Tagged: Kelvim Escobar

There’s No Place Like Home

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. 

  extreme.jpg picture by lafmyers

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…

                                Torii Hunter

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. 

 

   

Motown Meltdown

I woke up Saturday feeling happy and hopeful.  The sun was shining and the birds were singing (outside and in).  Kelvim Escobar would be taking the mound that night in Detroit, which meant for the first time this season, the Angels’ starters were all healthy and rearing to go.

                                

The Angels’ win on Friday night was their 3rd in a row.  I was anticipating great things as I kept checking the clock all afternoon.  Finally, at 3:40 PM, I headed to the bird room and grabbed the vacuum, a sure-fire way to kill 20 minutes.  I vacuum that bird room every day, sometimes twice when they’re molting, and I know it takes exactly 20 minutes.  Well, I’ll spare you the paper chewing, food bowl dumping, lovebird-on-the-loose details but needless to say, I got sidetracked and when I looked at the clock again it was 4:28 PM!  What?!?!? 

                             

You know how sometimes you can miss the first 20 minutes of a movie and it’s no big deal?  Yeah?  Well, this wasn’t like that.  I ran into the family room just in time to see Escobar throw the last pitch of the first inning.  The score was 2-1, Tigers.  While waiting for the 2nd inning to start, I had that talk in my head where I said, “Okay, Escobar.  It’s only 2 runs.  Now, just settle down and you’ll be fine.”  He did and he was.  Trouble was, Detroit’s Edwin Jackson had the same talk with himself and he ended up with a complete game…a 4 hitter!  Escobar looked good through his 5 innings.  Not bad, considering Lackey only managed 2 pitches in his first start and neither were strikes…remember?  Angels’ relievers Bulger and Oliver, did their part to tame those Tigers and didn’t allow any more runs.

                            

So, as it turned out, that 2-1 score at the end of the 1st inning was also the final score of the game.  Super bummer. 

Sunday morning was a little different.  I dragged myself out of bed, (or rather was coaxed with a Jack-in-the-Box mango smoothie…thanks, honey) for the 10:00 AM game start.  Perhaps I should’ve stayed in bed and instead, dreamed of an Angels win?

                                           

‘Cause it sure wasn’t happening in real life.  It started off on a high note: the Angels scored 3 runs in the 1st including a solo HR by Chone Figgins, his first of the season, and a 2 run shot by Juan Rivera.  After that, I expected Joe Saunders to hit the mound and just mow the Tigers down. 

                             

It didn’t quite happen that way.  Angels’ pitchers walked 9 Tigers and sealed their fate when Bulger served up a grand slam to Clete Thomas that blew the 5-5 tied game wide open.  The Angels managed one more run in the 9th but it was too little, too late.

                                

I must mention that amid the doom and gloom, Bobby Abreu got his 2000th career hit, a double, sandwiched between the 2 HRs in the 1st inning.  Congratulations to him on being the 257th player to hit this milestone.

The Angels are off Monday as they travel to Tampa Bay.  At this point, I don’t know what to expect.  While the Rays may be in 4th place in the east, they lead the MLB in runs scored (324) and stolen bases (91).  Manager, Joe Maddon, a former apprentice of Mike Scioscia, likes to use the tricks of his old mentor against his former team. 

         

Let’s just hope Scioscia has a few tricks of his own up his sleeve.  With Texas taking 2 in Boston, we can’t afford to lose any more ground.

 

Baseball…we turn on ideas.