This wasn’t at all what Sean O’Sullivan had planned as he prepared to take the mound against the Blue Jays in game one of this three game series. The rookie right hander didn’t record an out in the 2nd inning, and left having yielded 4 runs to the Blue Jays as the Jays went on to win, 5-4. The outing was yet another in a newly formed trend of poor starts from Angels rookie starting pitchers lately. Granted Trevor Bell did pick up his first major league win his last turn around in Cleveland, but it was far from pretty. The bullpen did the best they could with solid relief coming in the form of Matt Palmer (who may see himself getting O’Sullivan’s turn in the rotation next time) and Jose Arredondo, who limited the Jays to only 1 run for the rest of the game. The Angels offense wasn’t much better, at least through the first 8 innings. The bats appeared to have taken the night off for the second night in a row, only managing one run, but Mike Napoli provided an ulcer building moment for Jays manager Cito Gaston, hitting a 3 run home run in the Angels half of the ninth to bring the Halos within a run. Casey Janssen would induce a game ending groundout by pinch hitter Bobby Abreu to notch the save and the victory for Toronto with Howie Kendrick on 2nd base.
Yorba Linda native Marc Rzepczynski (last time I will type that name – haha) silenced the Angels bats for 6 1/3 innings, only allowing 3 hits and 1 run to pick up the victory. After somewhat of a shaky first inning, he found his form – and his slider and pitched well. Adam Lind hit his 29th home run off of O’Sullivan in the first to help start the Jays attack.
Tomorrow, Ervin Santana will get the start in an afternoon game, and look to get the Angels off of this 2 game skid. He will be opposed by Scott Richmond, as both pitchers will look to pick up their 7th win of the season.
The Rangers lost in Tampa Bay, so the Angels lead still sits at 5.5 games. Elsewhere around the league, the Yankees continue beating anyone and everyone, outscoring the hated Red Sox in a run scoring extravaganza, 20-11. The Red Sox appear to be getting some bullpen relief in the form of Mets lefty Billy Wagner, who is just now getting back from a left elbow injury suffered nearly 12 months ago. The Red Sox hold a slim 1 game lead in the Wild Card over the Rangers. Let’s see if Ervin can build off of his recent success and provide the club with a much needed quality start.
Until next time Angel fans.
For the first five innings Thursday night, Angels starter John Lackey looked to be having another dependable John Lackey type of start. But in the 6th, the Indians circled the Angels wagons one too many times, exploding for 7 runs to break a 1-1 tie and put the game out of reach.
The Angels lineup had a bit of an off night, and well, with the way they have been playing of late, it’s ok. Kendry Morales managed to add his team leading 27th home run of the season, a towering shot to right, but by the time it was hit, the game was already out of reach.
The loss ended the team’s 5 game winning streak as they head into Toronto to wrap up the 10 game road trip already with a 5-2 record. Sean O’Sullivan takes the mound in the opener. His start will be a very important one as, the Angels rookies that had been carrying the team earlier in the year, have now, of late, been somewhat of a sore spot. Trevor Bell did get his first major league win in this last series against Cleveland, but it wasn’t a very pretty one. With Joe Saunders getting closer to coming off the disabled list, there will be one spot left open and both O’Sullivan, Bell, or perhaps a dark horse will be shooting for.
The Rangers shot up the Twins to pull within 5 1/2 games behind the Angels but right now it appears that their eyes are more on their wild card position rather than catching the mighty Halos. The Rangers trail the hated Red Sox by 1 game for the coveted wild card spot.
Until next time Angel fans.
For any fan out there that isn’t a fan of good starting pitching, this game was definitely for you. Rays starter Matt Garza didn’t make it out of the 4th inning and Angels starter Sean O’sullivan didn’t fare much better, not making it out of the 5th. Despite the ineffectiveness of each team’s starting pitching though, this was quite an entertaining game.
Vladimir Guerrero reached a milestone on Monday night.
In a great example of baseball irony, Vlad hit his 400th career home run off of the right field foul pole. Earlier in the game he hit #399 off of an umbrella next to the center field cameraman. Kendry Morales kept pace, hitting 2 dingers of his own as well to help the Angels battle back from an early deficit, only to keep watching the Rays battle back to tie things up. Three separate times the Rays fought back to tie when the Angels had taken the lead the previous inning. However though, the Rays didn’t have one last comeback in their system, and the when the dust had finally settled, the Halos came away victorious, winning game 1 of this series 8-7.
Brian Fuentes came in to slam the door shut, retiring the Rays in order to record his 32nd save of the season. The save didn’t come easy, as Juan Rivera robbed Ben Zobrist of a game tying home run, near the short fence on the left field foul line, for the final out. A huge relief outing was turned in by Kevin Jepsen, who threw 2 innings of scoreless relief. Jepsen has been very effective of late, which was a big difference from how he was earlier in the year.
With both the Angels and the Rays having hopes this year of making the playoffs, this game exposed both of each team’s achilles heal. Starting pitching. Plain and simple, both teams need to solve this problem before the playoffs are reached.
Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett came within a single of being the second major leaguer on the day to hit for the cycle, as Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had done so earlier in the evening.
The Rangers had the day off, so the Angels lead is now at 4 games. Game 2 tomorrow will see young Ray lefty phenom David Price take on the Angels Ervin Santana. Each starter hasn’t been pitching up to their talent, it will be very interesting to see how each will do. Both teams used their bullpens heavily tonight, it would be nice to see Ervin go at least 7 innings.
Until next time Angel fans.
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
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.
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.
Jered Weaver, so far this year, has been the ace of the Angels staff. Tonight though, wasn’t very ace-like. Weaver became the fourth Angel starter in a row to have a sub par outing, going 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs on Tuesday night in Anaheim. Matt Palmer, who is much better as a reliever, demonstrated this by tossing 3 innings of one hit relief, quieting an Indians lineup that had their sights set on lighting up Halo pitching for the second consecutive night. Weaver allowed single runs in every inning he pitched except for the 3rd, and gave up solo home runs to Ben Francisco and Jhonny Peralta.
Indians starter David Huff did a fine job in his first 7 innings. But things changed quickly for the lefty as he headed to the mound to start the 7th, up 4-3. He allowed the first two batters to reach base; Erick Aybar on an infield single, and walking Mr. Patience, Bobby Abreu. Huff was then taken out, and reliever Joe Smith allowed an RBI single to Juan Rivera, tying things up, (allowing Jered Weaver to spit the hook of a loss out of his mouth) before getting Mike Napoli to ground into a double play. Smith was then replaced by Tony Sipp. Sipp then walked pinch hitter Maicer Izturis and Kendry Morales. You could almost see more hairs turn grey on the head of the Tribe’s skipper, Eric Wedge as up came Gary Matthews Jr, who was hitting a lofty .140 from the right side of the plate on the year. Gary proceeded to slam a double to the left center field gap, scoring all 3 Angels, and giving the club a 7-4 lead. This was clearly the biggest hit of the season for Matthews Jr. I’ve been pretty rough on Gary all year long, and let me take this opportunity to give him some kudos for getting that hit. It was Matthew’s 2nd double of the game, both coming from the right side. You see, sometimes in baseball, stats are overrated. I’m not sure about the rest of you out there, but I was honestly wondering how Cleveland’s record and place in the divison was so bad, but their bullpen work in the 8th alone, helped explain a lot.
Brian Fuentes, who got roughed up the night before, blowing the save, took the mound to start the ninth, looking for redemption. The Tribe had other ideas, as Andy Marte led off with a walk, followed by Asdrubal Cabrera, who rung a double off the right field wall. Pinch hitter Jamey Carroll singled in a run, and Fuentes then walked Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases with nobody out, and the Tribe down 7-5. Fuentes was then taken out, with no redemption having been found, and replaced by Jason Bulger. Bulger then induced a double play ground ball from Victor Marinez, as the Indians pulled within a run, 7-6. Bulger then got Jhonny Peralta to ground out to short, ending the game, to the absolute delight of the Halo faithful. This was Bulger’s first career save, definitely one that he will remember. Matt Palmer picked up the victory, his 9th of the year, and in this game, he definitely earned it.
Brian Fuentes hasn’t recorded an out in his last two outings, which were both atrocious. Let’s hope he can pull out of whatever funk he is in, and right the ship. His last two outings gave us glimpses back to how he was at the beginning of the year and on a night when the 1980’s were celebrated at the Big A, nobody wants to revisit Fuentes’ early season struggles.
Also, in case you were wondering, the Rangers won again. The Halos slim lead still sits at 2.5 games in the AL West. Tonight also saw some dramatics come from their AAA team, as pitcher Sean O’Sullivan (who has started witht he big club this year) threw a no-hitter, just missing a perfect game. Congratulations Sean.
Tomorrow afternoon, John Lackey takes the mound in the series finale, taking on Indians lefty Aaron Laffey. The Angels need Big John to take the ball and have a strong outing, as the bullpen has been taxed over the past four games pretty heavily. The Halos will enjoy an off day on Thursday, before heading out of town on a road trip to Minnesota and Chicago.
Until next time Angel fans.