Tagged: Maicer Izturis

XXXs and Orioles

The Angels finished up their four game series with the Orioles on Monday night.  Can I just say that ending a series on a Monday really throws me off.  All day I kept thinking it was Wednesday.  No such luck.  Oh well.  At least the Angels ended their time in Baltimore on a high note, taking 3 of 4 games. 

                                      pie.jpg picture by lafmyers

Ervin Santana had another good outing, giving up 3 runs in 6 innings.  But in a game where both teams each had 9 hits, the Angels made theirs count.  Kendry Morales had his two run shot in the 2nd and Macier Izturis had a solo HR in the 6th.  Homerun-itis then struck Vladimir Guerrero who launched his own 2 run shot in the 6th and followed that up with a 3 runner in the 7th.  Vlady is making up for lost time.  His numbers suffered from all the time he spent on the DL.  I think those whispered rumors that he’d lost his mojo for good can definitely be put to rest.  Super Vlad will not go quietly into that good night.  Yippee!

         

The Angels roll into Cleveland on Tuesday for 3 games.  The Indians have won their last two but as long as the Angels offense stays hot everything should be fine.  I’d like to see rookie Trevor Bell get his first win.  His first game was a no decision.  Torii Hunter will be back in the line-up.  He’s playing every other day for a little while since he’s fresh off the DL. 

     

There’s certainly no need to rush things as we all want him to be 100%, along with every other player.  The Angels schedule will only get tougher in the next few weeks and the Rangers aren’t showing any signs of backing down.  The same can’t be said for a few other teams.  While every team is entitled to a slump, the Red Sox meltdown couldn’t have come at a better time for the Yankees.  It’s got to be so frustrating for Sox fans to watch their team falling from grace so swiftly as the Yankees charge forward.  Not pretty.

                            

And in the National League, Dodger fans, who have been riding the hot tamale train since the season started, could be starting to squirm just a little bit.  They no longer can claim the best record in baseball and have seen the Rockies chip away at their comfortable lead.  They are now just 4.5 games ahead of the Rockies.  Even my Angels have a better record than the Dodgers but here in Southern California you’d never know it.  The local media, which originates in Los Angeles, continues to ignore the Angels for the most part.  Whatever.  We’re used to it.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  I’ll eat a Dodger dog if I’m wrong, but I’ve got a feeling the Dodger train is about to jump the tracks.

                           

 

Baseball…It’s the only game in town.

 

 

Call Me Crazy

The Angels poor showing against the Rangers in their three game series this weekend was definitely disappointing but it was hardly anything to go nuts about.

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Friday night, Joe Saunders gave up 5 runs before being “rescued” from the mound after only 1 & 2/3 innings.  He’s been placed on the 15 day DL which probably should have happened weeks ago.  We all know what Saunders is capable of when he’s 100% and he deserves the chance to get back to 100%.  With Matt Palmer available to make a few starts in the meantime, Saunders should take all the time he needs to be in top form for the home stretch in September, not to mention the post-season.  Angels relievers did not have their best stuff and although it looked like a comeback was in the making when Maicer Izturis hit a 3 run homer in a 4-run 7th inning, the Angels came up short in the 11-6 loss.                            

                            

I knew well in advance that I would not be watching Saturday afternoon’s game live.  I set the DVR before hubby and I made the 1 & 1/2 hour trek up to the high desert for a BBQ with his family.  While my family is all too aware of my “addiction”, his family thinks I’m perfectly normal and I intended to keep it that way.  I’d simply watch the game when I got home and my secret would be safe.  At least that was the plan. 

                                 

Everything was going just fine.  We were all gathered on the large back patio enjoying the sun, pool and company.  Honestly, I was having such a good time I hadn’t even thought about the game.  Then I went into the house to help Mr. Lucky assemble the salad we had brought.  I walked into the kitchen and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it…a flash of red and  crisp white uniforms against a backdrop of green, green grass.  “Hey honey, I put the game on for you,” my hubby announced sweetly.  “Why did you do that?” I asked, my voice quivering.  “I thought you could just catch the score once in a while.”  And an alcoholic can have a sip of wine.  A shopaholic can just walk the mall.  I should’ve shut it off.  I know that now.  As I tossed the salad, I kept glancing over at the TV.  Top of the 3rd, (toss, toss) no score, (toss, toss) Jered Weaver looks good, (toss, toss). 

                         

I had to get out of there, go back outside and rejoin the party.  And I did. I was doing just fine, out of sight, out of mind, right?  A little while later, my brother-in-law came out of the house, carrying a large tray of mushroom burgers destined for the BBQ, when he announced, to no one in particular, “The game’s tied.”  My pulse quickened and I heard myself say, “What’s the score?”  It was barely a whisper and he didn’t hear me so I let it go, did a little of that yoga breathing to slow my heart rate down and resumed my conversation with my sister-in-law.  We were sitting at a table under a large umbrella, a safe distance from the house, family room and TV.  I had no way of knowing disaster was looming.

       caution.jpg picture by lafmyers

The patio door opened and out stepped my nephew’s doll of a new wife.  “Hey, a guy in a red suit just hit a ball over a wall.”  I didn’t mean to do it.  It was honestly an involuntary reflex but what followed seemed to all happen in slow motion.  I jumped up from the table sending my ice-filled cup of Fresca into the air and down the front of me, the metal patio chair flew backward, hitting the cement and startling my other nephew’s large dog who jumped backward, knocking my BBQ-ing brother-in-law off balance and right into the pool, followed by the burger he had been in the process of flipping.  As I stood there, dripping in refreshing grapefruit diet soda, all eyes on me, I meekly smiled and said, “I’ll eat that one.”

  

Needless to say, the drive home was long…and quiet.  I broke the awkward silence by asking my hubby why he turned the game on in the first place when I had promised to be good and wait to watch it at home.  “I was trying to be nice,” he explained.  “Yeah, but you know I have a problem, ” I whined.  “At least the kids had fun diving for the burger…and your brother’s cell phone.”  He didn’t respond. 

                       

Oh well.  What mattered was the Angels won and Jered Weaver had a terrific game, matching his 11 strike-outs from his previous start.  Of course, my hubby’s family probably won’t have me back up until sometime after October.  Okay, so now they know I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to my Angels but I’m pretty sure they still like me way better than his first wife.

                          

I suppose Sunday’s game was my real penance.  I don’t know what the worst part of the 0-7 loss to the Rangers was.  It was the first shut-out for the Angels since May 20th and an uncharacteristic 3 error game.  Those errors proved mighty costly too.  Derek Holland pitched a complete game and had a no hitter going into the 6th.  The Angels would ultimately muster only 3 hits.  Sadly, John Lackey’s 6 & 1/3 innings and 8 strike-outs garnered him a loss.  While I’m still confident the Angels will prevail in the west, their 3-9 record against Texas so far this season is definitely frustrating.  But Lackey himself put it in perspective for me.  “They can beat us 18 times and if we play 19 games better against everyone else, it doesn’t matter.”  He’s got a point.  Still, with 2 more series against Texas in September, I’d love to see the Angels turn the tables on the Rangers much the way the Yankees were able to against the Red Sox this weekend.  Sometime it’s an issue of pride.

Baseball…have it your way.

 

 

Taking Triplets From Twins

It wasn’t long ago that Angels fans were feeling complete panic after hearing that, not one but TWO, of their best players were headed to the DL.

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Speculation began as to whether the Angels could keep up with the Rangers while Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter spent time on the bench.  But soon, Angels starters began to struggle.  The starting rotation that had kept the Angels in contention in the first place, was having a tough time getting through 3 or 4 innings without giving up an almost insurmountable amount of runs.  Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver have all been having problems with their precision and it isn’t pretty.

          precision.jpg picture by lafmyers

With the Rangers not giving up any ground, the Angels would have to rely on their offense to give their starters support and, hopefully, keep winning games.  And they’ve responded to these latest challenges by putting up big numbers as we saw in this last 3 game series with the Twins.  The Angels have become Masters of the Big Inning.

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This was definitely the case when they scored 6 runs in the 11th inning on Friday night.  “Well, that’s going to be a strange looking box score,” I thought to myself when it was over.  Sure enough, my phone rang the next day. 

Mom:  I don’t get it.
Lucky Lori:  Get what?
Mom:  How did the Angels score 6 in overtime?
Lucky Lori:  Well, they hit the ball and scored 6 runs.  In extra innings, not overtime.
Mom:  Don’t they just have to score one more to win?
Lucky Lori:  If they were at home.  They were in Minnesota.
Mom:  Since when does the time zone have anything to do with it?
Lucky Lori:  Since never.  The home team gets to have another at bat.
Mom:  How many times do they get to bat in overtime?
Lucky Lori:  It’s extra innings, Mom.  Overtime is football.
Mom:  You know I hate football…ever since your father made me smuggle beer under my coat into the Rams game when I was seven months pregnant.
Lucky Lori:  Aren’t you missing “Murder, She Wrote”?
Mom:  Aren’t you pushing me to root for the Twins tomorrow?

Touché.

But I had nothing to worry about.  Not only did the Angels sweep the Twins, they did it with an exclamation point, scoring 35 runs in 3 games on 52 hits.  52 hits in 3 games?!?  Who does that?  All my Angels do.  Everyone did their share.  Bobby Abreu, Mike Napoli, Maicer Izturis, Juan Rivera and Sean Rodriguez each had a home run and Kendry Morales had three, two in Sunday’s game.  Napoli went 4 for 6, Abreu and Rivera went 3 for 5 on Friday.  Gary Matthews, Jr. and Napoli went 3 for 5 on Saturday and Morales went 3 for 5 on Sunday.  

    

Starters Ervin Santana (Friday) and Joe Saunders (Saturday) each lasted 6 decent innings and had to be happy with the powerful offense that oozed from their teammates.  On Sunday, Jered Weaver took the mound and stunned Angels fans with his new look.

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Gone were the trademark flowing, golden locks.  Perhaps in a Vlady-like bid to change his luck, Weaver opted for a buzz-cut.  Did it work?  Well, Weaver went 6 and 1/3 innings and struck-out 11 of the 24 batters he faced, a career high for him.  I’d say it may have done the trick.  I also think he looks less like Jeff Weaver’s brother now and more like another famous sibling.  I can’t find any pics of him sans cap to show you a comparison, but once I do, I’ll post it.  Who do you think he looks like with his not-so-beach-boy-bob?

            

The Angels are off on Monday then head to US Cellular Field to face the White Sox for 3.  The last 3 game series in May didn’t go well for my Angels.  They lost the first game 3-17 but did manage to pick up the last game.  I’d love to see them power through the Sox and keep on rolling into their Texas series.  Meanwhile, the Rangers will play 4 in Oakland.  Let’s hope the Angels have plenty of hits left in the tank.  Not only do they lead the MLB in hits with 1040, it’s been a blast to watch, hasn’t it?

 

Baseball…makes you look like you spent a fortune on your hair.

 

 

Eight Tastes Great!

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:

                   burger.jpg picture by lafmyers 

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. 

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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? 

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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.

 

 

Halos, Happiness and History

I probably could’ve used Ervin Santana’s new mouth guard for Wednesday night’s game with the Royals. 

                       

Even with these come-from-behind wins of late, I’ll admit to a little nail biting in the 8th inning when the Angels were down 6-4.  Maicer Izturis had tied it up with a seemingly effortless home run in the 3rd, but the Royals had come back and scored 3 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th.  The Angels were running out of outs when Mike Napoli tied it again with a 2 run shot.  Chone Figgins then climbed out of his Kansas City funk by hitting a bases-loaded double that scored 2.  It turned out to be a fun 5 run 5th and Justin Speier and Kevin Jepsen kept a lid on the Royals’ offense that had scored all 6 runs on Joe Saunders.  Brian Fuentes took over in the 9th, recorded his 30th save and secured a sweep of the Royals.  This forced me to ask the question:  Frankie Who?

               

A couple of notable events occured prior to Thursday night’s game with the Twins.  First, back home at the Big A for their series with Minnesota, the logo for the 2010 All-Star was unveiled.  Owner Arte Moreno, Mike Scioscia and Angels all-stars past and present were on hand for the unveiling.

     

Gotta love the halo and it’s obvious with just a glance, who will be hosting the game.  As far as logos go, I think it’s pretty cool.  I’d say it sure beats these: 

   b08.jpg picture by lafmyers

Meanwhile, on the south side of Chicago, White Sox fans were witnessing history as Mark Buehrle demonstrated pitching perfection!  In just 2 hours and 3 minutes, Buehrle recorded only the 18th perfect game in major league history.  Teammate Dewayne Wise’s amazing 9th inning catch robbed Tampa Bay’s Gape Kapler of a home run and helped seal the deal for Buehrle.  Along with Prez Obama (who personally called him), I congratulate him on this incredible baseball feat.      

                               Buehrle pitches perfect game 

Now, on to Thursday night’s game.  Jered Weaver took the mound and immediately ran into trouble.  The Twins, having been shown up by the A’s the previous night in a humiliating 16-1 loss, were going to respond by playing tough and they wasted no time scoring 3 runs.  But after a shaky start, Weaver settled right down and worked a full 7 innings, giving up only 1 additional run in the 6th.  The Angels tried to play catch up the entire game, scoring 2 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th.  Going into the 9th, the Angels were trailing by just 1 run until reliever Jason Bulger gave the Twins 2 walks and a hit that they used to score another run.  Down 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th, in typical fashion, Mr. Lucky asked me if Texas had the night off.  When I told him they did, he began to reply, “Good.  At least we’ll only lose 1/2…”  I cut him off and begged him to go to bed or I’d make other sleeping arrangements for him. 

         

He wouldn’t, but promised to be quiet.  And I was anything but, as Twins closer Joe Nathan begins to lose all control of the inning.  He walks Abreu and Morales flies out.  Then Nathan hits Napoli with a pitch and Aybar flies out.  Gary Matthews, Jr. drops one right into shallow center field and Abreu scores!  The Angels are down just one run now.  Howie Kendrick hits one back at Nathan who knocks it down but it continues past him and looks like it’s headed right for the 2nd baseman’s glove…BUT IT DOESN’T!!  Instead, it bounces OFF the bag and rolls toward right field and the TYING RUN SCORES!!  That’s when I knew the Angels would win the game. 

            

And they did with Napoli doing the RBI honors.  It was a fantastic game, and although we’re getting used to these Angels come-from-behind victories (they lead the MLB with 31), this had to be the most dramatic win yet.  Tonight, announcer Terry Smith’s tagline, “Just another Halo victory!” was a huge understatement!

 

Baseball…the relentless pursuit of perfection.  

 

 

Rookie-rama!

Don’t you just love irony?  I sure do.  Tuesday night was “Irish Night” at the Giants’ AT&T Park.  And was it ever.  Rookie Sean O’Sullivan made his major league debut as the Angels’ starter and turned out to be their pot of gold. 

                   rainbow.jpg picture by lafmyers

O’Sullivan had a shut-out working into the 7th inning when he finally gave up the only run the Giants would see.  Luck had nothing to do with it as he struck out 5 and walked just one batter.  The Giants could not figure him out and took advantage of a wild pitch to get a runner in scoring position.  O’Sullivan is only 21 years old and I certainly wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d had some debut jitters, but he was too cool for school as he made pitch after pitch.  Then, just to make it a little more interesting, he got his first major league hit when he slammed a bullet right at Giant’s 3rd baseman, Rich Aurilia, who couldn’t get his glove on it.  He also had a chance to round the bases and score a run, just like John Lackey on Monday night, when Maicer Izturis followed up with his first home run of the season.  Another night full of firsts!

                                

Someone found Mike Napoli’s “ON” switch.  Napoli’s recent struggles at the plate were erased from our memories with one swing of the bat as he unleashed a 3 run homer deep into the stands, just one of his 4 for 5 hits.  It looks like Mike’s got his mojo back and his timing couldn’t be better with my ALL-STAR Torii Hunter missing from the line-up.  My Torii body-slammed the centerfield wall Monday night, going after a line drive hit by Bengie Molina.  Remember my motto, “Once an Angel, always an Angel…except for Jose Guillen”?  I forgive you, Bengie.  I know you didn’t mean to hurt my Torii.  Thankfully, my Torii’s only injury was a couple of bruised ribs. 

           Hunter

I say thankfully, because the sound of my Torii’s body impacting the wall could be heard all the way in the broadcast booth.  I cringed every time they replayed it and I’m so glad he wasn’t hurt more seriously.  He’s expected to be back on the field Friday as the Angels start another freeway series with the Dodgers.  I’ll say it again…if my Torii Hunter isn’t the starting centerfielder in the All-Star Game it will only prove there is NO justice in this world!  Count ’em, folks.

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So, things are good in Halo-land right now.  The Angels are riding their longest win streak of the season (again, do your own math…I’m not gonna jinx it), yet another rookie on the mound gave us much to cheer about and Matt Palmer will have another start Wednesday afternoon backed up by a bunch of guys who have rediscovered their long-ball swings.  What could I possibly have to b*tch about???

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I do read (some) message boards so I know the debate rages on: Rex Hudler & Steve Physioc vs. Rory & Mark.  My vote rests squarely with Rex and Steve.  I’ve heard Rex called a “shameless cheerleader”.  I’ve been called the same thing and I hardly consider it an insult.  He’s also been accused of “dumbing down” the game.  Then call me stupid because I actually learn a thing or two from him and Steve.  Not all fans who watch Angels games can spout stats or have any experience actually playing the game themselves.  Heck, I’m happy when I get an AFLAC Trivia Question right!   And let’s not forget the many young fans who enjoy watching the games.  Few former pro athletes are as self-deprecating as Rex and I find it refreshing.  He and Steve have genuine enthusiasm that comes from being true-red Angels fans and I like it.  I don’t have much of a beef with Mark.  I respect his experience and his resume in the majors and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.  But Mark needs to understand that I will never find myself in the position to throw a slider, split-finger, sinker or curveball and to be completely honest, I can’t distinguish between the zillions of pitches he describes.  I know only two: ball and strike.  I sometimes find my eyes glassing over as he offers TMI for each pitch.  Now, Rory?  That guy knows how to push my buttons and he’s been doing it a lot lately.  Did anyone else notice how he seemed to be getting excited Monday night as the Giants chipped away at an Angels’ 8 run lead?  He says the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Tonight it was, “The Giants haven’t had a base runner in scoring position yet.”  The words were not even completely out of his mouth as a Giant hit second base.  Talk about a jinx?  With Rory, it’s not “if you build it, they will come”, it’s “if he says it, it will happen”.  So, Rory, do me a favor, before you speak, ask yourself, “WWFD?”  (What would fans do?)  Please.  Don’t make me pull out the duct tape.  

                          

 

Baseball…can you hear me now?  

 

 

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. 

 

   

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.

 

Angels Win + Yankees Lose = Happy Girl!

I left work last night and pulled up to the house.  My husband hopped in the car and we cruised down the 57 freeway.  No, I didn’t have any tickets to the Angels’ opener but my husband thought we should drive over near the stadium with the top down on my new (to me, anyway) convertible to see the flyover.  It was a great idea and I got goose bumps as the F-15’s (or F-18’s or B-52’s…whatever they were…hey, I’m a baseball fan but I’m still a girl) flew over the Big A. 

                   

We then stopped at Portillo’s, picked up a couple of Italian beef sandwiches (yes, born and partially raised in Chicago which explains why I do keep an eye on the Cubbies) and were home by the end of the first inning.

Just the sight of those gorgeous white and red uniforms against that bright, beautiful green grass all framed in my 47″ TV (the new love of my life) made me smile from ear to ear.  Joe Saunders had a great game.  I really like him.  Remember when he pitched right after the Virginia Tech shootings and he wrote “VT” in the dirt of the pitcher’s mound?  Good guy.  

                           

I was a bit disappointed that Vlady wasn’t out in right field.  After hearing how well he’s moving after knee surgery, I was really curious to see him in action. (My first post explains why I didn’t watch a single pre-season game.)  He seemed to be in good form as he sprinted to first base so we’ll see.  But I was glad Juan Rivera got a start in left field.  Just a few years ago, I felt like he was right on the verge of a break-out season…but his only “break” turned out to be a broken leg in winter ball somewhere in the Caribbean.  His comeback has been a little slow but once again, I feel like he’s on the brink of great things.  Oh, and last season I grabbed a couple of front-row field seats to a day game and watched as a little baby bird in right field kept running through his legs and around his feet.  Juan was trying to play his position like a pro while avoiding stepping on the little guy at the same time.  It was so cute and as a Bird Mom (of 10), Juan scored big points with me that day.  But I still refer to him as my “Big Gay Guy”.  I think it’s his and Maicer Izturis’s artfully placed blond highlights.  Again, I’m a girl…we notice these things. 

    jusanrivera.jpg picture by lafmyers

How ’bout Howie’s homerun?  Loved it and his RBI single.  He and Aybar pulled off a perfect double-play in the 2nd too.  So what if he had ONE error…who’s counting?  Oh yeah…they do count those, don’t they?  The crowd gave Saunders a nice ovation for his three-hitter.  Arredondo and my Scotty Shields did their thing and then handed it off to our new closer, Brian Fuentes.  Now I don’t want Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register calling me a racist again (read his disgusting column here), but it was a little refreshing to not see anyone get on base in the 9th, wasn’t it?  I’m no Frankie basher, never was, but let’s just say his move to the Mets means I won’t have to refill my Xanax prescription as often.

                                           

I must confess, there’s a little spring in my step today that doesn’t come just from the Angels winning their opener.  Let’s face it…any day the Yankees lose is a good day.  They say money can’t buy happiness.  And the Yankees prove it doesn’t buy championships either. 

 

Baseball…it’s what’s for dinner.