The Texas Rangers were rumored to be involved in trade talks for Blue Jays Ace Roy Halladay. However, the trade never went through as Nolan Ryan of the Rangers was unwilling to part with young left handed starting pitcher Derek Holland. On Sunday afternoon, the Angels and their fans got to see, first hand, why Ryan wasn’t willing to part with Holland. The Rangers lefty carried a no hitter into the 6th inning, ulitmately getting the complete game shutout while only allowing 3 hits. The win, allowed the Rangers to not only cut the Angels lead to 3.5 games in the division, but also continued their dominance over the Halos, taking yet another series.
Angels starter John Lackey definitely didn’t deserve his fate today. He threw a career high 131 pitches, but even more, witnessed one of the poorest defensive outings by the club this year. A mental error in communication by seldom used first base fill in Robb Quinlan on a ground ball to second, (leaving first base uncovered) allowed an inning to continue that was later capped off by a Bobby Abreu error that allowed the first two Ranger runs to score in the game. Lackey ended up going 6 2/3 to earn the loss.
Up next for the Halos will be Joe Maddon and his Rays. The Rays, pretty much all but out in terms of winning the AL East, are still just 1.5 games behind wild card leading Boston and Texas. Although they just completed a frustrating series in Seattle, losing 2 of 3. Typically though, the Rays play the Angels tough, and with the Angels definitely showing signs of coming back to earth after their white-hot start post all star break, you can be sure this is going to be a fiercely competetive series. Matt Garza opposed Sean O’sullivan in game one on Monday night.
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.
Ervin Santana’s outing Thursday night brought from the Angels brass and fans alike, a huge sigh of relief, as the right hander went 8 solid innings, yielding only one run on three hits and striking out four to earn his second win of the year. Santana looked like the Santana of old, pitching with poise, confidence, and a wicked curveball that stifled the A’s all night long. If this is the Ervin that we can expect to see in the 2nd half, the rest of the AL West better take notice, as a rotation featuring him, Lackey, Weaver and Saunders will surely be a force to be dealt with.
The Halos picked up right where they left off prior to the all-star break, as they collected 13 hits and sent Oakland started Dallas Braden to an early shower after 5 innings. Kendre Morales hit his 16th home run of the year, and first from the right side in the 2nd inning. Another Halo outburst in the 4th, keyed by an RBI singles from Robb Quinlan and Erick Aybar, and a 2 RBI double from All-Star Chone Figgins was more than enough to earn the Angels their fourth win in a row, and an important game one win in this series.
The only area of concern, which has been all year for the club, was surprise surprise, the bullpen. Justin Speier was brought in to get the final three outs, however he couldn’t manage to retire one batter, giving up three hits before Brian Fuentes had to come in and clean things up, limiting the A’s to only one run in the frame. Had this been a close game, the only thing Speier would have been credited with doing would have been causing many Halo fans ulcers.
Joe Saunders takes the ball for game two in this series. Saunders, who hasn’t been on top of his game lately, hopefully used the All-Star break to clear his mind and get ready for a strong second half.
Until next time Angel fans.
The Angels wrapped up a three game sweep Sunday afternoon, defeating the Yankees 5-4 on a sun blistering afternoon in Anaheim. Perhaps though, it was a little hotter at the stadium compared to the rest of Orange County, and that folks, can be attributed to the halos. The Angels completed a ten game homestand, finishing 7-3 and had into the All-Star Break with a 1.5 game lead over the second place Texas Rangers. Those same Rangers, you remember, just left Anaheim after taking 2 of 3 and enjoying a slim one game lead in the division. To make matters worse, before this series against the Yanks began, the Angels placed both Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter on the disabled list. Needless to say, most Angels fans including yours truly, were concerned over how exactly they would score runs, and who would step up in the absence of the injured players. To make matters worse, Juan Rivera left in the first game of the series with a hamstring injury and although he isn’t expected to be placed on the DL, he missed the final two games against the Yankees.
Brandon Wood, Robb Quinlan and Gary Matthews Jr. all made the most of their new found opportunities, each contributing to victories in the series. Combined with strong play by Kendre Morales, Bobby Abreu, Chone Figgins and the rest of the club, the Angels quickly showed the character and grit that will be needed throughout the rest of the season, and that, was a welcome sign to Halo fans. Both clubs put up football type scores in the first two games, as the Angels took game one 10-6, and game two 14-8. Game three turned out to be more of a typical Angel game. Strong starting pitching from John Lackey, who outdueled C.C. Sabathia for 7 strong innings. A little hiccup provided by Justin Speier and spotty defense briefly let the Yankees back in the game, but Darren Oliver pitched a solid 8th and Brian Fuentes picked up his 26th save, setting the Bronx Bombers down in order in the 9th, culminated by strking out famed steroid (sorry Alex, but nobody buys the fact that you only used steroids in Texas..) user and all around pretty boy Alex Rodriguez to close the door.
I also must admit that I found great joy in the fact that Mark (fill in your own expletive here) Teixeira went a superb 2-14 in the series, and thoroughly enjoyed watching Kendre Morales (who replaced Teixeira) round the bases in game one after hitting a bomb of his own.
So, Angel fans, enjoy this sweep, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The second half of the season begins in Oakland, and gives the Angels an opportunity to show that they can win against the AL West, whom they have for the most part, struggled against so far this year. Also, you have to wonder if the club will be involved in any big trades. With Roy Halladay available, and under contract through next year, it sure would be nice to see the Angels land him, as getting an ace like Halladay, combined with the other horses we have in our rotation would surely make the Angels serious threats to make it deep into the playoffs. The Angels also have needs in the bullpen to look at filling. Needless to say, Tony Reagins will have his hands busy in this second half.
Until next time Angel fans