Tagged: Zack Greinke

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!