Don’t you just love irony? I sure do. Tuesday night was “Irish Night” at the Giants’ AT&T Park. And was it ever. Rookie Sean O’Sullivan made his major league debut as the Angels’ starter and turned out to be their pot of gold.
O’Sullivan had a shut-out working into the 7th inning when he finally gave up the only run the Giants would see. Luck had nothing to do with it as he struck out 5 and walked just one batter. The Giants could not figure him out and took advantage of a wild pitch to get a runner in scoring position. O’Sullivan is only 21 years old and I certainly wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d had some debut jitters, but he was too cool for school as he made pitch after pitch. Then, just to make it a little more interesting, he got his first major league hit when he slammed a bullet right at Giant’s 3rd baseman, Rich Aurilia, who couldn’t get his glove on it. He also had a chance to round the bases and score a run, just like John Lackey on Monday night, when Maicer Izturis followed up with his first home run of the season. Another night full of firsts!
Someone found Mike Napoli’s “ON” switch. Napoli’s recent struggles at the plate were erased from our memories with one swing of the bat as he unleashed a 3 run homer deep into the stands, just one of his 4 for 5 hits. It looks like Mike’s got his mojo back and his timing couldn’t be better with my ALL-STAR Torii Hunter missing from the line-up. My Torii body-slammed the centerfield wall Monday night, going after a line drive hit by Bengie Molina. Remember my motto, “Once an Angel, always an Angel…except for Jose Guillen”? I forgive you, Bengie. I know you didn’t mean to hurt my Torii. Thankfully, my Torii’s only injury was a couple of bruised ribs.
I say thankfully, because the sound of my Torii’s body impacting the wall could be heard all the way in the broadcast booth. I cringed every time they replayed it and I’m so glad he wasn’t hurt more seriously. He’s expected to be back on the field Friday as the Angels start another freeway series with the Dodgers. I’ll say it again…if my Torii Hunter isn’t the starting centerfielder in the All-Star Game it will only prove there is NO justice in this world! Count ’em, folks.
So, things are good in Halo-land right now. The Angels are riding their longest win streak of the season (again, do your own math…I’m not gonna jinx it), yet another rookie on the mound gave us much to cheer about and Matt Palmer will have another start Wednesday afternoon backed up by a bunch of guys who have rediscovered their long-ball swings. What could I possibly have to b*tch about???
I do read (some) message boards so I know the debate rages on: Rex Hudler & Steve Physioc vs. Rory & Mark. My vote rests squarely with Rex and Steve. I’ve heard Rex called a “shameless cheerleader”. I’ve been called the same thing and I hardly consider it an insult. He’s also been accused of “dumbing down” the game. Then call me stupid because I actually learn a thing or two from him and Steve. Not all fans who watch Angels games can spout stats or have any experience actually playing the game themselves. Heck, I’m happy when I get an AFLAC Trivia Question right! And let’s not forget the many young fans who enjoy watching the games. Few former pro athletes are as self-deprecating as Rex and I find it refreshing. He and Steve have genuine enthusiasm that comes from being true-red Angels fans and I like it. I don’t have much of a beef with Mark. I respect his experience and his resume in the majors and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes. But Mark needs to understand that I will never find myself in the position to throw a slider, split-finger, sinker or curveball and to be completely honest, I can’t distinguish between the zillions of pitches he describes. I know only two: ball and strike. I sometimes find my eyes glassing over as he offers TMI for each pitch. Now, Rory? That guy knows how to push my buttons and he’s been doing it a lot lately. Did anyone else notice how he seemed to be getting excited Monday night as the Giants chipped away at an Angels’ 8 run lead? He says the wrong thing at the wrong time. Tonight it was, “The Giants haven’t had a base runner in scoring position yet.” The words were not even completely out of his mouth as a Giant hit second base. Talk about a jinx? With Rory, it’s not “if you build it, they will come”, it’s “if he says it, it will happen”. So, Rory, do me a favor, before you speak, ask yourself, “WWFD?” (What would fans do?) Please. Don’t make me pull out the duct tape.
Baseball…can you hear me now?