Tagged: Royals

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…!

 

 

The Heat Is On

While the summer may be winding down, the race to the play-offs is definitely heating up.  It’s been over a week since I’ve had a chance to praise/criticize/brag about/plead with my Angels but I’ve not missed a minute of all the action. 

                             

The Angels started off their road trip on a high note last Monday as they shut out the Mariners and scored 10 runs.  Thankfully, my week got very busy after that.  Step-son-in-law’s birthday, a couple of days with my niece before she headed back to school, got a tattoo, family BBQ, work…having lots going on definitely helped to ease the sting of the Angels’ second and third games in Seattle.  I was unable to watch those games live and was more than happy to fast-forward through them, then quickly delete them from the DVR. 

          

Tuesday was awful.  The Angels’ loss to the Mariners, combined with the Rangers winning both games of their double-header, had the Angels losing 1.5 games in the standings in a single day.  And Wednesday wasn’t any better as Scott Kazmir’s great Angels’ debut was squandered when his teammates provided absolutely ZERO run support.  Not exactly a warm welcome.

                                 welcome-to-the-family.gif image by dazzlejunction

Luckily, things improved when the Angels got to Kansas City.  They managed to win the first game on only 3 hits and took the second game in extra innings.  By Sunday, my boys were looking much better, hitting and dazzling us with 4 perfectly synchronized double-plays. 

                  

Monday, Monday…can’t trust that day.  I was ready for the sweep.  Me, the couch and the remote for live, uninterrupted viewing of the game…on a paid day off!  What’s better than that?  Oh wait…I know this one…A WIN?!?!  No such luck.  Instead it was 3 errors and 12 left on base. 

                   

The Angels are headed home and will face the Mariners again.  Their schedule for these final 26 games of the regular season is tough.  Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox…all critical games.  The Angels have not played their best ball against the teams in their own division and they have 7 more games with the Rangers, who I’m sure will be hoping to make their move and surge ahead in the final two weeks.  We’re getting quality starts and seeing fantastic defense.  It’s time for the Angels’ bats to heat up again and make it happen.  Fasten your seatbelts, baseball fans.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

 

Baseball…catch the wave!  (But don’t DO the wave…it’s a rally killer!!!!!)

 

 

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.  

 

 

Doubly Delicious!

Tuesday’s double-header with the Royals was everything Angels fans could’ve hoped for and more.  If the Angels’ pre-All-Star sweep of the Yankees and their 3 of 4 weekend in Oakland weren’t enough proof that they can absolutely get the job done without Super-Vlad and Torii Hunter in the lineup, then today’s games surely must have erased all doubt. 

                                 yes-we-can.gif image by bgo4laabb 

Today’s double-feature may as well have been called “The Erick Aybar Show” as he went an astounding 7 for 9 with a walk.  Each time he came to the plate, it wasn’t a question of IF he’d get a hit, but rather WHERE he’d hit the ball. 

    

In the first game, which the Angels won 8-5, the Angels struck first, scoring 3 runs in the 2nd inning.  They lost their lead in the 5th, but DH Mike Napoli tied it up with a solo HR that nearly crossed the state line.  Ervin Santana struck out 7 but gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings.  Not exactly spectacular, but with run support coming almost entirely from the bottom half of the lineup, he had nothing to worry about.  Gary Matthews, Jr. and Reggie Willits (in only his 18th game of the season) each chipped in 2 RBIs, once again proving that you never know where the key hits will come from.  Darren Oliver and Kevin Jepsen provided solid relief and Brian Fuentes collected save #29 (still tops in the majors). 

                   

The nearly empty stands at Kaufmann Stadium began to fill up in anticipation of game 2.  I was curious to see what changes Mike Scioscia would be making on the field and in the lineup.  Howie Kendrick took over for Maicer Izturis at 2B, Willits switched from LF to RF, Robb Quinlan took over in LF and Bobby Abreu was the DH while Napoli caught for rookie Sean O’Sullivan.  O’Sullivan, who only had one strike-out, was helped along by some solid defense and only gave up 2 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.  When Justin Speier took over in the 6th, the Angels had a 3-2 lead.  I’ve refrained from criticizing Speier for the mere fact that I really like the guy, but he’s been all over the place lately and I was feeling a little uneasy.  I told myself that if he did not have a good outing today, I’d have no choice but to “mention” it in my next post. 

                 megaphone.jpg picture by lafmyers

Luckily, for Justin’s sake, I have nothing but good things to report.  When he came in with 2 on and 1 out, he struck out 2…no problemo!  So, in the top of 7th, either just because they could or to give Fuentes the 9th inning off, the Angels busted the game wide open, scoring 7 runs.  Royals fans were alternately gasping, booing and finally, giving their team a wholly sarcastic standing ovation when the inning, mercifully, came to an end. 

            

As the song from “Les Miserables” goes, “A little fall of rain, can hardly hurt you now.”  I’m sure the Royals are wondering if perhaps they might have fared a bit better had they played in that TEENY, TINY BIT OF DRIZZLE that was happening last night.  Oh well.  Guess we’ll never know.  Fine by me! 

          

In a recent post, fellow blogger Jonestein opined as to whether it’s worth giving up future talent to rope in a “now” man in a bid to make it to (and win) a championship.  I suppose that would depend on whether or not Roy Halladay would report to the clubhouse with a backpack full of WS rings with your team’s logo on them.  Many think he would.  I happen to think quick fixes don’t always pan out.  One of my true joys of being an Angels fan has been the privilege to watch young talent make their way up through their amazing farm system and take the mound or have their first big league at bat. 

                          

There’s a special excitement that happens when cameras pan to the rookie’s parents in the stands and you can’t help but feel like you’re watching a baby’s first steps or witnessing the big break of a future Hall Of Famer.  This isn’t the first season Angels fans have seen an injury-ridden team helped out by young players who get that call and hop on a flight from Salt Lake City.  Sure, “going deep” is great but having depth can be greater.  A sole player can win a Cy Young award, Gold Glove or batting title.  But it takes a team to win a championship.  So, fellow fans…do you want the quick fix or are you in it for the long haul?  And how much does a fan’s perspective differ from an owner’s?  Seriously, who needs the ring more?   

 

Baseball…put our team to work for you!

 

 

It Never Rains In Southern California

But in Kansas City?  Man, it pours.  I was all set to watch my Angels play the first of three with the Royals.  The fact that they were playing in Kansas City was great because I’d get my Angels fix two hours earlier than when they’re home.  At 5:10 PM, I grabbed the remote and turned on the game rain delay?!?  Rain?  What is this thing they call rain?  It sounds vaguely familiar.  I saw the tarp-covered field and close-ups of large puddles.  There were scattered fans in the stands wearing rain ponchos and holding umbrellas.  It certainly wasn’t a down pour.  More like a steady drizzle.  Whaddya mean they can’t play???  It’s just a little bit of stinkin’ water!!!  No one’s asking them to do this:

                       SeahawksvsPackers.jpg image by thelittlepinkclubhouse2

 

Have my primo, macho-man athletes turned into a bunch of girly-men?  What?  Are the sissies afraid they’ll melt?

 

        f5b8e5d6.jpg Witch Melting image by Matt582  

 

Or are they afraid to be caught on live TV like this:

 

                              

 

Okay, all you PRO ATHLETES…here’s a little something in honor of your rain delay:

 

 
 
Well, it’s no longer a delay…the game has officially been postponed and will be played in a double-header starting tomorrow at 2:00 PM.  Hmmm.  A double-header, huh?  Double-headers are cool.  It’s a baseball double feature!  2 for the price of one.  Back-to-back games.  18 consecutive innings (and always a chance for more).  But wait!!!  There’s no cable at the office!  I’d have to listen to the first game on the radio.  That’s hard to do while working.  I can’t focus like I really need to.  Cough. Cough, cough, cough.  Uh-oh.  I think I feel a sick day coming on.  Times like this, sleeping with the boss can actually come in handy.  (Relax…I’m married to him.)  But just in case, I think I’ll try the old thermometer & light bulb trick.  It always did work on Mom.
 
 
Baseball…betcha can’t eat just one!  
 
 

A-OK in Oakland

Thursday night’s game, the first of four between the Angels and the A’s, came just in time.  After 99 hours without an Angels fix, I had assumed a fetal position on the couch and was having trouble operating the remote because my hands were shaking so badly.  My husband had tried pulling up old clips on the DVR (Garret Anderson’s 10 RBI game, Tim Salmon’s final at bat, etc.) but nothing was working and as the game began, my husband was on the phone with my mom and, although it’s all still a bit cloudy, I’m pretty sure I heard the word “intervention”. 

                           intervention.jpg intervention image by drewboy210

By the time Kendry Morales hit a two-run homer in the 2nd inning, I was sitting up, clear-eyed and relaxed.  What a great start to the second half of the season it was!  Ervin Santana was amazing in 8 full innings.  Granted, he’s got a terrific record against the Athletics, but something was different.  Could it be the mouth guard he was wearing when he took the mound? 

             

Is it possible that a little piece of plastic can make all the difference?  If it can, perhaps every Angels reliever should trade their cup for a mouth guard.  I say it couldn’t hurt to try.  (And every man reading this says it could hurt.  A lot.)

 

Well, maybe Joe Saunders could have borrowed Santana’s mouth guard on Friday night.  He wasn’t miserable, but he certainly wasn’t having a great night.  He gave up 5 runs into the 7th inning, walked 6 and only struck out 2 batters.  The Angels knocked Oakland starter Trevor Cahill out of the game in the 5th, but they weren’t able to get much of anything off of A’s relievers.  They were bested by the worst in the west.  Yuck.  At least the Twins took care of the Rangers.

                      twins.jpg picture by lafmyers

It looked as if the Angels were going to run away with Saturday’s game.  Chone Figgins started off the game with a home run, his second of the season.  The Angels’ bats came alive in the 3rd when they pounded A’s starter Vin Mazzaro for 6 runs.  But Jered Weaver wasn’t feeling good and it all caught up with him in the bottom of the 4th.  He was “nauseous and woozy” and gave the A’s a chance to close the gap when they scored 4 runs of their own.  But the Angels’ bullpen managed to keep a tight grip on the game and only allowed one additional run while the Angels scored 3 in the 7th.  The Angels won 11-6 and once again, the Twins beat the Rangers.

                            

Nothing could have prepared me for Sunday’s game.  Okay, so that sounds a little dramatic.  But seriously, the Angels had been hitting up a storm, they were sending John Lackey to the mound, they were playing the last place team in the west AND Oakland’s starter was a 21 year old rookie with a 5-7 record.  Sounded like…

      

…a piece of cake, right?  Totally wrong.  Talk about a pitching duel.  Lackey gave up the first of only 3 hits in inning #1 but Brett Anderson had retired 20 consecutive Angels batters and had a perfect game going into the 7th.  Then, with 2 outs, Bobby Abreu hit a single that just made it by SS Orlando Cabrera.  The crowd was on their feet to give props to Anderson and his 6 & 2/3 innings of perfect baseball.  But at this point, Lackey had his own shut-out going and it’s pretty easy to figure out who I was rooting for.  Anderson, who ultimately gave up only 2 hits, was replaced by Andrew Bailey after 8 and Lackey completed 9.  There were nothing but zeros across the scoreboard going into the 10th. 

            

And then, Bailey sent a fastball over the middle of the plate that Bobby Abreu sent deep, deep, deep over the right field wall and finally, the Angels were on the board.  The A’s came up in the bottom of the 10th and Brian Fuentes appeared on the mound, hoping to secure a win for Lackey and pick up his 28th save.  And that’s exactly what he did.  I kept checking in on the Rangers/Twins game, hoping for another Twins win.  Unfortunately, after a few extra innings of their own, the Rangers managed to come back and beat the Twins. 

                         

(Sorry, but I figured I owed it to my male readers after a video clip of one of their own taking a fastball to his junk.)

The Angels head to Kansas City 3 games ahead of the Rangers and 4 ahead of the Mariners.  The Royals have lost some steam since we faced them back in April but it’s still nice to know Zack Greinke will not be popping up in the rotation.  I know that makes me feel a little better.  But Angels fans know, it’s the teams that aren’t playing well that seem to present the bigger challenge to the Angels and the Royals come to mind first in this scenario so we shall see.  It’s been great to see the team hold up nicely with Torii and Vlady out.  Brandon Wood, Robb Quinlan and Gary Matthews, Jr. are helping out and the playing time they’re getting will only increase their productivity.  I am buckled in for the second half of this wild ride!

Now, because I am the proudest Bird Mom you will ever meet, I must mention that in the midst of all this mind-blowingly great baseball, we had a couple very important birthdays at our house.  Sushi, our Goffin’s cockatoo, turned 6 on Friday and her brother, Sunny, our sun conure, turned 8 on Saturday.  Here’s some quick videos of my babies! 

Some day I will tell you all the story of that little red radio and how it won Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. It did, it really did!

 

Baseball…the only way to fly!

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day? You Bet!

Although I’m not a mom (at least not to anything of the human species), my boys in red couldn’t have made me more proud this Mother’s Day weekend.  As Saturday night’s game rolled around, I was still feeling all tingly after Friday night’s fantastic win in the first of three with the Royals.     

           

Of course, all the hype leading up to the game centered on Royals ace, Zack Greinke, his 6-0 record and his scientifically improbable, miniscule .40 ERA.  Even with Joe Saunders starting for the Angels, the Royals obviously had the upper hand.  But I just had a feeling.  Or at least my own unique logic.  Just before the series with Kansas City started, I explained it to my husband like this, “The Royals are on a six game winning streak.  That means, with a 5 man starting rotation, each starter won their last start and one of them has won two in a row.  So, odds are, they’re due for a loss…maybe two…heck, why not three?”  He rolled his eyes.  What else could he do?  That logic’s hard to argue with.  And besides, I had a feeling

                           crystalball.jpg picture by lafmyers

I always want my Angels to win, but when I go out to the ballpark or turn the game on TV, what I hope for, first and foremost, is a good game.  Sometimes a good game means a battle of the bats…lots of hits, tons of runs scored and a handful of long balls thrown in for good measure.  But on Saturday night there was only one run scored and it belonged to the Angels.  It was the manufactured variety, perfectly pieced together with a lead-off double by Gary Matthews, Jr., a sac bunt by Erick Aybar and finished off with a sacrifice fly by Chone Figgins.  And yet, with only one run gracing the scoreboard at the end of nine, we were all treated to one of the best kind of games in baseball…an amazing pitching duel.

                            

(Yes, I know this is jousting, not dueling, but I liked this picture better due to its accurate portrayal of team colors.) 

There were some incredible defensive plays and when it was over, Joe Saunders had a complete game and Greinke had his ERA raised to .51.  That’s right…another complete game coming just 48 hours after Jered Weaver’s complete game against the Blue Jays Thursday night.  It was a beautiful sight and once again, the Angels’ bullpen got some much needed rest.      

       baseball_dreams.jpg picture by lafmyers

(Yes, I know I used this pic in my last blog but it’s so darned cute!  If all kids were this adorable and quiet, who knows?  Maybe I’d have me one.  Or not.) 

I couldn’t wait for Sunday’s game.  At this point, having taken one of two from Toronto and the first two of three from Kansas City, a loss would not have been a major tragedy.  But once again, I had a feeling.  Well, actually, just before the game, my parrot came walking into the kitchen and found me sweeping the floor.  He hates the broom so he started screaming his head off and tried to attack it. And then it hit me.  Broom?  Sweep!  Sweeeeet!!!           

             

Sweep?  Could it even be possible or was it just too much to hope for?  It seemed the latter as the Royals scored first and then chased Shane Loux out of the game in the top of the 4th.  Isn’t it funny how the fans’ biggest criticism of Mike Scioscia has always been that he doesn’t pull a struggling starter soon enough?  And now, because of the uncharacteristically horrible performances of some (most) of the relievers, we’ve been practically praying he doesn’t pick up the phone!  Well, he made that call to the bullpen and in came Darren Oliver, followed by Scot Shields (who seems to have found his misplaced mojo) and finally, Brian Fuentes, who, once again, looked like a closer.  Or, more accurately, a closer who owes Torii Hunter one big-a** steak dinner!  With the Angels leading by just one run, Torii made an unbelievable catch at the wall that undoubtedly kept the tying run off the scoreboard.

                                Torii Hunter

I’ve been a fan of Torii’s for many years and often wished we could nab him.  Not only does he have mad talent in centerfield, he’s just one of those players you know would be a good fit in the Angels’ club house.  He’s gracious, humble and oh-so likeable.  I remember a game the Angels played in Minnesota when Torii was still a Twin.  Vlady Guerrero hit a fly ball out to center that got such lift, it seemed to take 10 minutes to fall back to earth.  There was Torii, pretending he had lost sight of the ball against the white of the dome.  He had his arms out and was moving his head back and forth before making the catch.  He pointed at Vlady and the two of them began cracking up.  The very next season, he was an Angel and I was a happy girl.  Torii dedicated his incredible, acrobatic catch on Sunday to his Mom.  Good lord…what’s not to like about this guy???

                                         momangel.jpg picture by lafmyers

In the spirit of Torii Hunter, I dedicate today’s blog to my Mom.  Mom, you have always been there for me even when I didn’t realize just how much I needed my Mom.  I love you for everything you’ve ever done for me and everything you did for my Dad.  He’s my angel in heaven, and you are my angel on earth.  I love you more every day and want the world to know what an amazing woman you are.  Love, # 2  

 

** Thanks so much to Mark Newman and MLB Blogs for making mine the “Featured Blog” of the day!  Mom is SO proud! ** 

                                           

Choosy mothers choose…baseball!

 

 

I’ll Take Angels Baseball for .500

Yep, that’s right.  The Angels’ record is finally back at the .500 mark.  How’d they do it?  They sent Matt Palmer to the mound to face the Kansas City Royals.  The Royals cruised into the Big A on a six game winning streak that the Angels happily snapped for them.  Of course, tonight’s win was a bit ironic.  Usually when we face the Royals they’re dead last in their division and we struggle to put a run together.  At least that wasn’t the case tonight.  Not only was it a great game with Palmer giving up just 2 hits while going 5 & 1/3,  there were a few other noteworthy things that happened.

     jeopardy.jpg picture by lafmyers

Howie Kendrick hit an inside-the-park homerun!  This was the first in Howie’s career and happened when Royals right-fielder, Jose Guillen, couldn’t make the catch at the right-field line.  Little League Lesson #1 – when you hit the ball, never assume it’s going to be caught.  Howie was taking a leisurely stroll to first base, thinking that he’d hit a routine fly to right.  Not the case.  Luckily, he glanced over and saw third base coach, Dino Ebel doing his best impression of one of these:                    

                          

So he kicked it into high gear. “It was mentioned to him,” Scioscia said after the game.  That’s funny.   There will be some debate over whether it was an in-the-park homer or an error and word is the official scoring could be changed.  I suppose it doesn’t help the argument that Bobby Abreu made a nearly identical catch just a few innings later.  Oh well.  Whatever it was, it scored 2 runs.

                

Reliever Darren Oliver reached a milestone tonight when he made his 1000th career strike-out to end the 7th.  He was in fine form after spending 2 weeks on the DL, as were Jose Arredondo and Brian Fuentes.  I’m sure they all appreciated the rest they had the day before, courtesy of Jered Weaver and his complete game.

       baseball_dreams.jpg picture by lafmyers

And speaking of naps…(clever segue, huh?)…how fantastic has Mike Napoli been as the DH?  He is on fire, hitting .710+ just in the last week.  I know the team needs Big Daddy Vlady back, and it looks like he could be back in less than two weeks, but Napoli has certainly been proving himself to be a worthy replacement in the DH spot.  I’m just saying, if Vlady’s return means Napoli won’t be in the line-up every game and when he is in the line-up, he’s behind the plate, again risking season side-lining injuries, well…let’s just be sure Vlady’s recovery isn’t being rushed at all.  Right now Mike’s my Napolian Dynamite!  Duh.

                          napoleon.jpg picture by lafmyers

That’s what’s so great about the Angels.  They almost seem like a team of utility players who can change positions at a moment’s notice.  That would make Chone Figgins their captain, who I swear has done everything at the Big A except sell Dippin’ Dots.  And I must give big kudos to the AAA pitchers who have stepped up to help fill the shoes of John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar.  Granted, it hasn’t been all sunshine and lollipops, but in the last week or so has we’ve seen these young men conquer nerves (and Yankees) to get the job done.  It’s hard to fill someone else’s shoes.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

                   

 

                             careybarker.jpg picture by lafmyers

  

                         

 Only time will tell.

 

Baseball…accept no substitute.   

 

Taking Two in Oakland

I’ve always loved a good mini-series.  So much drama, action and yes, even romance crammed into just a few hours of exciting television viewing.  No, not this kind of mini-series:

 

miniseries.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

(Yes, I actually entertained myself with something Yankees-related!)  I’m talking about THIS kind of mini-series:

 

      Kendrick hops

 

The Angels continued the winning rampage (perhaps a slight exaggeration) they began on Saturday in New York by going to Oakland and taking both games against the A’s.  Joe Saunders had a great outing on Monday night, winning his 3rd straight game.  The only run he gave up came when he balked.  Okay, so some of you “armchair all-stars” (**poking my husband**) might think that’s pretty pathetic to have a run scored on you because you balked.  I wonder how these pitchers don’t balk more often.  If it was me on the mound, between picking my nose and waving to the Good Year blimp, they’d have to invoke the mercy rule.  Rookie Shane Loux went seven solid innings, giving up only 5 hits and 1 run.  No balking or nose picking were involved.  And much to my giddy delight, Brian Fuentes looked like a closer…a really good one too!

 

TorontoBlueJays.jpg picture by lafmyers

 

The Angels are heading home to the Big A where we’ll have another one of those mini series with the Blue Jays and then follow that up with three games versus the Royals.  It would be great if the Angels can keep it together and chip away at the Mariners’ 2 game lead in the west but it won’t be easy.  Both the Blue Jays and the Royals are playing well.  Really well.  And even when the Royals are languishing a zillion games back in the central division, they come to Anaheim and my boys all look like they’re playing left-handed (or right-handed, if they’re lefties)! 

I know it’s still early in the season, but the American League standings look nothing like what anyone’s predicting.  The most unexpected and amusing things can happen when all the attention and hype are focused on the usual suspects.  Just ask these guys: 

 

     

 

 

           

 

Baseball…expect the unexpected.