The Angels, like Stella, finally got their groove back. For the Angels though, it didn’t require them to take a vacation to Jamaica., It did though, come at the hands of White Sox starter John Danks who served as the Angel punching bag, allowing 3 home runs, and finished the day lasting 6 innings, giving up 7 runs as the Halos took the finale of the three game series and avoided the sweep, beating Chicago 9-5. The Angels flexed a little muscle in the form of home runs by Jeff Mathis, Vladimir Guerrero (welcome back Vladdy!), Bobby Abreu (the 250th of his career) and Erick Aybar. For a team than managed a combined 11 hits in the first two games of this series, the Halos managed 11 hits alone in their victorious effort Thursday afternoon. Along with his home run, Aybar had another 2 hits, finishing the game going 3-4 scoring twice and driving in 2. The Halos were also busy on the basepaths, swiping 4 bags, including 2 by Chone Figgins. The Angels were also caught stealing 3 times, which goes to show that Angels skipper Mike Scioscia wanted to let his team make their own breaks today, and it paid off.
Ervin Santana got the victory, improving his record to 4-6. The righty threw 6 quality innings that looked better on the field than in the box score. The big blow was a 3 run home run by Jayson Nix in the 2nd, and other than that, was in complete control throughout. Jason Bulger folllowed with 2 innings of perfect relief, and Kevin Jepsen wrapped things up in the 9th despite a solo home run by Dewayne Wise.
The Angels wrapped up their road trip with an impressive 4-2 mark, however the impressiveness was nearly all in Minnesota, as the team struggled mightily in the windy city. With the 2nd place Texas Rangers coming into town for the biggest series of the year, the Halos hope to leave their struggles behind in Chicago.
Game 1 will see Angels lefty Joe Saunders take on Scott Feldman. Saunders, who has had his fair share of struggles all year long, knows that this is going to be his biggest start of the year, as the Rangers, needless to say, have had the Angles number all year long. A sweep by the Angels could nearly drive the final nail in the Rangers coffin. The Rangers won today, keeping pace with the Angels as their lead sits at 4.5 games. Angel fans, hope your seat belts are ready, as this weekend is going to be good.
Until next time Angel fans.
This game just didn’t feel right from the beginning. The White Sox thwarted the Angels attempt to win their 6th in a row, taking the first game of this series 5-4. In a game in which the Angels best starter and best chance for a win in this series was throwing, the Angels couldn’t get the victory. Scott Podsednik was the hero tonight for the Sox, providing the walk off magic by singling in Jayson Nix to give the White Sox the victory on Tuesday night.
This game, although unlikely at first, turned into a pitchers duel. Angel starter John Lackey, went 8 solid innings, giving up only 4 runs on 5 hits, while striking out 8. However, Big John was in a bit of a giving mood early on, giving up solo home runs in each of the first two innings; to rookie Gordon Beckham in the 1st and Carlos Quentin in the 2nd. White Sox starter Jose Contreras only gave up one hit of his own, however he ended up walking five and uncorked three wild pitches, only lasting 2 2/3 innings before Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sent him to an early shower. Due to Contreras’ wildness, a warning was issued to both sides by home plate umpire Joe West after Contreras nearly beaned Vladimir Guerrero in the 3rd. This was a great disappointment to me, which meant my chances of watching John Lackey drill A.J. Pierzynkski in the back with a heater were next to none. Sorry A.J., some people just never forget….
Oh, and another classy move from AJ was when he tried in vein to get the team to appeal Chone Figgins tagging up to score on a sac fly in the 5th. Replays showed he clearly left on time, and showed again, how much of a horses *** Pierzynski can be. The game itself had a bit of an odd feeling to it, as Vladimir Guerrero made his long awaited return from the disabled list, and to be honest, I wasn’t really even excited when I saw his name in the lineup. The reason being, is because his presence in the lineup put an end to the great chemistry and streaky hitting that we had been seeing since the All Star Break. A lineup full of patient yet potent hitters now had a hitter smack in the middle of the lineup who has no patience. Vlad swings at everything. He’s even been known to swing at bags of peanuts as they’re tossed from the peanut guy to an expecting fan. With Vlad occupying the DH role, Mike Napoli was given the night off, which meant the club would be without one of their most reliable hitters of late. Also, in addition to the oddity of this game, it appears that the White Sox dedicated this entire series to Mark Buehrle in commemoration of the perfect game that was thrown weeks ago. No, Angel fans, the Soap Channel didn’t gain control of Major League Baseball today, sorry. Maybe I’m alone in how lame I find this to be, if you’re going to dedicate a series to anyone, how about dedicating it to one of the thousands of troops we have overseas?
Getting back to the game, the White Sox bullpen was the real reason they won. D.J. Carrasco came in to relieve Jose Contrereas, and threw 4 innings of 2 hit ball, only allowing 1 run. Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless 9th and picked up his 6th win of the season.
As for the Halos, Mr. Patient, Bobby Abreu had a single and drove in 3. Other than him though, the Angels as a team only managed 5 lousy hits. Perhaps someone should check, just to be safe, that the bats used tonight were in fact the same ones used in Minnesota.
Game 2 of the series, tomorrow night will see Sean O’sullivan, fresh off of his no hitter in Triple A, take on Gavin Floyd. Last time I looked in the mirror I wasn’t Mike Scioscia, but if I were Mike, I would march out the same lineup that has been beating up on opponents on a regular basis, and that means sitting Vladdy. Torii Hunter should be headed to Arkansas for a rehab assignment on Thursday, and should be back by Sunday or Monday. Although Matthews has filled in admirably for Hunter, it will be such a lift to get him back.
Until next time Angel fans.