Tagged: CC Sabathia

There’s No Place Like Home

If only it was this easy:

                 

Just in the nick of time, my Angels escaped the cold, bitter chill of the Bronx and came back home to the warm embrace of Southern California and the Angels faithful.  What a difference 3000 miles makes and I ain’t just talking about the weather.

     Angels catcher Jeff Mathis reacts to his deep drive bouncing off the wall in left field, allowing Howie Kendrick to score from first base with the winning run against the Yankees in the 11th inning of Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday.

Proving once again, that with the Angels there’s no telling where, or from whom, the win will come, Jeff Mathis gave us all something to cheer about.  Considering how disappointing (more like heartbreaking) Games 1 and 2 in New York had been, we all knew our boys needed to get back home to change the momentum of the ALCS series.  Torii Hunter said he was glad to be back, “…to work on my tan!”  And the generous dose of sunshine on Monday, certainly helped.

                  

Now, if you’re expecting some trash talk about the Yankees, I’m afraid I will have to disappoint you.  Let’s face it.  The Angels and the Yankees are both top-notch teams that are playing below their actual ability.  The Yankees were able to take advantage of Angel errors in game 1, but missing was their signature long-ball.  The Angels bats were cold…both figuratively and literally.  Honestly, I couldn’t help but grab my Angels logo throw blanket to snuggle with on the couch while watching that icy wind rip through Yankees Stadium.  Maybe my A/C was on too high.  Or could it have been the frozen yogurt I was eating?

                                       

Game 2 was just plain nuts.  That game, literally, could have gone either way.  There were no big heroics, no jaw-dropping plays.  Both teams made errors, neither team was able to deliver much of anything with runners in scoring position.  It was a 13 inning marathon between two mediocre playing teams.  I don’t really understand the purpose of pointing the finger of blame at any one or two players.  If you want to pick apart a team’s performance half-way through the season, go for it.  Second guess the manager all you want.  But when it comes to the play-offs, it’s just a waste of time and energy and can really drive fan morale straight into the ground.  Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.  The quicker you put a play-off loss behind you, the better.  What’s done is done, and you have to look forward with hope and optimism because as a fan, that’s all you can do.  To me, the real heroes of that game were the faithful Yankees fans who braved the rain, cold and risk of hypothermia to be there for the final pitch.  Kudos to them! 

                             

In these tough economic times, it’s nice to know the Angels and the Yankees are doing their part to help fans get the most bang for their ticket buck as they again, threw in a couple of “bonus” innings on Monday.  Game 3 looked and felt different than the games in NY.  The sky was blue, the sun was shining and I didn’t spot one parka or umbrella in the crowd.  But if Angels or Yankees fan were waiting for their team to turn it on or bust out with the kind of play that got them to this point in the first place, they’re still waiting.  Instead, the game stayed close, going into the 10th, tied 4-4.  And again, it could’ve been anyone’s game.  Thankfully, it was the Angels.  And kudos to the faithful Angels fans who braved the balmy warm afternoon with just the perfect breeze blowing in from left field and the very real possibility of a touch of sunburn on the bridge of their noses….ha.  Just kidding. 

    

Game 4 is just about a half hour away.  Scott Kazmir takes the mound for the Angels while CC Sabathia will be back with just 3 days rest.  I’m ready to see the Angels play like they have all season…smart, gutsy and balls out.  But if I’m being honest, I’ll take a win any way we can get one.  Let’s go ANGELS!!!

 

Angels Baseball…Fan Strong!

 

 

The Force Was With Us

On Friday, the Evil Empire may have entered the Big A like this:

     Darth Vader walking off the field after thowing out the first pitch

But on Sunday afternoon, they left like this:

                  

Being swept by my Angels didn’t exactly destroy the Yankees, but I’m sure it had to be frustrating.  Considering the Yankees had taken 2 of 3 (with game 4 postponed due to rain) in their first meeting with the Angels back at the end of April, the Yankees may have even felt a bit more confident coming into Anaheim this weekend.  Or maybe not.

JETER:  He is here.
GIRARDI:  What makes you think so?
  
JETER:  A tremor in the force.   
GIRARDI:  Surely he must be dead by now.
JETER:  Don’t underestimate the Rally Monkey.  Seriously, Joe.  Don’t. 

           darth.jpg picture by lafmyers

Since the Rally Monkey doesn’t appear unless the Angels are trailing in later innings, he had a relatively quiet weekend although TMZ did spot him tossing back a few cold ones in a cantina on Tatooine.  And he thought his disguise would fool the paparazzi.

                             

The Yankees’ pitching was the biggest issue of the series.  CC Sabathia fared better than Chamberlain or Pettitte did before him.  His only real trouble came in the 4th inning when the Angels were able to score 4 runs.  He lasted almost a full 7 innings and the Angels were only able to score 1 additional run.  True to form, the Yankees battled right up to the end, but could not take advantage of loaded bases or a Kendry Morales error.  And credit must be given to John Lackey for giving up only 2 runs in 7 spectacular innings against the most lethal bats in the AL. 

                                  han.jpg picture by lafmyers

The Yankees combined for 31 hits in the series and were still swept.  That has to hurt.  But it’s got to make the Angels feel better after their ugly series with the Rangers.  The Angels had a total of 37 hits but were able to outscore the Yankees in the series, 29-18.  That significant difference was a combination of great base running and solid defense.  The Angels were also able to make the absolute most of errors made by the Yankees.  And with a team like the Yankees, if they’re going to hand you additional outs, you must capitalize or take a loss because they’re going to hit and they’re going to hit homers.  That’s pretty much a given.  Luckily, Mark Teixeira gave his former teammates minimal trouble this weekend. 

                

Tex didn’t have his usual big-gun bat going on and for that, I am most grateful.  I thought the chorus of boos that greeted him at every plate appearance was silly.  He & A-Rod dealt with the boos like this:

                      fans.jpg picture by lafmyers

Mark’s not a bad guy.  He’s just not a west coast guy and that’s okay.  For the most part, we all knew that.  I appreciate what he did for us last year and I wish him the best.  (Except in the post-season.  Kinda like his last post-season.)

                leia.jpg picture by lafmyers

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend for Angels fans and a real bummer for Yankees fans.  After Sunday’s game, Jane Heller (Confessions of a She-Fan) was overheard saying, “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.  Damn those freakin’ Halos.”

At least once in a while, a member of the Evil Empire will recognize the “evil” of their ways and decide it’s time to play for the good guys. 

                            

The force is strong with this one. 

 

 

Baseball…pleasing people the world over.

 

 

How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?

I’ll tell you how.  By bouncing back in a HUGE way to beat the Red Sox!  I’m still out of breath, what with all the pacing, jumping and fist pumping I was doing through the 9th.  And I’m not sure my neighbors appreciated all the hooting and hollering.  I just had to be sure Matt Palmer could hear me seven miles down the road at the Big A.

 

                  

   

While Palmer started out shaky, giving up two runs in each of the first two innings, he settled right down and retired 19 consecutive batters!  This, of course, gave him his first (and I can’t even believe I’m about to type these words for the third time in less than a week) complete game!  

                            

Matt Palmer is the Cinderella story of the MLB right now.  He was the Giant’s 31st round draft pick back in 2002 and did not make a start in the majors until last August.  He ended up having three starts that left him with an 0-2 record.  He signed a minor league contract with the Angels in December and was invited to spring training.  Even with the Angels being plagued with injuries and tragedy, it’s downright amazing that he even got called up.  His two starts with the Salt Lake Bees left him with an 11.74 ERA, which makes what he’s doing now that much more amazing.  Someone, somewhere saw something in him.  He turned 30 while in spring training and was considering walking away from baseball to start a landscaping business.

                               

He credits his wife with convincing him to stick it out a while longer.  (Wives…they ARE always right, aren’t they?)  And now everything’s coming up roses for Matt Palmer.  Seriously.  I have no doubt he had one chance, and only one, to prove himself.  And that he has.  Consider this:

                4/23 – Palmer’s first start against the Tigers’ Edwin Jackson ($2.2 mil)

                  5/2 – Palmer’s second start against the Yankees’ CC Sabathia ($15.3 mil)

                  5/8 – Palmer’s third start against the Royals’ Gil Meche ($11.4 mil)

                5/13 – Palmer’s fourth start against the Red Sox’s Tim Wakefield ($4 mil)

Matt Palmer’s 4-0 record?  Priceless.  I just hope he’s making California’s minimum wage since it’s higher than Utah’s.  I really think next time Palmer has a start at the Big A, we should pass the hat.  NOT this hat:

                              

THIS one:

 

                      angelhat.jpg picture by lafmyers

Not all the thrills happened on the mound.  Down 4 runs in the 3rd, the Halos started to figure out Wakefield’s knuckle ball.  They scored 5 runs in the inning, including a 3 run blast by Mike Napoli.  You could see Palmer’s confidence return as he came out in the 4th.  What a little run support can do!  And my Torii Hunter had a solo HR in the 4th.  (I am SO in love with him right now, I am seriously considering changing my name to Lorii.)  Even fan favorite, Reggie Willits, subbing for Gary Matthews in right field, had an RBI.

 

dbard.jpgI did get a little nervous when the Red Sox sent in reliever, Daniel Bard.  “Honey, he’s a rookie,” my husband said, knowing how I feel about rookie pitchers.  I am not lying when I say I always root for the rookie, even when he’s on the opposing team.  It has to do with the soft spot I have for them, all alone on the mound, under the bright lights.  Mom, Dad and the whole world are watching.  I can’t bear to see a rookie pitcher choke.  “I hope he does well,” I said sincerely.  “But not too well.”  I just don’t trust those Red Sox and prefer to have a double-digit lead going into the 9th.  He struck out Mike Napoli with 3 fastballs.  It’s a good thing they use those radar guns because I didn’t see the ball.  Good for the rookie.  I just hope we can trade for him before the play-off’s. 

 

I’m sure all the fair-weather Angels fans are piling back on the bandwagon.  Not only are they winning, they’re doing it in fine fashion, with three complete games in less than a week!  Is there any baseball jargon for that?  Three strikes in bowling is a turkey, three goals in hockey is a hat trick.  I know!  Let’s call it a THREE – ‘PLETE!  Call it whatever you want.  Obviously, the Angels starters had a meeting and decided if they want a win, they’re just going to have to go the distance and get it themselves.  Where does this leave the Angel bullpen?

 

           ueline.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

 Baseball…ask about it at work. 

 

 

Will The Real Angels Fans Please Stand Up?

Things are looking up for the Angels.  At least it’s been less of a rollercoaster and more like:

                    

They took 2 from Detroit, then lost 2 to the Mariners.  But they won the last game of the series versus Seattle and then headed to Baltimore where they won both games of a two game series.  Yes…that means they’ve put together a THREE game winning streak!  Woo hoo!

                  

Are so-called Angels fans still demanding Kendry Morales’ head on a platter?  Hardly.  The day after Angels Talk phone lines were clogged full of Kendry bashers, he had a 5 RBI game.  He, Izturis, Kendrick, Matthews and the solidly reliable Hunter and Abreu, were getting it together and putting runs on the board.  So, what’s an angry mob of “faux” fans to do?  Without missing a beat, they turned their attention to Scotty Shields and the rest of the bullpen.  And that’s when I get really mad.

     percy.jpg Percy picture by lafmyers

There is no more lonely a job out there than that of a pitcher.  I don’t have to spell out the misfortune that has befallen the Angels bullpen.  If you really are a fan, you know exactly what the situation is.  And if you really are a fan, you are kind and compassionate, not rude and belligerent.  I, for one, am in awe of pitchers.  What they do with a baseball and a grip defies all physics, if you ask me.  Not to mention, I can’t hit a garbage can with an empty Fresca can from three paces away!  I hate to disappoint the haters, but I must point out, the current three game win streak was due largely to Angels pitching.  Maybe that’s why the mob was now focused on Erick Aybar after today’s game.  It doesn’t matter that the Angels won.  They’re NOT in first place in the west so someone must pay (at least according to the angry mob).  Their cries of “Bring in Brandon Wood!” is reaching an Obama-like crescendo.  Doesn’t anyone remember what happened when he came up in ’07?  Wood will get his chance, and I hope for his sake he lives up to the hype this time.  Why is it so easy for these half-hearted fans to dismiss a player like Aybar based on a handful of games?   

Here we are, just hours away from the first of four games at the new Yankees Stadium.  I’ll admit, Angels fans have always gotten a little (okay, a LOT) of satisfaction out of being able to smack those Yankees around a bit.  Yeah, we refer to the Angels as “Yankee Kryptonite”.  When it comes to playing the Yankees, we’ve always been able to have a superior attitude like, well…like Yankees fans have when playing anyone other than the Angels.  But this series is going to be especially hard given the “David vs. Goliath” pitching match ups.

                             

Fresh from his major league debut, Anthony Ortega will square off against A.J. Burnett.  Matt Palmer will have his fifth major league start against C.C. Sabathia.  Okay, I’m nervous just typing it.  But have no doubt, I will be cheering for the rookies, as I always do.  And if you “pretend” Angels fans can’t cut your team a little slack right now, then fine.  This series against the Yankees couldn’t have come at a better time.  These four games will be the true test of your real “fan-ness”.  It’s survival of the fittest.  If you are not a true-red Angels fan, your cover will be blown.  Please keep in mind that I am much younger than this reference might indicate, but will the real Angels fans please stand up? 

        whatsmyline.jpg picture by lafmyers

   

 

Baseball…where the rubber meets the road.