Sunday, July 09, 2006

Quite A Week

The only thing standing between the Angels and a perfect week was a sac fly by Juan Rivera or Mike Napoli, and/or a scoreless ninth inning by Scot Shields on Thursday night. But the Angels were not disheartened by Big Hurt's walk off in the first game of this series. They shook it off and won the next three behind a brilliant performance by John Lackey, backed up by excellent starts by Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana. As a result, the Angels find themselves just two games out of first (and two games under .500).

While the offense has been picking it up a bit, evidence by the slugging in the A's series, the pitching has been dominant. The last turn through the rotation before the All-Star break, the starters went 38 innings and allowed 4 earned runs for an ERA under 1.00. That's awesome. They'll be in the thick of this race from here on out if they can do two things: 1) Continue to get excellent performances from the starters, and 2) play the type of defense that they're capable of. I should mention, they allowed three unearned runs over those 38 innings, and unearned runs have been the difference between being two game out and two games up to this point. The defense has to improve, or they'll continue to let opportunities slip away.

The AL West is set up for a tremendously exciting second half. Four teams are separated by 2.5 games, and thanks to Ozzie Guillen's myopia, only a handful of AL Westians will be worn out by the All-Star game.

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