Sunday, May 16, 2010

Watch Out Texas, Here We Come.

Its over. Our weekend dismantling of the Oakland A's has come to a close, and the Angels find themselves two and a half games out of first place, with two games in Texas to start a seven game road trip.

Its not going to be an easy trip, with stops in Texas, Chicago to play the ChiSox, and St. Louis, to play the NL Central leading Cardinals. Also, no travel days, at least all these stops are only a few hours flight. Not like the cross-country fun the Angels had on their last trip.

After a 4-2 home-stand, the Angels improved their record to 18-21, and improved their record against Western Division opponents to 6-3. Even if the Angels aren't one of the best teams in baseball, like they have been in years past, they are still clearly ready to defend their AL West crown.

A Few Thoughts:
- Nice to see Bobby Abreu go yard again. Its been a while
- On the off day last Thursday, I thought Texas had a legitimate shot to run away with the West, I thought wrong.
- Good to see Michael Ryan in the lineup again, even if he didn't do much.

Around the League:
Jeff Francis made his first start for the Rockies today since September of 2008. He missed all of last season with arm surgery. He looked incredible in his first start. Although it was against the Washington Nationals, the Nats are no longer the laughing stock of the National League, and have a pretty damn good team. Good to see someone able to recover from that much time off (If only Kelvim Escobar was so lucky).

Light That Baby Up!

Feels Good, Man.

The offense exploded, the defense was solid, and Ervin Santata, while not great, was better than he has been. I didn't get to see most of the game, but I heard it on AM830, and watched the game-cast on So I couldn't watch every players little nuances like I'd like to, but everyone was hitting, so there really wasn't much to see.

I'm sure Brandon Wood and Mike Napoli struck out swinging at least once in this game, but who cares? An 11-3 victory against a division rival is always sweet. Add in the fact that the Rangers cant solve the Blue Jays (who we swept a month ago, by the way) right now, and we could be as close at 2 1/2 games back in the division by days end.

Will it happen? It would have to be a perfect storm, but it would be nice, considering the Angels short, 2-game, road trip to Texas immediately following today's game. As of this second, the Jays are beating the Rangers 5-2 in the bottom of the 7th, so it looks like the first half of what needs to happen will happen. Good luck Angels!

A Few Thoughts:
- Kendry Morales needs to start spreading out this offensive production throughout the week. I mean, 2 homers and 5 RBI's in a game is nice, but when he had 1 whole RBI the rest of the week so far, thats room for improvement.
- If we are going to start winning, winning by a lot will be an important factor, so as to keep Brian Fuentes from meddling in our winning business.
- I know beating up on the A's doesnt seem like much, but they are still the second best team in the division, and beating division rivals is whats important at this point.

Around the League:
- The Rays optioned DH Pat Burrell for assignment. He was maybe the least productive DH in the AL East. I can't feel too bad for them, considering they have the best record in baseball, but bad free agent signings always sting. I remember after the 2008 season, when Teixeira split, many "experts" called for the Angels to sign him. I dont say this often, but good job, Tony Regans.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thats more like it!

Saunders pitched the Angels first complete game shutout of the year. Morales and Matsui had key hits in four run inning, and there were almost zero mistakes made on the field, by either team.

I really cant say much about this game other than that. It was the best Saunders has looked all season, by far. It was the best Matsui and Morales have looked this month.

Scioscia finally tinkered with the lineup the right way. Having Kendrick hit in the two hole is bloody brilliant. Matsui and Morales have a little stress lifted from them, and our best RBI guy with runners in scoring position (other than the injured Izturis) is hitting clean-up.

What I'm most happy about, is that we finally looked like a playoff team again.

A few thoughts:
- Hope you didnt go to the kitchen to get a drink in the middle innings, because by the time you came back, the game would have been over.
- Really hope they give Frandsen another shot at third, even though Wood didnt look completely miserable last night at the plate, he still wasnt good. Made some nice plays in the field though.
- Napoli called a good game, but I'm more ready now than ever for Mathis to come back. Having two rally killers back-to-back in the lineup is going to kill us down the stretch.

Around the League:
- Roy Oswalt told the Houston Astros that if it would help them rebuild for the future, he would waive his no-trade clause. I can't be the only fan in America who hopes that he could come to their team, I just dont think we have the flashy prospects to get a deal done anymore. I'm thinking the Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox probably have the players (and the need for another solid starting pitcher) to get a deal done.

Also, a special thanks goes out to my friend, Alex, for the new site header. Looks good, man.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Hope The Angels Sign Him.

He could play third base.

Anyway, with the Angels finally getting an off day, I had time to watch the NBA playoffs. Boston and Cleveland were playing in Game 6 of their series, with Boston having a 3-2 series advantage, and they got to play Game 6 at home.

Sounds to me like they should have won... well, they did.

Cleveland even had a 3 point lead at one point, but they just never looked like they had the drive to win. So they didn't.

I really dont know what to say here. I only watch like... 5 basketball games a year. Even so, I could tell Cleveland didn't have "it" or even really care.

Lebron is liking going to leave Cleveland, and sign with another team in the off-season. Many people think it will be the Knicks or the Bulls, but who knows.

This was a pretty haphazard post, I'm sorry. I have no idea what I'm going to do when baseball is gone.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This Team is Under Construction.

Wins will not be available during construction. For all your Wins needs, please visit one of our other 29 teams.

It seems like just yesterday, we had won 3 of our last 4, and things were looking up... Because it WAS yesterday.

Now, the Angels have lost 3 of 4, drop an important home series. The Angels have dropped to a dismal 6 games below .500.

Its really hard to find one thing that they did wrong, I mean, other than play average defense. Budde had two passed balls, and the fielders just looked lost out there.

I'm almost positive that Erick Aybar is not an actual player, but a hologram. Jared Weaver had a fantastic game on the mound with 12 k's in 7 innings of work. He only allowed one earned run. Its pretty clear that Budde and Weaver should NEVER be battery mates again this season. I dont really like Napoli behind the plate when Weaver pitches either, but at least he catches balls. You know... like a "Catcher".

A few thoughts:
- I'm too mad to think

Angels Record: 15-21
Outlook: If the Angels cant win the weekend series against Oakland, this place will be one step closer to becoming a Washington Nationals blog.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Feels Good, Man.

It was not pretty. But Juan Rivera's sacrifice fly to win the game in the 11th inning might be the sweetest victory the Angels have had all year. Walk-off wins are always nice, but against the best team in baseball, and with the opportunity to gain a half-game on the two teams ahead of them in the division, this one felt good.

But, it should have never gotten to that point. Aybar even made getting lucky look difficult in the first inning, eventually scoring the first run of the game. Torii added a home run in the 3rd, and Napoli hit a no-doubter for two in the 4th. Pineiro was dominant all game, and left the game leading 4-0.

Rodney gave up a run, but otherwise looked solid. One run in a four run game isnt going to ruin anything. Then Brian Fuentes, with his newly added porno 'stache, looked to close the door on the game. After giving up a solo shot to the good Aybar (Willy), letting a couple guys get on, he gave up a two-out double to Evan Longoria, who drove in the tying run.

There were some fine defensive plays in the extra frames. Bulger came in and had a great showing. Trevor Bell struck out Longoria, and that ended up earning him the W.

Morales got a great opposite field single, Willits did his job and bunted him over, and with Rivera at the plate, a wild pitch (although it should have been a passed ball, I digress) got Morales to third, and a deep fly ball drove home Morales.

Great win for the Angels, and a great game to watch, even though it went almost 4 1/2 hours. Tonight, I'm hoping for an even better, and hopefully shorter, game. Its a match-up of Kazmir, who may or may not be facing the Rays for the first time since being traded last year, I'm not 100% sure, but I'm gonna say he is, because its a better story, and Jeff Niemann, someone who I've never seen pitch before, but is 2-0 with a nice ERA. Plus, its bucket cap night... aw yeah.

A few thoughts:
- Personally, I LOVE Fuentes' new Porno Stache. Its currently his only redeeming quality.
- Good to see Napoli FINALLY turning his season around. Thankfully its not too late.
- I'm still wondering why Brandon Wood is still starting. Frandsen has been nothing but solid.
- I'm also happy to see Trevor Bell back in the bigs. He had a rough go of it last year, but he is going to be a fantastic young pitcher.
- I'm not promising anything, but I would not be surprised if we are back over .500 by the end of this homestand.

Angels Record: 15-19
Outlook: Incredibly positive

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dallas Braden = Perfect

Yeah, I could be watching the Angels get destroyed by the Mariners, or the Rangers push us even further back in the division. But no. Once the game got into the 5th inning, I switched over to the Rays-Athletics match-up. Dallas Braden had a no-hitter (and Perfect Game) going into the fifth, so that intrigued me.

He finished off the Rays. 27 up, 27 down. He truly was perfect. No special defensive plays were needed. He had incredible control of all his pitches. He was painting the corners with all his pitches. He never looked tired, or intimidated. He looked like the best pitcher in baseball today. Is he? Not even close. But today he was.

I'd like to say "oh, this couldnt have happened to a better guy", but it could have. Dallas is a bit of a jerk. Even if he is right, he can seem a bit cocky about anything. I dont think this perfect game will help, but we'll see what happens with that.

Today, all that matters is that Dallas Braden, from Stockton, California, was perfect. I dont know how bright his future is. He is 18-22 for his career, with decent stuff. But he is only 26, and at this point, all of Major League Baseball's eyes are on him.

A few thoughts:
- Oakland's Color Commentator was so incredibly dry, I actually missed Gubicza.
- I LOVE Pink Bats
- Scioscia was trying to lose today. Wood, Quinlan and Willits were our 7, 8 and 9 hitters. Please...

Angels Record: 14-18 (soon to be 14-19)
Outlook: Who cares? I got to see a perfect game.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Oh, No, There Goes Tokyo, Go Go Godzilla!

Not really Tokyo, but Seattle is close enough, right?

It was actually an incredibly well played game on both sides. Joe Saunders wasnt as bad as I thought he would be (even Jeff Weaver won some games, lets not get too excited). Kevin Frandsen had a perfectly fine day, which was his first as an Angel.

Everyone out of the bullpen, although not fantastic, was good. Fuentes wasnt spectacular, but he was the best he has been all season. Morales hit a shot out to right field, Hunter broke out of his little slump and looked better all game.

Ichiro and Mike Sweeney tied it up for the M's, but the Bullpen held them at bay for the rest of the game. Then Godzilla got just his second RBI since this blog started (and the first in the month of May) in the top of the 10th. Its good to see him (hopefully) break out of his slump, and a visit to Seattle seems to be just what this team needed to get back in the swing of things.

A few thoughts:
- Tomorrow is Mother's Day, you know what that means? PINK BATS! Hell yeah.
- I don't think I'd be too sad if Frandsen replaced Wood at third for the foreseeable future.
- I don't think I'd be too sad if we just didn't field a Shortstop till Izturis returns from his injury.
- With Rivera getting his stroke back yesterday, and Hunter, Morales and Godzilla doing it today, could we finally be turning this season around?

Oh, and the title is a reference to a Blue Oyster Cult song called "Godzilla". Listen to it, its good.

Angels Record: 14-18
Outlook: Good, but I'm still wondering if this is just a bad team playing the worst team.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wait... We won? This cant be right.

I... I... I dont know what to say. I'm in shock. Not only did we win, but we completely outplayed the other team. 8 runs, 3 home runs, a commanding pitching performance (2 hits allowed).

Jeff Weaver had his best start of the season. Scot "LOL" Shields looked like he knew how to pitch again. Juan Rivera, The OTHER Howard and Incrediboy Ryan Budde all went deep.

Weaver not only had his best stuff of the season, but he also took a no hitter into the 7th (thanks a lot, Ken Griffey Jr.). I honestly only kept the game on because of the chance of a no hitter.

I have nothing bad to say the Angels as a whole today, but is Brandon Wood seriously going to strike out EVERY time he has the bat in his hands? He might as well never leave the dugout. Just give the pitcher a strikeout and lets get on with our lives. I truly hope this Michael Ryan kid can replace him sooner rather than later. Also, I think maybe Ryan Budde should start in place of Napoli for the rest of the season. Good luck to Matt Palmer who is probably going to be spending a good chunk of time in Triple A. But he is used to that, so whatever.

Unfortunately, Jeff Weaver... er... Joe Saunders is on the hill tomorrow. Hopefully we can put up a ton of runs again. We WOULD throw up an 8 spot in a game where we only needed 1.

Angels Record: 13-18
Outlook: Baffled but still catious

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time to Replace the Left Side of the Infield.

And 80% of the Bullpen, 2/5ths of our rotation, and the hitting coach.

Brandon Wood does nothing but strikeout and not field well. Erick Aybar does nothing. Brian Stokes, Brian Fuentes, Kevin Jepsen, and Scot "LOL" Shields are all failures in the bullpen.

Joe Saunders and Scott Kazmir look lost on the mound, and I like Mickey Hatcher, but I'll be damned if our hitting is going to be this pedestrian all season long. Hitting was supposed to be our strong point coming into this season. The only offensive piece we lost that produced last season was Figgins, and he isn't exactly lighting up the scoreboard in Seattle. Our hitters are swinging too much, or at the wrong times. The swings look sloppy, and as Hunter said the other day, they are making anyone they face look like Cy Young.

Our terrible pitching is turning around the seasons of guys like Adrian Beltre, JD Drew, and Johnny Damon. Our terrible hitting is turning around the seasons of guys like Bonderman, Lackey and Dice-K.

I hope and pray that when the Angels travel to Seattle, one of the worst hitting teams in the league, the Hitters can scrap together enough runs, and the pitching can be enough to get us at least 2 or 3 wins on this, so far, MISERABLE road trip.

I turned off the game at 11-6. I cant imagine its going to get much better. I've already wasted 3 hours of my day on this awful performance. They arent getting any more from me.

- At least Jeremy Hermida still has that sweet chin beard. Looks good man.
- I'm happy for Mike Napoli, who finally broke his homer-less streak, but I still have to admit I'm excited for the eventual return of Jeff Mathis.
- Even Boston does the damn Wave? I thought they were REAL baseball fans...

Oh, and on a brighter note, I added a new site banner and my twitter feed. The twitter feed wont always be about baseball, but when I'm at the games, or the games just go too late for me to write a blog that day, it will be a good place to find my thoughts.

Angels Record: 12-18 (I assume)
Outlook: Mad. REAL MAD.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

All Hail Our New Savior: Brandon Wood.

Not really. He was decent today, and by decent, I mean he accounted for 100% of our offensive output. He fielded 2 grounders than should have been outs, but turned into hits. He also struck out with the bases loaded, and then again for good measure in the 8th.

Now, I was ready to jump on here and yell for 500 words about how the "Wood Experiment" should be over after he struck out with the bases loaded in the second, then proceeded to give up the first run of the game on what should have been an error. But I have recovered, and since he hit that solo shot, he made up for the run he "gave up".

Todays game was not entirely Wood's fault. In fact, he played out of his mind today, compared to what he has done for the rest of the season. I'm more disappointed with the rest of the lineup. However, I cant really blame them either, because the home plate umpire was giving Lackey that outside pitch all game, even when it wasn't even close. Obvious Boston homer. I'm pretty sure all umpires are.

That being said, I thought today was probably the Angels best 9 innings (technically 8 1/2 innings) of baseball they have played on this road trip. Pineiro had one of his better games of the season. Bulger had a good inning of relief, and Fuentes was up to his usual shenanigans.

It seems like whenever the offense is going, the pitching is serving up batting practice, and whenever the pitching is solid, we look like we are swinging toothpicks out there. This is still a good baseball team, and once we get everything going, the Angels will be a force to be reckoned with.

A few thoughts:
- Jeremy Hermida (Sox Outfielder) has a pretty sweet Chin Beard. Good work, sir.
- Rojas and Gubicza almost seem to have some chemistry going. Only a month in, not bad.
- Matsui played some damn fine Left Field today, damn fine.
- Jason Bulger's performance today actually surprised me. There is hope for our bullpen yet.
- Fuentes, however, was his usual terrible self. Beltre? Really Fuentes, you gave up a home run to Beltre?!
- I HATE the OneWest Bank commercials. That song is getting really old.

Also, I've decided today that I will be signing up for the 2010 All-Star Game Fun-Run (no 5k for me, thank you), and I'd like to encourage all of you to do the same. Everybody hates cancer, lets raise some money against it.

Angels Record: 12-17
Outlook: Strangely Positive.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is Fernando Rodney dead or something?

Thanks Kevin Jepsen. Thanks a ton. I think its pretty cool that you figured out a way to instantly pitch us out of a close game.

Ok, maybe not instantly, it took about 50 balls, a few walks, a token Big Papi double play, and a terrible play in the outfield by Juan Rivera. Still though, it seemed like it went from 1-1 to 4-1 almost instantly.

So, is Fernando Rodney dead or something? I mean, in a pretty important game (for it being only May 4th), that is TIED, wouldn't you want your best reliever to come into the 8th? Then, to add insult to injury, Coach Mike decided that the best option to stop the bleeding in the 8th was our good buddy, Scot "LOL" Shields. Its almost like we are trying to lose. I hope its so we can make one of the most epic comebacks in Major League history, and not so everyone has an excuse to leave town.

Tonights game wasnt all bad. Mike Napoli finally seemed to find his stroke. Eric Aybar fell down trying to avoid a tag, and that made me laugh. I like when I can laugh at Aybar, even in a loss.

I'll be honest, the game isnt even over yet, and I'm writing this. I dont think I can watch much long, and the hockey game between the Sharks and Wings is winding down, and its a close one.

But lets face it, its already 5-1, and the bases are loaded again. This is a loss.

Tomorrow, though, is a MUST win. Yeah, a must win game in May, sue me. Its our first game against Anaheim's very own Benedict Arnold: John Lackey. He might as well be in the dugout sipping tea and munching on crisps. Damn backstabber.

Angels Record: 12-16
Outlook: Must. Beat. Lackey.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Angel fans. Remember 2006? Its the only year since 2004 that we have not been a playoff team, and only the second since 2002. It was the year Tim Salmon retired, Adam Kennedy skipped town, and Shea Hillenbrand was the face of our nightmares. There was one main cause to our downfall that year. It was an abysmal May. Who do most Angel fans (including myself) blame for our terrible performance that spring? Jeff Weaver.

Don't worry, he isnt going to be an Angel again. But we once again have that "guy". The guy, who when he comes to the mound, you know he is going to give up a TON of runs, and we are going to lose the game, BADLY.

He has returned in a strange form. A form that used to symbolize hope for our young pitching staff. Joe Saunders.

Joe Saunders was arguably my favorite Angels starting pitcher from 2007 to last year, when
Jared Weaver became the dominant force that helped lead our staff. He always had good stuff, he knew how to pitch to contact, he could strike guys out, and he didnt walk many guys.

Now, he has turned to the dark side. He cant keep the ball in the park, he probably couldn't strike out other American League pitchers, and his walk total is higher than than Tim Lincecum in the offseason.

I dont know what happened, but I dont like it. I dont like any of it. That being said, I turned off todays game after Beltre's home run made it 11-4. It didnt get any better, apparently. I believe 17-8 was the final. Saunders is 1-5, Napoli still swings too much, and Aybar still sucks.

Is it too much to ask this Angel team to win against a team that got swept by the Orioles this weekend? With three more in Boston, then another three in Seattle (with NO travel day between, thanks MLB), remember how I said I'd be pleased if we escape the road trip with a 5-5 record? Well, we are already 0-4. I'm hoping that we can split with Boston and win two in Seattle. Will we? Doesn't look like it.

Thank god the Stanley Cup Playoffs are going on right now. It gives me something to change the channel to when the Angels underperform. If you are curious, I'm just rooting for anyone but the Red Wings or Penguins right now. I'd prefer a Bruins-Canucks Finals (I hate those teams the least), but in general, I'm just hoping for good hockey. It looks like this Blackhawks-Canucks game is about to go into OT, thats some good hockey.

Angels Record: 12-15
Outlook: Ok, NOW the sky is falling.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This is getting really old.

First off, kudos to Macier Izturis (Why the hell isnt this guy starting every day?) and Erick Aybar for breaking up the 1-hitter, and later, the shutout. Eat it Verlander.

Todays game was a really entertaining pitching duel... up till the dreaded fifth inning. Why does it seem like our pitchers are amazing till the 5th inning? It seems to me like a stamina problem, which would be on the training staff. Also, lets blame the Pitching coaches, and Scot "LOL" Shields. Anyway, after the Tigers took a 4-0 (and later 5-0) lead, it just got depressing.

Verlander retired 23 in a row before Izturis got a single in the ninth. There were a couple more hits, a few "Defensive Interference"'s and a run later... Matsui grounded out to end the game.

Cool Story, Angels

A few thoughts from todays very early (and short) Angel game:
- Aybar isnt taking as many pitches as he was last year, neither is Abreu. We need these guys to start taking more pitches at the top of the lineup if we are going to have a shot at winning the division. I dont care if you strikeout looking, because it seems like you are only striking out swinging 0-2 or 1-2 anyway.
- Weaver looked fantastic till the Tigers got a few bloop hits in that 5th inning, then he got frustrated, like he always does. Why on earth is everyone on this team so predictable?
- I know he is the final link to the 2002 World Series team, but its time to designate Scot "LOL" Shields for assignment. Hopefully he will get picked up by a NL team with a struggling pen, so he can have a mini career resurgence in a weaker league.

Also, I'm watching MLB Network while writing this, the Tampa Bay Rays powder blue unis are pretty awesome looking.

Oh, and Fister is no-hitting the Rangers for the M's right now. There, I said it. Now he will blow it, and Kinsler will hit a bloop single. Eat it, Fister!

Angels Record: 12-14
Outlook: At least we are in a very winnable division.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Public Enemy #1.

Screw You, Johnny Damon. I'm sick and tired of you completely destroying our pitching (albeit, our terrible pitching). If you could please stop hitting the baseball to all parts of the field (including out of it), and stealing bases, etc. Angels Nation would greatly appreciate it.

In case you missed it, Johnny Damon not only doubled and later scored the tying run in today's (VERY early) game. But in the bottom of the ninth, off of Scott "LOL" Shields, he hit a walk-off home run to end the game.

I mean, it could be worse. The Angels could be the Mets, who are currently losing 10-0 to the Phillies and look like its only going to get worse.

Just a few thoughts from todays game:
- Watching Eric Aybar struggle to play fundamental baseball is one of the most painful experiences of my life.
- I was pretty sure Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza were going to come to blows over a disagreement over Aybar's decision to try and throw out Damon at third base (the run that would eventually tie the game). They sadly did not.
- Its good to see Morales turn around this week after an incredibly slow start against the Indians.

Record: 12-13
Outlook: Once we start playing the crummy Western Division, things will get better... I hope.