© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

10/07/07 9:36 PM ET

Angels have something to build on

Halos can take positives from season, plus playoff experience

ANAHEIM -- This was not a time for perspective.

This was a time for absorbing the full impact of a season ending too soon, a time of icing down for the last time, packing bags and saying farewell to buddies.

The perspective, Angels manager Mike Scioscia knows from experience, comes later, when the mind clears and raw emotions of summer and autumn give way to a winter calm after the storm.

"As much as you try to peel off layers as to what happened," Scioscia said in the aftermath of Sunday's 9-1 loss in the third and final game of the American League Division Series, "to get to this point with what our roster and organization were dealt all season is a terrific compliment.

"It's not going to make us feel better when we wake up tomorrow. But as disappointing as this is, you saw what the young kids did, how those guys jumped into the season and played well. You have to be proud of those guys, happy for them.

"We had a terrific season -- just not as far as we wanted."

A record crowd of 45,262 -- highest since the 1998 stadium renovation -- arrived on Sunday clad in red and hopeful of their club getting back in the series. But the tourists from Boston spoiled all the fun.

As the Red Sox move on to the AL Championship Series, the Angels will reflect on a season of achievement, of long stretches of inspiring play before a seemingly endless string of injuries caught up to them near the finish line.

Three and out meant seven consecutive postseason defeats for the Angels going back to 2005, when the White Sox took four in a row after losing Game 1 of the AL Championship Series.

It's also six consecutive postseason losses at the hands of the Red Sox, who also swept the Angels in the 2004 ALDS.

The Angels began the season with substantial injury issues -- Chone Figgins' two finger fractures, starters Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon recovering from arm problems -- and it ended with Gary Matthews Jr. (knee tendinitis) and Casey Kotchman (non-baseball medical condition) out of the lineup.

Kotchman, one of the members of the exciting youth movement, fell ill.

Weaver showed the right stuff in his postseason debut, making only two mistakes that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez turned into runs with back-to-back homers in the fourth.

"He pitched his heart out," Scioscia said of his 24-year-old right-hander with the sweeping motion and gold-plated future. "Maybe he didn't get quite as deep [one hitter into the sixth inning] as he wanted to, but he made big pitches when he needed to get out of jams.

"He has the makeup and talent to pitch in situations like this."

Weaver grasped that this was a significant step in the process.

"Like [Scioscia] said, we have nothing to hang our heads about," Weaver said. "We're AL West champions, [with] the best home record [54-27] in baseball. There are some positives to take from our season. We just didn't really finish up well in September."

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As enriching as it was to watch so many young Angels step forward with inspiring efforts over the course of the season, most fans will share the sentiments of Garret Anderson.

In the veteran left fielder's mind, there were two seasons within 2007, and the second one was far from satisfying.

"There are two different seasons," Anderson said. "We had a great first season -- we came out in first place [in the AL West]. The second season didn't come out as well. It's very disappointing."

For Anderson, the season ended with his right eye half-closed. He became afflicted with conjunctivitis at the wrong time, as October arrived, and his efforts to play through the difficulties ended on Sunday when he had to come out after the second inning.

No longer able to see clearly, he watched one of the youngsters who'd performed so capably all season, Reggie Willits, take his place.

"I want to play, be out there," said Anderson, whose booming second-half bat helped drive the Angels to their third AL West title in four seasons after he recovered from a hip flexor tear. "It sounds like an excuse to me, and I don't want make excuses."

He'd been asked about his eye issue coming as Vladimir Guerrero was playing through enduring pain in the back of his left shoulder.

An outfield that was among the best in the Majors for most of the season simply came apart down the stretch.

"Not having Gary, Garret [playing] with one eye ... I know he will not use that as an excuse, but the game is hard enough to play 100 percent, not 50 percent," reliever Justin Speier said, having experienced his first postseason.

"We had guys who were able to step up in adverse situations all year. Guys were missing one month, two months. Guys were filling different roles. It's depth this team will have for a long time. Those young guys aren't going anywhere; they're not free agents."

Speier, who endured a viral infection of his own costing him two months of his first season with the Angels, said he's already looking forward to next spring.

"It leaves a bad taste in your mouth," he said of the sweep by Boston, "but it's going to turn into a positive thing for next year."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.