And yes, it totally ran away with me. Curses, voodoo, black magic spells? Turns out they were only in my head. Not only did the Angels beat the White Sox Thursday, Big Daddy Vlady had a home run as did Jeff Mathis, Bobby Abreu and Erick Aybar. With 9 runs on 11 hits, my thoughts are decidedly less dark and foreboding than they were yesterday.
I don’t regret yesterday’s post nor do I think I spoke too soon. What I do in everyday life, because I’m a professional worrier, is to imagine the worst possible outcome in a situation. I visualize in vivid detail the entire scenario and by doing so, am able to completely avert disaster. Don’t laugh. My “worry method” works.
It’s what keeps my planes in the air,
my cruise ships afloat,
and water pipes from bursting and flooding my house when I’m on vacation. And obviously, it’s what keeps my Angels from being swept by the White Sox. Since I wanted my Angels to come home on the heels of victory to face the Rangers this weekend, I couldn’t waste any time turning things around for them. What better way than to envision the possibility that someone had put a curse on the team that could potentially keep them out of the World Series for a hundred years? Believe me, worrying about a White Sox sweep would not have been enough. Go big or go home. It worked, didn’t it?
Jeff Mathis came into Thursday’s game hitting .197 and batting 9th in the order when he hit his 2 run shot in the 2nd, which only proves I’m even more powerful than I thought I was. I’ve decided, however, to give my overactive imagination the weekend off. While it would be very nice to completely dominate the Rangers,
I don’t know that it’s necessary to be 7.5 games up on them by the end of the weekend. The Angels have proven, once again this season, that adversity isn’t such a bad thing. They’ve seen more than their share and have come roaring back and played their best ball. This is one of the reasons I don’t get more upset with bad calls. More often than not, when a bad call is made that robs them of an out or a run, it ends up being the tide-turner that makes all the difference in a game. Usually…must I type AJ Pierzynski’s name yet again? Fine, but I pick the picture.
Pierzynski’s equally offensive manager, Ozzie Guillen, showed his sensitive side when he emerged from the dugout in the 5th inning Thursday, to complain to umpires about the delay of game as batter Howie Kendrick and pitcher John Danks stepped out of the batter’s box and off of the mound while stadium personnel rendered help to a young fan in the stands who had been hit by Kendrick’s flying bat. I’ll bet Pierzynski and Guillen get together after games to kick dogs and take candy from babies.
Ervin Santana may not have had one of his best starts, but he sure kept his cool and got himself out of big trouble in the 3rd after he loaded the bases by walking Gordon Beckham, giving up a hit to Jim Thome and nailing Paul Konerko with a pitch. His nerves may have gotten the better of him for a moment as he walked in a run, but he rebounded by striking out Jayson Nix (looking) who earlier hit a 3 run homer off him in the 2nd and getting Chris Getz to tap one right back to him. The White Sox were unable to score again except for Dewayne Wise’s solo shot in the 9th off of Kevin Jepsen. Jason Bulger delivered another 2 innings of solid relief and continues to see his ERA drop.
Bobby Abreu’s home run was his 250th of his career. Abreu’s addition to the Angels has been tremendous not only for his stats, which earned him the title of American League Player of the Month for July, but also for his shining example of plate discipline that seems to be rubbing off on his teammates. We are seeing the Angels burn through pitches and draw walks like never before. No doubt the Angels’ offense is benefitting by following in Abreu’s footsteps.
With his HR Thursday, Abreu became only the 6th player in MLB history to combine 250 homers with 2000 hits, 1000 runs scored, 1000 RBIs and 300 stolen bases. Those are amazing numbers and yet another reason Angels fans are finding it so easy to forget (and forgive) that he was ever a Yankee.
And speaking of Yankees…it’s time to wrap this up so I can go read some Yankees and Red Sox blogs. In the first of their four game series, the Yankees proved to the Red Sox that they are not the same team the Sox faced in this season’s previous match-ups. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 13-6 and almost immediately, blogs everywhere were being updated with the usual rivalry rhetoric that never fails to entertain. I’m ready to sit back and enjoy the fireworks that make me love to be a baseball fan.
Baseball…for people who share a taste for excitement.
I have very little sentimental attachment to hardly any of the cities that are home to other American League teams. Sure, Seattle is one of hubby’s and my favorite places to visit and New York is one of my favorite places to visit (without my hubby), but Kansas City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Arlington and Oakland are merely cities I’ve passed through on my way to somewhere else. I once spent six hours in Boston when my cruise ship stopped there on the way to Nova Scotia. Detroit, Tampa Bay or Minneapolis? Never been. Toronto? What’s that all “a-boot”? And then there’s Chicago. Ah…Chicago. What memories.
Yes, this Angels fan was born and partially raised in Chicago. And while the Cubs are my #2 team (a distant #2), I hate the White Sox. Why? Well, that’s mostly because I am very good at holding a grudge.
And it just wouldn’t be a typical Angels / White Sox game if AJ Pierzynski didn’t do something to piss me off. Did he really try to say Chone Figgins left 3rd base too early on a sac fly by Bobby Abreu in the 5th?!? Figgy? Base runner extraordinaire? Are you kidding me? Pierzynski is such a stinkin’ weasel. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Okay, it’s hardly worth mentioning the minor issues John Lackey had early on, considering all that went wrong for White Sox starter Jose Contreras. The 3rd inning proved to be his undoing as he walked Erick Aybar and Gary Matthews, Jr. to start the inning. Jeff Mathis’s sac bunt moved them to 2nd and 3rd and then Figgy took a walk and the bases were loaded. A wild pitch scored Aybar and Bobby Abreu scored two more with the first Angel hit of the night. When Vladimir Guerrero came to the plate in his first game back from the DL, Contreras was understandably irritated but his next pitch nearly sent Vlady back to the DL when it came dangerously close to Vlady’s left ear. When Contreras walked Vlady, his night was was over. Unfortunately, the night wasn’t over for the White Sox and reliever Kevin Jepsen gave up back-to-back hits to Jayson Nix and Scott Podsenik that gave the Sox the walk-off win and brought the Angels’ five game win-streak to a grinding halt.
In a game that only yielded 5 Angel hits, the bright spot had to be John Lackey’s 8 solid innings. He gave up 4 runs on only 5 hits and probably could’ve lasted longer than his 113 pitches. We’ll see how rookie Sean O’Sullivan does Wednesday night against Gavin Floyd. O’Sullivan pitched a no-hitter, giving up just one walk in the 7th, in AAA last week. He locates a mean fastball and has real poise on the mound. I just hope we’ll be seeing more of the run support we saw in Minnesota.
I must mention that earlier today the legendary Hank Aaron remarked about the recent leak of players’ names on the infamous 2003 drug test list. He believes the entire list of 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing substances should be released. I completely agree with him. My opinion is, that by releasing all of the names, Major League Baseball and its fans, as a community, can deal with the issue and hopefully move on. But I also believe that full disclosure of the list is owed to all of the baseball greats, past and present, who have watched their long-standing records shattered in this steroid era. They deserve to know whether or not their records were broken legitimately or with a little chemical “help”. I think it’s only fair to Mr. Aaron and others like him who played the game and set those records without the assistance of performance enhancers. Come on, Mr. Selig. We all deserve to know. Do the right thing.
Baseball…we mean clean!
My kind of town, Chicago is NOT my kind of town. Or to paraphrase a Dixie Chick, I’m embarrassed to be from Chicago. At least today I am. I don’t like the White Sox and I don’t like what they did to my Angels. They never bothered me much until Ozzie Guillen became their manager. He’s obnoxious. Then there was that whole AJ Pierzynski incident in the ALDS a few years back. Pierzynski. He’s even more obnoxious than his manager. He’s such a little weasel.
The Angels looked good on Sunday against the Dodgers. I knew the Rangers would finally have a little competition as they hosted the Yankees for 3, so if the Angels came back to the Big A and played well against the White Sox, they could close that 3 game gap in the west. With Ervin Santana on the mound and Big Daddy Vlady back in the line-up Monday night, I was feeling pretty confident. I didn’t panic when the White Sox scored 3 in the 1st. When the Angels came up in the 1st, they put their own 3 runs on the board. Or I should say, their ONLY 3 runs on the board. After that, the Angels pitchers hosted batting practice for the Sox and not only did the Angels lose, they were:
With a disturbing final score of 3-17, it was a game I’m already trying to erase from my memory. Angels pitchers gave up 24 hits while the Angels offense had a measly 4, with Vlady going 0 for 4. I can’t think of anything that went right for the Angels. At least they didn’t make any errors? White Sox fans had their little chuckle. Tonight (Tuesday) would be different. Well, slightly. It wasn’t as embarrassing a loss, but it was a loss. And what a shame, considering Joe Saunders had a pretty decent outing. But it was the offense that struggled. The Angels only 2 runs came on solo shots by my Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu…his 1st (hopefully of many) of the season. Right now, the Rangers are leading the Yankees in the 9th so instead of closing that gap, it could be widened to 4 games. Jered Weaver will start tomorrow and I hope the Angels can re-group. A sweep by Chicago would just make me sick!
Speaking of Chicago, today is my Cubbie-loving grandfather’s 95th birthday! When I called to wish him a happy birthday, the first thing he said was, “How are your Angels doing?” He then proceeded to tell me everything that’s wrong with the Cubs. At 95, he’s sharp as a tack but even sharper when it comes to baseball. I remember as a child in Chicago, my Poppy leaving the dinner table and heading to the TV room to watch the Cubs game. I didn’t discover my love (obsession) for baseball until after moving to Southern California, but I did take him to an Angels/Cubs game when he came to visit in ’03. In October of ’07, his Cubs made the play-offs and I got an idea. I first called my sister who works for United Airlines, and asked if she could help me with flights if I somehow managed to get tickets for game 3 of the Cubs vs. D-Backs division series at Wrigley. I’m not giving my secret away, but I did indeed score 2 tickets. I flew to O’Hare on Friday night and Grandpa picked me up curbside. (Oh, by the way…he just passed his driving test again!) The next afternoon, when we walked through the tunnel, I found myself getting all misty-eyed.
I’d never been to Wrigley Field before, and here I was with my Poppy. (Oh, and it didn’t hurt that we had better seats than Jesse Jackson!) The Cubs lost the game, the D-Backs swept the series and I was on a flight back to OC the next morning, but it was a once in a life-time for me. Please, for the love of God, can the Cubs get to the World Series again while Grandpa’s still around???
And speaking of birthdays…my Grandpa has teased me since I was little kid that I’m one day older than he is because his birthday is the 26th and mine was the 25th. I can only hope to be tearing it up at 95 like my Grandpa is. How old am I? A lady never tells her age. But I’ll give you a hint. (Maybe you’ll catch it…maybe not.)
Baseball…love it for life.
It’s Friday morning, and all over the universe, Yankees fans are rejoicing.
I truly thought the Yankees beating the Angels last night would’ve been a much bigger news story today, but it’s not. Swine flu, Chrysler in chapter 11, Justice Souter retiring…I guess in the scheme of things it’s not really that big a deal, especially given the fact that the Angels came into New York as the clear underdog in this series.
Seriously. Six pitchers AND Big Daddy Vlady Guerrero on the DL??? I can’t help but think this victory must ring a little hollow for the Yankees. I mean, they can’t possibly be strutting through the club house, patting each other on the back today. It wasn’t exactly a massacre. Far from it. The Angels had the Yankees in a respectable tie until the bottom of the 8th. Not bad for a team who may literally be just an inning or two away from having Bat Boy #3 come in as a relief pitcher. And how convenient for the Yankees to have had umpire Doug Eddings behind the plate. His strike zone was harder to follow than a cruise ship outrunning Somalian pirates. You see, the Angels have a history with Eddings that is quite notorious.
The ALCS game 2 was spoiled for the Anaheim Angels when the home plate umpire Doug Eddings missed a critical call behind the plate.
Angels fans have very good memories. There is still a chorus of “boos” that rises up whenever Eddings is introduced at the Big A. Same goes for AJ Pierzynski. Gosh, I can’t stand that guy!
The Yankees may have won the first round, but the Angels are playing with one hand tied behind their backs. There’s really no arguing that. Yankees fans should be absolutely outraged if the Yankees DON’T take advantage of the Angels when they’re at their most vulnerable.
But Angels fans love it when their boys in RED are the underdogs. It makes each victory all that much sweeter. Especially when it’s in New York.
Baseball…kid tested, mother approved.