Ahh, Angel fans, there is nothing like losing to an inferior team for the second time in as many days. The Angels again struggled offensively and fell to the White Sox 6-2 on Wednesday night. Gavin Floyd silenced Angel bats, going 8 solid innings, while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits. Floyd had the Angels number all night, never finding himself in any major trouble. The Angels, as previously stated, only managed 6 hits, which was 1 more than they mustered last night. An offense that was hotter than Megan Fox on a Saturday night, again re-visited ghosts of playoff nightmares past, in losing their 2nd game in a row to Chicago.
Angels starter Sean O’sullivan definitely deserved better. Entering the 5th inning, he had been, for the most part, effective. He had only allowed 2 runs up until that point, and was already out of the game as Jim Thome hit his 2nd home run of the game, this one, a 3 run shot off of reliever Darren Oliver to blow the game wide open, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead. Paul Konerko added a solo shot off of Brian Fuentes in the 8th to put the cherry on top for Chicago.
Also, for the 2nd game in a row, Vladimir Guerrero occupied the DH role and clean up spot, and for the 2nd game in a row, the Halos were flat on offense. It was obvious that the team wouldn’t be able to keep up with their torrid hitting of late, but nobody expected the team to go from boiling hot to freezing cold. Is this a coincidence, with Vlad now in the lineup? Would it hurt to take Vlad out for a few games and see what happens? While it is understandable that Mike Scioscia wants to get Vlad back in the lineup, at what point does he realize that in the end, Vlad may be doing more bad than good?
At least Angel fans, the Rangers lost, keeping the team’s lead at 4.5 games in the division. The White Sox go for the series sweep tomorrow as they march John Danks out to the hill to oppose Ervin Santana. After such a great series in Minnesota, it’s hard to believe that the club could return from the road trip at 3-3. On a personal side note, not sure if anyone noticed that Sean O’sullivan threw a high hard one right near the bleach blond head of A.J. Pierzynksi, and while the pitch didn’t connect, it did provide me much enjoyment seeing that weisel squirm.
Until next time Angel fans.
Well Halo fans, today the trade deadline came and passed and the Angels stood pat and didn’t make any moves. Primarily, the team had been rumored to be looking for starting pitching and bullpen help. While Ervin Satana’s start on this Friday night again, wasn’t up to snuff – if the bullpen can continue to perform as they did on Friday night, the fact that they didn’t pick up anyone today will never be an issue. Santana went 6 innings, giving up 5 runs on 8 hits to the Twins, and left with the club losing 5-4. The bullpen work tonight was nothing short of dominating, as Justin Speier, Jason Bulger, Kevin Jepsen and Darren Oliver provided scoreless relief. In particular, Kevin Jepsen went two innings, striking out 3, while going straight through the teeth of the Twins order. The final score, saw the Halos win 11-5 in 11 innings, with the bullpen retiring the final 13 Twins to shut things down. The bullpen was handed the ball knowing they had to throw up zeros, and they did just that. After early season struggles, the bullpen really appears to be coming into their own in typical Angel fashion.
Mike Napoli was near perfect at the plate, doing his best Joe Mauer impersonation, going 4-6 and tying the game up in the 8th with his 16th homer of the season, off of Twins reliever Matt Guerrier, yet another clutch bomb from Napoli, to tie things at 8. Bobby Abreu went 3-5 as well, driving in 4 as well as belting his 8th home run of the year in the victory. Chone Figgins led the Angel attack, going 3-6.
The final score wasn’t a true indication of how close of a game this really was. Headed into the 11th tied at 5, the game was turning into a battle of the bullpens. The Angels first eight batters in the 11th all managed to reach base either by walk or hit, and the rest was history. The key blow was a bases loaded single by Maicer Izturis, which drove in two, putting the Halos up 8-5 and starting a mass movement of Twins fans towards the exits.
Ervin Santana started the game well, shutting the Twins down in the first two innings. However, he allowed 3 runs in the 3rd, keyed by a 3 run home run by Joe Mauer, and another 2 runs in the 4th. To his credit, he battled back, finishing strong by holding the Twins scoreless in both the 5th and 6th. Twins starter Nick Blackburn deserved better, going 6 2/3 and leaving with the lead that his bullpen ultimately couldn’t hold.
Game 2 of the series will see struggling Joe Saunders take on Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak’s last start was against the halos, where he went 6 2/3 of solid work. Saunders, who hasn’t won in over a month, needs to put together a good outing, as he has been far from the Joe Saunders we all saw last year.
Texas again kept pace, beating the Mariners to keep the Angels lead at 3 games.
Until next time Angel fans
On this Monday night, not even John Wayne himself could have been much help against these Indians. Simply put, the Tribe was on the war path. The Angels held them as best they could, at bay for eight innings. The ninth inning though, was when the Indians broke through the Angel lines, scalping Brian Fuentes for four runs before an out was recorded, keyed by back to back home runs by Victor Marinez, (a three run shot), and Jhonny Peralta, (a solo shot) to knock Fuentes out of the game, and the Indians enjoying a 8-6 lead after entering the ninth down 6-4.. With how great Fuentes had been lately, you had to figure he was due for a bad night. Once the dust had settled, the Tribe had collected 20 hits, with four apiece coming from Shin-Soo Choo and Jhonny Peralta. Every single Indians starter had at least one hit. And, all of this came as Indians first baseman Ryan Garko was traded just before the game to the San Francisco Giants. Yeah, it was one of those nights. Let me re-cap for you, how the night started, as initially the Angels looked like they would hang on for the victory.
With his last start before the July 31st trade deadline, Joe Saunders showed the Angels something. He showed them, that they need to go out and get a starting pitcher of some sort because he, along with Ervin Santana, comprise 40% of the Angels starting rotation, and right now, neither of them can be trusted to go out and get the job done. That’s a big potential land mine for a club looking to keep the Rangers, who really are closer than they appear, out of sight in their rear view mirror. How Saunders didn’t give up more than 4 runs in his 5 innings of work (if that’s what you want to call it) is beyond me. Justin Speier, Darren Oliver and Kevin Jepsen all managed to throw scoreless relief, wiggling out of jams of their own, and Brian Fuentes, well, we already covered that.
Speaking of the offense, Juan Rivera came back to the lineup in the DH role, after missing the previous 8 games with a hamstring injury. Rivera didn’t show any signs of rust, hitting a home run in his first plate appearance in the 2nd inning, and was promptly followed by Kendry Morales and Mike Napoli who hit solo home runs of their own,as the threesome went back to back to back, giving the Angels a 3-2 lead. Morales added another solo home run off Indians starter Carl Pavano in the 6th, giving him a club leading 20 for the year. Despite the showing of power, the better offensive team was clearly the Indians, as they battered Angel pitching all night long. In fact, the Tribe did a pretty good Angel impersonation of their own, as this formula has been the blueprint for many Angel victories during their recent hot streak.
Kerry Wood came into the ninth to slam the door on the Halos and pick up the save, as the Indians held onto an 8-6 victory. The Rangers on the other hand, beat the Tigers, meaning the Angel lead is now sitting at 2.5 games. It’s somewhat hard to believe, that after the club’s recent play, that the Rangers are still hanging around. These Rangers are doing their best to show they’re not typical of past Rangers teams, who usually would fade out of contention along with the summer heat.
So, where do we go from here Angel fans? I think it’s pretty apparent that the club needs to take a pretty serious look at getting some sort of reliable starting pitching to help down the stretch. The only names we’ve been hearing that are on the market have been Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and ex-Halo Jarrod Washburn. If anything, the recent hot play by the club has only been masking their true needs. Perhaps, this game will allow the front office to see the club for what it truly is, and in the playoffs, it all starts with strong starting pitching.
In Game 2 of this series, the Halos hope to cool down the streaking Indians who have won a season high 5 games in a row as Indians lefty David Huff takes on Jered Weaver. Weaver will be searching for his 11th win of the season.
Until next time Angel fans.
A tale of two cities, is not only a literary classic, but also can best describe the last two starts by the Angels Ervin Santana. While dominating and overpowering during his last start in Oakland, Santana struggled at times (reverting back to his form so far for most of this injury filled year) against the Royals Tuesday, going 6 innings while allowing 5 runs on 8 hits, but was just good enough to earn his 3rd win of the season. This start was a letdown to those out there hoping to see some consistency out of Santana, but it just wasn’t the case. Santana was really the only not-so-bright spot in an otherwise solid victory for the halos, as they settled in to take game 1 of their doubleheader against the Royals.
What, may you ask were the bright spots in this victory? The Angels 4-7 hitters lit up Sir Sidney Ponson and his supporting cast, to the tune of a combined 9-17, scoring 7 of the 8 runs for the Halos and driving in 4 of them. Kendre Morales, Mike Napoli, (who hit his 12th moon shot of the season) Erick Aybar and Gary Matthews Jr. were those 4-7 hitters, and got the Angels started early, and carried them in the latter innings to victory. Not to be outdone, Darren Oliver and Kevin Jepsen – armed with his newly taught power slider, shut down the Royals and handed the ball off to Brian Fuentes, who picked up his major league leading 29th save of the season.
Early on, the Halos jumped all over Sir Sidney Ponson, grabbing an early 4-1 lead before Santana let the Royals back in, keyed by a 2-run home run by Billy Butler, giving the Royals a brief 5-4 lead that they would soon relinquish.
Game 2 will see Sean O’sullivan get the nod against Bruce Chen, and I really don’t see the Halos doing anything other than sweeping this doubleheader against the struggling Royals.
Until next time Angel fans.