Tagged: Jeff Mathis

Santana Sparkles, Shuts Down Rays

Tonight’s game was a complete opposite of last night’s offensive extravaganza that saw the Angels win 8-7.  Ervin Santana completely manhandled and shut down a powerful Rays lineup, going the distance while allowing only 3 hits to get the complete game shutout.  This also happened to be his first home win of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Halos.  Santana, to be blunt, has been wildly inconsistent all year long, and in a week that saw the Halos put lefty starter Joe Saunders on the DL, this is something that the club really needed.  It remains to be seen though, if Santana can build off of this start and provide some much needed consistency for the club and the starting staff in particular.

Rays starter David Price performed much better than his line shows.  The lengthly lefthander carried a no hitter into the fifth inning, an inning in which, the wheels started falling off.  Reggie Willits helped lead to the demise of Price after a clutch 2 RBI single with two outs in the fifth and was driven in by the next batter, Chone Figgins, who singled to put the Halos up 3-0.  Jeff Mathis put the icing on the cake with a bases loaded double off the left field fence, driving in 3 and putting the Angels up to stay, 6-0, and sending Price off to an early, lonesome shower.

The Rangers were shutout by the Indians today, so now the Halos lead the division by 5 games.  In the series finale tommorow, Trevor Bell of the Angels will make his major league debut, and will be opposed by the Rays Jeff Niemann.  It will be an early start for the game, at 12:35.  The club is also expecting to see the return of centerfielder Torii Hunter, which will be a much welcomed sight for the club.  Justin Speier, who had been very inconsistent in the pen all year long, was released today as the club made room on the roster for Bell.   

On a separate note, it was great to see the Tigers Rick Porcello throw the charging Kevin Youkillis to the ground during the benches clearing brawl.  I hope he gets a nice fat suspension for his actions. 

Until next time Angel fans.

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Angels Find Offense, Salvage Final Game of Series Against Sox

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.   

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 and Weaver Return Favor, Dump Rangers

This time, (as best put by Sasha Baren-Cohen in his famous movie, Borat) he get this.  This, as in revenge against a Texas Ranger team that put him through his worst outing of the season last start out, in which the Rangers beat up Weaver and the Angels, 9-7.  This time however, Weaver pitched seven solid innings, giving up three earned runs while fanning nine to earn his ninth win of the season, and, spoiled the return of Ranger’s Slugger Josh Hamilton, who had missed nearly 5 weeks with an abdominal injury.  Even allowing two runs in the first wasn’t too much of a problem for Weaver and the Halos, as they demonstrated for the third game in a row, that being down early is no reason to hit the panic button.  In fact, it’s quickly becoming a calling card for this first place club.

After spotting the Rangers 2 runs, Jeff Mathis, in the bottom of the second, put the Angels up for good, hitting a three-run home run off the Ace of the Rangers staff, Kevin Millwood, who, unbeknownst to him, was embarking on a titanic of a start, which would be his worst start of the year, and tie a career high with nine earned runs allowed in 5 innings of work.  Mathis’ home run came on yet another fastball from Millwood, his sixth in a row that he threw him, and was neatly deposited near the rock pile in left center field.  Chone Figgins, always the table setter, walked in three consecutive plate appearances, which Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Juan Rivera and Kendre Morales were all too eager to cash in for runs.  In the end, clutch hitting by the teeth of the Angels order (the Angels 3-5 hitters went a combined 7-12 with 5 RBI’s) proved to be the Rangers downfall, and was just what the Angels and Weaver needed to start this all too important series which now sees the Angels in sole posession of first place.

What was once the achilles heel for the Angels this year, it’s bullpen –  turned in another scoreless relief outing, with Justin Speier and Kevin Jepsen each throwing an inning of shutout baseball.

Tomorrow’s game pits big John Lackey against little known Dustin Nippert, who will make his first start of the season.  You can be sure that revenge will be on the mind of Lackey, as his first start of the season was cut short against these Rangers back on May 18th, after only 2 pitches.  Pay special attention to his matchups against Ian Kinsler, who snapped an 0-24 streak with a seventh inning home run on Monday.

Until next time Angel Fans