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.
Well Angel fans, to be blunt, this one hurt.. it hurt real bad. What should have been an Angel victory turned into defeat after home plate umpire Rick Reed (this year’s version of Doug Eddings) first didn’t call Nick Green’s check swing on a two strike pitch as the third strike, and second, on the same at bat, didn’t call a 3-2 fastball for strike 3 (which replays clearly showed was well inside ESPN’s strike zone). As a result, Green walked, forcing in the tying run. The next batter, Alex Gonzalez, drove in the winning run on a bloop single to left, giving the Sox the victory. I am very curious to see what, if any discipline Reed gets for this blatant missed call. Gotta love home cooking if you’re a Red Sox fan….
The Angels can get some sort of silver lining out of this loss. This loss, especially combined with the fact that the Angels had and lost the lead 3 separate times, should bode them well in the playoffs. They just got a chance to experience utter heartbreak, only this time, it’s during the regular season and not during the playoffs. Hopefully this will be all they need and to start playing better baseball, as tonight again, the defense let down the starting pitcher, and twice the team couldn’t cash in on bases loaded and less than two out situations.
The loss takes the club to 0-3 so far on this crucial road trip, but thank goodness Texas forgot how to hit a baseball, as the Rangers have lost 3 in a row as well, to keep the Angels lead at 6 games. I don’t know exactly what wise words Mike Scioscia can deliver to his team after tonight’s loss, but something needs to be done to turn this team around, and this needs to be done quick.
Vladimir Guerrero was hit by former Dodger Takashi Saito in the ribs with a crisp fastball in the 6th, and had to leave the game an inning later with what the club called a bruised ribcage and is listed day to day. I think fair retalitation would be for a certain steroid user, Mr. David Ortiz, to feel the same pain tomorrow in his first at bat. The Angels need to show that they’re not going to be pushed around, especially by these Red Sox.
The Angels get to face Josh Beckett and his fancy necklace tomorrow, and the Halos will give the ball to Ervin Santana. A strong start by Santana will help any chances he has to get a start in this year’s post season.
I know this loss was tough to swallow Angel fans – hopefully tomorrow goes better.
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 Angels, like Stella, finally got their groove back. For the Angels though, it didn’t require them to take a vacation to Jamaica., It did though, come at the hands of White Sox starter John Danks who served as the Angel punching bag, allowing 3 home runs, and finished the day lasting 6 innings, giving up 7 runs as the Halos took the finale of the three game series and avoided the sweep, beating Chicago 9-5. The Angels flexed a little muscle in the form of home runs by Jeff Mathis, Vladimir Guerrero (welcome back Vladdy!), Bobby Abreu (the 250th of his career) and Erick Aybar. For a team than managed a combined 11 hits in the first two games of this series, the Halos managed 11 hits alone in their victorious effort Thursday afternoon. Along with his home run, Aybar had another 2 hits, finishing the game going 3-4 scoring twice and driving in 2. The Halos were also busy on the basepaths, swiping 4 bags, including 2 by Chone Figgins. The Angels were also caught stealing 3 times, which goes to show that Angels skipper Mike Scioscia wanted to let his team make their own breaks today, and it paid off.
Ervin Santana got the victory, improving his record to 4-6. The righty threw 6 quality innings that looked better on the field than in the box score. The big blow was a 3 run home run by Jayson Nix in the 2nd, and other than that, was in complete control throughout. Jason Bulger folllowed with 2 innings of perfect relief, and Kevin Jepsen wrapped things up in the 9th despite a solo home run by Dewayne Wise.
The Angels wrapped up their road trip with an impressive 4-2 mark, however the impressiveness was nearly all in Minnesota, as the team struggled mightily in the windy city. With the 2nd place Texas Rangers coming into town for the biggest series of the year, the Halos hope to leave their struggles behind in Chicago.
Game 1 will see Angels lefty Joe Saunders take on Scott Feldman. Saunders, who has had his fair share of struggles all year long, knows that this is going to be his biggest start of the year, as the Rangers, needless to say, have had the Angles number all year long. A sweep by the Angels could nearly drive the final nail in the Rangers coffin. The Rangers won today, keeping pace with the Angels as their lead sits at 4.5 games. Angel fans, hope your seat belts are ready, as this weekend is going to be good.
Until next time Angel fans.
The Angels, simply put, beat the cream filled stuffing out of the Twinkies, scoring 11 runs for the second time in as many nights in Minnesota, beating the Twins 11-6. In fact, a performance this hot on a Saturday night was heard to make John Travolta jealous. Ok, all jokes aside, the Angels crushed Twins pitching all night long like Stevie Wonder. Ok seriously, all jokes aside, the Angels offense is scary. Scary, because they’re not only coming at you with batters 1-9 in the lineup, but scary because they’re doing this without two of the biggest mashers they have, as Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero both continue to heal from injuries.
Where do we start? Well, I’m sure Mike Scioscia and staff are breathing a little easier after Joe Saunders tossed 6 innings, only allowing 4 runs on 9 hits. Not that this is a strong start by any means, but we need to acknoweldge progress when it’s made, even if it is measured in baby steps. Saunders recovered after 2 rough innings much like Ervin Santana did the night before, to win for the first time in over a month, his 9th win of the season. The game was in question going into the 6th inning with the Angels up 6-4, but the Halos offense blasted the game wide open, keyed by 3 home runs in the inning. The first of the three was courtesy of Maicer Izturis, a 3 run blow, and then Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales went back to back, giving the team a nice 7 run cushion that the Twins couldn’t recover from. And no, Twins fans, tonight wasn’t a case of dejavu’. Also amongst the offensive contributors were Gary Matthews Jr. and Mike Napoli who each had 3 hits in the attack. Napoli now has 7 hits in the first two games of the series. Sean Rodriguez, making his first career start in left field, had two hits and scored twice as well.
Tomorrow, the Halos go for the sweep as Jered Weaver takes on Glen Perkins. Weaver went a solid 7 innings in his last start against the Twins, back on July 23rd, and didn’t figure in the decision. The Rangers finally lost a game, to Seattle 7-2 and now trail the Angles by 4 games in the AL West. Also, the Halos now own the best record in the American League, at 62-40. It’s amazing that for much of the first half of the season, the Angels hovered right around the .500 mark, and due to their torrid play of late, claim the top spot in the league.
Until next time Angel fans
They say all good things come to an end. And in the Angels case, it meant the end to their 8 game winning streak as they dropped the final game of a four game series to the visiting Minnesota Twins Sunday afternoon, 10-1. The Twins leave town, still licking their wounds from a brutal road trip, but managing to take with them some dignity in avoiding the four game sweep at the hands of the red hot Halos.
Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana again disappointed, lasting only 3 2/3 inning to pick up the loss. It should be noted, that Santana has yet to pick up a victory this year at the Big A, a place where he has normally pitched very well. Santana surrendered a first inning home run to Twins slugger Justin Morneau, the first of two for him on the day, and from there, things only got worse. An Angel lineup filled with supersubs who have done nothing but overacheive in the absence of starters Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera, helped make Twins starter Anthony Swarzak look like the best thing since sliced bread, as the big right hander went 6 2/3 innings to pick up his 3rd win of the season. There was definitely an attitude amongst the Angel fans that the Halos, who have 32 comeback wins this year, would somehow get themselves back into the game as has been the case for nearly the past month, but that comeback never came. Besides a solo home run by Kendre Morales in the 4th inning, the Angels, for the most part, went down faster than a North Korean Missile.
Combine the Angels loss with a Rangers victory over the Royals, and the Angels lead over Texas now sits at 3.5 games. The Halos next welcome in the Cleveland Indians, who have been heating up of late, winners of four in a row, but are still sitting 12 games back in the AL Central. The Indians have been involved in many trade deadline rumors involving last year’s Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee, and catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez. Game One of this series will see disabled list All Star and Yankee extortioner Carl Pavano take on Joe Saunders. Saunders, who hasn’t won in over a month will undoubtedly be looking to regain last year’s form as the Angels and Indians hook up for the first time this year.
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.