The Texas Rangers were rumored to be involved in trade talks for Blue Jays Ace Roy Halladay. However, the trade never went through as Nolan Ryan of the Rangers was unwilling to part with young left handed starting pitcher Derek Holland. On Sunday afternoon, the Angels and their fans got to see, first hand, why Ryan wasn’t willing to part with Holland. The Rangers lefty carried a no hitter into the 6th inning, ulitmately getting the complete game shutout while only allowing 3 hits. The win, allowed the Rangers to not only cut the Angels lead to 3.5 games in the division, but also continued their dominance over the Halos, taking yet another series.
Angels starter John Lackey definitely didn’t deserve his fate today. He threw a career high 131 pitches, but even more, witnessed one of the poorest defensive outings by the club this year. A mental error in communication by seldom used first base fill in Robb Quinlan on a ground ball to second, (leaving first base uncovered) allowed an inning to continue that was later capped off by a Bobby Abreu error that allowed the first two Ranger runs to score in the game. Lackey ended up going 6 2/3 to earn the loss.
Up next for the Halos will be Joe Maddon and his Rays. The Rays, pretty much all but out in terms of winning the AL East, are still just 1.5 games behind wild card leading Boston and Texas. Although they just completed a frustrating series in Seattle, losing 2 of 3. Typically though, the Rays play the Angels tough, and with the Angels definitely showing signs of coming back to earth after their white-hot start post all star break, you can be sure this is going to be a fiercely competetive series. Matt Garza opposed Sean O’sullivan in game one on Monday night.
Until next time Angel fans
For those baseball purists out there, this matchup between John Lackey and Brett Anderson was nothing short of a classic. Bobby Abreu’s solo home run in the 10th was the lone run in the game, as the Angels defeated Oakland 1-0, and taking three of four in the series. The Halos now find themselves with a much more cushioned 3.5 game lead in the division compared to the 1.5 game lead they arrived in Oakland with.
I have to admit, when looking at the starting lineup for the Angels, who were without Juan Rivera, Kendre Morales, as well as injured starters Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero – I was wondering where the offense would be coming from as I was seeing the names of Reggie Willits, Howie Kendrick, Gary Matthews Jr and Brandon Wood. in their place. Apparently, my worries weren’t just paranoia, as A’s starter Brett Anderson took a perfect game into the 7th, only to have it broken up by a Bobby Abreu single. John Lackey was no slouch either, throwing nine shutout innings, scattering three hits while striking out six A’s of his own, to pick up his fifth victory of the year. Dominating the A’s is no oddity for Lackey, as he has had games similar to this in year’s past. Watching Lackey do what he does best, reminds me how much he means to this team, and how important it will be for them to re-sign the free-agent-to-be at season’s end. Attempts at a contract extension stalled before the season, and you can count that Lackey will attract lots of suitors in the offseason. Arte Moreno and the Angel’s brass needs to step up and do whatever it takes to keep Lackey, one of three remaining Angels from the 2002 World Series team.
Brian Fuentes followed the Abreu home run, and set the A’s down, picking up his major league leading 28th save. The save though, came with Gary Matthews Jr. making the final play of the game, barely catching a sun filled fly ball in center.
The Angels leave town and head up to Kansas City, where they will begin a three game series against the much improved Royals beginning tomorrow, with Sean O’sullivan squaring up against Sir Sidney Ponson. Don’t be surprised Halo fans, if the club returns home for their next homestand with the new second place team being the Seattle Mariners, as the M’s only trail the Rangers by half a game for second place. The next series for each will see Texas hosting the hated Red Sox, while the suddenly hot Mariners will travel to Detroit to face the Tigers. Needless to say, a series sweep would really put some distance between the Angels and the rest of the West.
Until next time Angel fans.