Now I did not foresee the two-strike, two-out hit from Erick Aybar off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning, or the eight-pitch walk to Chone Figgins. However, I thought to myself if the Angels can get Bobby Abreu to the plate in the ninth, they will win the game.

Guess what happened.

Now this I did not predict to anyone but myself. No one wants to hear a crazy person say something so outlandish and ridiculous in their out-loud voice. But go ahead and ask Zolecki about the text he got from me during the seventh inning when the Red Sox led 5-1.

Me: Wanna bet the Angels win this…

Zolecki: Unbelievable.
Me: Told you.

Call it a pretty good postseason for a bunch of former Phillies. Abreu stands above the fray with his 3-for-5 outing in the clinching Game 3 and pair of clutch doubles in the eighth and ninth innings. In Game 2 Abreu went 2-for-4, which followed a Game 1 effort where he walked four times.

In other words, the old Bobby Abreu who used to work counts and force pitchers to throw something over the plate has surfaced in the playoffs. If there were an MVP of the ALDS, it probably would have gone to Abreu.

Remember that guy Philllies fans? No, he wasn’t very inspirational in the outfield, but as a hitter Abreu is so smart. More interestingly, Abreu is a different player for the Angels than he was with the Phillies and even the Yankees. During the series against the Red Sox cameras caught Abreu showing emotion and rooting his teammates on as they rallied in the ninth. In fact, reports from California say Abreu is the vocal team leader he was not in Philadelphia and did not have to be in New York.

When he was playing in Philly, Abreu famously pumped his fist when he homered in a lopsided defeat in Florida that put him in the 30-30 club for the first time.

Who knows if a new Bobby Abreu has emerged? After all, he went unsigned until spring training began and only got a one-year, $5 million deal from the Angels. Needless to say, Abreu wants to come back to the Angels for 2010 so perhaps the emotional, smart hitter bit is his angle to get that new contract he wants.

padillaEither way, Abreu has been a pretty decent $5 million pickup for the Angels. He has them four wins from the World Series where he very well could face two of his former teams.

Meanwhile, it was pretty interesting to see how far Vicente Padilla has come since the Rangers cut him loose in July. Even though the ex-Phillie pitched the Dodgers into the NLCS for the second straight season by shutting down the Cardinals for seven innings, he must have been just horrible to deal with in Texas.

Think about it—the Rangers were in great need for pitching at the deadline but because of their financial uncertainty they were unable to go out and make a deal. So it really says something that the Rangers would flat-out send Padilla packing knowing how badly they needed pitching.

Then again, that’s kind of the way it happened in Philadelphia, too.

So give the Dodgers credit for figuring out how to keep Padilla in line. And maybe Padilla ought to get some credit for noticing that he was about to get bounced out of baseball for good.

Then again, Padilla is looking to keep his contract, too. The Dodgers hold the club option on Padilla and if they don’t pick it up, the righty is off looking for a job again.

So if you’re counting, here are the former Phillies on the way to the League Championship Series:

Dodgers
Larry Bowa
Mariano Duncan
Jim Thome
Vicente Padilla
Randy Wolf

Angels
Bobby Abreu

Yankees
none