Tagged: Mike Scioscia

Angels Lose Absolute Heartbreaker to Boston

Well Angel fans, to be blunt, this one hurt.. it hurt real bad.  What should have been an Angel victory turned into defeat after home plate umpire Rick Reed (this year’s version of Doug Eddings) first didn’t call Nick Green’s check swing on a two strike pitch as the third strike, and second, on the same at bat, didn’t call a 3-2 fastball for strike 3 (which replays clearly showed was well inside ESPN’s strike zone).  As a result, Green walked, forcing in the tying run.  The next batter, Alex Gonzalez, drove in the winning run on a bloop single to left, giving the Sox the victory.  I am very curious to see what, if any discipline Reed gets for this blatant missed call.  Gotta love home cooking if you’re a Red Sox fan….

The Angels can get some sort of silver lining out of this loss.  This loss, especially combined with the fact that the Angels had and lost the lead 3 separate times, should bode them well in the playoffs.  They just got a chance to experience utter heartbreak, only this time, it’s during the regular season and not during the playoffs.  Hopefully this will be all they need and to start playing better baseball, as tonight again, the defense let down the starting pitcher, and twice the team couldn’t cash in on bases loaded and less than two out situations.

The loss takes the club to 0-3 so far on this crucial road trip, but thank goodness Texas forgot how to hit a baseball, as the Rangers have lost 3 in a row as well, to keep the Angels lead at 6 games.  I don’t know exactly what wise words Mike Scioscia can deliver to his team after tonight’s loss, but something needs to be done to turn this team around, and this needs to be done quick.

Vladimir Guerrero was hit by former Dodger Takashi Saito in the ribs with a crisp fastball in the 6th, and had to leave the game an inning later with what the club called a bruised ribcage and is listed day to day.  I think fair retalitation would be for a certain steroid user, Mr. David Ortiz, to feel the same pain tomorrow in his first at bat.  The Angels need to show that they’re not going to be pushed around, especially by these Red Sox. 

The Angels get to face Josh Beckett and his fancy necklace tomorrow, and the Halos will give the ball to Ervin Santana.  A strong start by Santana will help any chances he has to get a start in this year’s post season.

I know this loss was tough to swallow Angel fans – hopefully tomorrow goes better.

Until next time Angel fans.

 

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Biggest Road Trip of Season Awaits Angels

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. 

 

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 Bats Sleep in Loss to Chicago

Ahh, Angel fans, there is nothing like losing to an inferior team for the second time in as many days.  The Angels again struggled offensively and fell to the White Sox 6-2 on Wednesday night.  Gavin Floyd silenced Angel bats, going 8 solid innings, while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits.  Floyd had the Angels number all night, never finding himself in any major trouble.  The Angels, as previously stated, only managed 6 hits, which was 1 more than they mustered last night.  An offense that was hotter than Megan Fox on a Saturday night, again re-visited ghosts of playoff nightmares past, in losing their 2nd game in a row to Chicago. 

Angels starter Sean O’sullivan definitely deserved better.  Entering the 5th inning, he had been, for the most part, effective.  He had only allowed 2 runs up until that point, and was already out of the game as Jim Thome hit his 2nd home run of the game, this one, a 3 run shot off of reliever Darren Oliver to blow the game wide open, giving the Sox a 5-1 lead.  Paul Konerko added a solo shot off of Brian Fuentes in the 8th to put the cherry on top for Chicago. 

Also, for the 2nd game in a row, Vladimir Guerrero occupied the DH role and clean up spot, and for the 2nd game in a row, the Halos were flat on offense.  It was obvious that the team wouldn’t be able to keep up with their torrid hitting of late, but nobody expected the team to go from boiling hot to freezing cold.  Is this a coincidence, with Vlad now in the lineup?  Would it hurt to take Vlad out for a few games and see what happens?  While it is understandable that Mike Scioscia wants to get Vlad back in the lineup, at what point does he realize that in the end, Vlad may be doing more bad than good?

At least Angel fans, the Rangers lost, keeping the team’s lead at 4.5 games in the division.  The White Sox go for the series sweep tomorrow as they march John Danks out to the hill to oppose Ervin Santana.  After such a great series in Minnesota, it’s hard to believe that the club could return from the road trip at 3-3.  On a personal side note, not sure if anyone noticed that Sean O’sullivan threw a high hard one right near the bleach blond head of A.J. Pierzynksi, and while the pitch didn’t connect, it did provide me much enjoyment seeing that weisel squirm. 

Until next time Angel fans. 

Sox Edge Angels 5-4

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.  

Angels Trounce Twins 11-6

The Angels, simply put, beat the cream filled stuffing out of the Twinkies, scoring 11 runs for the second time in as many nights in Minnesota, beating the Twins 11-6.  In fact, a performance this hot on a Saturday night was heard to make John Travolta jealous.  Ok, all jokes aside, the Angels crushed Twins pitching all night long like Stevie Wonder.  Ok seriously, all jokes aside, the Angels offense is scary.  Scary, because they’re not only coming at you with batters 1-9 in the lineup, but scary because they’re doing this without two of the biggest mashers they have, as Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero both continue to heal from injuries. 

Where do we start?  Well, I’m sure Mike Scioscia and staff are breathing a little easier after Joe Saunders tossed 6 innings, only allowing 4 runs on 9 hits.  Not that this is a strong start by any means, but we need to acknoweldge progress when it’s made, even if it is measured in baby steps.  Saunders recovered after 2 rough innings much like Ervin Santana did the night before, to win for the first time in over a month, his 9th win of the season. The game was in question going into the 6th inning with the Angels up 6-4, but the Halos offense blasted the game wide open, keyed by 3 home runs in the inning.  The first of the three was courtesy of Maicer Izturis, a 3 run blow, and then Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales went back to back, giving the team a nice 7 run cushion that the Twins couldn’t recover from.  And no, Twins fans, tonight wasn’t a case of dejavu’.  Also amongst the offensive contributors were Gary Matthews Jr. and Mike Napoli who each had 3 hits in the attack.  Napoli now has 7 hits in the first two games of the series.  Sean Rodriguez, making his first career start in left field, had two hits and scored twice as well. 

Tomorrow, the Halos go for the sweep as Jered Weaver takes on Glen Perkins.  Weaver went a solid 7 innings in his last start against the Twins, back on July 23rd, and didn’t figure in the decision.  The Rangers finally lost a game, to Seattle 7-2 and now trail the Angles by 4 games in the AL West.  Also, the Halos now own the best record in the American League, at 62-40.  It’s amazing that for much of the first half of the season, the Angels hovered right around the .500 mark, and due to their torrid play of late, claim the top spot in the league. 

Until next time Angel fans  

Rangers Erupt in Fifth, Bury Lackey, Angels

John Lackey’s start Tuesday night was going exactly as he had envisioned – that is, until the Texas Rangers clouded the vision, erupting for 6 runs with two outs in the fifth, keyed by a three run home run by the infamous Andruw Jones, and sent a stunned John Lackey to an early shower.  Lackey had scattered four hits through four, and looked well on his way to guiding the Angels to victory in game two of this series, which would have given the Angels a two game lead in the division, but the Rangers had other plans.  WIth two outs in the fourth, the floodgates opened, and there was nothing Lackey could do to stop them.

The game was also marked by Vladimir Guerrero’s second start in right field this year, a start that saw Guerrerowhich leave the game with an apparent knee injury after fielding Elvis Andrus single in the top of the 8th.  Guerrero, who looks to be in pain when he does virtually anything involving human movement, was in obvious discomfort.

The Angels did have their chances, however couldn’t come through when it mattered, as both Bobby Abreu and Mike Napoli stranded the bases loaded in both the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

The rubber game of this series will see the Rangers Vicente “El Beanballer” Padilla face Ervin Santana.  Ervin looked a little rusty in his return last start, but his velocity was there, and manager Mike Scioscia was happy with the “crispness” of Santana’s pitches.  Wish there was more I could share with you about tonight’s game, but there’s something about blowing a 3-0 lead with your Ace on the hill, that leaves you feeling a little crummy inside.  I can only feel how bad John Lackey must feel.

Until next time Angel fans.