The Angels completed the first step in hopes of winning the World Series this year on Monday night in Anaheim, shutting out the Texas Rangers 11-0 to take the AL West and secure a first round matchup against the hated Red Sox of Boston. While I would have expected more from the Rangers, especially considering the problems they have put us through this year, it was nice to see an offensive explosion and a masterful pitching performance from Ervin Santana. I had great seats myself right next to the right field foul pole, and after the game was put away by the 3rd inning with the Angels leading 7-0, even Bobby Abreu was having fun with the fans. I stopped counting after Bobby waved and acknowledged more than 20 different fans offering praise and congratulations to the team. Even one fan went as far as promising to buy Bobby a shot of Petron after the game, to which Abreu reacted by jumping up and down and running in place as fast as he could. It was a great night.
Vlad Guerrero and Kendry Morales got the Angels out to the right kind of start; Guerrero doubling home a run in the first folllowed by a 2 run shot by Morales to dead center field to stake the Halos to an early 3-0 lead. Abreu himself came within a home run of hitting for the cycle.
Santana pitched masterfully throughout, getting out of a few jams with slick double plays turned by Morales at first, and ended up giving up only 7 hits and striking out 2 to get the shutout. But the story wasn’t Santana tonight folks, as the win finally let the Angels take a breath and celebrate the division title despite the adversity faced this season. It was especially nice to see the club come back on the field about 10 minutes after disappearing into the clubhouse for a champagne celebration, as the club came back out and jogged to Nick Adenhart’s jersey on the right center field wall and paid their respects. For those of you who don’t have a team to root for this October, the Angels deserve your support.
The club now has the remainder of the season to rest up and get their rotation in order for the first round, which begins in a little over a week. Be sure to check out my breakdown of the first round series against Boston and what I feel the Halos need to do to finally get past these Sox.
Until next time Angel fans.
On Friday night in Anaheim, the Angels were owned by the Athletics. Three different pitchers led by Gio Gonzalez combined to fan the Angels 13 separate times. The amount of wind produced by the Angels bats coming up empty swing after swing did in fact cool down much of Orange County after seeing another day of 100 degree heat. On this night, it was the A’s who looked to be the team zoning in on their 3rd consecutive AL West division title, rather than the Halos who were just plain flat all night long. The only Angel starter not to strike out was Torii Hunter, who went 0-4 and appeared to possibly re-aggravate an abdomonial injury that shelved him for a month earlier this year.
The Rangers beat the Rays to close within 6 games of the Halos. While I am still not worried about this, the Rangers are coming in for a 4 game series and finally have Josh Hamilton back in the lineup who always feasts on Angels pitching. The magic number for the Angels to clinch the division is still at 4 as the club will look tomorrow to improve on that. John Lackey will oppose Dana Eveland the middle game of the 3 game series.
On a separate note, Red Sox starter and Angel nemesis John Lester was drilled by a line drive in the 3rd inning of his terrible start tonight in New York, and had to leave the game. X-rays were negative, but it would just be terrible if for some reason this injury keeps him from being on top of his game come the playoffs, where, unless a miracle for the Rangers does happen, it will be another version of Angels/Red Sox. Hey, one can only hope.
Until next time Angel fans.
By far and away, this was Joe Saunders best start of the year. Despite giving up solo home runs to Hideki Matsui and Mr. Performancer Enhancer himself, Alex Rodriguez, the lefty was locked in and lethal on Monday night. Saunders ended up going 8 1/3 innings, and only allowed 2 runs to the high powered offfensive show that is this year’s version of the New York Yankees. Closer Brian Fuentes came in to slam the door shut to pick up yet another save. Saunders start was exactly what the team needed to start this homestand with and set the tone against the Yanks, as the Halos (not sure about the Yankees) hope that this is just a preview of a potential ALCS matchup.
Saunders was opposed by Andy Pettitte, who wasn’t too bad himself. Besides a little hiccup in the first in which the Angels scored 2, for the most part, the veteran lefty was superb. The hiccup in the first were back to back RBI doubles by Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter to stake the club to an early lead that they would never surrender.
Kendry Morales checked in with a pinch hit solo hom run, his 31st of the season in the 7th inning to help give the Angels a little insurance heading into the latter innnings.
Most importantly though, the Angels gained a game on the Yankees, who currently hold the lead on the best record in the AL and furthermore, home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Yankees lead, now stands at 4 games, and with 2 more games left against the Bronx Bombers in this series, plenty of ground can be made.
Ervin Santana opposed Chad Gaudin tomorrow night as the Halos look to make it 2 straight. I know it’s still just the regular season, but to think about a possible playoff matchup between these two teams is something I know the Halo fans are frothing at the mouth about, and I can already hear the grumblings from the New York fans – they want to stay as far away from us in the playoffs as they can.
Until next time Angel fans.
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.