Halos in need of home wins

Halos in need of home wins

ANAHEIM -- The Angels, who drew over 3 million fans again this year, will have a sellout crowd bathed in red on Thursday night. Outfielder Bobby Abreu calls them some of the most knowledgeable fans he's played for in his career.

"They follow the game and appreciate what you do for the team," Abreu said.

The Angels will have a monkey flying out of the scoreboard in the late innings when things need stirring up. They will be coming from their own homes and playing in perfect Southern California weather.

They will have home-field advantage. They need to use it.

The Angels will be trying to break a six-game postseason losing streak at home when they host the Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Division Series at 6:37 p.m. PT on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

"We need a win, period," outfielder Torii Hunter said. "Whether it's here or there."

The Angels won there last year. It was here that was the problem. The Angels won home-field advantage with the best record in baseball, then lost the first two games against the Red Sox in the Division Series. The Angels won Game 3 at Fenway Park before being eliminated the next day.

"Last year is last year," Hunter snapped. "We don't need to talk about that. We're a lot more mature. With Bobby Abreu, we've added patience to the offense. We're playing with a lot of passion in the memory of Nick Adenhart. We're playing with passion and purpose and having a lot of fun."

TOUGH TIMES AT HOME
The Angels are riding a six-game postseason skid at Angel Stadium dating back to 2005.
Year Series Game Result
2005 ALCS 3 White Sox 5, Angels 2
4 White Sox 8, Angels 2
5 White Sox 6, Angels 3
2007 ALDS 3 Red Sox 9, Angels 1
2008 ALDS 1 Red Sox 4, Angels 1
2 Red Sox 7, Angels 5

The Angels don't necessarily need to win the first game. They won the World Series in 2002 even though they lost the first game of each playoff series. But they were 8-1 at home during the playoffs, losing only Game 1 of the World Series against the Giants. They were down, 3-2, coming back to Anaheim for the final two games and swept them both to take the title.

Since that glorious run, they have lost 15 of 20 playoff games, including nine of 11 at Angel Stadium. The Angels haven't won a playoff game here. Their last playoff win at home came in 2005 with a 5-3 victory over the Yankees in Game 4 to wrap up the Division Series.

That advanced them to the Championship Series and they split the first two games against the White Sox. But their home-field troubles started right after that. They returned to Anaheim and lost three straight.

"Since winning the World Series, we've played some really good series and some that were very poor," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think it's a matter of where you're playing and who you're playing but how you're playing. We haven't played well at home, you know, we haven't played that well on the road, either, in a lot of our recent playoff series."

In the 28 previous ALDS, the team that has won the first game has gone on to win the series 14 times. In the National League it's much more pronounced. The winner of Game 1 has gone on to advance 25 times.

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