Tagged: Matt Palmer

The Boys of Bummer?

No, I’m not going to give my Angels a merciless tongue lashing.  I’m not going to dissect their lackluster performances in both of their losses to the Yankees either.  I will, instead, point out the single bright-shining event of the last few days.  The Angels gained a half game on the Rangers and their magic number is now 4. 

                               

And how did this happen?  My Angels had a day off.  Oh, and Oakland beat the pants off the Rangers, 12-3.  How else could it have happened?  My Angels have lost some steam and frankly, I’m baffled by it.

                       

The addition of Scott Kazmir to the starting rotation has done much to reinforce a slightly shaky starting rotation.  We’ve seen the bullpen find their groove with Jason Bulger, Kevin Jepsen, Darren Oliver and Matt Palmer providing solid relief.  They’ve continued to hit, though perhaps not on the grand scale we saw last month.  But most of the starting line-up continues to maintain batting averages hovering around the .300 mark.  They did out-hit the Yankees in the last two games but they’ve not been hitting in the clutch.  On Wednesday, the Angels went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position!  It’s as if all of the “post-season preview” talk that surrounded their games with both the Yankees and the Red Sox, had a terrible effect on my Angels.  I certainly don’t have any medical experience (I do have a nifty box of Sponge Bob band-aids) but I’ve made my own diagnosis.

       

My Angels are suffering from a case of “post-season jitters” also known as the “championship chokes”.  We’ve seen the symptoms before: sudden lack of confidence, uncharacteristic sloppy base running, sudden onset of unexplained errors.  We know this is not typical of our usually sharp and on-the-ball (literally) Angels but it is an ailment we’ve seen in post-seasons past.  Maybe this bug has struck early this season?  And maybe, just maybe, it will run its course over the next week and be out of their system by the time the real play-offs start.  Wouldn’t that be perfect?

                                            

I want my Angels to show up in October brimming with confidence, bringing their A game and being the superstars I know they are.  I want bats blazing, lightning fast speed on the base pads and defensive plays being executed with the surgical precision that takes our breath away a second time when the re-play rolls. 

                                         

Let’s face it.  2002 was magical…from start to miraculous finish.  It cannot and will not ever be duplicated.  But I don’t know a single Angels fan who hasn’t had a “feeling” about this season.  There’s no denying it would be an amazing story of tragedy to triumph.  I’m not saying the Angels should win the World Series because Nick Adenhart died.  But I sure would love to see them win it for Nick.  That would be a story.  And my favorite stories all have happy endings. 

 

Baseball…make someone happy.

 

 

Tough Love

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. 

                                             roflmao2.gif picture by lafmyers

 

Baseball…something to smile about.

 

 

Agony and Ecstasy

Tonight (Tuesday) the Angels played their 99th game of the season.  As the game was ending, I began to think about what my state of mind was last year at this time.  Here are a few visuals that I feel accurately capture my mood at the end of July, 2008:

      

 

     

 

      

 

This season, things are a little different:

 

   

     

 

                      

 

Love hurts sometimes.  Not every season can be a walk in the park, right?  And Tuesday night was NO walk in the park, that’s for sure.  Jered Weaver seemed out of sorts in his circa 1980’s uniform in honor of Retro Night and the Indians scored 1 in the first and 1 in the second.  The Angels answered with 3 runs in the 3rd but the Indians were back for more and led 4-3 at the end of 5.  Weaver was out, Matt Palmer was in and he pitched 3 scoreless innings of relief, giving up only 1 hit.  Then came the 8th inning.  Erick Aybar was on, beating out the throw to first.  Bobby Abreu was a cool customer and patiently drew a walk.  (Pitching change.)  Juan Rivera singled into left field and Aybar scored the tying run.  Mike Napoli hit into a double-play, but Abreu moved to third.  (Pitching change.)  Maicer Izturis drew a walk of his own and Kendry Morales was up.  Guess what?  He walked too and the bases were loaded for Gary Matthews, Jr. who hit a solid, base-clearing double out to the wall.  Reggie Willits popped up to end the inning, but I had my insurance runs.  Or did I?

                             

 

Of course I did!  There wasn’t any way Brian Fuentes would blow TWO saves in as many nights, right?  He walks Andy Marte.  Asdrubal Cabrera hits a double.  Jamey Carroll hits a single and a run scores.  This. Is. Not. Happening.  Jason Bulger is feverishly warming up in the bullpen.  Sin-soo Choo walks and the bases are loaded with the go-ahead run on first.  Mike Scioscia sends Fuentes to the shower.  For the second night in a row, Fuentes not only blows the save, but fails to get a single out.  I must say, I’m shocked.  But now I’m praying for Bulger and a happy ending.  Bulger gets Victor Martinez to hit into a double-play and one more run scores.  Now the tying run’s at third.  Jhonny Peralta grounds out to Aybar and not only does Bulger get his first career save, good ol’ Matt Palmer ends up with the win, improving his record to 9-1!  What a completely different outcome from the previous night.  Ha!  Take that, Indians.  Just another Halo victory, my as$. 

                        

 

Baseball…it’s better out west.

 

 

Rocky Road

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.

 

 

Weekend Woes

After a terrific come-from-behind win against the Dodgers on Friday night, I really thought the Angels would carry the momentum into Saturday and Sunday’s games.  I was wrong.  The Angels were undone by some pretty darn good Dodger pitching.  Saturday was the much anticipated brother vs. brother match-up between Jeff and Jered Weaver.

                                  

By the end of the 2nd inning, the Angels had 2 runs off of Jeff and Jered had breezed through the first 2/3 of the Dodgers’ lineup.  I mentioned to my husband that I felt bad for Jeff and if I was in Jered’s shoes, I might consider leaving a couple hanging over the plate so my brother wouldn’t be humiliated while I pitched another shut-out.

                            handmouth.jpg picture by lafmyers

Yeah, I know.  I can’t believe I said it either.  I take full responsibility for the loss and know the blame lies squarely on my shoulders.  Yes, we fans believe we yield that kind of power.  (Too bad I can’t win more than $2 on lotto.)  At least Mom and Dad Weaver ended up with a couple of nifty jerseys and memories of a moment in baseball history that could never have happened without them.

                              Gail and Dave Weaver

Sunday was another tough one.  The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw wasn’t exactly in the zone, but he managed to shut-out the Angels through 7.  He struck out 5 and walked 4 and the Angels helped him out by leaving a gazillion men on base.  (Okay, it was 12.)  Like Saturday, they scored 2 runs off of Jonathan Broxton in the 9th, but came up short in the 3-5 loss. 

                          

I will say this, Juan Pierre has been able to do for the Dodgers what Jason Bay has done for the Red Sox…make people say, “Manny Who?”  He may not be the home run hitter Manny is (he’s also not on any PEDs that we know of), but if there’s one thing he has that Manny doesn’t, clearly it’s speed.  Not only does he fly around the bases, he runs down balls in left field that Manny couldn’t get to in a Porsche.  What he lacks in long balls, he makes up for in stolen bases and defense.  I’m not surprised he and Chone Figgins are close friends.  They’re very similar…scrappy and speedy.  It’ll be a real shame if Pierre ends up warming the bench when Mighty (cough, cough) Manny makes his glorious (choke, choke) return.

                     

Have you had enough of interleague play yet?  Oh well.  There’re two more rounds and the Angels will host the Colorado Rockies tonight, then travel to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the weekend.  The usually dominant American League has seen a bit more competition this year as we witnessed some unexpected upsets.  The Nationals and the Marlins each took 2 from the Yankees, Houston got 2 on the Twins, the Braves swiped 1 from the Red Sox and the Giants helped the Angels gain ground in the west by taking 2 from the Rangers.  Yes, for a few brief, shining hours yesterday, the Angels were tied for first place.  Maybe Mike Scioscia can have another “discussion” with the team before the game tonight.  I want to see my new and improved Angels back on the field.  And I’d like to see Matt Palmer get win #7.

 

Baseball…it’s all the power you need.

 

 

Pinch Me!

When I saw Tim Lincecum take the mound for the Giants in Wednesday’s 3rd and final game with the Angels, I must admit I was a bit intrigued.  I’d heard his name and knew he was the National League’s Cy Young Award winner last season.  But my first thought was, he looked less like John Lackey or CC Sabathia and more like a 4th Jonas Brother (with a haircut and the right pair of skinny jeans). 

                    jonasbros.jpg picture by lafmyers

I grabbed my laptop and did a quick ESPN player search.  It took me all of 6.5 seconds to read over his stats, not that they’re not interesting, he just hasn’t exactly been around for very long.  He breaks into the majors in 2007 and wins the Cy Young the next year??  By the way, he just turned 25 on Monday.  I sat there and watched him pitch the 1st inning and was very impressed with his powerful delivery.  This game would not be a walk in the AT&T Park for the Angels. 

             park.jpg picture by lafmyers

Sure enough, Lincecum was able to keep the newly explosive Angels’ bats awkwardly quiet.  But Matt Palmer was able to do the same with the Giants and at the end of 6 innings, each pitcher had given up only 4 hits.  The difference was, the Giants had managed to put together 2 runs, the Angels, only 1.  When Palmer gave up a lead-off home run in the 7th, it was time for the relievers to give the Angels a chance to make a comeback.   

                             

At the top of the 8th, my ALL-STAR Torii Hunter stepped into the batter’s box.  What?  My Torii was supposed to be recovering from Monday night’s collision with the center field wall.  He wasn’t expected to play again until Friday night and here he was pinch hitting.  I just knew he’s get a hit, and he did.  Next at bat?  Another pinch hitter, another hit!  This time it was Big Daddy Vlady Guerrero who has had to sit out much of the recent slugfests during interleague play.  Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and Juan Rivera all came through and when the 8th was over, the Angels were up 4-3 and Lincecum was on the hook for his first loss since April 12th.  We just had to get through the 9th.  Piece of cake, right?  I don’t know.  Why don’t we ask Brian Fuentes?

                               

When Fuentes had the first batter in a 3-0 count, I had no choice but to hit “pause”.  In each of their 5 previous wins, the Angels had scored first.  That wasn’t the case in this game so they were poised for a great come-from-behind win and I just couldn’t bear to see it blown.  After 5 minutes, I hit “play” and then quickly hit “fast forward”.  If it was going to be bad, seeing it (and hearing it) in real-time would only make it more excruciating.  But this is what I saw:

            high5.jpg picture by lafmyers

Suddenly “hump” day turned into “jump (for joy)” day and I was in Halo Heaven. Once again, I grabbed the laptop and clicked on the standings.  There it was…1.5 games behind Texas.  Sure, it was only a matter of hours before it said 2 again, but those few hours were the best of my week so far.  The Angels can enjoy a well-deserved day off tomorrow before they face the Dodgers again.  I am particularly looking forward to Saturday’s match-up between the Weaver Brothers.  Seriously, how do you make an interleague freeway series just a little more interesting?

                        

                          

 

Baseball…where family comes first.

 

 

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. 

 

   

Tampa Bay Bust(ed)

Thursday night’s game with the Rays didn’t go very well.  Ervin Santana wasn’t able to put together a start that even came close to resembling his last start against Detroit.  But that’s okay.  He’ll get ’em next time.  Sadly, the Angels only had 4 hits tonight.  Maybe if they just practice extra hard tomorrow, they’ll do better against the Padres.  And the Angels’ relievers?  Well, it wasn’t their night either.  They can toss the ball around before the game tomorrow and work out the kinks.  Before taking the field, they can all gather together for a group hug and give a big, rousing “Go Angels!” cheer.

               grouphug.jpg picture by lafmyers

But what I hope most of all, is for Brian “The Man” Fuentes to have some really, really good games.  Oh, that Brian…what a guy!  You know, he just might be my very favorite Angel!

                           heartoutline.jpg picture by lafmyers

Okay, let me explain.  No, I’m not sick, drunk or taking any kind of medication that might impair my normally rational thinking.  It’s much worse.  I’ve been busted.  Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it but I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar of “fair-weather fan-ness”.

                         

As I was watching the game tonight, I logged in to my blog.  I immediately noticed I’d had more traffic than usual.  I thought perhaps, with the new feature that makes blog suggestions at the end of an entry, new readers might have been directed to my blog.  Just in the last few days I know I’ve been introduced to many other blogs I had not previously stumbled upon because of this feature.   Wondering how other games were going, I pulled up the MLB.com main page to check the scores.  And then I saw it.  In the bottom left hand corner of the page…big, bold and in black and white…

“I don’t think Mike Scioscia read
my last post.  If he had, he might
have considered my idea of using
Matt Palmer as a reliever.”
—Hello Halos! 

Oh.my.gosh.  Instead of getting a kick out of having my blog mentioned on the main page of MLB.com, I am mortified.  Who the heck am I to second-guess Mike Scioscia?  Last time I checked, I had not played 12 years of professional baseball.  The only World Series ring I own is a replica giveaway from Opening Day 2003.  I manage an office, not a major league ball club.  But most importantly, I was sounding like the kind of fan I dislike the most:  the know-it-all fan who honestly believes they could do a better job of managing a team than the hugely qualified person who is currently doing it.  

                                       

Ironically, that isn’t who I am.  Not at all.  Anyone who knows me can vouch for that.  I am the first to defend my Angels to anyone and everyone.  I don’t like to hear anyone bad-mouth them, no matter how badly they’re playing.  If anything, I should be attending AAA meetings…Angels Apologists Anonymous.  I admit, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion that comes with being a fan.  Lately, Angels fans have had to deal with frustration and disappointment instead of the joy and satisfaction we’ve grown accustomed to over the last 7 years or so.  

         

I need to reacquaint myself with supporting a team that’s not necessarily poised for a playoff appearance.  Lord knows, I’ve done it before and I can do it again…if I must.  I haven’t been over-the-top outrageous with my remarks, but a few more losses like these last two in Tampa Bay and I might’ve been headed down that dark and ominous path.  But I promise going forward, I will resume my role of devoted fan and cheerleader, because rain or shine, win or lose, I love these guys and I always will.  Nothing will change that.

What’s that?  Even Brian Fuentes?  Oh, him.  I’m trying, really I am.  I don’t know why we’re just not clicking.  I know I’ve been tough on him.  No, you’re right…his stats don’t warrant my nickname “The Closer Poser”.  Okay, I’ll stop calling him that.  Yes, I’ll give him another chance.  My motto?  Yeah, it’s “Once an Angel, always an Angel…except for Jose Guillen.”  That includes Mark Teixeira.  Nice while it lasted, huh?  Okay, Brian.  If you can hear me…I’m ready to make another go of it.  No more nicknames, no more “help wanted” ads for a new closer in the Orange County Register.  I’m willing to try if you are.  Please, Brian, send me a sign!

 

PS – Matt Palmer will START tonight’s game vs. the Padres!  Don’t worry, Mr. Scioscia. I know I had nothing to do with this!

Baseball…the power to take charge.

 

 

Teamwork in Tampa

It was definitely a team effort Tuesday night when the Angels beat the Rays.  Jered Weaver was his usual reliable self and gave up 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings.  He admitted the Florida humidity got to him and sapped his strength.  He said had to change his jersey between innings because he was sweating so much.  Not the “dry heat” we’re used to here in So Cal.  Maybe the humidity moistened the rusty joints of the Angels hitters because they were able to combine for 12.  They scored 2 runs in the 1st, helped along by 2 boo boos committed by the Rays.

                           

Let’s face it.  With the AL’s worst bullpen, the Angels need to catch their breaks wherever they can get them.  In what ultimately was a one run game, watching Darren Oliver load the bases in the 7th and Jason Bulger give up a first pitch homerun to Ben Zobrist in the 8th, gave me my usual gameday anxiety.  The difference was, things actually went the Angels’ way.  When Carlos Pena hit a bullet down the right field line with the bases loaded, he should’ve had 3 RBIs.  Instead, Kendry Morales stuck his glove out and stopped that ball dead in its track.  He even looked a little surprised that the ball was in his glove as he stepped on first to double off Evan Longoria.  I had to replay it 3 times to believe it myself.

            

And Brian “The Closer Poser” Fuentes had to be grateful for that game-ending double-play because it’s not like he’s coming in throwing strikes.  Ironically, Jose Arredondo, who had my vote at the end of last season to take over when Frankie Rodriguez left, was sent back down to Salt Lake today, more depressing evidence of continuing bullpen woes.

                       

My feel-good guy of the season, Matt Palmer, has lost his spot in the starting rotation with Lackey, Santana and now Escobar all returning from the DL.  I’d like to see him get some innings of relief work.  He’s definitely proven himself and we’ve seen his ability to pitch his way out of real trouble, a skill that current relievers haven’t seemed to master.  Bottom line, he’s got the stuff so let him bring it!

                                             

Today was draft day.  Call me old-fashioned but I’m a huge fan of the draft.  I’m not talking sports.  I mean this draft:

                                  

In my line of work, I encounter hundreds of young men seeking employment.  On one end of the spectrum, I have to note gang affiliations based on neck tattoos and question gaps in previous employment due to time in the state pen.  On the other end, I have to get used to being called, “Ma’am” and hear about extensive and valuable training received while in the military.  Barring a Chinese invasion, I don’t see a mandatory draft being reinstated.  Too bad.  I’ve seen firsthand what a couple years of military service does for a young person.  I’ve seen the discipline, the self-esteem, the pride.  Before I’m labeled a war-mongering, right-winger (I’m not), let me ask you this: If you were a prospective employer, who would you rather I send you? 

                                     

Back to baseball…okay, as I said, the Angels must capitalize on any break that comes their way to compensate for their inconsistent bullpen.  They did tonight, turning Rays’ errors into runs.  With Texas taking a beating from Toronto (0-9), the gap is once again closing.  But this is far from a 2 team race as Oakland has steadily gained ground, winning 8 of their last 10, including a 7 game win streak.  In the east, the Red Sox and Yankees are battling head-to-head for the top spot and no one’s running away with it in the central.  It’s June and it’s still anyone’s game.

 

Baseball…never let them see you sweat. 

 

 

Strike-outs In Seattle

My miracle man, Matt Palmer, is now 5-0.  Granted, he didn’t have his A game, but as it turns out, his C+ game was good enough.  Palmer gave up 7 hits (2 were HR’s) and the Angels relievers, who took over after 5 innings, gave the Mariners nothing!  Zilch, zero, nada!

                                   

Not even a walk.  Now THAT’S a miracle!  When Brian Fuentes came in to close things out in the 9th, he had only a one-run cushion.  But lo and behold…he struck out the side!  Now, I know I’ve been a little tough on Brian.  But I have to say, I really liked what I saw tonight.  Sure, he had a couple of full counts, that only means he made those critical pitches and kept it together under pressure.  I like that in my men…ummm…I mean, I like that in my closers.

                                            

Brian and I have had our issues from the start.  First, he came from the other side of the tracks…the National League…and I didn’t know a whole lot about him. Second, it didn’t help that he thought he could somehow take the place of my Frankie-Baby.                           

                       

If anyone knows what a tough nut I am to crack, it’s Frankie.  It was love at first sight when he popped up during the 2002 post-season and gave me a ring (okay, a replica World Series ring, given out to all 45K fans at the 2003 opener), but I wanted nothing to do with him when he tried to fill the shoes of my one and only, first love forever and ever…

                            

I was the ice queen to K-Rod when my Percy left and it took quite a while for him to get back in my good graces.  Things were good for a while (at least I thought so) but then he left me for the big city…and he didn’t even leave a note!  In April, when all of us Angels fans were hurting, I turned to Brian for comfort.  I needed him to show me that everything was going to be all right.  But he couldn’t or wouldn’t so Brian and I have not had our bonding time…yet. 

                    

Not to mention, I’ve only seen him 12 times so far this season.  Jeez.  I saw Frankie nearly every night last year.  Sure, ours was a volatile relationship.  But that’s what made it so exciting and unpredictable.  No matter how much he’d push my buttons or stress me out, I could count on him to do the right thing in the end.  Yes, I know Brian’s only let me down twice so far, but our relationship is just too new for him to play with my heart like he does some nights.  Tonight was a big step on a long road.  It’ll take some time, but we’ll work it out.  In the meantime though, Matt Palmer and I?  We’re like this: 

                               i-love-lucy.jpg image by rubybagonia

 

Baseball…it’s so tasty too!