Halo fans, for the 2nd consecutive night, the Angels were beaten by an overrated starter. Also, the team’s defense, which is normally solid, played a huge role in this loss. After Joba Chamberlain kept them in check for 4 innings the night before (and if anyone feels the need to argue with me the fact that he isn’t overrated, please tell me someone else in recent baseball history who has gotten so much attention and done virtually nothing), Daisuke Matsuzaka did the trick tonight, keeping the Angels bat’s silent, as the Red Sox won, 4-1.
The matchup Tuesday definitely had a playoff type feel to it. But that’s not a good thing Angel fans. This playoff feel was really just a reminder of how much the Angels choke when it comes to the Red Sox. What Donnie Moore and the club back in 1986 experienced is still happening 23 years later. From the beginning, the Angels acted like their offense, which, what feels like ages ago was almost a guarantee of scoring 10 runs a game, was going to be as lethargic as Oprah Winfrey after a hot fudge sundae. You could just see that unless a small miracle happened, it would be hard to scratch even one run across the board. The only Angel who deserves no fault is John Lackey. He pitched his heart out for 7 2/3 innings only to get absolutely no backing by the offense. Angels, if this is the same song and dance against the Red Sox we are going to see in the first round, just tell me now so I can save myself from the mulitiple ulcers this will cause and the years I will lose on my life. Tell me now.
The Angels should be thanking their lucky stars that the Texas Rangers too have forgotten how to score runs. Having lost the first 2 games in pathetic fashion on this most important trip, the Rangers have also dropped their last 2 games to keep the Angels lead in the division at 6 games.
As a die hard Angel fan, I am starting to develop that ever so familiar pit in my stomach feeling that comes around this time of year. When is this team going to play to it’s full potential when it matters most? Maybe I just expect too much. I mean, they can barely manage to get through their own division – at times it amazes me how they have the record that they do, seeing as they generally don’t show up for the big games.
Let it be known, the Red Sox beat the Angels rather easily without Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez in the lineup – 2 guys you know we will see in the first round. Oh yeah, and instead of getting Daisuke, we will get an all you can eat buffet of Josh Beckett and Jon Lester… Just food for thought Angel fans.
Now, I drink some beers and try to relax until tomorrow night’s game. Wherever you are Angel fans, have one with me.
Until next time Angel fans.
A desire from many players on the Angels and furthermore from around major league baseball players in general, is to play meaningful baseball in September. Well, for the 25 guys who wear the Angels uniform, this road trip is as good as it gets.
The Halos hit the road to take on the other top 3 teams in the AL, for what will be the ultimate test for them. The Angels first head to New York for a make up game before shooting to Boston and Texas for 3 games apiece before finally coming home and getting to face the Yankees for 3 more. I think it’s safe to say, that the next 10 games, with an extra emphasis on these first 7 on the road, will make or break the Angels season.
Having a 6 game lead on the division is definitely nice, especially at a time like this. The first game pits the Angels best starting pitcher so far this year, Jered Weaver, against the much over rated Joba Chamberlain. Weaver will be looking for his 16th win and, to put his name in discussions for a possible Cy Young award.
The Angels last homestand concluded yesterday with a 3-2 win over the visiting White Sox. The Angels went 5-1 on the homestand, which also saw them sweep 3 from the Mariners. The Halos once white hot offense has cooled of late, but excellent starting pitching and continued solid bullpen work has translated into wins for the club. I think not only for the playoffs, but even this time of the year, the club would rather see it’s starting pitcher where it’s at, compared to how it had been for the majority of the year. The addition of Scott Kazmir, along with a healthy Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana have made all the difference. Kevin Jepsen, who many would say should get team MVP honors, has been amazing in filling in for the injured Scot Shields.
The Angels offense, on the otherhand, could really use a wake up call. Ever since Vladimir Guerrero came off of the DL and occupied the clean up spot in the lineup, the offense hasn’t been the same. At it’s most lethal, the lineup was patient and didn’t swing at bad pitches. That’s exactly the opposite of Guerrero, who just can’t get away with being that type of player anymore. The bad balls he used to hit for doubles and home runs, are now lazy pop ups and fly balls. Mike Scioscia should really consider relegating him to part time duty, and bumping up Kendre Morales to the 4th spot, and getting Mike Napoli more consistent playing time.
Fasten your seatbelts Angels fans, the next 10 games should all be great. I see the Angels jumping all over Joba tonight.
Until next time Angel fans.
In case anyone missed it, apparently the powers that be reorganized the typical calendar and swapped Christmas 25th, with July 8th, as Angel pitching was lit up like a Christmas tree, and gifts were be given to nearly every Ranger hitter. Let me mention this before I forget, the Rangers walloped the Angels 8-1. The Angels pitching was in such the giving mood, that they gift wrapped three home runs to Andruw Jones, and one each for Marlon Byrd and some guy named Taylor Teagarden. Try to bear with me Angel fans, I didn’t really just make up that name, there really is a guy on the Rangers named Taylor Teagarden.. it’s not the newest brand of tea being sold at stores across the southland. I will try to get through this as nicely as I can for you, much like the Angels pitchers strategy Wednesday night – nice and easy.
Ervin Santana, again, struggled mightily. The right hander entered the game with a fabulous 1-4 record and an ERA of 7.43 – which only got worse after his start. After going four uninspired innings, giving up seven hits and six runs, (3 home runs) the ball was handed over to Rich Thompson who fared no better, allowing two home runs of his own in 1 1/3 innings. Kevin Jepson and Matt Palmer apparently were the only Angels pitchers who don’t celebrate Christmas, delivered solid relief.
The Halos were already in a bind going into the game, missing Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter who both sat out with injuries. It remains to be seen the severity of Hunter’s, but it more than likely will cause the leader of the team to miss the All-Star game and possibly more time. Gary Matthews, who is always quick to say he deserves more playing time, again, didn’t come through when needed. Gary, perhaps next time you want to cry about playing time, you’ll look at your anemic average and overall play and figure it out. Oh Juan Rivera, how you will be counted on heavily until he’s back.
Also, while I’m at it, I think the “vote Figgy” campaign is officially over (as I write this, Rex Hudler, among others, is still campaigning for Figgins), and wonder how much of this talk distracted the club in what was the most important series of the season. The Rangers continued to dominate, improving their mark to 7-2 this year again the Halos. This year’s Angels also are struggling agains the rest of the AL West this year – a part of their game they have excelled at in seasons past.
So, Angel fans, here come the Yanks. Here comes Mark “insert your very own expletive here!” Teixeira, and the rest of the newly competetive Yankees. I truly hope the Angels show up for this series, as they should be embarassed over how easily the Rangers walked over them in this last one. Going into the All-Star break, a series win would be a great momentum builder heading into the second half. Joe Saunders will take the hill against over-hyped Joba Chamberlain in the first game. Saunders has been mediocre at best lately, and a solid start will do well to quell some fears amongst the Angels faithful as we head into the second half. As for me, I’m going to go drink a few beers – I hope you’ll join me.
Until next time Angel fans.