This wasn’t at all what Sean O’Sullivan had planned as he prepared to take the mound against the Blue Jays in game one of this three game series. The rookie right hander didn’t record an out in the 2nd inning, and left having yielded 4 runs to the Blue Jays as the Jays went on to win, 5-4. The outing was yet another in a newly formed trend of poor starts from Angels rookie starting pitchers lately. Granted Trevor Bell did pick up his first major league win his last turn around in Cleveland, but it was far from pretty. The bullpen did the best they could with solid relief coming in the form of Matt Palmer (who may see himself getting O’Sullivan’s turn in the rotation next time) and Jose Arredondo, who limited the Jays to only 1 run for the rest of the game. The Angels offense wasn’t much better, at least through the first 8 innings. The bats appeared to have taken the night off for the second night in a row, only managing one run, but Mike Napoli provided an ulcer building moment for Jays manager Cito Gaston, hitting a 3 run home run in the Angels half of the ninth to bring the Halos within a run. Casey Janssen would induce a game ending groundout by pinch hitter Bobby Abreu to notch the save and the victory for Toronto with Howie Kendrick on 2nd base.
Yorba Linda native Marc Rzepczynski (last time I will type that name – haha) silenced the Angels bats for 6 1/3 innings, only allowing 3 hits and 1 run to pick up the victory. After somewhat of a shaky first inning, he found his form – and his slider and pitched well. Adam Lind hit his 29th home run off of O’Sullivan in the first to help start the Jays attack.
Tomorrow, Ervin Santana will get the start in an afternoon game, and look to get the Angels off of this 2 game skid. He will be opposed by Scott Richmond, as both pitchers will look to pick up their 7th win of the season.
The Rangers lost in Tampa Bay, so the Angels lead still sits at 5.5 games. Elsewhere around the league, the Yankees continue beating anyone and everyone, outscoring the hated Red Sox in a run scoring extravaganza, 20-11. The Red Sox appear to be getting some bullpen relief in the form of Mets lefty Billy Wagner, who is just now getting back from a left elbow injury suffered nearly 12 months ago. The Red Sox hold a slim 1 game lead in the Wild Card over the Rangers. Let’s see if Ervin can build off of his recent success and provide the club with a much needed quality start.
Until next time Angel fans.
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.
Angel fans, take notice. Of what, you ask? In case you didn’t notice, we are watching our future shortstop blossom right before our eyes. Erick Aybar had himself one heck of a day, a mammoth of a day, going a combined 7-9 in the doubleheader Tuesday, helping the Angels win game 2 by a score of 10-2 and sweeping both games of this doubleheader from the struggling Royals. The 2nd game was definitely the better of the two for Aybar, as the Angels shortstop went 4-5, driving in 3, and coming within a home run of hitting for the cycle. The only thing that Aybar didn’t do Tuesday night, was walk on water, which I hear he was rumored to be attempting in the whirpool after the game.
Also a member of the A-Team was Bobby Abreu. Abreu was no slouch himself, going 3-4 with 3 doubles and 3 RBI’s. Sharing in the festivities with two hits apiece were Robb Quinlan (who went deep for the first time this year) Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick. It’s good to see Willits get some hits, as generally everytime you look up he’s down in the count 0-2, and anytime Howie Kendrick gets a hit, it’s reason to celebrate.
Sean O’sullivan did enough to earn the victory, going 5 1/3 and allowing both of the Royal runs. Bruce Chen, who opposed O’Sullivan, wasn’t so lucky. It appeared all game long that Chen and catcher Joe Buck weren’t on the same page, as the two engaged in mulitiple catcher to pitcher mound visits throughout the game. The Angels bullpen completed the day of shutout baseball, while Justin Speier, Shane Loux, and Matt Palmer shut the Royals down the rest of the way.
What might be the best part of today’s sweep, is that the club won not only without Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter, who both are expected to be weeks away from returning, but also without Juan Rivera, who has carried most of the load with the big guns on the disabled list. The Angels have been so hot lately, it’s almost scary to thing how good they could really be if the starting rotation got it’s act together, and everyone returned from injury. With a healthy lineup, the Angels come out you from all angles, like a spider monkey hopped up on Mountain Dew, and there are very few holes, if any, to be exploited. Really, all that remains to be seen is the starting rotation, mainly Santana and Saunders – if those two can come around and pitch with some consistency, this could be the year for the Angels. The bullpen, which was an embarassment for almost the first half of the year, is now looking very good,and with Jose Arredondo rumored to be close to a promotion back to the big club, could be looking even better. Shane Loux, who has been out for what seems like an eternity, made an appearance, going two innings of hitless relief.
So, Angel fans, tonight is a night to enjoy, to sit back, have a few cold ones, and take in the fact that we’ve got one heck of a hot team on our hands and the rest of this season is shaping up to be a lot of fun.
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.
Let’s be honest Angel fans, the halos not only lost their 2nd straight to the Rangers, but they practically gave this one to Texas on a silver platter. Granted, Hank Blalock’s walk off home run was what won the game, but four huge baserunning blunders by the Angels set Hank up for his mighty shot.
Juan Rivera, despite hitting his most clutch home run in his big league career of Frank Francisco (who hasn’t seen anything fly so fast out of the park since he threw a chair at a fan in Oakland years ago) in the 9th to tie things up, only to have their heart’s broken moments later, was involved in two of these all by himself. And when you thought the worst was over on the basepaths with those, we then witnessed Vlad Guerrero decide to try to steal second while the Angels were trying to get something brewing, in the top of the 7th, only to be thrown out while Torii Hunter was on 3rd. This was followed by Chone Figgins leading off the ninth and trying to stretch a double into a triple only to change his mind halfway in between 2nd and 3rd, resulting in the first out of the inning.
Jerrod Weaver looked like the solid Jerrod Weaver we’ve seen all year long, but over the course of the next two innings, he did his best big brother impersonation, finally being taken out to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” (just like Joe Saunders the night before) lasting 5 1/3 innings, and yielding 7 runs on 8 hits. Kevin Jepson and his soon to be demoted to AAA 12.34 ERA then came in, allowing 2 more hits before the last out was mercifully made. Matt Palmer provided two innings of solid relief, only to hand the ball to another of the bullpen regulars, Justin Speier, who put the final touches on this Angels Masterpiece. Despite the baserunning blunders, something has got to be done with the bullpen. It seems as if every lead is as safe as a bulldog under Michael Vick’s care – and how much longer this is going to be tolerated is anyone’s guess, but hopefully not too much longer.
Furthermore, Angel fans, the halos are 1-5 vs Texas and 10-14 against the AL West so far this year – typcially something, much like their bullpen work, they are much better at. Let’s see if Vlad can keep up the hot hitting away from Texas, as the Angels come back home to open a huge 10 game homestand against Baltimore, Texas, and the hated Yanks. John Lackey will get things started, taking the ball in game one tomorrow night.
Until next time Angel fans.