Today, Scioscia has taken the Angels to the postseason three times in the last four seasons, the veteran nucleus has been tweaked and supplemented, and the rotation sure looks a whole lot more convincing than it did in 2005. All of which leads one to predict that the Angels will get back to the World Series and bring more pride to Los Angeles. Err, Anaheim. OK, Orange County, and all points north, south, east and west. The Angels of 2005 are so deep on the mound that Scioscia has tough decisions to make on his rotation. Jarrod Washburn has the best ERA among them at 3.20 but could be asked to pitch in the bullpen because he’s the only lefty. Rookie Ervin Santana went 12-8 and won the division-clincher. With Kelvim Escobar’s return from injury, the Angels now have a quartet of solid relievers Scioscia and Bud Black can use to shorten the game, much as they did in 2002. The Yankees, meanwhile, are the least efficient team $208 million can buy. They used 15 different starting pitchers in 2005, and the three who made the biggest difference are at the bottom of the pay scale Chien-Ming Wang (8-5), Shawn Chacon (7-3, 2.85) and Aaron Small (10-0, 3.20). They were a lot more effective than former Dodger Kevin Brown, former Met Al Leiter, former local Jaret Wright and former Marlin Carl Pavano, and, for that matter, Mike Mussina (4.41 ERA), who will start Game 1 against Bartolo Colon Tuesday. These aren’t the Roger Clemens-Andy Pettitte Yankees of old. The Yankees were eight games under .500 on May 6, and those who watched them daily say they often won on experience, not merit. The Red Sox? The pitching that won them the World Series last year has disappeared. They don’t have a starter with an ERA under Tim Wakefield’s 4.15. Curt Schilling is a ailing 8-8 with an ERA of 5.69. Matt Clement has been ineffective the last month, and Mike Timlin (13 saves in 20 tries) is the closer by default with Keith Foulke done for the season. The White Sox won the AL Central because of their pitching, and like the Angels have four starters with ERAs under 4.00 and a shut-down closer in Dustin Hermansen (34 saves). What they don’t have is the lineup depth of any of the other three AL teams. All of which adds up to another Red October. The same, but different, and maybe even better. A quick look at the four divisional series: Yankees-Angels: The Angels are the only team with a winning record against Joe Torre in his run as Yankees manager, and are 49-48 against them since 1996. They also beat them in their 2002 run and have won the season series the last two seasons. They aren’t at all mesmerized by pinstripes. The key to winning the series will be keeping Mariano Rivera out of games, handling Hideki Matsui and Dirtbag Jason Giambi, the two lefty power-hitters, and keeping the ball in the park. The Yanks had nine different players with double-digit home runs this season. Angels in four. Red Sox-White Sox: The Angels would like to avoid seeing the Red Sox because they’re lefty-deprived and have had trouble dealing with David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek. The White Sox have just one lefty to throw at Boston, too, in Mark Buehrle. The key for Chicago is two starts and wins for Buehrle and the ability of Chicago to generate more runs than usual against a pitching staff that’s much more mortal than they were a year ago. White Sox in five. Padres-Cardinals: This Cardinals team doesn’t hit as well as it did a year ago but it pitches better, with four solid starters in Chris Carpenter, Matt Morris, Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan, plus closer Jason Isringhausen (39 of 43 save chances). The Padres, meanwhile, come into the postseason with the fewest wins of any division champ since 1973, just one starter with a winning record and sub-4.00 ERA (Jake Peavy, 13-7, 2.88 ERA), and one .300 hitter. Ryan Klesko led the team in home runs with 18. Brian Giles led in RBI with 83. Hands down, the worst playoff team ever. The Padres also lead the postseason eight-pack with the most ex-Dodgers. On that note, here’s the alumni team you can watch: first baseman Paul Konerko, infielders Alex Cora and Mark Grudzielanek, and outfielders Steve Finley, Gary Sheffield and Dave Roberts. Cardinals in three. Astros-Braves: The Astros beat the Braves in divisional series a year ago who doesn’t and have a big three rotation of Clemens, Pettitte and Roy Oswalt. They’ve had spotty hitting all season, though, and Carlos Beltran carried them Game 7 of the NLCS a year ago. The Braves bring a lot of new faces to the playoffs this year, and it will be intriguing to see how Adam LaRoche (20 homers), Jeff Francoeur (.300, 14 homers in 70 games). Jorge Sosa (13-3, 2.25) and new closer Kyle Farnsworth fair. The latter was 10-for-10 in save chances after Chris Reitsma and Dan Kolb blew 16 of 42 opportunities. Astros in four. ALCS: Angels in six. NLCS: Cardinals in five. World Series: Someone in red. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The temptation is to say it feels an awful lot like 2002, except that three years ago we had no idea the Angels were on the verge of winning their first World Series. Three years ago, it was just Mike Scioscia’s third year as manager. When the team broke off to a slow 6-14 start, some wondered if the veteran nucleus had been together too long. The rotation, for those who have forgotten, included Aaron Sele, Kevin Appier and Ramon Ortiz. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 As the Dodgers sink lower into the depths of their own despair, the Angels have seized ownership of the greater community’s soul, in part because they put a good team on the field and operate with the same kind of efficiency and expectation that the other L.A. team once did. If 2002 was a mercurial run, then 2005 was a confident march. There were plenty of times this season when the bats were constipated and the new pieces of the roster broke down, but at no time did Scioscia or the players let it affect their confidence. And now that they’re here in the postseason, that’s a major asset. The Yankees are the Yankees, the Red Sox are defending champs, and the White Sox won more games than anyone in the A.L., but the Angels probably enter the playoffs with the most confidence of anyone. Oh, and the best pitching, too. There’s been a few World Series won on the strength of a team’s bats, but even in 2002, when Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus were mashing, the Angels won the series because they got great clutch pitching from John Lackey, Brendan Donnelly, Frankie Rodriguez and Troy Percival.