Tagged: Rockies

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!  

 

 

Big Bad Voodoo Vlady?

No one was happier than I was to see Vladimir Guerrero back in the line-up Tuesday night after his latest stint on the DL.  It wasn’t that the Angels desperately needed him back.  Their offense had been, as my grandma used to say, “cooking with gas” while he and Torii Hunter nursed their injuries.  But Vlady is an integral part of who the Angels are and we’ve all missed him.  From his twinkling, ear-to-ear grin to his indecipherable strike zone, Angel fans love the guy.

                       

Not to mention, the man cut off his hair in an effort to help his team!  I don’t know many men who would do that.  Vanity is not exclusively a woman’s vice.

                                manny-1.jpg picture by lafmyers

As much as I adore Big Daddy Vlady, I can’t help but notice the Angels have now lost two games since his return.  I’m sure it could be mere coincidence.  The Angels had been red-hot coming into this series and it was just a matter of time before they’d have to cool off a little, right?  (Did it have to be against the White Sox?!?)  Is that what’s happening?  Or, could there be more to this than coincidence?

                  

Could something else be going on?  Could other forces be at work here?  It would NOT have been a far stretch at the beginning of the season to have imagined that someone, somewhere had placed a curse on my team.  It’s not like these things don’t happen in baseball.

          babe.jpg picture by lafmyers

I know after two losses in a row, it might be a bit premature to speculate about black magic, spells or curses, but there’s no harm in being a little proactive, right?  If it turns out there IS something to this mysterious change in fortune, why not identify the usual suspects and examine their possible motives?  This could be especially helpful for the Anaheim PD, FBI, CIA or local Boy Scout Troop 312, should they be pressed into service on the matter.  (I always knew reading every Nancy Drew book twice would come in handy some day.)

Suspect #1

It doesn’t get any more obvious.  They hate us.  Someone start interrogating
the players, I’ll start on the fans.  Jane, you may want to consult with your attorney.  I believe there may be some circumstantial evidence in your blog regarding a “magic” pen?!?  Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble…does that line have any special meaning for you?

 

Suspect #2

Umpire Doug Eddings made the infamous call that lost the 2005 ALCS for the Angels.  Four years later, he is stilled booed at the Big A every single time he is announced.  Oh, and there may be a conspiracy angle involving AJ Pierzynski.  Bring plenty of back up.  That guy’s nuts.

 

Suspect #3

Jose Guillen makes no secret of his contempt for the Angels, specifically Manager Mike Scioscia, after the skipper benched him during the 2004 play-offs because of his hot temper and bad behavior.  Another loose cannon.  Have the psych ward on speed dial.

 

Suspect #4

Was a finalist in the Angels’ mascot auditions and is reportedly still bitter about losing out to a monkey.  Says he’s sick of singing to kids and was looking forward to picking up chicks at the Budweiser Pavilion during early innings.  He was recently taken into custody on a loitering charge at Coors Field in Denver where he was heard screaming, “Come on…I’m &%$#-ing purple already!”  We may need to involve Animal Control on this one.

 

Suspect #5

It was very easy to eliminate the Rangers from my list of suspects due to the fact that they also lost their last two games…to Oakland.  Clearly, they have nothing to do with this.

 

Okay, so it’s a start.  I truly hope I’m wrong about all of this.  I guess we’ll have to see what happens Thursday.  Until then, I’ll keep working on my list in my “Harriet, The Spy” notebook.  You can never be too prepared.  (Yep, I was a Girl Scout too.)  

 

Between love and madness lies…baseball. 

 

 

Rockin’ and Rollin’

I decided to head out to the Big A on Wednesday night to check up on my boys in person.  After a couple of poor showings against the Dodgers and a smackdown by the Rockies on Monday night, I thought my presence might make a difference.  (Because, again, we fans know just how powerful we are.)

                            

Upon entering the stadium, my husband and I received cute little Angels coolers, the promotional giveaway.  It’s just perfect for packing my bottled water and Crystal Light next time we head out to a game.  Cute and free.  Love it.  As we lingered just inside gate 2, waiting to talk to our favorite security person, Dina, we were approached by a guy conducting a survey about stadium advertising.  My husband was first and when he completed the survey, he received a coupon for a 12 pack of any Pepsi product.  Cool.  More free stuff.

              

I was next.  Not only did I know exactly who advertises in the stadium, I was able to tell the guy where each sign was.  He was impressed and rewarded me with a pair of tickets to the July 6th game versus the Rangers.  Super cool!  The game hadn’t even started and already we were making out like bandits.  This had to be a good omen.  It was.

                            

Just a day after cutting off all his hair in a bid to change his luck, Big Daddy Vlady went deep…finally!!  If I’d only known what a difference I could make by being there, I would’ve shown up weeks ago, believe me.  It was a great night for the Angels.  Joe Saunders gave up 4 hits in 6 innings, they scored 11 runs on 11 hits, Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera contributed a couple of outfield assists and overall, they looked like the new and improved Angels I was hoping to see.  Oh, and Vlady’s home run?  It came in the 2nd inning.  You know what that means.  More free stuff! 

                

 

Baseball…we’re cooking now!

 

 

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.