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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
What team doesn’t expect a lot from the meat of their order? Who doesn’t want one of their big guns coming up to the plate with a couple men on and the game on the line? Let’s face it. With Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera all on the DL, the Angels meat of the order has gone from looking like this:
to looking like this:
But not like some cheap fast-food burger…more like one of those really good restaurant burgers where the server asks you how you want it cooked. And you can get mushrooms on it. Or bleu cheese. Yum.
But much can be said for appetizers. Sometimes you get to the restaurant and you’re starving, so you quickly grab the menu and order a couple of appetizers and you start munching on a plate of tasty little morsels and before you know it, you’re so full you don’t even need to order an entree. Appetizers are delicious too and sometimes they’re just enough to get the job done.
But every once in a while, you just want dessert. Something decadent and rich to satisfy that sweet-tooth. Maybe drizzled with something on top or oozing with a creamy filling. Desserts are always less expensive than dinner but sometimes they sure do hit the spot, don’t they?
And then there are times when I go to a restaurant, I look over the menu and I still can’t make up my mind. I just don’t know what I’m in the mood for. That’s when I usually just go with whatever the chef recommends.
How can you go wrong? The Angels are a veritable buffet of baseball talent. In any given game, you just don’t know who will pack the biggest punch or pull off the unexpected. They are multi-talented and oh-so flexible. But more importantly, they’ve got chemistry and chemistry should never be underrated. This is a group of men that obviously enjoy playing together and have tremendous respect for each other. This hasn’t happened by chance. The Angels organization puts as much emphasis on personality and sportsmanship as it does talent and ability. We don’t hear about turmoil in the clubhouse or rivalry between players. This, with a team that has rotating outfielders, two catchers and has started a dozen pitchers. You’d think there would be reports of animosity or players jockeying for positions, but there’s none of that. All we see is a group of guys playing hard together, then celebrating together. Considering it wasn’t long ago that we watched this same group of guys mourning together, this recent streak of come-from-behind and edge-of-your-seat wins is all the more meaningful. If any team has come from behind this season, it’s the Angels. And this Angels fan is loving it.
Baseball…it’s what’s for dinner.
While life might sometimes get in the way of blogging, there isn’t much that can come between me and my Angels baseball. Only one person has ever caused me to change the channel in the middle of an Angels game. Michael Myers.
No, not him.
No, not him either but it’s close. The Michael Myers I’m referring to stood before God and everyone and vowed to love, honor and cherish me…or something like that. I don’t remember anything in his vows about ridiculing, mocking or laughing at my Angels but that’s exactly what he was doing last Wednesday night as the Angels were trailing Texas, 7-3. I’d had enough of him and changed the channel. When my husband goes fishing with his buddies, I don’t give him a hard time. I encourage them to go and have fun and catch lots of fish. I hold down the fort at the office so he can unwind without anything to worry about. (Memo to Mr. Myers: Who did you call when you all got to Mexico and the travel company had gone bankrupt and you didn’t have your 6 hotel rooms?? And who spent 45 minutes on the phone with the travel agency and American Express?? Oh, that’s right…Mrs. Myers!) When my husband hops on his Harley on a Saturday morning, I always tell him to be careful and have fun. I’m very supportive of his hobbies and for the most part, he is of mine. Except when it comes to the Angels.
I know there are doctors who specialize in sports medicine but what about marriage counselors? I suppose living with a fair-weather fan beats living with a Yankees fan or a Red Sox fan. (That would never happen. I do have standards.) I almost had the last laugh when my friend called, rightfully assuming I’d be watching the game, and told me Juan Rivera had tied it in the 9th with a 3 run homer. But alas, Hank Blalock’s walk-off dashed my hopes of making my hubby grovel, although I did interpret my foot rub the next morning as the peace offering it was intended to be.
And I will say, he has behaved ever since. Thursday night’s game against the Orioles was all about John Lackey and Bobby Abreu. Lackey gave up only 4 hits in a full 8 innings and Abreu had 2 HR’s and 4 RBI’s. I only half-watched Friday night’s game as we had friends over for a marathon poker game. The Angels lost but I won about $22. I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect a whole lot from Ervin Santana and I still have doubts that he’s 100%. I hope he truly is and we begin to see the 2008 Santana rather than the 2007 version.
Saturday’s game was a beautiful slug-fest! While the Orioles were finished scoring their 4 runs in the 5th, the Angels used the same inning to get the party started. 3 in the 5th, 2 in the 7th and 6 in the 8th…I was loving every second of it. The Angels won, 11-4, and a 17 hit game just felt good. Sunday’s game, the final in the 4 game series with Baltimore, went back and forth for a while, and the game was tied 6-6 in the 7th. But then the Orioles bullpen ran into some trouble and walked in 2 runs. One more Angels run capped their 9-6 victory. And wouldn’t you know it? When all of Sunday’s games were over, the Angels and the Rangers were once again tied for first place in the west. Which brings us to Monday night’s game.
The Rangers arrived for the showdown at the Big A. At the end of the game, someone would have sole possession of first place. This would be a big game…and I would be there. (Mr. Myers would not. No frickin’ way.) I happily picked up my niece, Claire and we headed out to the stadium. We debated whether her rally monkey, Pablo, would be joining us as he had been at the game Friday night and Claire was starting to think he might be cursed. We decided he could come because we both had a feeling we wouldn’t be needing our monkeys at all. Claire is 15 and is just as superstitious as her aunt. I also think she’s inherited my psychic abilities as well. We were sitting there when Jeff Mathis came to the plate in the 2nd, the Angels already losing 2-0. She said he was going to hit a home run. I said, “Oh, he’s not a real home run hitter so I’d settle for a double.” Suddenly we were on our feet, watching the ball (I swear it seemed like it was in slow motion) sail over the wall. A 3 run homer! She totally called it. Oh, and it was in the 2nd inning…
…so free tacos! 2 more runs in the 3rd and 4 more in the 5th gave the Angels the win. First place belongs to my Angels, and only my Angels.
Seeing the halo lit after an Angels win is a wonderful sight. But as I cruised down the freeway Thursday night on the way to John Wayne airport to pick up my sister and my niece (Maddie, different niece but also an Angels fan), I couldn’t help but wonder why the Angels couldn’t spend a few bucks to replace the burned out bulbs. It’s actually worse now than in the picture above. I know the economy is tough and attendance is down a bit, but really. Maybe they can pass the hat in the dug out? It’s a bit embarrassing, don’t you think?
Baseball…we bring good things to life.
The Angels looked very unprepared for their meeting Monday night with the Colorado Rockies.
The game was an unmitigated disaster, with one notorious notation: the Angels set a club record for wild pitches. Matt Palmer, in his shortest outing and first loss, gave up 6 runs before he was pulled after 4 and 2/3 innings. And the Angels’ relievers? Total meltdown.
Ironically, the final score, 1-11, was the exact same score as the final game in Tampa Bay. We all know what happened after that game.
Mike Scioscia let the team have it and overnight they began to play like a team who should be in first place in the west. I want them back.
Tuesday night was an improvement over Monday’s total trampling…not by much, but enough to get the job done. Rookie Sean O’Sullivan made his second start and although he didn’t get the win, he kept the Rockies from running away with the game. Angel pitchers kept the Rockies 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Down 2-3 in the 8th, Jeff Mathis took a walk, followed by a pair of bunts by Figgins and Aybar. The table was perfectly set for Bobby Abreu to drive in 2 runs and the Angels had the lead. Closer Brian Fuentes took over in the 9th and did his thing, including 2 strikeouts! He collected his 20th save, most in the AL. The Angels’ win combined with the Rangers’ loss to the Diamondbacks have the Angels tied for first in the west with Texas.
I’m sure everyone noticed Vladimir Guerrero’s newly shorn locks, no doubt an attempt to pull himself out of a David Ortiz-like hitting slump. It may not have helped Tuesday night, but let’s hope it has an effect soon, not just for the team’s sake. Like Big Papi, it’s tough to watch a hitter like Big Daddy Vlady struggle at the plate. At least he’s been hitting, but you know he’s trying to find his big swing. 30 of his 36 hits have been singles, not exactly the power we’re used to seeing.
The series with the Rockies wraps up Wednesday night, then it’s off to Arizona for 3 with the Diamondbacks. Then we’ll see what the standings look like at the conclusion of interleague play before the Angels head to Texas. Hopefully by then, the Angels will just be looking to put some distance between themselves and a 2nd place Texas. In the meantime, every division continues to be a real race. Gotta love it.
Baseball…we move the world.
Sometimes all it takes is a good talking to. After Thursday night’s miserable 11-1 loss to the Rays, Mike Scioscia had a locker room “discussion” with his team. What I would’ve given to have been a fly on that wall because whatever he said, obviously worked. I almost didn’t recognize the team that took the field Friday night, back home at the Big A.
Who were these super-studs and what had they done with my loveable but bumbling band of baseball boys? These new and improved Angels were hitting, scoring runs and not making base running or any other kind of errors. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to see them playing like the superior team I know they are. And I don’t think I need to tell you how happy I was to see Matt Palmer take the mound for his first start since May 30th.
Woohoo! But I’m not at all happy to hear that Kelvim Escobar is experiencing pain in his shoulder that will prevent him from starting. At least it looks like he’ll be available for relief pitching and he may be just what the bullpen needs. He definitely came in handy in the same capacity back in the ’05 season. Skeptics who think Matt Palmer’s success has been a fluke, will get to see their theory tested. Palmer was indeed tested Friday night, and although he gave up 4 runs on 10 hits, his teammates did their share for a change and came through with plenty of runs, upping his record to 6-0. Sweeeeeeet.
The Angels combined for 11 runs on 18…yes, 18…hits! Everyone pitched in but notably, Bobby Abreu went 3 for 4 and Maicer Izturis, filling in for Howie Kendrick at 2nd base, went 4 for 4! It did not come as a real shock when it was announced immediately after the game that Kendrick was being sent down to Salt Lake City. Howie has not been himself lately. Not only is he in the midst of the worst hitting slump of his career, we’ve seen him make some very uncharacteristic flubs, such as miscounting outs and sloppy base running. I hope he can work these things out and rejoin the team, ready to make a run for the play-offs. In the meantime, in light of his fantastic hitting Friday night, Izturis should be a great boost to the team’s offense.
So, were the Angels able to keep it together and take two in a row? And how. One stat that has been “sluggishly” low for the Angels has been home runs, but Saturday night there were lots of fireworks in Anaheim as Kendry Morales had his second home run in two days, Jeff Mathis had a two-run shot, his first of the season and…dum, dum, dee, dum…
My ALL-STAR Torii Hunter not only went 3 for 4, all 3 were HOME RUNS!!! It was incredible and the first time he’s ever had 3 in a game. Not only does he knock them out of the park, he climbs the wall and steals them from the other guys. Can someone please explain to me why this man is in 5th place in All-Star Game voting??? I don’t know of any outfielder who has been talked about as much on Sunday recap shows as my Torii. If he doesn’t start the All-Star Game in center field it will be a crime, I tell you, a crime!
Another star in Saturday’s game was Joe Saunders who pocketed win #7 after allowing only 1 run to the Padres in 8 and 1/3. If not for a dropped 3rd strike and missed catch, he would’ve had his complete game. But he sure looked good, striking out 5 and walking 1. And the Angels defense had his back, turning 4 double-plays.
It’s been a great weekend thus far, just watching the Angels play the kind of ball we all know they’re capable of playing. Coach Scioscia’s “lecture” should be on every players’ ipod so it’s handy should someone need a little refresher. Practice only takes you so far. Sometimes you need a different kind of “motivation”.
Baseball…your potential, our passion.
Not the game. Well, it was sweet, but it was anything but short. It was a bit like watching a tennis match…back and forth, back and forth. The Angels scored a run in the 1st; the Red Sox responded with one in the 2nd. Both teams took turns scoring runs until it was all tied up 4-4 in the 8th. It stayed that way until the bottom of the 12th. And then…
Catcher Jeff Mathis brought in the game winning run and the Angels won the game which, in all honesty, should’ve been Boston’s. Granted, Ervin Santana went a solid 5 innings in his first appearance since coming off the DL. Abreu, Rivera and Mathis each had two hits and my Torii Hunter had 3 (including 3 RBI’s). The Angels’ bullpen dug in and held on to the game, aided by some great defensive plays including another spectacular game-saving catch in the 10th by my Torii. But while the Angels left 6 on base, the Red Sox stranded 17 base runners.
And much is being said today about 12 of those potential runs being left hanging in the wind by David Ortiz. This tied a Red Sox record…a record I’m sure no one ever expected to be part of Big Papi’s stats. Even I’m feeling bad for the guy. My husband would be quick to remind me just how many times I’ve let loose with a handful of expletives while Ortiz rounded the bases after hitting yet another walk-off homer against my Angels.
Like any Angels fan, I was glad when the powerful one-two punch of Big Papi and Manny was finally dismantled last season. But I take no joy in watching a mighty giant like David Ortiz looking all too vulnerably human at the plate. Did I hope he’d find his long-ball swing both times the bases were loaded yesterday? Ummm…no. But I do hope the Red Sox Nation can show him the compassion Yankees fans cannot when A-Rod has a bad day. One negative I’ve discovered with baseball fans is their short memory. Big Papi doesn’t deserve that.
In just a few hours, the Angels will battle Texas in the first of a three game series. I’m confident that the Angels are ready to tame the Rangers and, at the end of the weekend, will be in first place in the wild, wild west.
Baseball…there’s a little west in all of us.
My husband called me “moody” today. What Angels fan isn’t after last night’s heartbreaker of a loss to the Red Sox? Once again, he just doesn’t know how lucky he is. I deal with a loss to the Red Sox like this:
Which is considerably better than how I deal with a loss to the Yankees:
Phew! Thank goodness those are few and far between. Unfortunately, we saw the Angels’ bullpen bumble and give up the game after yet another solid start by Jered Weaver. Perhaps instead of resting during Saunders and Weaver’s complete games last week, the relievers should have been practicing.
Both Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis were missing from the the Red Sox line up. Big Papi and I have the same number of home runs this season…ZERO. Nonetheless, he took one for the team, and a run came in when he was hit by a pitch. I hate when that happens. But last night’s loss can’t be blamed entirely on the pitching. With only 6 hits, the Angels’ bats were hardly blazing. And double digits (10) were left on base. I really hate when that happens.
One highlight of the game was Juan Rivera’s right-on-target throw to the plate to get Jacoby Ellsbury out, ending the 6th. Catcher Jeff Mathis made the tag, doing an admirable job as full-time catcher while Mike Napoli is DH-ing. Mathis and my Torii Hunter (yes, I’m still basking in the afterglow of his magnificent homerun stealing catch at the wall on Sunday) were the only two Angels to have two hits last night.
Today’s a new day, and tonight is a whole new ball game. We have what looks to be another great pitching match-up with rookie Matt Palmer, looking for win #4, against Tim Wakefield and his famous knuckle ball. Palmer pitched a shut-out against Kansas City and has been ultra-impressive since being called up from Salt Lake City. Who’s got the edge? The veteran who has taken his place among the best of the best or the 30 year old rookie who wants to earn the right to stay in the big leagues? As usual…I’m rooting for the rookie.
Baseball…tastes so good cats ask for it by name.