Tonight’s game was a complete opposite of last night’s offensive extravaganza that saw the Angels win 8-7. Ervin Santana completely manhandled and shut down a powerful Rays lineup, going the distance while allowing only 3 hits to get the complete game shutout. This also happened to be his first home win of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Halos. Santana, to be blunt, has been wildly inconsistent all year long, and in a week that saw the Halos put lefty starter Joe Saunders on the DL, this is something that the club really needed. It remains to be seen though, if Santana can build off of this start and provide some much needed consistency for the club and the starting staff in particular.
Rays starter David Price performed much better than his line shows. The lengthly lefthander carried a no hitter into the fifth inning, an inning in which, the wheels started falling off. Reggie Willits helped lead to the demise of Price after a clutch 2 RBI single with two outs in the fifth and was driven in by the next batter, Chone Figgins, who singled to put the Halos up 3-0. Jeff Mathis put the icing on the cake with a bases loaded double off the left field fence, driving in 3 and putting the Angels up to stay, 6-0, and sending Price off to an early, lonesome shower.
The Rangers were shutout by the Indians today, so now the Halos lead the division by 5 games. In the series finale tommorow, Trevor Bell of the Angels will make his major league debut, and will be opposed by the Rays Jeff Niemann. It will be an early start for the game, at 12:35. The club is also expecting to see the return of centerfielder Torii Hunter, which will be a much welcomed sight for the club. Justin Speier, who had been very inconsistent in the pen all year long, was released today as the club made room on the roster for Bell.
On a separate note, it was great to see the Tigers Rick Porcello throw the charging Kevin Youkillis to the ground during the benches clearing brawl. I hope he gets a nice fat suspension for his actions.
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.
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.
For those baseball purists out there, this matchup between John Lackey and Brett Anderson was nothing short of a classic. Bobby Abreu’s solo home run in the 10th was the lone run in the game, as the Angels defeated Oakland 1-0, and taking three of four in the series. The Halos now find themselves with a much more cushioned 3.5 game lead in the division compared to the 1.5 game lead they arrived in Oakland with.
I have to admit, when looking at the starting lineup for the Angels, who were without Juan Rivera, Kendre Morales, as well as injured starters Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero – I was wondering where the offense would be coming from as I was seeing the names of Reggie Willits, Howie Kendrick, Gary Matthews Jr and Brandon Wood. in their place. Apparently, my worries weren’t just paranoia, as A’s starter Brett Anderson took a perfect game into the 7th, only to have it broken up by a Bobby Abreu single. John Lackey was no slouch either, throwing nine shutout innings, scattering three hits while striking out six A’s of his own, to pick up his fifth victory of the year. Dominating the A’s is no oddity for Lackey, as he has had games similar to this in year’s past. Watching Lackey do what he does best, reminds me how much he means to this team, and how important it will be for them to re-sign the free-agent-to-be at season’s end. Attempts at a contract extension stalled before the season, and you can count that Lackey will attract lots of suitors in the offseason. Arte Moreno and the Angel’s brass needs to step up and do whatever it takes to keep Lackey, one of three remaining Angels from the 2002 World Series team.
Brian Fuentes followed the Abreu home run, and set the A’s down, picking up his major league leading 28th save. The save though, came with Gary Matthews Jr. making the final play of the game, barely catching a sun filled fly ball in center.
The Angels leave town and head up to Kansas City, where they will begin a three game series against the much improved Royals beginning tomorrow, with Sean O’sullivan squaring up against Sir Sidney Ponson. Don’t be surprised Halo fans, if the club returns home for their next homestand with the new second place team being the Seattle Mariners, as the M’s only trail the Rangers by half a game for second place. The next series for each will see Texas hosting the hated Red Sox, while the suddenly hot Mariners will travel to Detroit to face the Tigers. Needless to say, a series sweep would really put some distance between the Angels and the rest of the West.
Until next time Angel fans.