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.
It wasn’t exactly pretty, but at this time of the season, especially against the closest team to them in the standings, the Angels will take it. Scott Kazmir was a bulldog on Friday night, going 6 shutout innings, and picked up his first win with the team since coming over from Tampa Bay. Despite this only being Kazmir’s first victory, he has been a man of quality each time he has taken the hill thus far.
Granted, the Angels are taking on a Ranger team who hasn’t scored since the Eisenhower administration it seems like. They (the Rangers) had their chances, but Kazmir, followed with excellent relief from Jason Bulger, Mr. Consistency Kevin Jepsen in particular and Brian Fuentes kept the Rangers off of the scoreboard. If this note my statistician handed me is correct, the Rangers have been shut out 4 times now in their past 5 games – which is quite possibly the biggest slump in the history of these normally offensively sound Texas Rangers. To be blunt, my 96 year old grandfather is scoring more than the Rangers these days.. Who would have thought the Rangers problem at this point in the season would have been hitting rather than pitching? The pitching, to the Rangers credit, is as good as I’ve seen in many, many years. It remains to be seen, in the offseason, if the Rangers have the testicular fortitude in the form of money to go out and get the missing pieces needed to overtake the Halos next year, as this year, as the beloved Chick Hearn would say, is over. The jello is certainly jiggling.
The Angels now have a comfortable 7 1/2 game lead in the division. The next series, when the club returns home, will be against the Yankees and will go a long way to see who will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Should be interesting.
Let’s see if the Angels can add to the Rangers woes with another shutout today as Jered Weaver takes the hill. Boy, it sure is nice when you have 5 better than average starters to rely on each and every day.
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.
Let’s be honest Angel fans, the halos not only lost their 2nd straight to the Rangers, but they practically gave this one to Texas on a silver platter. Granted, Hank Blalock’s walk off home run was what won the game, but four huge baserunning blunders by the Angels set Hank up for his mighty shot.
Juan Rivera, despite hitting his most clutch home run in his big league career of Frank Francisco (who hasn’t seen anything fly so fast out of the park since he threw a chair at a fan in Oakland years ago) in the 9th to tie things up, only to have their heart’s broken moments later, was involved in two of these all by himself. And when you thought the worst was over on the basepaths with those, we then witnessed Vlad Guerrero decide to try to steal second while the Angels were trying to get something brewing, in the top of the 7th, only to be thrown out while Torii Hunter was on 3rd. This was followed by Chone Figgins leading off the ninth and trying to stretch a double into a triple only to change his mind halfway in between 2nd and 3rd, resulting in the first out of the inning.
Jerrod Weaver looked like the solid Jerrod Weaver we’ve seen all year long, but over the course of the next two innings, he did his best big brother impersonation, finally being taken out to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” (just like Joe Saunders the night before) lasting 5 1/3 innings, and yielding 7 runs on 8 hits. Kevin Jepson and his soon to be demoted to AAA 12.34 ERA then came in, allowing 2 more hits before the last out was mercifully made. Matt Palmer provided two innings of solid relief, only to hand the ball to another of the bullpen regulars, Justin Speier, who put the final touches on this Angels Masterpiece. Despite the baserunning blunders, something has got to be done with the bullpen. It seems as if every lead is as safe as a bulldog under Michael Vick’s care – and how much longer this is going to be tolerated is anyone’s guess, but hopefully not too much longer.
Furthermore, Angel fans, the halos are 1-5 vs Texas and 10-14 against the AL West so far this year – typcially something, much like their bullpen work, they are much better at. Let’s see if Vlad can keep up the hot hitting away from Texas, as the Angels come back home to open a huge 10 game homestand against Baltimore, Texas, and the hated Yanks. John Lackey will get things started, taking the ball in game one tomorrow night.
Until next time Angel fans.