Tagged: Rangers

Oh, October!

What a season.  Seriously.  Here we are, days away from the start of the playoffs and the AL Central will be decided by a one game tie-breaker on Tuesday.  The Twins and the Tigers will duke it out for the top spot and a chance to take on the Yankees. 

               tie.gif picture by lafmyers

It doesn’t really surprise me that it would take a tie-breaker to determine a division.  We’ve seen all kinds of crazy stuff this season.  Who would’ve thought, after their record setting start, that the Dodgers would struggle more with Manny than without him?  And who didn’t write the Rockies off before the All-Star break?  I actually thought the Cubs would’ve been contenders in the NL Central but I sure was wrong.  I wouldn’t have guessed the Mets would end the season with a record that resembled the Nationals’ more than the Phillies’. 

   

In the AL, the Yankees had a shaky start while the Red Sox looked like they would easily put insurmountable distance between themselves and the Bronx Bombers.  I’ll give the Yankees credit.  When they get their act together, they really get their act together and perform like a well-oiled machine.  A super-expensive machine.  The Rangers sure kept the battle for the west interesting.  Everyone kept expecting them to implode but that didn’t happen.  The Angels had to fight hard for every inch of ground they gained.  (If you’re reading this, Big Mike…yes, the Angels did finish 10 games ahead, exactly as you predicted, but it wasn’t easy.)

    

I’ll admit the last few days have been less stressful.  I watched the remaining games of the Texas series, as well as the final three games in Oakland, secure in the knowledge that my boys had made it to the postseason.  It was fun to watch the newbies take the field and do their best to impress the powers-that-be in the Angels organization.  Strike-outs?  Yawn…whatever.  Errors?  I just rolled my eyes.  None of it mattered.  How refreshing is that?

               

Carefree?  Yep…that’s me.  I haven’t felt like this since just before spring training.  On one hand, it feels like it’s been years since Opening Day.  On the other hand, it seems like it was just yesterday.  When I went to the Big A last Monday night to watch the Angels clinch the west, the usual video montage that’s played before games to the Train song “Calling All Angels”, had been replaced with a new montage that chronicled the 2009 season.  It was a bittersweet ride down memory lane and I found myself a bit emotional when it ended.  There wasn’t anything in it that I hadn’t already seen.  But I think that’s what got to me.  I realized I’ve been there for all of it, good and bad, happy and sad.  Just like seasons past, I haven’t missed a single moment of it.  I’ve cried with my Angels and I’ve rejoiced with them too.  And no matter what happens in the postseason, I’ll do the same next year.  Because I’m a fan and that’s what fans do.  I know for many players, it’s just a job.  But I’d like to think that it’s more than a paycheck.  More than a quest for a mention in the record books.  There may be a few hundred players but there’s millions of fans.  And without us there wouldn’t be Major League Baseball.

 

Baseball…good to the last drop!  

 

 

Clinch Was A Cinch!

Good morning, Angels fans!  It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were shaking our heads and wondering how the Angels’ storybook season had turned into one hot mess.  After losing two to the Yankees, followed by two losses to the A’s (including Saturday night’s monumental meltdown as the Angels blew a 9-2 lead to lose 15-10), it was a relief to see the Angels bounce back on Sunday with a respectable win.  But even that win couldn’t prepared me for what I witnessed Monday night at the Big A.

 

            Photo

 

Not only did the Angels clinch the top spot in the AL West, they did it with an exclamation point as they snuffed out the Rangers, 11-0.  Ervin Santana decided to make it a one man job, as he completed all 9 innings, giving up only 7 hits.  He had 2 strikeouts but they came at a crucial time, in the 6th when the Rangers had 2 in scoring position with only one out.  He had oodles of defense, including 3 double-plays.  Considering how dominant the Rangers have been in the west throughout the entire season, it just felt plain good to see the Angels play such a superior game.

 

        

 

The ensuing celebration was especially poignant as the team emerged from the locker room, sans cleats and soaked in champagne, to pay tribute to Nick Adenhart at the huge picture of Nick on the outfield wall.

 

         

 

I’m well aware that the road to the World Series is, once again, paved with Red Sox, but I’ve decided not to think about that right now.  I’d rather just enjoy the moment, celebrate in spirit with my Angels and consider what lies ahead later this week.  It’s been a long, trying season and everyone needs to let a little steam off right now…fans included!

When the last out was made Monday night, many of the players pointed toward the heavens in recognition of their missing Angel, Nick Adenhart.  I did the same thing only my missing Angel is my dad.  Dad and I would purchase our tickets in March and somehow, we almost always managed to pick the play-off deciding games.  For the first time in 9 years, I did not purchase a single ticket to any game this season.  I either was invited or given tickets to every game I attended.  I was invited to this momentous game about three weeks ago, well before anyone could have known this would be the night the Angels would become the AL West champs.  But once the magic number was reduced to 2 on Sunday, I knew I would be there to see the Angels clinch it on Monday night.  Thanks, Dad.  Oh, and just to be sure…I pulled out the World Series lucky red underwear.  I’m a firm believer in fate but I’m still really superstitious!

 

Baseball…winning is everything.

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.

 

 

Sympathy Pains

My Angels followed up a four game sweep of the Mariners by taking 2 of 3 from the White Sox.  All was good in Halo-ville.  Then they got on a plane and entered the twilight zone, losing a make-up game to the Yankees and the first of 3 at Fenway.  During both east coast games I was basically tortured by Mark Gubicza and Rory “Whose Side Are You On Anyway?” Markas as they kept referring to the games as “post-season previews”.  Ugh.  Not what I wanted to hear as once again, decent starting pitching was wasted by absent bats. 

                  

But as I started to seriously ponder my Angels’ post-season chances, I had to stop myself and consider the alternative to this dilemma.  Granted, the Angels haven’t locked up the west but they are sitting 6 games ahead of the Rangers, giving them a more than fair shake all the way to the end.  But so many of my fellow baseball fans have already had their hopes and dreams dashed as the dreaded “E” has shown up in their teams’ standings. 

                   survivor.jpg picture by lafmyers

I’m sure fans of these teams will watch the remaining games…afterall, they’re fans.  And there’s always a chance that their team will act as a spoiler and snatch the post-season away from one of their most hated rivals.  There is a certain kind of pleasure in watching that happen.  They’ll also watch simply because, once the season is over it’s a long wait until April of 2010.  They may watch the play-offs and the World Series.  Or maybe not.  Sometimes there’s little interest in watching teams who may have smacked your guys around during the regular season celebrate in a heap of arms and legs in the middle of the field.  That can be tough. 

            

Diehard baseball fans will hang in there for all that October has to offer because their love of the game transcends their love for their own team.  There’s no shame in that.  They may also secretly harbor a bit of affection or respect for another team and will be quietly rooting them on in private.  Sssshhh.  I’ll never tell.  I can understand that with a team or two.

             

Baseball fans may stick with it in October just to watch their most despised team go down in a ball of flames.  Again, I can totally relate to this as well.

                  

                   

(That one was a toss up.)

And so today, I just wanted to express my sincere condolences to Rays, Jays, Orioles, A’s, Royals, Mets, Nationals, Reds, Pirates, Padres and Diamondbacks fans everywhere.  I’ve been in your shoes.  I know exactly how you are feeling.  You gave it your all and fought the good fight.  You observed every good-luck superstition you could.  You yelled at your players, managers and front office personnel through your TV screen or in person at your ballpark. 

                             

You should be proud.  Hold your heads up high.  As a fan, you brought your “A” game.  You held up your end of the bargain.  You wore the gear, you flew the flag, you showed up at the ballpark, you skipped dinner with the in-laws to watch the game (good), you missed the birth of your third child because of extra innings (not-so-good).  You gave it your all.  YOU did not strike out looking with the bases loaded.  YOU did not bobble an inning-ending double-play.  YOU did not blow a save.  YOU did not drop a routine fly ball. 

                                       

No remorse.  No guilt.  No regrets.  Sleep well this winter, my fellow baseball fans, knowing there’s always…well, there’s always…NO…I’m not going to say it.  I’m not going to patronize any of you by throwing out that morsel of helpful advice, usually dished up by someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be a loyal fan.  I’m NOT going to say “there’s always next year.”  But what I will say is…there’s always the Angels!!!  Well, if you’re examining other possibilites, let me give you my pitch (no pun intended but it’s appropriate, isn’t it?):

      Great group of guys with catchy little nicknames like Figgy, Mighty Macier, Bam Bam, etc.

      Not a prima donna among this bunch.  It’s all about the team, NOT individual stats.

      Cute little mascot that I swear, will grow on you.

      The best manager in all of baseball.  (Of course I’m biased.  Duh!)

      They OWN the Yankees.  Need I say more?

I know the pain is still fresh, but I just want to give you something to think about in the off-season. Consider me an “Angels Ambassador”.  If you’re thinking about making this life-changing move, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.  I’d be happy to answer any questions or offer a little more persuasion, if that’s what it takes.  Oh, and free thundersticks to the first 100 new fans who come aboard.  (Must be able to pass a slightly invasive background check.  Please have references available.)

                  

 

Baseball…it keeps going and going and going…!

 

 

Winning Words

Tuesday night’s game versus the Mariners featured the same pitching match-up that we saw last week up in Seattle…Scott Kazmir and Felix Hernandez.  Again, Kazmir was solid, going 7 innings and giving up 1 run on 3 hits.  And again, Kazmir’s performance failed to garner him a much deserved win.  But at least this time the Angels were the victors, winning it walk-off style in the 10th.  As much as I don’t particularly like close games, “closer” (and I must use that term loosely) Brian Fuentes, had better get some time on the mound in these last few weeks or he will be a liability in the post-season.  The second pitch home run he gave up to Mike Sweeney that forced a 10th inning was really hard to watch.  When he followed that up with two walks, Jason Bulger had to come in and rescue the inning and ultimately, the game.

                           

Jered Weaver had a good night on Wednesday, striking out 8 in 6 and 1/3.  In all fairness, Ian Snell and Jason Vargas weren’t too shabby either.  The difference in the game was what happened with runners in scoring position.  The Angels were 3 for 10 with a base clearing double from Kendry Morales in the first inning.  The Mariners were 0 for 7.  It was almost a good thing that Trevor Bell gave up a run in the top of the 9th.  Brian Fuentes needed the practice…and got the save, number 40.  Of course, this is my favorite 40:

                                    

As we dig deeper into this final stretch, I can’t help but think about how consumed I am with my Angels and baseball.  Consider how everyday words are taken over by baseball fans and now only pertain to the game and the road to the championship:

Clinch – Really…isn’t it everyones’ favorite verb?  What other word can elicit the ultimate sigh of relief from a baseball fan?

Division – Math term?  I think not.  There’s three in each league and that’s all that matters.

Wild Card – Has nothing to do with poker all though the term “Texas Hold ‘Em” may still apply.

Record – In this age of CDs and Ipods, this one’s easy.  Wins and losses, plain and simple.

October – The only month that matters.  April is a close second.

Yankees – Used to be only Scarlett O’Hara could make it sound like a curse word.  Now we all can.

 

            

Let’s face it.  Certain words hold special meanings for baseball fans during baseball season.  Just last week my mom mentioned on the phone that she had bought an “Angel” something for my car.  How very cool, I thought.  It’ll be a great addition to my Angels license plate frame, Angels antenna ball and Angels window flag.  I picked it up this weekend:

                                         

Ooops.  Guess I forgot there are other kinds of angels.  What can I say?  It’s baseball season.

 

Baseball…we love to fly and it shows.

 

 

Just A Touch of Heart Burn

That’s because I’m eating my words.  I know, I know.  I said I wanted a close race all the way into September.  Would you believe me if I said I was talking about the AL East?  How ’bout the NL West?  (Mannywood? Mannywoops!)  I’m the first to admit the last few games have been painful.

                   thrill.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

But on the bright side, it could be worse…

 

 sox-casket.jpg picture by lafmyers

I think what makes it so tough to watch the Angels struggling lately is the fact that they were playing so darned good!  They weren’t playing well and getting lucky.  They were playing like a true championship team.  I may be behind with my posting but I haven’t missed a single moment of Angels baseball.  Let’s do a quick little re-cap:

Saturday vs. Blue Jays (W 7-3)  Ervin Santana had a good 6 innings, Angels’ relievers were strong.  Offense combined for 11 hits with Erick Aybar going 3 for 4.  Vladdy and Juan Rivera each had a home run.  All in all, the Angels seemed to bounce back nicely after losing 2 in a row.

Sunday vs. Blue Jays (L 3-8)  Trevor Bell had his bell rung, giving up 6 runs in just 1 and 2/3.  The Angels managed to score 3 in later innings but on 12 hits, that was it.  The walks (6) didn’t help.  This was the 10th and final game of their road trip and it seemed as if they were victims of delayed jet lag. 

Monday vs. Tigers (L 7-10)   Oh, this one hurt.  By the time the Angels were able to score their first run in the 6th inning, they were already down by 10.  At this point, I was just happy it wouldn’t be a shut-out.  But then things started happening.  They scored 4 in the 6th and had scored 3 in the 8th with 2 runners on and 2 outs.  But then in came Fernando Rodney for a 4 out save and the party was over.  Bobby Abreu’s 3 run shot in the 8th turned out just to be for show. 

Tuesday vs. Tigers (L 3-5)   John Lackey again was going for career win #100.  And again, it was not to be.  The Angels looked as if they were going to pick up from where they left off the night before as Howie Kendrick skyed a 3 run shot to right field but former Angel Jarrod Washburn (a new Tiger) decided that was enough.  He and Tigers’ relievers held the Angels to 9 hits and no additional runs while all of the Tigers’ 5 earned runs were courtesy of Big John.

If this keeps up, the Rally Monkey’s gonna need some Prozac.

 

Fear not, Angels fans!  Drastic times call for drastic measures.  Yours truly, Lucky Lori, is headed to the Big A!  I will be there in person to whip my boys into shape and turn things around.  Now, I know I have not been out this season to see my Angels in person as much as I usually do, but the timing couldn’t be better.  With the Angels lead over the Rangers dropping to 4 games, we need a win on Wednesday.  The Rangers beat the Yankees 10-5 Tuesday night.  Come on!  WE do that…not stinkin’ Texas!  So yes, I’m fired up.  In fact, I’m not even worried about jinxing anything when I tell you the Angels have won every game I’ve been to this season.  And not only am I going to the game…it’s a day game!  That’s right, guess whose hubby gave her the day off?  It was pretty easy, actually.  I’ve been been walking around in a zombie-like state, clutching my Rally Monkey and mumbling, “Let’s get Figgy with it,” and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” totally off key.  He’s calling it a “mental health” day and he’s absolutely right.  Whatever it is, I’m expecting…no, demanding…a win and when it happens, I’ll come home in such a good mood he’ll probably score a little monkey lovin’.  I know, TMI. 

                        

On a serious note, Monday, August 24, would have been Nick Adenhart’s 23rd birthday.  My thoughts and prayers were with his family and friends on what I know was an unbearably difficult day.  July 30th was my dad’s birthday, the first one since his passing in March.  I know it’s supposed to get easier but I’m not experiencing that yet and don’t expect to for quite some time.  I miss him so much every day and continue to try to make the most of this baseball season without him.  I know he’ll be smiling on Wednesday when he sees two of his daughters and two of his grandkids having a great day out at the Big A.  With Dad as an Angel in the outfield, how can they lose?

 

Baseball…bringing families together. 

 

 

Rays…A Drop of Golden Sun

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.

                      kick.jpg picture by lafmyers

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.

 

 

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.

                tv.jpg picture by lafmyers

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.

 

 

It Was Just My Imagination

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, Howie Kendrick

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,

                       dominatrix_2-1.jpg image by Spoookygirl

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. 

            ajp.jpg picture by lafmyers

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. 

     Bobby Abreu

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. 

 

 

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.

               badnews.jpg picture by lafmyers

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.

                        biginning.gif picture by lafmyers

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.

               weaver2.jpg picture by lafmyers

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.