AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Begging the following questions: What was Anderson doing playing so shallow? What was Anderson doing so close to the foul line? And what was Anderson doing in left field at all? Anderson didn’t stick around to address any of those topics. By the time the Angels clubhouse was opened to reporters, Anderson had left the building. Loping. And still loping, as alarm spread round Anaheim Stadium. And then reaching … in vain … as the ball went over his head, and Yankees stampeded around the bases. Much to the surprise of seemingly everyone in the ballpark not wearing an Angels uniforms, Cano’s ball landed on the left-field grass, short of the warning track, going for what turned out to be a decisive, three-run double in a 4-2 Yankees victory Tuesday night. ANAHEIM – When the ball left the bat of Robinson Cano, it looked like Bartolo Colon and the Angels were out of a first-inning, bases-loaded jam. The ball was traveling to left field, seemingly more on a lazy loop than a screaming line, and outfielder Garret Anderson was on the case. Loping, in that sort of infuriatingly effortless way he always has. But his teammates refused to fault him for not catching the ball. And his manager refused to second-guess himself for playing the oft-injured veteran in left field – for only the second time since Sept. 20. “That ball was hit pretty well,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He just drove it over Garret’s head. Have to tip your cap to him.” Scioscia conceded he and his staff “talked about” having Juan Rivera play left and leaving Anderson in the designated-hitter slot, where he spent most of his time the final two weeks of the season. When he played at all, that is. “If Garret gets to left field, it gives us more options later in the game,” Scioscia said. Hmmm. And how much better would those options be than a healthy Rivera in left and Anderson at DH? It was one of those crisp, low-tolerance type of games, with few scoring chances for either side. A game where even minor miscalculations or misjudgments would loom large. The Yankees got only two men to second base after the second inning. The Angels got just one to third in the first six-plus. “We never could string together any hits,” Adam Kennedy conceded. So when it was over, and the one “big” hit looked rather like something an average left fielder in decent physical shape ought to catch … it tended to loom large in the imagination, on a stage of this magnitude. Anderson has not been the picture of health the past two seasons. He missed 50 games in 2004 and 20 more this season with a sore knee and/or back, and he is not the defender he once was. Not by a mile. Even Scioscia seemed to concede that by DH-ing him, down the stretch. Then the Angels get to the playoffs, desperate to get Game 1 in a blink-and-it’s-over best-of-five series, and a gimpy Anderson, 33 going on 53, is back out there with the leather, watching what looked like an out turn into the game-winning hit. Scioscia wasn’t having any of it. “Anybody out there tonight is not going to catch that ball,” Scioscia said. “(Anderson) ran a good route.” And his health? “That didn’t come into play,” Scioscia insisted. Angels coach Ron Roenicke said Anderson was not at fault. By omission or commission. “A left-hand hitter, not too many drive the ball that well to left in this ballpark,” Roenicke said. “Maybe (Jason) Giambi. “For me, I’d rather have (Anderson) play (in) for the line drive. If the guy ends up smoking one, give him credit.” And his first thought, when the ball left Cano’s bat? “I thought it was trouble,” Roenicke said. Colon agreed. “The ball started low and started rising,” he said. “I knew it would be a tough play for Garret.” Not everyone was so sure. Cano, for one, said he wasn’t at all sure the ball would be more than Anderson could handle. “As soon as I hit it, I was (saying) ‘Go over, go over!’ I just see it wasn’t over his head.” Well, it was. But And now the Angels are in a fix, down 1-0 in a low-tolerance series. Maybe we couldn’t expect Mike Scioscia to say, “My bad! Garret should have been sitting next to me in the dugout!” But if Anderson is announced as the DH in the win-or-else Game 2 tonight, as he ought to be, that may be confession enough of a crucial error in judgment from the Angels’ field boss. Paul Oberjuerge’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Readers may write him at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!