Sympathy Pains

My Angels followed up a four game sweep of the Mariners by taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox.  All was good in Halo-ville.  Then they got on a plane and entered the twilight zone, losing a make-up game to the Yankees and the first of 3 at Fenway.  During both east coast games I was basically tortured by Mark Gubicza and Rory “Whose Side Are You On Anyway?” Markas as they kept referring to the games as “post-season previews”.  Ugh.  Not what I wanted to hear as once again, decent starting pitching was wasted by absent bats. 

                  

But as I started to seriously ponder my Angels’ post-season chances, I had to stop myself and consider the alternative to this dilemma.  Granted, the Angels haven’t locked up the west but they are sitting 6 games ahead of the Rangers, giving them a more than fair shake all the way to the end.  But so many of my fellow baseball fans have already had their hopes and dreams dashed as the dreaded “E” has shown up in their teams’ standings. 

                   survivor.jpg picture by lafmyers

I’m sure fans of these teams will watch the remaining games…afterall, they’re fans.  And there’s always a chance that their team will act as a spoiler and snatch the post-season away from one of their most hated rivals.  There is a certain kind of pleasure in watching that happen.  They’ll also watch simply because, once the season is over it’s a long wait until April of 2010.  They may watch the play-offs and the World Series.  Or maybe not.  Sometimes there’s little interest in watching teams who may have smacked your guys around during the regular season celebrate in a heap of arms and legs in the middle of the field.  That can be tough. 

            

Diehard baseball fans will hang in there for all that October has to offer because their love of the game transcends their love for their own team.  There’s no shame in that.  They may also secretly harbor a bit of affection or respect for another team and will be quietly rooting them on in private.  Sssshhh.  I’ll never tell.  I can understand that with a team or two.

             

Baseball fans may stick with it in October just to watch their most despised team go down in a ball of flames.  Again, I can totally relate to this as well.

                  

                   

(That one was a toss up.)

And so today, I just wanted to express my sincere condolences to Rays, Jays, Orioles, A’s, Royals, Mets, Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Padres and Diamondbacks fans everywhere.  I’ve been in your shoes.  I know exactly how you are feeling.  You gave it your all and fought the good fight.  You observed every good-luck superstition you could.  You yelled at your players, managers and front office personnel through your TV screen or in person at your ballpark. 

                             

You should be proud.  Hold your heads up high.  As a fan, you brought your “A” game.  You held up your end of the bargain.  You wore the gear, you flew the flag, you showed up at the ballpark, you skipped dinner with the in-laws to watch the game (good), you missed the birth of your third child because of extra innings (not-so-good).  You gave it your all.  YOU did not strike out looking with the bases loaded.  YOU did not bobble an inning-ending double-play.  YOU did not blow a save.  YOU did not drop a routine fly ball. 

                                       

No remorse.  No guilt.  No regrets.  Sleep well this winter, my fellow baseball fans, knowing there’s always…well, there’s always…NO…I’m not going to say it.  I’m not going to patronize any of you by throwing out that morsel of helpful advice, usually dished up by someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be a loyal fan.  I’m NOT going to say “there’s always next year.”  But what I will say is…there’s always the Angels!!!  Well, if you’re examining other possibilites, let me give you my pitch (no pun intended but it’s appropriate, isn’t it?):

      Great group of guys with catchy little nicknames like Figgy, Mighty Macier, Bam Bam, etc.

      Not a prima donna among this bunch.  It’s all about the team, NOT individual stats.

      Cute little mascot that I swear, will grow on you.

      The best manager in all of baseball.  (Of course I’m biased.  Duh!)

      They OWN the Yankees.  Need I say more?

I know the pain is still fresh, but I just want to give you something to think about in the off-season. Consider me an “Angels Ambassador”.  If you’re thinking about making this life-changing move, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.  I’d be happy to answer any questions or offer a little more persuasion, if that’s what it takes.  Oh, and free thundersticks to the first 100 new fans who come aboard.  (Must be able to pass a slightly invasive background check.  Please have references available.)

                  

 

Baseball…it keeps going and going and going…!

 

 

Winning Words

Tuesday night’s game versus the Mariners featured the same pitching match-up that we saw last week up in Seattle…Scott Kazmir and Felix Hernandez.  Again, Kazmir was solid, going 7 innings and giving up 1 run on 3 hits.  And again, Kazmir’s performance failed to garner him a much deserved win.  But at least this time the Angels were the victors, winning it walk-off style in the 10th.  As much as I don’t particularly like close games, “closer” (and I must use that term loosely) Brian Fuentes, had better get some time on the mound in these last few weeks or he will be a liability in the post-season.  The second pitch home run he gave up to Mike Sweeney that forced a 10th inning was really hard to watch.  When he followed that up with two walks, Jason Bulger had to come in and rescue the inning and ultimately, the game.

                           

Jered Weaver had a good night on Wednesday, striking out 8 in 6 and 1/3.  In all fairness, Ian Snell and Jason Vargas weren’t too shabby either.  The difference in the game was what happened with runners in scoring position.  The Angels were 3 for 10 with a base clearing double from Kendry Morales in the first inning.  The Mariners were 0 for 7.  It was almost a good thing that Trevor Bell gave up a run in the top of the 9th.  Brian Fuentes needed the practice…and got the save, number 40.  Of course, this is my favorite 40:

                                    

As we dig deeper into this final stretch, I can’t help but think about how consumed I am with my Angels and baseball.  Consider how everyday words are taken over by baseball fans and now only pertain to the game and the road to the championship:

Clinch – Really…isn’t it everyones’ favorite verb?  What other word can elicit the ultimate sigh of relief from a baseball fan?

Division – Math term?  I think not.  There’s three in each league and that’s all that matters.

Wild Card – Has nothing to do with poker all though the term “Texas Hold ‘Em” may still apply.

Record – In this age of CDs and Ipods, this one’s easy.  Wins and losses, plain and simple.

October – The only month that matters.  April is a close second.

Yankees – Used to be only Scarlett O’Hara could make it sound like a curse word.  Now we all can.

 

            

Let’s face it.  Certain words hold special meanings for baseball fans during baseball season.  Just last week my mom mentioned on the phone that she had bought an “Angel” something for my car.  How very cool, I thought.  It’ll be a great addition to my Angels license plate frame, Angels antenna ball and Angels window flag.  I picked it up this weekend:

                                         

Ooops.  Guess I forgot there are other kinds of angels.  What can I say?  It’s baseball season.

 

Baseball…we love to fly and it shows.

 

 

The Heat Is On

While the summer may be winding down, the race to the play-offs is definitely heating up.  It’s been over a week since I’ve had a chance to praise/criticize/brag about/plead with my Angels but I’ve not missed a minute of all the action. 

                             

The Angels started off their road trip on a high note last Monday as they shut out the Mariners and scored 10 runs.  Thankfully, my week got very busy after that.  Step-son-in-law’s birthday, a couple of days with my niece before she headed back to school, got a tattoo, family BBQ, work…having lots going on definitely helped to ease the sting of the Angels’ second and third games in Seattle.  I was unable to watch those games live and was more than happy to fast-forward through them, then quickly delete them from the DVR. 

          

Tuesday was awful.  The Angels’ loss to the Mariners, combined with the Rangers winning both games of their double-header, had the Angels losing 1.5 games in the standings in a single day.  And Wednesday wasn’t any better as Scott Kazmir’s great Angels’ debut was squandered when his teammates provided absolutely ZERO run support.  Not exactly a warm welcome.

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Luckily, things improved when the Angels got to Kansas City.  They managed to win the first game on only 3 hits and took the second game in extra innings.  By Sunday, my boys were looking much better, hitting and dazzling us with 4 perfectly synchronized double-plays. 

                  

Monday, Monday…can’t trust that day.  I was ready for the sweep.  Me, the couch and the remote for live, uninterrupted viewing of the game…on a paid day off!  What’s better than that?  Oh wait…I know this one…A WIN?!?!  No such luck.  Instead it was 3 errors and 12 left on base. 

                   

The Angels are headed home and will face the Mariners again.  Their schedule for these final 26 games of the regular season is tough.  Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox…all critical games.  The Angels have not played their best ball against the teams in their own division and they have 7 more games with the Rangers, who I’m sure will be hoping to make their move and surge ahead in the final two weeks.  We’re getting quality starts and seeing fantastic defense.  It’s time for the Angels’ bats to heat up again and make it happen.  Fasten your seatbelts, baseball fans.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

Baseball…catch the wave!  (But don’t DO the wave…it’s a rally killer!!!!!)

 

 

Win, Lose, Win and a New Angel

As planned, I headed out to the Big A for Wednesday’s day game, the last of three versus the Tigers.  With my Angels in danger of losing 4 in a row, I had my rally monkey in tow and was ready to help my guys turn it around. 

                                    

First of all, it was hot.  Really, really hot.  If you watched the game on TV, it I’m sure the stadium appeared to be practically empty.  That was because nearly everyone with field level seats retreated up to the shade of the terrace level.  Hardly any players were seen hanging out on the railing in front of the dugouts.  They too opted for the shade-covered benches instead. 

                       

It may have been sizzling, but that stadium was a big, steaming bowl of yummy goodness!  Torii Hunter had a two-run homer in the 1st, Joe Saunders looked great coming off the DL and we saw a couple great double-plays and Chone Figgins almost steal home.  (Okay, so he AND the crowd missed the 3rd base ump call time-out…it was still a kick to watch and would’ve been the highlight of the game if he’d pulled it off!)  Needless to say, I went to the game expecting a win and that’s exactly what I got. 

                              

Thursday night was another story.  We were treated to the pre-game ceremony as Brian Downing and Chuck Finley were inducted into the Angels’ Hall of Fame.  It was a very nice tribute to a couple of great players and the highlight reels were a trip down memory lane for everyone.  It just would’ve been nice if the Angels could’ve won.  Oh, and they didn’t just lose.  They were shut-out.  By Oakland.  Ugh.

                        

There’s not much to say about it.  Once the game started and it wasn’t about Brian Downing and Chuck Finley anymore, it was all about Trevor Cahill.  He was ON as he gave up just 2 hits in 7 full innings.  Michael Wuertz pitched a clean 8th and Andrew Bailey got the save, giving up one additional hit.  Ervin Santana had a decent outing himself, allowing the A’s only 2 runs in 6 innings and striking out six batters.  Matt Palmer provided 3 innings of perfect relief.  But the Angels’ offense just couldn’t get to Cahill.  Torii Hunter had to bunt to get on base.  I think that says it all.  I must mention the incredible play Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar made in the 7th.  If you haven’t already seen it on a high-light reel (it was #1 play of the day on ESPN), you really should check it out:  Aybar and Izturis  These two don’t get nearly enough credit.  Even Torii Hunter called it one of the best plays he’s ever seen.  The crowd clearly recognized brilliance when they saw it.  

          

The game was another frustrating loss but it was a make-up game from April, the game that was to be played the night after Nick Adenhart’s tragic death.  The Angels had a dismal month of April so we’ll just say “technically” it was an April game and move on.

         

I’ll just say, Friday night’s game began like an April game but ended like a 2002 October game.  Kendry Morales had a solo HR in the 2nd but the A’s came right back and scored 5 runs in the 3rd after the Angels’ defense fumbled a couple of opportunities to get Trevor Bell out of the inning unscathed.  The Angels were trailing 2-6 in the bottom of the 7th when their bats caught fire and blew the game wide open with a 7 run inning which included a 3 run shot by, again, Kendry Morales.  When the smoke cleared, the Angels had won 11-7 and Kendry Morales had gone an amazing 5 for 5.  He had a pair of doubles to go with his pair of HRs and tied his career high of 6 RBIs. 

                    

Ummm, no Tex.  That’s SIX ribbies.  You need two hands for that one.

Overall, it was a terrific come-from-behind win that seemed to wake up my boys and get them going.  Combine the win with the Rangers’ loss to the Twins and the Angels are sitting 5 games ahead again.

                             

After hearing the rumors all day, it was announced during the game that the Angels had acquired lefty Scott Kazmir from the Rays.  Hopefully Kazmir will be just what the starting rotation needs to power through the rest of the season and beyond.  He seems to have worked through any physical issues and had a strong outing in his last start, going 6 innings and striking out 10.  In exchange for Kazmir, the Rays will get two promising prospects and…here’s the part that makes my stomach all queasy…”a player to be named later”.  Those, without a doubt, are words no baseball fan likes to hear. 

                  

For those Rays fans who are mourning Scott Kazmir’s departure, it looks like I’ll be in your shoes very shortly.  I know that being a fan means having to take the bad with the good.  And it’s never easy. 

 

Baseball…the road will never be the same.

 

 

Just A Touch of Heart Burn

That’s because I’m eating my words.  I know, I know.  I said I wanted a close race all the way into September.  Would you believe me if I said I was talking about the AL East?  How ’bout the NL West?  (Mannywood? Mannywoops!)  I’m the first to admit the last few games have been painful.

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But on the bright side, it could be worse…

 

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I think what makes it so tough to watch the Angels struggling lately is the fact that they were playing so darned good!  They weren’t playing well and getting lucky.  They were playing like a true championship team.  I may be behind with my posting but I haven’t missed a single moment of Angels baseball.  Let’s do a quick little re-cap:

Saturday vs. Blue Jays (W 7-3)  Ervin Santana had a good 6 innings, Angels’ relievers were strong.  Offense combined for 11 hits with Erick Aybar going 3 for 4.  Vladdy and Juan Rivera each had a home run.  All in all, the Angels seemed to bounce back nicely after losing 2 in a row.

Sunday vs. Blue Jays (L 3-8)  Trevor Bell had his bell rung, giving up 6 runs in just 1 and 2/3.  The Angels managed to score 3 in later innings but on 12 hits, that was it.  The walks (6) didn’t help.  This was the 10th and final game of their road trip and it seemed as if they were victims of delayed jet lag. 

Monday vs. Tigers (L 7-10)   Oh, this one hurt.  By the time the Angels were able to score their first run in the 6th inning, they were already down by 10.  At this point, I was just happy it wouldn’t be a shut-out.  But then things started happening.  They scored 4 in the 6th and had scored 3 in the 8th with 2 runners on and 2 outs.  But then in came Fernando Rodney for a 4 out save and the party was over.  Bobby Abreu’s 3 run shot in the 8th turned out just to be for show. 

Tuesday vs. Tigers (L 3-5)   John Lackey again was going for career win #100.  And again, it was not to be.  The Angels looked as if they were going to pick up from where they left off the night before as Howie Kendrick skyed a 3 run shot to right field but former Angel Jarrod Washburn (a new Tiger) decided that was enough.  He and Tigers’ relievers held the Angels to 9 hits and no additional runs while all of the Tigers’ 5 earned runs were courtesy of Big John.

If this keeps up, the Rally Monkey’s gonna need some Prozac.

 

Fear not, Angels fans!  Drastic times call for drastic measures.  Yours truly, Lucky Lori, is headed to the Big A!  I will be there in person to whip my boys into shape and turn things around.  Now, I know I have not been out this season to see my Angels in person as much as I usually do, but the timing couldn’t be better.  With the Angels lead over the Rangers dropping to 4 games, we need a win on Wednesday.  The Rangers beat the Yankees 10-5 Tuesday night.  Come on!  WE do that…not stinkin’ Texas!  So yes, I’m fired up.  In fact, I’m not even worried about jinxing anything when I tell you the Angels have won every game I’ve been to this season.  And not only am I going to the game…it’s a day game!  That’s right, guess whose hubby gave her the day off?  It was pretty easy, actually.  I’ve been been walking around in a zombie-like state, clutching my Rally Monkey and mumbling, “Let’s get Figgy with it,” and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” totally off key.  He’s calling it a “mental health” day and he’s absolutely right.  Whatever it is, I’m expecting…no, demanding…a win and when it happens, I’ll come home in such a good mood he’ll probably score a little monkey lovin’.  I know, TMI. 

                        

On a serious note, Monday, August 24, would have been Nick Adenhart’s 23rd birthday.  My thoughts and prayers were with his family and friends on what I know was an unbearably difficult day.  July 30th was my dad’s birthday, the first one since his passing in March.  I know it’s supposed to get easier but I’m not experiencing that yet and don’t expect to for quite some time.  I miss him so much every day and continue to try to make the most of this baseball season without him.  I know he’ll be smiling on Wednesday when he sees two of his daughters and two of his grandkids having a great day out at the Big A.  With Dad as an Angel in the outfield, how can they lose?

 

Baseball…bringing families together. 

 

 

Tough Love

I guess some people just can’t take a compliment.  I wouldn’t exactly say I was “gushing” in my last post, but I couldn’t help but point out how well my Angels had been playing…”had” being the operative word.  I mentioned their awesome defense, fantastic .300+ batting averages, how cute Figgy, Izturis and Aybar are as they speed around the bases.  Maybe I went too far. 

                              

They dropped their last game in Cleveland and their first game, Friday night, in Toronto.  I continue to be baffled by the fact that the Angels can take on a team like the Yankees and inflict grievous injury but then come thisclose to getting shut-out by the Jays.  A couple of doubles in the 7th inning finally put them on the board but then they had to go and score 3 in the 9th, getting me all hopeful and excited.  Mike Napoli’s 3 run homer couldn’t possibly go to waste, could it?  With 2 outs, Howie Kendrick hit a solid double to the wall in left.  The tying run was on and Bobby Abreu, given the night off, comes in to pinch hit.  With 81 RBIs, he’d have been my choice too.  He grounded to first and that was it.  Close but no…

                        

There’s no point in giving Sean O’Sullivan and his 1 inning outing a hard time.  He left some pitches hovering over the plate and the Jays made the most of it.  We’re expecting an awful lot of these rookies.  Some nights they deliver, some nights they don’t.  Mike Scioscia wisely brought Matt Palmer in when O’Sullivan couldn’t get an out in the 2nd.  Palmer gave up the only other run (a Vernon Wells solo HR) and just one additional hit.  Jose Arredondo followed with 3 solid innings…1 hit and 5 K’s.  His performance was very reminiscent of the dependable relief he provided in ’08. 

   

At least the damage was minimized by the Rangers’ Friday night loss to the Rays.  I don’t doubt the Angels will do all they need to secure their western division win, but I certainly won’t mind if the Rangers contribute to the cause. 

                       

Saturday’s game starts at 10:00 AM here on the west coast.  To me, especially on the weekend, that’s the crack of dawn.  I may as well pull an all-nighter to be up and awake for it.  I’ll do whatever I have to.  After losing two in a row, my Angels need me cheering them on.  I may have to be a little bit stingy with my praise in the future.  It seems to have the opposite effect on them.  Sure…like I could ever stop singing the praises of my amazing Angels. 

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Baseball…something to smile about.

 

 

Taming the Tribe

From Baltimore to Cleveland, the Angels are showing no sign of slowing down.  Tuesday night was the first game of three with the Indians and as I had hoped, rookie Trevor Bell got his first win.  Bell went 5 and 1/3 and although he gave up 9 hits, not a one made it over the wall and he was backed up by some great Angels defense.  The double-plays have been spectacular.  Sheer poetry in motion.

ballet.jpg picture by lafmyers

Of course, the Angels offense hasn’t been too shabby.  Every Angel in the lineup was an owner of a .300 batting average or better.  And what continues to impress me is the patience every player is showing at the plate.  Erick Aybar went 2 for 4 but he drew 2 walks.  Chone Figgins went 1 for 3 and he also drew 2 walks.  Who cares how they get to first base as long as they get there.  Just ask former Angel David Eckstein who, during his tenure with the Angels, developed quite the reputation for taking one for the team.  And the Angels must be at the top of the stats for getting to first on a bunt.  Aybar, Figgins and Izturis could always keep busy in the off-season by running relay races.  These guys are just plain fast.

                        

Any team would be lucky to have 1/3 of that kind of speed on the bases.  To top it off, they are excellent fielders and they can hit.  We’ll just call them our triple-triple threat.  And they’re just so darned cute!  They always look like they’re having the time of their lives.  Why not?  They are.  I can only imagine it’s like someone paying me a couple million to scrapbook for 8 months a year.  Shheessh.  If only.  You can bet your sweet bippie (although I have no idea what a bippie is) I’d be smiling the entire time, even if placed on the DL with a paper cut. 

                         

Wednesday night’s game had to have left the Indians shaking their heads.  Jeremy Sowers made the start for Cleveland and gave up only 4 hits to the Angels in 6 and 2/3 innings.  Indians relievers Chris Perez and Jess Todd threw shut-out baseball.  How could manager Eric Wedge ask for more?  Well, he’d probably ask for the win but, amazingly, that wasn’t to be.  Let’s just say Jered Weaver’s haircut was on fire.

      

Weaver threw his second career shut-out.  After the game, he was quick to give credit to catcher Mike Napoli and the rest of his teammates.  And it was a team effort with the Angels defense making incredible plays.  The only Angels runs came in the 5th inning when they combined a walk by Napoli, a double by Kendry Morales and a single by Howie Kendrick to score two.  Aybar beat a bunt to first, Figgy had a sac fly that moved Kendrick to 3rd and Bobby Abreu’s groundout scored the third run.  No one, and I mean no one, manufactures runs like the Angels.  They say imitation is the highest form of flattery so it doesn’t surprise me to see more and more teams attempting to play the Angels brand of baseball. 

                                 

It’s no secret Mike Scioscia has had a huge impact on the Angels as a team but it’s become more and more apparent that he has also made an impression on many other teams in the MLB.  Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in.  It’s a pretty basic concept but in the wake of the whole Sammy Sosa / Mark McGuire whoopla, teams began relying on the long ball to win games.  Think of how many teams rely on their DH to clear the bags and win games?  A DH who never takes the field with a glove?  Prior to Vladimir Guerrero’s injuries, Scioscia routinely rotated players into the DH spot to more or less give them a bit of a rest for the night.  What other team in play-off contention does that?  Don’t forget, the Angels are the only team without a grandslam this season.  Who cares?  Because the Angels don’t depend on home runs to win games, for Angels fans they are icing on the cake.  Sweet, beautiful icing.

                     

And superb pitching like we saw Wednesday from Jered Weaver must be the sprinkles.  Oh, so what famous sibling do I think Weaver resembles now that he’s chopped his locks off?  London loverboy, Prince Harry.  If you’ve seen Weaver with his hat off, you know I nailed this one.

                               

Weaver’s our Prince of the Pitching Mound.  6.5 games up on Texas?  All is well in the Kingdom of Halos.

 

Baseball…the sport of kings.

 

 

XXXs and Orioles

The Angels finished up their four game series with the Orioles on Monday night.  Can I just say that ending a series on a Monday really throws me off.  All day I kept thinking it was Wednesday.  No such luck.  Oh well.  At least the Angels ended their time in Baltimore on a high note, taking 3 of 4 games. 

                                      pie.jpg picture by lafmyers

Ervin Santana had another good outing, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings.  But in a game where both teams each had 9 hits, the Angels made theirs count.  Kendry Morales had his two run shot in the 2nd and Macier Izturis had a solo HR in the 6th.  Homerun-itis then struck Vladimir Guerrero who launched his own 2 run shot in the 6th and followed that up with a 3 runner in the 7th.  Vlady is making up for lost time.  His numbers suffered from all the time he spent on the DL.  I think those whispered rumors that he’d lost his mojo for good can definitely be put to rest.  Super Vlad will not go quietly into that good night.  Yippee!

         

The Angels roll into Cleveland on Tuesday for 3 games.  The Indians have won their last two but as long as the Angels offense stays hot everything should be fine.  I’d like to see rookie Trevor Bell get his first win.  His first game was a no decision.  Torii Hunter will be back in the line-up.  He’s playing every other day for a little while since he’s fresh off the DL. 

     

There’s certainly no need to rush things as we all want him to be 100%, along with every other player.  The Angels schedule will only get tougher in the next few weeks and the Rangers aren’t showing any signs of backing down.  The same can’t be said for a few other teams.  While every team is entitled to a slump, the Red Sox meltdown couldn’t have come at a better time for the Yankees.  It’s got to be so frustrating for Sox fans to watch their team falling from grace so swiftly as the Yankees charge forward.  Not pretty.

                            

And in the National League, Dodger fans, who have been riding the hot tamale train since the season started, could be starting to squirm just a little bit.  They no longer can claim the best record in baseball and have seen the Rockies chip away at their comfortable lead.  They are now just 4.5 games ahead of the Rockies.  Even my Angels have a better record than the Dodgers but here in Southern California you’d never know it.  The local media, which originates in Los Angeles, continues to ignore the Angels for the most part.  Whatever.  We’re used to it.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  I’ll eat a Dodger dog if I’m wrong, but I’ve got a feeling the Dodger train is about to jump the tracks.

                           

 

Baseball…It’s the only game in town.

 

 

Good Morning Baltimore

I have to admit I did not watch Friday night’s game.  I, like most Americans, was glued to CNN watching that breaking news story that gripped the nation.

                

               map.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

Scientists Confirm New “Bermuda Triangle”

Wichita, Kansas (AP) – Scientists from MIT have confirmed the existence of a new “Bermuda Triangle”.  In response to disappearing aircraft, small watercraft and a number of farm tractors, scientists raced to the rural town of Fall River, outside of Wichita, to investigate the mysterious occurrences.  “We detected the presence of some type of magnetic force field that is approximately two hundred miles wide,” Professor Stewart Bradley reported during a press conference Friday afternoon.  Kent Hardy, an official with the FAA also provided more information regarding the rumor that a plane, believed to be transporting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from Orange County to Baltimore, had disappeared from radar Thursday evening only to suddenly reappear one hour later and landing without further incident in Baltimore.  “Although exact details are not available, I can confirm that the plane disappeared from radar at approximately 8:00 PM, eastern time.  We were able to reestablish contact one hour later although the crew reported nothing unusual had happened.”  While scientists are insisting some kind of atmospheric phenomenon is responsible, Fall River residents are reporting the sighting of a large, unidentified flying object, circular in shape with bright colored lights.  “I was bringing Paris and Nicole, my two dairy cows, into the barn when all of a sudden I saw this huge thing in the sky that looked like a ginormous  Frisbee and that thing just sucked up that big old airplane!” Tucker “Tadpole” Johnston, Jr. claimed.  Officials met the plane and interviewed all crew and passengers but no one recalled anything out of the ordinary happening during the flight.  “Everything was normal,” Angels third baseman Chone Figgins told reporters.  “We were singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall like we always do to pass the time and then we all took a nap.  But my belly button hurts.”

                            

Now, I’m not saying this could have anything to do with the Angels losing Friday night to the Orioles 6-16, but at least now it makes sense.  How else do you explain Jered Weaver giving up 6 runs in the first inning?  The O’s scoring 7 runs in the 7th?  It’s aliens, I tell you.  Aliens.

                 

By Saturday, the Angels were able to shake off any residual effects of the alien probing and were in top form, especially Big John Lackey who gave up one run in 7 rock-solid innings.  The Orioles sent rookie Brian Matusz to the mound.  Four of his five innings were shut-outs, but the Angels were able to score all 5 of their runs in the 3rd.  Orioles relievers only gave up one hit in the last 3 and 1/3 innings.  But the damage had been done.  Lackey had his 99th career win, Brian Fuentes had his 33rd save of the season.

              

Sunday’s game was just plain crazy.  I may as well start with the bottom of the 9th because that’s when Brian Fuentes blew the save and allowed the Orioles to tie it, 8-8.  The Angels loaded the bases in the 11th and 12th innings and couldn’t score a run.  Finally in the 13th, my Torii Hunter provided the go-ahead RBI but that was just the beginning of a 9 run inning (tied a MLB record, by the way) that had the Angels ultimately winning the marathon game, 17-8.  As the Angels were having their run-fest, my mom called.  Again, she was asking why the game wasn’t over when the Angels scored the first run of the inning in “overtime”.  I think I have no choice but to get a Powerpoint presentation together for her.  That’s okay.  I was just impressed she was watching.  And we were both impressed with the Angels. 

 

Baseball…Kid tested.  Mother approved.

 

 

Rays…A Drop of Golden Sun

My Angels completed their sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays today and it put me in such a chipper mood I thought I’d walk home from work.

 

Okay, not really.  But I was singing in the car the whole way.  Does that count?  It was a great series for many different reasons.  I’ll start with the obvious…we won all three games.  Monday night was a back and forth battle as each team took turns scoring all the way until the 7th inning when Vladimir Guerrero hit his second homer of the night. 

    

It was no ordinary homerun…it was Vlady’s 400th and as it turned out, was the game winner.  How cool is that?  Big Daddy Vlady is back!

Monday’s game may have been all about the offense, but Tuesday night’s game was a rubber match.  Ervin Santana went toe-to-toe with David Price but the Angels eventually got to Price whereas the Rays were left lifeless by Santana. 

                             

He threw a complete game giving up only 3 hits in the 6-0 shutout.  5 of the Angels’ 6 RBIs came courtesy of Jeff Mathis and Reggie Willits, hitting in the #8 and #9 spots.  Mathis came inches from having the Angels’ first grand slam of the season.  He and Willits were perfect in the clutch but truly the night belonged to Santana.  Ervin the All-Star is back!

Wednesday’s game marked the MLB debut of right-hander Trevor Bell.  The 22 year-old was impressive through 5 and 1/3.  The Angels were down 4-2 when Mike Scioscia pulled him but had Scioscia known what the Angels bats had in store for the second half of the game, I suspect he would’ve let Bell stick around. 

                              

In the bottom of the 6th, Gary Matthews, Jr. connected for a 3 run shot that literally got the ball rolling.  That was followed up with Howie Kendrick’s own 3 run homer in the bottom of the 7th, which turned out to be a 5 run inning.  Angels’ relievers allowed a combined 3 hits, 1 a solo HR to Pat Burrell given up by Jose Arredondo, who has rejoined the team after doing a little time in triple A.  With a final score of 10-5, it was just one of those games that was a blast to watch.  It had something for everyone, great pitching, great hitting, a few stolen bases and a couple of long balls thrown in for good measure.  And once again, we got to watch a rookie make it to the big time.  I always get a kick out of that.

                      kick.jpg picture by lafmyers

The Angels are traveling to Baltimore Thursday and on Friday they play the first of 20 consecutive games without a day off.  They are currently sitting 5 games ahead of the Rangers but I’d hardly call that a comfy cushion.  I’m just glad they’ve been playing well on the road as they meet up with the Orioles, Indians and Blue Jays during this next road trip.  I’m also loving the way each game is a sweet surprise as far who’s contributing the big hits.    And my Torii Hunter is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game.  I ask you, Angels fans…does it get any better???

                                                

 

Baseball…Play.  Laugh.  Grow.