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.
Baseball…something to smile about.
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.
Last night’s game against the Tigers was my first visit back to the Big A this season. It was bittersweet. I didn’t have my Dad with me…but I had my Mom! This was the first time I’ve ever been to a baseball game with Mom and I thank my sister for getting us the tickets and making it happen. As we walked around the stadium before the game started, I had a chance to show Mom where Dad and I used to sit, where we’d have our picnics and just reminisce about the great times he and I shared. I had some anxiety all day, wondering if it would be too hard to be back at the stadium without him, but once I got in the parking lot, I was just fine. Baseball is such a sweet escape for me and I love being at the ballpark. I immediately felt my Dad was there too and I knew he was happy that we’d come to the game.
Ah, yes…the game. Once again, we had a solid start from Jered Weaver. When he left after 7, he had given up only 3 runs (2 of those runs were solo HR’s to Granderson) and the game was tied 3-3. But as Angel fans know, it’s not the starting pitchers who are an issue. The relievers have given up hit after hit, run after run, grand slam after grand slam…’nuff said. But Jose Arredondo took the mound and had a quick 8th inning and I know we all breathed a sigh of relief.
I often claim that I have sat in just about every section in the stadium. From the Diamond Club (great if it’s not a 98 degree day game), to the upper-upper-upper views (we like to call them the “halo” seats ’cause you’re closer to heaven), I thought I’d been all over that park. But last night I sat in a section I had not been in before.
They weren’t bad seats. We had a clear view of the plate and also had no trouble seeing Mike Scioscia get tossed by the umpire after he argued balls and strikes. But, when Gary Matthews, Jr., filling in for an injured Vlad Guerrero in right field, bobbled a ball right in front of us, I heard something I rarely have ever heard from Angels fans…jeering.
Whhhaaaatttt? Not here. Not Angels fans. NOT in front of my Mom! I’m not sure if I was more embarrassed or angry. It was probably an even combination of both. I’m not naive. I know it goes on. But honestly, it’s not something you hear often in Anaheim. We have a reputation for being the kinder, gentler fans in So Cal.
Then Matthews delivered the game winning RBI in the 8th and the same idiots who had heckled him were now high-fiving each other. Cut to the 9th inning. Brian Fuentes comes in to close and runs into a bit of K-Rod-esque trouble. And the grumbling returns. Matthews tries to run down a foul ball near the right field stands and when he misses, the name calling starts again. Are you kidding me? How many beers must one consume to have total memory failure after only half an inning? If only it could all be blamed on alcohol. A little earlier, three pre-teen boys had moved down a few rows and took the seats directly behind us. Now they decided to join in and began hurling insults at Matthews. I wasn’t embarrassed anymore. I was pissed. So, I turned around and said, “Tell me…what did you have to say when he hit the go-ahead RBI??” That shut them up real quick. That’s right…I told them. I turned back around in my seat, feeling just a little bit better until I heard my mother loudly reprimand me. “Leave those kids alone!” Thanks, Mom. You do remember I’m in my (early) 40’s now, don’t you? Even the rally monkey was embarrassed for me.
Fuentes finally got the third out, the halo was twinkling and everyone was happy. Or were they? After dropping Mom off, I was heading home and listening to Angels Talk on the radio. I couldn’t believe just 14 games into the season, “fans” were calling in saying Kendry Morales has got to go! And then it hit me. The heckling of Matthews, the jeering of Fuentes and now fans calling for a new first baseman (Newsflash: Teixiera was not going to be anything but a Yankee…so get over it!) minutes after the conclusion of game 14 of a 162 game season made it all so clear. We are spoiled. And we have been for a while. Just last season, the Angels only spent 8 days out of first place in the West. Now, the mighty Yankee Slayers are struggling and some of their fans don’t seem to be handling it well. I think I need Super Nanny to set these spoiled brats straight.
She can start with my husband, a textbook fair-weather fan. In nearly ten year of marriage, I’m pretty sure our biggest fights happened during baseball season. It’s easy to be a fan when your team is cruising to the play-offs. It takes a real fan to support a struggling team. My 95 year old grandfather is a shining example of this. Does he sometimes yell at the TV when the Cubs miss a double play? Sure. Does he get so mad he’d change the channel? Never. He’s true (Cubbie) blue. And everyone knows you can’t possibly be a true Angels fan without faith.
Baseball…we try harder.