Despite just taking two out of three games against the Red Sox, there are so many complaints I want to voice about our team and our fans….
1. The Angels have the worst fans. I went to two of the games in the Red Sox series and despite outnumbering Red Sox fans 20 to 1, it still seemed like there were more Boston fans than Angels Fans at the games. I’ve always recognized that Angel fans are too busy drinking and causing fights to actually watch the game, but seeing us in comparison to Red Sox fans was pathetic. Boston fans cheer at every play their team makes and constantly heckle the opponent, while we can’t even muster a cheer when the scoreboard read, “MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!!” As a result, I seriously felt like I was watching the Angels play on the road rather than surrounded by thousands of loyal fans. How pathetic…
2. Scot Shields is done. He took the loss in the first game, didnt play in the second because Scioscia was too scared to go to the bullpen and had Matt Palmer pitch a complete game (Palmer is a godsend, with the victory he moved to 4-0, 3.38 ERA), and then blew the save in the third game. Shields has never been the type of pitcher to overpower hitters, so if his accuracy is off he’s gonna struggle. Unfortunately he’s location has been off all season and he’s been falling behind on hitters and getting hammered when he pitches across the plate.
3. Our starting pitching continues to shine. Jered Weaver (3-1, 2.74 ERA) has become a bonafide stud and would have won Tuesdays game had the bullpen not betrayed him. Matt Palmer continues to beat quality teams; so far this season he’s beat the Yankees, the Tigers and Boston. Joe Saunders is already one of the best 10 pitchers in baseball. And now we have Santana back (gave up three runs in five innings Thursday) and John Lackey is scheduled to pitch on Saturday.
4. Torii Hunter and Mike Napoli deserve some MVP consideration so far this season. We all know how good Hunter is, he’s been an superstar most of his career and he’s carried our team with his hitting and fielding. However, Napoli has risen from a part-time catcher into a full-fledged hitting machine and has allowed the Angels to actually have better scoring statistics since Guerrero has been out. Both Hunter and Napoli deserve All-Star nods.
Just finished watching the final game of the Angels-Royals series (from home, I didnt go to the game cause it’s Mother’s Day) and we just completed our first 3-game sweep of the season.
After falling behind 3-0, we rallied back to take a 4-3 lead thanks to a clutch hit by Jeff Mathis and a couple of sacrifices from Figgins and Morales. Loux didnt get the win but pitched good enough to keep us in the game (he only gave up 3 runs in 6 innings).
But the best play came from Torii Hunter, who made an amazing catch in the top of the ninth and preserved our one-run lead. Up 4-3 in the inning, Brian Fuentes came in to close out the game and promptly gave up a long blast to Miguel Olivo. However, Hunter read the ball perfectly and made a leaping catch over the wall to rob Miguel Olivo of a home run.
Hunter has become my favorite Angels player because of his hard play and his personality. Every time Hunter runs out into the outfield at the start of inning he always tips his cap and acknowledges the fans. When I went to spring training this weekend, Hunter made every attempt to sign every autograph he could. I would’ve gotten his autograph but Scioscia yelled at him to get into the dugout when he was like two people away from me.
But it’s plays like the one he made today that makes him great. Despite struggling at the plate, Hunter made his presence felt by saving the game with that miraculous catch.
There was an article in Sports Illustrated earlier this year that said that Hunter had lost his step and was actually a mediocre outfielder:
I thought the article was ridiculous when I read it, I’ve watched Hunter in person the last two years and he continues to make amazing plays and in my opinion is the best center fielder in baseball.
Today’s catch was more proof that Hunter is still an elite defensive player….GO TORII
With the all the news about the return of Lackey, Santana and Escobar circulating, a lot of Angels fans have sort of failed to realize that we still have another Ace on this staff.
And his name is Joe Saunders.
In probably the biggest pitching matchup of the season so far, Saunders outperformed Zack Greinke (who led the league in wins, strikeouts, ERA, and complete games) and pitched a complete game shutout.
On the season, Saunders is now 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA.
Throughout the game Saunders attacked the strikezone and pitched to contact. As a result the Royals grounded into two double plays, struck out five times and only walked once.
I know its only one game, but this was a big win for us for several reasons. First, we were able to scratch out a win against the best pitcher in baseball. Second, Saunders showed that he has the talent to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. Lastly, we moved over .500 for the first time since Opening Day and are now only 1/2 game out of first place.
So tonight is the big game, Saunders v. Greinke, as the Angels’ remaining ace takes on arguably the best pitcher in baseball.
Zack Greinke has been downright filthy this season, 6-0, 0.40 ERA and leads the league in strikeouts. He has command of every pitch imaginable, he can blow batters away with his fastball or keep them off balance with a 60 mph curveball.
However, as we saw yesterday the Royals have a mediocre offense and don’t put many runs on the board. Given his record, Greinke wont need much run support if he’s on top of his game, but if we can score 3-4 runs I’m pretty confident we’ll be able to win the game. It would be a big confidence boost if we were to hand Greinke his first loss of the season.
I didn’t attend last night’s game but was watching it on TV and I’m continued to be impressed by Matt Palmer. After out-pitching CC Sabathia and defeating the Yankees in his last start, Palmer pitched a solid 5+ innings and got the win; raising his record to 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA. Honestly, I had never heard of Palmer before this season, I guess he made a few starts with San Francisco last year and came to our team this offseason when we signed him to a minor league contract.
Already 30 years old, Palmer has made the best of his opportunity with us (along with Shane Loux) and has pitched amazing this season. As I mentioned before, I would really like to see Palmer and Loux stay with team once Lackey and Santana return. I think putting them in the bullpen and moving Speier, Bulger and Jepsen to Triple A would be a better option for us, giving how much our bullpen has struggled.
Last night was 80’s Night at Angel Stadium as we faced the Blue Jays for the final game of our 2 game series. We needed a big performance after Wednesday’s 13-1 beating and Jered Weaver sure came thru. He pitched a complete game and only gave up one run on three hits to improve his record to 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA. I’ve been giving a lot of praise to Joe Saunders but have yet to mention how great Weaver has been this year.
He has always had the talent to be a star but he sometimes lets his emotions get the best of and then falls apart when he struggles. However, last night he used that emotion to his advantage and completely dominated a Blue Jays team that beat us up the game before. His breaking ball was dancing around and led to plenty of swings and misses. Im hoping that Weaver can continue to use his emotions to fuel him but at the same time stay focused because if he can he’ll continue to pitch great.
Going back to 80’s night….the game was so much fun last night as the team wore sweet throwback uniforms (pictured above), the PA played 80’s songs as we came up to the plate (my favorite was Hunter playing “Electric Avenue”), and on the scoreboard the players faces were superimposed and 80’s icons (Izturis was Super Mario, Abreu was Scarface, Mathis was He-Man, etc.)
But again the show was stole by Weaver’s great performance and some timely hitting by Izturis (2 RBI), Napoli (2 run HR) and Figgins (3-4 with 2 SB).
So it’s all over the news that Manny just tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Looking at Manny, I never considered him to be someone who would be suspected of taking anything like that because his body has never changed. When you look at Manny in comparison to say, McGwire or Sosa, you can obviously tell that he wasn’t taking anything that would drastically change his body. My guess is that he took some supplement that was on the banned list and got busted for it.
The loss of Manny for 1/3 of the season will obviously have a drastic effect on the Dodgers. Not only do they lose his bat, but they lose the protection he creates for the rest of the lineup. Fortunately, he will be back by July which still gives them plenty of time to make up any ground if they slip in the division (even though I still think there good enough to remain in first place without him).
On the Angels front: Last night was a disaster and would consider it our worst performance of the season; Anthony Ortega gave up 6 runs in a lil more than one inning, the bullpen gave up 7 runs across 6 innings, and the offense couldnt generate anything. However, the Ervin Santana bobblehead was real cool and will make a decent addition to my collection.
Even better news is the reports that Lackey and Santana are scheduled to return within the next few weeks. As long as they pitch decent that would give us four quality pitchers (Lackey, Santana, Saunders and Weaver) and we could throw Palmer and Loux in the bullpen. I seriously think we need to release Speier, Bulger and Jepsen because they just arent cutting it and Im really close to thinking that Shields is done also. Once we get our starting pitchers back we need make some changes in the bullpen in order to keep us from blowing leads and I think throwing Loux and Palmer (who have pitched more great) would really bolster our team.
So after a pretty impressive 2 game sweep of Oakland were riding a 3 game winning streak and now are back at home to face the Toronto Blue Jays. I’m hoping we can continue our great hitting and pitching but I am worried about tonight’s Roy Halladay v. Anthony Ortega pitching matchup. However, I did do a little research and found that Halladay struggles against us when he pitches here (2-3 record with a 6.35 ERA).
But I am excited about Ervin Santana bobblehead tonight (which will add to my collection that includes Figgins, Scioscia, Guerrero, Salmon, Lackey, Weaver, and Hunter).
Just one more thing, I do have to give lots of credit to Gary Matthews Jr cause he’s been playing great this season. After starting the season complaining about playing time (leading me to bash him on this blog), Matthews was giving an opportunity to play when Vlad got hurt and since then he’s been doing great. In our 5-3 victory against the A’s last night, he went 2-5 and drove in three runs. So far, Matthews is batting .288 and still is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game (he doesnt even need to look the ball into his glove, look at those eyes)