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.
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!
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.”
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.
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. As it stands, there isn’t a start anywhere on Palmer’s horizon. While I’m not happy with this, I understand the reasons. But we all know there are times when a starter is just not having a good day. Maybe they don’t have their “stuff” or their head’s not in the game. Sometimes it’s a physical issue. I remember being at game 5 of the ALDS in 2005 when ace starter Bartolo Colon suddenly left the game in the top of the 2nd inning due to shoulder inflammation.
The collective gasp that went up from the sold-out crowd registered on the richter scale. This was game 5…do or die…versus the Yankees! When rookie Ervin Santana took over I told my dad, “If he somehow pulls this off, it’ll be the biggest story tomorrow.” He did and it was.
Now, I’m not comparing Wednesday night’s game to a deciding game of a play-off series, but when it was clear in the 2nd inning that Big John Lackey was having big trouble, I couldn’t help but think it was the perfect opportunity to bring Palmer in and see if he could turn things around. It didn’t happen and Lackey gave up 5 runs. When he gave up a home run to start the 3rd, I thought maybe NOW I’d see Palmer. Nope. When Lackey was finished after 5 (funny, but I would’ve swore he went 7…it felt like the torture lasted that long), he’d given up 9 runs. The Angels didn’t score after the 4th and every time Joe Maddon came out to change pitchers, I was jealous.
Why wasn’t Scioscia making a pitching change?!? Heck, I might not have been upset to see Brian “The Closer Poser” Fuentes making an entrance. It couldn’t possibly get any worse than it was? Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind and I was gripped by fear. What if Mike Scioscia thinks his own bullpen stinks so badly that even he doesn’t want to pick up the phone to bring in a reliever?
Was he okay with Lackey’s 9 runs because he was afraid if he brought in Bulger, Oliver or Speier the Rays might score twice that? What does he know that we don’t know? And now what??? Where do we turn for relief pitching? Here?
What about here?
Hey, don’t laugh. I think the unique over-the-shoulder delivery could really throw batters. And the single ones won’t want to make contact. If Mike (Scioscia) and Mike (Butcher) don’t get the bullpen turned around, and fast, the Angels will continue to hover around the .500 mark all the way to the end of the season. Sure, Monday morning quarterbacking is easy. But they could always try my idea:
Oh, wait! Speaking of quarterbacks…isn’t this guy available? And doesn’t he have a pretty good arm?
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.