AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The Angels have done that now, earning their first back-to-back division titles and playoff appearances after winning the ’02 World Series as a wild card, all of it under Mike Scioscia. “It shows that you have an owner who’s willing to spend, a general manager who makes good decisions, and a manager who gets the most out of his players,” pitcher Paul Byrd said. “It shows you know what you’re doing. It shows you’re a winning franchise.” They are one of those teams now. Two others have done it – three playoffs in four years, a World Series win, same manager – in the decade since the playoffs were expanded to include wild cards: the 1990s-2000s Yankees and Braves, no less. Five did it in the 25 years when only division winners went to the playoffs: the 1970s Orioles and Reds, the 1970s and 1980s-’90s A’s, and the 1990s Blue Jays. Seven did it in the three-quarters of a century when the league leaders went straight to the World Series: the Yankees of various decades, the Cubs of the 1900s, the Philadelphia A’s of the Teens and the Depression, the New York Giants of the 1920s, the Cardinals of World War II, and the Dodgers of the 1960s. In other words, baseball’s most storied teams, plus the Blue Jays. Look at the managers of those teams, and you picture Scioscia poking a dusty cleat through the doorway of a very gaudy estate: Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, Tony La Russa, Cito Gaston, Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Ralph Houk, Frank Chance, Connie Mack, John McGraw, Billy Southworth and Walter Alston. Not that Scioscia is inviting any such comparisons for his team or himself. “Atlanta’s won, what, 14 division titles in a row?” Scioscia said in the first-base dugout before the first pitch Tuesday. “Hopefully, we’re taking a step in that direction.” For most of an unexpectedly hard summer, the Angels played as if they weren’t sure they wanted this house south of the baseball boulevard. Maybe it was all those stairs they’d have to climb, gardener bills to pay, standards to live up to. At the Ides of September, the Angels were fighting a four-game losing streak, had fallen to a season-worst .555 and were tied for first with Oakland. They were losing the close ones, the last-at-bat ones, the gut-check ones. Columnists were (specifically, I was) wondering if the Angels had reverted to the Yes We Can’t form of their pre-2002 era. They showed us (me). On Sept. 16, a Friday game against Detroit at Anaheim, they found what had been missing and gathered it around them. That night the bullpen backed up an ineffective John Lackey with five shutout innings, Scot Shields and Frankie Rodriguez blowing through one inning apiece before Kelvim Escobar going three to earn his first relief victory as the Angels rallied to win 7-6 in 12 innings. Since then, they’re a new team, or a confident old team – you decide. Their 10-1 run to the division title includes 3-0 in last-at-bat decisions, 5-0 in one-run decisions and 7-0 in come-from-behind decisions, and that once-nervous bullpen has gone 3-0 with seven saves. They even have Steve Finley hitting. Somebody must have jumped up on a clubhouse table and screamed at the team to try harder, right? “That’s not our team,” Chone Figgins said, laughing at the image. “We have a consistency of attitude. You know what you’re going to get out of every player on this team. When it was going a little rough, we didn’t change.” I guess nobody ever jumped on a table and screamed, “Let’s get out there and keep an even keel!” Said Byrd: “It’s not like we’ve tried any harder (the past two weeks). I just think we were lo-o-o-o-ong overdue (to knock out some tight wins).” Tuesday’s was another of those wins. There was the clutch hitting (Figgins, Bengie Molina, Juan Rivera) and tough relief (Shields, Rodriguez with his 16th save in a row) they found when it mattered. For those who have been Angels since 2001 and know what it takes to win in the autumn, what’s happening now is something to be proud of, huh? Darin Erstad smiled, knowing the Angels have taken ownership of property that must be carefully maintained. “So far,” he said. Kevin Modesti’s column appears in the Daily News three days a week. He can be reached 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! OAKLAND – The 2002 World Series put the Angels on baseball’s map. The 2005 American League West championship gives them an address in one of the game’s fanciest neighborhoods. They finished off the Athletics 4-3 in front of the last 18,416 optimists in Oakland on Tuesday night to clinch the division championship with five games left in the season. Then they back-slapped their way to the clubhouse for a raucous beer-and-champagne celebration. After that they strode, soggy shoes and all, across a well-vacuumed threshold. “It’s a tribute to the players and to the organization from top to bottom,” said Angels owner Arte Moreno, his black T-shirt dripping with champagne, a bottle of the stuff in his right hand. “After the many years that this franchise struggled before winning the World Series, it’s important for us to continue to grow.” How’s this for a yardstick of the championship-quality stability? Go the playoffs three (or four) times in four years, win a World Series (or more) in that span, and do it all with the same manager setting the mood.