Tagged: Gary Matthews Jr

Angels Sweep Rays Out Of Town

The Angels rolled out the red carpet for this series, as they wanted to welcome back former bench coach Joe Maddon in typical Angel fashion.  And they did just that, completing a three game sweep of the Rays.  The day was highlighted by the major league debut of Trevor Bell.  Bell, who wasn’t particularly great nor particularly bad, gave what was expected of him and of someone making their big league debut.  The righty went 5 1/3 allowing 4 runs on 9 hits.  Carlos Pena proved to be the biggest thorn in Bell’s side, hitting 2 home runs off of him. 

Offensively, the Angels again, just kept throwing runs on the board.  Gary Matthews Jr hit a three run home run in the 6th and Howie Kendrick added a three run blast of his own an inning later.  Chone Figgins led the attack with 3 hits, and was followed by Erick Aybar, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli and Howie Kendrick who all had two hits apiece. 

The Angels wrapped up the homestand going 4-2, and have now won 3 games in a row.  Hopefully come this weekend, Torii Hunter will rejoin the team.  

The Angels are off tomorrow, as they travel to Baltimore to being a crucial 10 game road trip against the Orioles, Indians and Blue Jays.

Over the next week I will be doing a little road tripping with the family, I will do my best to throw a couple of blogs out there but should be back to normal in a week. 

Until next time Angel fans 

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Angels Feast on Twins Again, Complete Sweep

I believe the best course of action for the entire Minnesota Twins ballclub, is to go to the nearest hospital immeditately.  Surely, after the three game series that they just went through,  in which they were absolutely owned and demolished by the Halos, it is almost a guarantee that the Twins suffered some sort of lasting effect from the Angels whips and brooms.  The Angels, scoring in double digits for the third game in a row, completed the sweep, winning 13-4 and with that, put on an offensive display that has definitely gotten some attention across not only the America League, but across Major League Baseball.  The Angles will dearly miss Minnesota,  as they scored a combined 35 runs while sweeping the Twins.  Jered Weaver was the benefactor today, as he took the hill for the Halos.  Weaver powered his way through a potent Twins lineup, setting a personal best by fanning 11 Twins while going 6 1/3 innings to pick up his 11th win of the year.  Justin Speier and Shane Loux again, provided shutout relief in support of Weaver. 

Offensively, the club was led by the list of usual suspects.  Kendry Morales, who is giving Angel fans a reason to say “Mark who?” blasted a pair of three run shots, giving him a team leading in both home runs (23) and RBI (69).  When the season started, Kendry was for the most part a question mark, as he never had consistent enough playing time to give the Halos an idea of what exactly they could expect.  His play so far this year has been nothing short of spectacular, and a huge reason why the club is where it is right now.  Despite all the injuries and uncertainty which has plagued the club all year long, Kendry has been one of the few constants, along with Chone Figgins and Bobby Abreu for the Angels offense.  Gary Matthews Jr, Bobby Abreu, Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis each had two hits in the victory as well.  Sean Rodriguez, is making the most of his starts in left field, blasting a 3 run home run, his 2nd of the year, off of Twins starter Glen Perkins, who was just flat out rocked in his four innings, giving up 12 hits while allowing 9 runs.

There are two things on my mind right now when it comes to the team, and how their playoff chances will fare, trusting they make the playoffs of course.  The first and most glaring of these two is wondering if this offense will show up during the postseason?  They can be guaranteed of at least facing 2 of the elite starting pitchers in baseball no matter what team they play.  The Yankees have Sabathia and Burnett, the Red Sox have Beckett and Lester, Tigers have Verlander and Jackson, etc.  It’s always been a given that good pitching beats good hitting,  I wonder if that will truly be the case as only time will tell.  The second thing on my mind, is if they are peaking too early.  Can they realistically be expected to keep scoring in double digits or close to it every night?  As much as I want to say yes, it doesn’t appear that way.  However, the one thing I’ve learned this year, from this team, is to never say never.  They have gone through far too much adversity and come out of it far better than they entered it, which speaks volumes on the character and toughness this team has.  In short, these Halos are completely unique – you can’t label them, and just when you think you have them all figured out, they surprise you further.   And, might I add, have been such a blast to watch so far this year.. 

The Rangers beat the Mariners today to keep pace with the Halos, keeping the Angels lead at 4 games.  Tomorrow Angel fans, the Halos are off as they travel to Chicago to begin a 3 game series against the White Sox.  The White Sox, who currently sit 1.5 games out of first, know they will have their hands full with the Angels, but also desperately need these games to stay in the race in the AL Central.  We all know they’ve seen the carnage that was the Angels last series, and seeing how the Twins lost 3 games in the standings in just 3 days.  John Lackey will oppose Jose Contreras in the opener.

Until next time Angel fans.

Angels Trounce Twins 11-6

The Angels, simply put, beat the cream filled stuffing out of the Twinkies, scoring 11 runs for the second time in as many nights in Minnesota, beating the Twins 11-6.  In fact, a performance this hot on a Saturday night was heard to make John Travolta jealous.  Ok, all jokes aside, the Angels crushed Twins pitching all night long like Stevie Wonder.  Ok seriously, all jokes aside, the Angels offense is scary.  Scary, because they’re not only coming at you with batters 1-9 in the lineup, but scary because they’re doing this without two of the biggest mashers they have, as Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero both continue to heal from injuries. 

Where do we start?  Well, I’m sure Mike Scioscia and staff are breathing a little easier after Joe Saunders tossed 6 innings, only allowing 4 runs on 9 hits.  Not that this is a strong start by any means, but we need to acknoweldge progress when it’s made, even if it is measured in baby steps.  Saunders recovered after 2 rough innings much like Ervin Santana did the night before, to win for the first time in over a month, his 9th win of the season. The game was in question going into the 6th inning with the Angels up 6-4, but the Halos offense blasted the game wide open, keyed by 3 home runs in the inning.  The first of the three was courtesy of Maicer Izturis, a 3 run blow, and then Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales went back to back, giving the team a nice 7 run cushion that the Twins couldn’t recover from.  And no, Twins fans, tonight wasn’t a case of dejavu’.  Also amongst the offensive contributors were Gary Matthews Jr. and Mike Napoli who each had 3 hits in the attack.  Napoli now has 7 hits in the first two games of the series.  Sean Rodriguez, making his first career start in left field, had two hits and scored twice as well. 

Tomorrow, the Halos go for the sweep as Jered Weaver takes on Glen Perkins.  Weaver went a solid 7 innings in his last start against the Twins, back on July 23rd, and didn’t figure in the decision.  The Rangers finally lost a game, to Seattle 7-2 and now trail the Angles by 4 games in the AL West.  Also, the Halos now own the best record in the American League, at 62-40.  It’s amazing that for much of the first half of the season, the Angels hovered right around the .500 mark, and due to their torrid play of late, claim the top spot in the league. 

Until next time Angel fans  

Angels Hold on For Dear Life, Defeat Indians 7-6.

Jered Weaver, so far this year, has been the ace of the Angels staff.  Tonight though, wasn’t very ace-like.  Weaver became the fourth Angel starter in a row to have a sub par outing, going 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs on Tuesday night in Anaheim.  Matt Palmer, who is much better as a reliever, demonstrated this by tossing 3 innings of one hit relief, quieting an Indians lineup that had their sights set on lighting up Halo pitching for the second consecutive night.  Weaver allowed single runs in every inning he pitched except for the 3rd, and gave up solo home runs to Ben Francisco and Jhonny Peralta. 

Indians starter David Huff did a fine job in his first 7 innings. But things changed quickly for the lefty as he headed to the mound to start the 7th, up 4-3.  He allowed the first two batters to reach base; Erick Aybar on an infield single, and walking Mr. Patience, Bobby Abreu.  Huff was then taken out, and reliever Joe Smith allowed an RBI single to Juan Rivera, tying things up, (allowing Jered Weaver to spit the hook of a loss out of his mouth) before getting Mike Napoli to ground into a double play.  Smith was then replaced by Tony Sipp.  Sipp then walked pinch hitter Maicer Izturis and Kendry Morales. You could almost see more hairs turn grey on the head of the Tribe’s skipper, Eric Wedge as up came Gary Matthews Jr, who was hitting a lofty .140 from the right side of the plate on the year.  Gary proceeded to slam a double to the left center field gap, scoring all 3 Angels, and giving the club a 7-4 lead.  This was clearly the biggest hit of the season for Matthews Jr.  I’ve been pretty rough on Gary all year long, and let me take this opportunity to give him some kudos for getting that hit.  It was Matthew’s 2nd double of the game,  both coming from the right side.  You see, sometimes in baseball, stats are overrated.  I’m not sure about the rest of you out there, but I was honestly wondering how Cleveland’s record and place in the divison was so bad, but their bullpen work in the 8th alone, helped explain a lot.

Brian Fuentes, who got roughed up the night before, blowing the save, took the mound to start the ninth, looking for redemption.  The Tribe had other ideas, as Andy Marte led off with a walk, followed by Asdrubal Cabrera, who rung a double off the right field wall.  Pinch hitter Jamey Carroll singled in a run, and Fuentes then walked Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases with nobody out, and the Tribe down 7-5.  Fuentes was then taken out, with no redemption having been found, and replaced by Jason Bulger.  Bulger then induced a double play ground ball from Victor Marinez, as the Indians pulled within a run, 7-6.  Bulger then got Jhonny Peralta to ground out to short, ending the game, to the absolute delight of the Halo faithful.  This was Bulger’s first career save, definitely one that he will remember.  Matt Palmer picked up the victory, his 9th of the year, and in this game, he definitely earned it.  

Brian Fuentes hasn’t recorded an out in his last two outings, which were both atrocious.  Let’s hope he can pull out of whatever funk he is in, and right the ship.  His last two outings gave us glimpses back to how he was at the beginning of the year and on a night when the 1980’s were celebrated at the Big A, nobody wants to revisit Fuentes’ early season struggles.  

Also, in case you were wondering, the Rangers won again.  The Halos slim lead still sits at 2.5 games in the AL West.  Tonight also saw some dramatics come from their AAA team, as pitcher Sean O’Sullivan (who has started witht he big club this year) threw a no-hitter, just missing a perfect game.  Congratulations Sean.  

Tomorrow afternoon, John Lackey takes the mound in the series finale, taking on Indians lefty Aaron Laffey.  The Angels need Big John to take the ball and have a strong outing, as the bullpen has been taxed over the past four games pretty heavily.  The Halos will enjoy an off day on Thursday, before heading out of town on a road trip to Minnesota and Chicago.

Until next time Angel fans. 

   

Angels KO Twins in 4th, Extend Streak to 8

The Angels game between the Twins on Saturday afternoon can best be described as a much anticipated boxing match.  Both sides jabbing at each other early, as the Twins jump ahead 2-0 after Jason Kubel’s third inning home run.  However, the Angels were all business to start the fourth round, I mean inning.  Chone Figgins came out swinging, landing a sweet left uppercut that ended up in the right field stands for his third homer of the season.  Angel after Angel followed, landing jabs and various combinations of their own.  Twins starter Nick Blackburn, who had set the first nine Angels down, was quickly on the ropes and throwing a tantrum in the dugout as the knockout blow was provided by the mighty Maicer Izturis, who landed a left uppercut of his own, this time off of R.A. Dickey, a three run shot to right that sealed the Twins fate, and secured the 8th victory in a row for the Halos, as they went on to win 11-5.  Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire remarked that the Twins needed to “get back” to their brand of baseball, and that, in a nutshell, describes exactly what the Angels do to you.  The Angles make you play their game, bottom line.  They do this in the form of going 1st to 3rd relentlessly, getting runners over when needed, and attacking you in waves that would make killer bees look mild.  Combine this with a newfound solid bullpen and decent starting pitching, and you get a club that is on an absolute tear.  Let’s not mention that really all that you hear about in the media is how hot the Phillies and Yankees are.  The Angels like it this way.  And so do their fans.

Matt Palmer pushed his record to 8-1, after getting his first start after many bullpen appearances.  Palmer, in usual Palmer fashion, did enough to keep the team in the game, and again was awarded like an only child of rich parents on Christmas, with an abundance of offensive support.  The bullpen as a whole, did the job, minus Shane Loux who is still getting a little rust off after a long stay on the DL, and in a game like this, worked out great for the Halos.  

On the offensive side of things, other than the home runs by Figgins and Izturis, (who had two hits each, respectively) Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick each added two hits of their own. Not to be outdone, Bobby Abreu collected three htis. The only Angel starter not to have a hit, was Gary Matthews Jr.

However Angel fans, all may not be 100% well with the team.  With the Phillies apparently not willing to meet the trade demands of the Blue Jays in their attempt to ship Roy Halladay, the Angels now find themselves as potential landing site for the Jays ace.  It is rumored that players that the Jays want in return, range from Erick Aybar, Mike Napoli, Joe Saunders and possibly Jered Weaver.  Would Tony Reagins dare ship away the likes of Aybar, Napoli, or Weaver? Granted Halladay will be under contract until the end of next year, so we won’t be renting a player which was the case with Mark Teixeira last year, but, with the way these young players have become such an integral part of the success this year, it would be very hard to see them go.  I personally think the Angels should operate from the standpoint that the Jays will never get as much as they can for Halladay as they will right now.  With that being said, if the Blue Jays can’t find someone to meet their trade demands, and have to hold onto him, Halladay’s value this time next year will be much, much less.  Halladay has already told the club that he isn’t going to sign an extension and will test free agency, so they need to get rid of him.  They need to trade him now.  There is no need for the Halos to meet their demands because if they don’t trade him, the Blue Jays will ultimately lose out in the end.   Plus, I would like to see what these Angels can do, given the chance.  Imagine if Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders can get their act together and provide some much needed consistency to the starting rotation. 

The Angels go for the series sweep tomorrow with Minnesota’s Anthony Swarzak opposing Ervin Santana.  Santana, might I add, is still searching for his first home win of the year.  Yes, his first home win. 

Until next time Angel fans.

Santana Struggles, Angels Manage to Take Game One Vs. Royals

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. 

Angels Sweep Yanks, Head into Break Atop Division

The Angels wrapped up a three game sweep Sunday afternoon, defeating the Yankees 5-4 on a sun blistering afternoon in Anaheim.  Perhaps though, it was a little hotter at the stadium compared to the rest of Orange County, and that folks, can be attributed to the halos.  The Angels completed a ten game homestand, finishing 7-3 and had into the All-Star Break with a 1.5 game lead over the second place Texas Rangers.  Those same Rangers, you remember, just left Anaheim after taking 2 of 3 and enjoying a slim one game lead in the division. To make matters worse, before this series against the Yanks began, the Angels placed both Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter on the disabled list.  Needless to say, most Angels fans including yours truly, were concerned over how exactly they would score runs, and who would step up in the absence of the injured players.  To make matters worse, Juan Rivera left in the first game of the series with a hamstring injury and although he isn’t expected to be placed on the DL, he missed the final two games against the Yankees.

Brandon Wood, Robb Quinlan and Gary Matthews Jr. all made the most of their new found opportunities, each contributing to victories in the series.  Combined with strong play by Kendre Morales, Bobby Abreu, Chone Figgins and the rest of the club, the Angels quickly showed the character and grit that will be needed throughout the rest of the season, and  that, was a welcome sign to Halo fans.  Both clubs put up football type scores in the first two games, as the Angels took game one 10-6, and game two 14-8.  Game three turned out to be more of a typical Angel game.  Strong starting pitching from John Lackey, who outdueled C.C. Sabathia for 7 strong innings.  A little hiccup provided by Justin Speier and spotty defense briefly let the Yankees back in the game, but Darren Oliver pitched a solid 8th and Brian Fuentes picked up his 26th save, setting the Bronx Bombers down in order in the 9th, culminated by strking out famed steroid (sorry Alex, but nobody buys the fact that you only used steroids in Texas..) user and all around pretty boy Alex Rodriguez to close the door.

I also must admit that I found great joy in the fact that Mark (fill in your own expletive here) Teixeira went a superb 2-14 in the series, and thoroughly enjoyed watching Kendre Morales (who replaced Teixeira) round the bases in game one after hitting a bomb of his own.

So, Angel fans, enjoy this sweep, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  The second half of the season begins in Oakland, and gives the Angels an opportunity to show that they can win against the AL West, whom they have for the most part, struggled against so far this year.  Also, you have to wonder if the club will be involved in any big trades.  With Roy Halladay available, and under contract through next year, it sure would be nice to see the Angels land him, as getting an ace like Halladay, combined with the other horses we have in our rotation would surely make the Angels serious threats to make it deep into the playoffs.  The Angels also have needs in the bullpen to look at filling.  Needless to say, Tony Reagins will have his hands busy in this second half. 

Until next time Angel fans