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
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.
The Angels had no business winning this game. Down 3-0 before the seats were warm, and down 5-3 heading into the 9th both serve as example enough. Problem is though, someone forot to tell the Halos. Before the night was over, the Angels would have earned their 6th victory in a row, and their 31st comeback win of the year, stunning Joe Nathan and the Twins.
The Twins, who got beat around like a bad little league team during their last series against Oakland, looked more like the Twins of old in game one of this four game series Thursday night in Anaheim. Jerrod Weaver managed to recover from allowing 3 runs in the first, finishing with 7 gutsy innings, and putting the club in position to have a chance down the stretch. Two of those three runs in the first, came courtesy of Angel killer Jason Kubel, who hit his 17th home run of the season, a two run shot deep into the right field seats. The Angels were held in check by Twins starter Scott Baker for the first four innings, although the Halos returned the favor, putting Baker through a marathon 30+ pitches in the fifth which would end up being his last, as the Angels scored twice, cutting the lead to 3-2. Each team tallied single runs in the 6th, and that’s the way the game stayed until the ninth. The Angels bullpen, which had been nearly perfect on the road trip, allowed a run to the twins, courtesy of Kevin Jepson.
And then the mighty Joe Nathan trotted in from the bullpen to slam the door shut. The Angels however, pushed back, and how fitting, that Gary Matthews Jr and Howie Kendrick provided both two out RBI singles to tie the game. These two Halos in particular have had their fair share of struggles this year, on the field and in the press, even in this blog. Brian Fuentes held the Twins at bay in the tenth, and then the Angel offense leapt at their chance to finish things off the good old walk-off way.
Chone Figgins started the 10th off with his 3rd hit of the game, and was promptly sacrificed over by Brandon Wood. Bobby Abrue was then immediately given a free pass via the intentional walk, and Kendre Morales, who saw his 20 game hitting streak snapped, made the 2nd out of the inning. Up stepped Mike Napoli, who has a knack of providing the big hit of late, as his two run home run in Kansas City in yesterday’s game knotted things late. He didn’t disappoint this time either. Napoli drove a ball deep into the right center field gap, scoring Figgins and thus began a celebration on the field of Napoli trying to dodge the onslaught of Angel players chasing him down, only to be caught on the infield grass and dog-piled by the team, as the Angel fans went wild.
Angel fans, this game was a better test of the club than any of the games just completed on this 7 game road trip that saw the Angels go 6-1. Reason being, is that the Twins have for the most part, a solid team. The “Killer J’s” (Jason Kubel, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan) are all premier players in the league, and the fact that the Angels were able to come back against a closer such as Nathan, speaks volumes. It’s also very apparent that the patience that Bobby Abreu exhibits in every single at bat, is spreading to the rest of the team.
Game 2 of the series Friday, will see once promising starter Francisco Liriano face off against John Lackey. With the Rangers off on Thursday, the Angels now enjoy a 3.5 game lead in the AL West. On a day when Mark Buehrle of the White Sox threw a perfect game, the Angels also had a little magic up their sleeve.
Until next time Angel fans.
Halo fans, I hope your seatbelts were strapped on extra tight for this one. The Angels offense continued to sizzle, finding yet another way to offset subpar starting pitching courtesy of Joe Saunders, to complete the sweep of the 3 game series against the Royals, 9-6. Royals manager Trey Hillman personally drove the Angels team bus to the airport, as he had seen just about everything that the scorching hot Angels offense had to offer. The series saw the Royals lose a game they had a brief lead in, get thoroughly wacked in another, and lost the finale in a game they had a 6-2 lead going into the 7th inning. When the dust had settled, the Royals were mired in an embarassing 9 game losing streak, while the Angels have now won 9 of their last 10. Dating back to June 12th, the club’s record is 26-9, best in the majors.
While I understand and I hope you do as well, that the Angels won’t be seeing any teams in the playoffs with poor bullpens like that of the Royals, and, they won’t be so lucky to get away with such horrid starting pitching from Mr. Joe Saunders – this game was, a true showing of the tenacity and grit that is present in every single one of the Angles offensive players. There’s no way you can stop them, you can only hope to contain them. This was, in the truest sense of the word, a complete team victory. The power was provided courtesy of Maicer Izturis, Howie Kendrick, and Mike Napoli (who provided the game tying home run in the 8th). Chone Figgins chipped in nicely with 4 hits, while Reggie Willits and Kendre Morales added 2 hits apiece. Kendre Morales extended his hitting streak to a very respectable 20 games. The only Angel that didn’t have a hit, was Bobby Abreu, and after what he did last night, I’ll give him a pass on today’s game.
Shutout bullpen relief again (this seems like an occurrence every game lately) was provided by Justin Speier, Kevin Jepsen, and Brian Fuentes, who picked up his major league leading 30th save of the year. I can’t remember when it was this much fun to watch the Angels play, as they are coming out, guns blazing each and every time.
However, there are still glaring issues with the club; don’t be fooled by their blistering hot play of late. Huge question marks still abound in the form of starting pitching – and these question marks rest solely on the head of Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana at the moment. While Roy Halladay’s pricetag may be too much for the Halos to absorb, perhaps Cleveland’s Cliff Lee might be a much cheaper, but all together a very good alternative? I would hate to see the club give up Jerrod Weaver and other big name prospects, but this is the time of year when GM’s make their money. Tony Reagins, boy have you got your work cut out for you this year.
Tomorrow, the Halos open up a 7 game homestand with the Twins and Indians coming into town, with Scott Baker opposing Jerrod Weaver.
Until next time Angel fans.