For the first five innings Thursday night, Angels starter John Lackey looked to be having another dependable John Lackey type of start. But in the 6th, the Indians circled the Angels wagons one too many times, exploding for 7 runs to break a 1-1 tie and put the game out of reach.
The Angels lineup had a bit of an off night, and well, with the way they have been playing of late, it’s ok. Kendry Morales managed to add his team leading 27th home run of the season, a towering shot to right, but by the time it was hit, the game was already out of reach.
The loss ended the team’s 5 game winning streak as they head into Toronto to wrap up the 10 game road trip already with a 5-2 record. Sean O’Sullivan takes the mound in the opener. His start will be a very important one as, the Angels rookies that had been carrying the team earlier in the year, have now, of late, been somewhat of a sore spot. Trevor Bell did get his first major league win in this last series against Cleveland, but it wasn’t a very pretty one. With Joe Saunders getting closer to coming off the disabled list, there will be one spot left open and both O’Sullivan, Bell, or perhaps a dark horse will be shooting for.
The Rangers shot up the Twins to pull within 5 1/2 games behind the Angels but right now it appears that their eyes are more on their wild card position rather than catching the mighty Halos. The Rangers trail the hated Red Sox by 1 game for the coveted wild card spot.
Until next time Angel fans.
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
John Lackey was the man Wednesday afternoon in Anaheim. He did what none of the four previous Angel starting pitchers have been able to do, which was provide excellent starting pitching on a day that the Angels really needed it. Nevermind the fact that he also did it during a day game, where the ball always carries better at the Big A. Lackey held the recently surging Indian offense in check throughout – giving up only 3 hits and 1 run while fanning 8, as the Halos went on to win, 9-3 . This was definitely what the Halos needed as they wrapped up the homestand, finishing 5-2, and taking 2 of 3 from the Indians. Lackey did what is expected out of an ace – taking the ball when the club needed it and giving them exactly what was expected. I’m already starting to wonder how the team will recover without him next year if he isn’t resigned.
Lackey had plenty of help from the offense, especially from one Howie Kendrick. Howie single handedly picked up Lackey all by himself, going 3-4 with 5 RBI, including his 6th home run of the season, a two run shot off Cleveland reliever Tony Sipp. Kendry Morales and Bobby Abreu continued their hot play, each chipping in with 2 hits of their own. For having been sent down to the minors earlier this year due to his poor hitting, it was great to see Howie break out the big guns today and give us all a glimpse of what the young 2nd baseman can do.
Indians starter Aaron Laffey never did recover from giving up 2 runs while throwing 40+ pitches in the first, as he was sent off of the reservation after not being able to record an out in the 4th, ulitmately giving up 7 runs to the Halos.
Perhaps the Indians were a little distracted today, as before the game, last year’s Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, along with Ben Francisco, were shipped to Philadelphia for 4 minor leaguers. I’m glad I’m not an Indian fans, as the Tribe has now traded away Mark DeRosa, Rafeal Betancourt, Ryan Garko, along with the two traded today. Indians fans, if I’m missing someone else please help me out, but you have to wonder how a team so close to the World Series two years ago, has apparently given up and returned back to a rebuilding mode. Keep in mind, last year Casey Blake and C.C. Sabathia were shipped away. You have to feel bad for the stars left on the team, especially Grady Sizemore, who you know they aren’t going to trade. Most importantly though, you have to feel for the poor Cleveland fans, who can’t be none too happy about any of this. You can imagine lots of firewater is going to be drank on the team’s jet and in the city of Cleveland tonight.
Tomorrow, Halo fans, the Angels are off. They then embark on a road trip to Minnesota and Chicago. Hopefully at some point during the trip, they will welcome back Torii Hunter back from the disabled list. The Rangers, who for the moment are 3 games back in the division, wrap up their series with Detroit and face their ace, Justin Verlander. I don’t root for the Tigers often, but I will be doing so tonight. The Rangers then host the Mariners before going on the road to Oakland. The Angels will return home from their road trip to face the Rangers in what you can expect will be hands down, the biggest series of the year. It will be very interesting to see what both the Angels and Rangers do up until the trade deadline. With Boston now reportedly in the sweepstakes for Roy Halladay, the next few days will be interesting. Let it also be noted, that after 100 games of this season, the Angels are 60-40.
Perhaps it’s a little bit of paranoia on my end, but both Mike Napoli and Erick Aybar were both out of today’s lineup. Granted, it could have been a regular rest day for them, but with all the trade winds swirling the Big A lately, I wonder if potentially either of them are on the verge of being traded, as generally on days players are traded, they are not put in the lineup.
Unitl next time Angel fans.