Tagged: angels

The Battle for So Cal Begins…

Angels v Dodgers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


What could be better?

Unlike the grumblings of baseball purists, I’ve been a big fan of interleague play ever since it was introduced in 1997. Interleague allows fans to see matchups between teams that would never face each other outside of the World Series…why anyone would be against that is beyond me. Furthermore, its led to the creation of several “freeway series,” Angels-Dodgers, A’s-Giants, Yankees-Mets, White Sox-Cubs. With a season of 162 games its important to mix in some variety rather than see the same games season after season. The NBA, NFL and NHL all play regular season interleague games. It’s time for all baseball fans to embrace interleague.

On to the main subject, the Angels begin a three game series against the Dodger in Chavez Ravine this weekend. Each game has a very interesting pitching matchup:

Friday: Clayton Kershaw v Jered Weaver

Saturday: Randy Wolf v John Lackey

Sunday: Chad Billingsley v Matt Palmer

Last year, we split the season series three games apiece as each team won 2 of 3 on their home field. I went to two of the games at Angel Stadium and got to see us win both times and also attended a game at Dodger Stadium and got to see history be made. At the game the Dodgers won 1-0 despite being held hitless as Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined for the no-hitter.

In the 5th inning, Matt Kemp hit a weak grounder back to the pitcher but was safe on the throwing error by Weaver. Kemp then stole second and advanced to third on another error by Jeff Mathis. He would eventually score on a sacrifice fly.

Leaving the stadium I was heckled unmercifully by Dodger fans who couldnt believe the won without a hit and as bad as I wanted to respond to their comments I relented for fear of being stabbed (yeah, thats a cheap shot).

Were coming into the series struggling this season, but with our team finally getting healthy were poised to make a run a take over first place in the AL West. The Dodgers on the other hand own the best record in baseball and, despite struggling early, have been playing great without Manny.

However, I am confident that we can win in Dodger Stadium and prove that despite the record we are the better team…..GO ANGELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





Happy Mothers Day!!!

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

Saunders v. Greinke

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.

Weaver Goes Old School

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).


Say It Aint So Manny!!!!!



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.

Bobblehead Time!!!!!!!!!!!

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)