Thursday, April 20, 2006

Angels 6; Twins 4

Nice recovery from last night's debacle. Despite some early game struggles from Hector Carrasco, he was able to settle down and turn the game over the Kevin Gregg in the fifth inning who escaped a two on, none out jam with no damage. Excellent contribution in his first game replacing Bart, who was placed on the DL. He gave them four strong innings with only one run allowed. He entered the game trailing and left with the lead, turning it over to Donnelly, who struggled through two four hitters.

The big brass ones award goes to Mike Scioscia. One night after watching Frankie get lit, he brought him in for a four out save. Frankie responded, retiring the first three hitters he faced before allowing a two out single, after which he struck out Torii Hunter to end the game. Every time he struggles, Will Carroll (who is actually a pretty good guy in person) is ready to bury him, and today was no different, as Will speculated that Frankie could be hiding an injury. Maybe he is, but if that's the case, he sure hid it pretty damn well today. Look, anyone can predict that a small guy who throws 96 is going to get hurt. Hell, anyone can predict that ANY pitcher will get hurt. Do it long enough, and you're bound to be right. This is the fourth straight year that a fairly serious injury has been predicted for K-Rod. At what point does the law of averages turn analysis into an amazing ability to predict the inevitable?

Adam Kennedy is in full contract year mode. Two more hits and two more RBIs today. He's up to .388 and as NPCody pointed out over at the Rev's site, he's got a higher batting average (.388) than wunderkind Howie Kendrick (.386). He's been dominant on the road trip, and if he could hit for power, he could be carrying the team. He can also catch, which is a step above just about everyone else on the team.

Big set with Oakland gets underway tomorrow. The A's choked one away against the Tigers today, giving the Angels sole posession of first place. Big series, man. Big series.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Angels 10; Twins 12

Pretty much everything about the Angels right now is awful. They can't get anybody out, and when they do get guys to hit the ball to people, they drop it. If you lose a game to the Twins in which you score double digit runs, you truly suck. The sad thing is that it was so predictable. I have yet to watch a fly ball go to right field without cringing as it approached Vlad. He gets lazy, and he drops easy fly balls. He's done it his entire career, and he did it again tonight.

The stat I find almost unbelievable is the seven walks allowed by Angels pitchers. This was not exactly what you'd call a small strike zone, yet Angels pitchers still were unable to hit it. Almost as unbelievable were the three walks drawn by the Angels. That has to be damn close to a season high.

If you saw Frankie pitch to Joe Mauer and came away thinking that the Angels had a chance in hell to get to a 10th inning, you truly are a person of faith, because that was just about the most predictable ninth inning I've ever seen. The only unexpected aspect of the inning was that the Angels held the Twins to only one run. Every person in the universe knew exactly what pitch was on the way to Mauer at 0-2, and he drilled it. With Sierra at the plate, you could see the fear in Frankie's eyes, as he wanted absolutely no part of the slugger. And then the coup de grace, a 3-2 bases loaded slider. I understand he'd just thrown one in the zone, but that's all the more reason to realize that lightning wasn't going to strike twice. A predictable walk, a tie game, and a few minutes later, the complete reversal of a 9-4 lead into a 12-10 loss was completed with Michael Cuddyer's walk off home run.

Piss poor play has defined the Angels' season this year, and it's tough to see it getting better any time soon. The only guy really ready to come up and possible make a difference plays the one position that has been fairly productive for the Angels. Now might be the time to trade Kennedy, as he's hitting well and might actually fetch something.

Right now, this is a very bad baseball team. Fortunately, the A's suck just as much right now. Welcome to the AL Worst, folks.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Angels 8; Twins 2

The pythagorean numbers are starting to come back to earth now that the Angels have been on the winning end of two lopsided vicotories in their last three. I have to admit, I wasn't optimistic about this one. After watching Vlad hit into a first inning double play, visions of the the five double play, 11 hit shutout that Silva threw against the Angels last year were dancing in my head. When the Twins got on the board first in the third inning, I was pretty sure that the Angels were done. Fortunately, I don't write the script, and the Angels responded with two runs in the top of the fourth, and three more in the top of the fifth, the final two coming on a monster shot over the right field baggie by noted slugger Chone Figgins.

Kelvim almost let the lead get away from him, giving up a double to Lew Ford, followed by two straight singles to open the bottom of the fifth. But he responded by striking out Joe Mauer and Luis Castillo before inducing an inning ending grounder from Tony Batista. The good news was that the infield actually held on to the ball this time and actually did end the inning. Escobar escaped with only one run in the frame, and the Twins wouldn't score again. Those were two of 10 strikeouts from Kelvim, who rebounded from a poor start in his previous effort.

Our Santana takes the mound tomorrow night. The Angels mercifully avoid their Santana later in the week. Then again, as his fantasy owners will tell you (me included), their Santana has been pretty mediocre to awful in his first few starts, so maybe that's not necessarily a good thing. The Angels go back up over Oakland by a half game for a couple of hours until Oakland dispatches the Tigers. The good news is that despite the Halos' uninspiring play to this point, they're still atop the division, thanks to the rest of the division playing really crappy as well. The bad news is they've missed a golden opportunity to open a three game lead or so. Oh well, it's a long season.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Angels 2: Orioles 4 - and who cares, because it's Luc's final night.

Didn't see one pitch. Yeah, I know, I've been slacking to this point as I've probably missed more games than I've seen. I wouldn't be shocked if you never came back. But look at your calendar. It's April 17th, which is the first working day after after April 15th. Now is a good time to remind yourself that I work in the tax department of an accounting firm, which means today is kind of a big day. If you can't remember that, well, I hope you don't get a letter from the IRS. Anyway, I work in sales tax, which means for me, today isn't a huge day, but at the same time, the tax department throws a big party with lots and lots of free food, and most importantly, free beer.

So anyway, knowing Jeff Weaver was on the mound, I decided to drink free beer rather than watch the Angels lose, which frankly, was pretty obviously going to happen. It's a combination of crappy pitcher being backed up by an offense that has a history of making guys like Daniel Cabrera, a pitcher who refuses to live up to his potential, look like Cy Young candidates. Tonight was no exception.

Anyway, tonight is a night to celebrate the end of tax season, and a night to watch the greatest left wing in the history of the NHL play the final game of his career. Here's to you, Luc. Soon you'll have your number up on the rafters of Staples Center, and in a few years, you'll be in the hall of fame. I didn't make it to Toronto when Peter Stastny, the greatest European in the history of the NHL, made it to the hall of fame, but a few years out, I plan on making the trip for Luc's induction ceremony. Congratulations on a wonderful career Luc. I'm gonna miss your presence in the lineup.


Angels 9; Orioles 3

Well, the good guys salvaged one from the series, and for once, they're on the right end of a blow-out. Vlad obviously had a huge game, and from what little I saw, they did a good job executing the little things. It didn't hurt that they benefitted from some mistakes on the other side.

I only saw the hilights from this one. I recorded it to the DVR and headed off to the Sox game for about three innings before that one got rained out, then headed to a friend's house for Easter dinner. But from the looks of things, Lackey is on track a few weeks early, and I have every reason to believe he is going to be a top five Cy Young guy this year.

There's gonna be some concern about Frankie, and well there should be, especially considering that Shields hasn't been particularly sharp so far. According to the Times, it's not expected to sideline Frankie for very long, if at all. Almost makes you wonder if he was getting drilled because he was hurt or if he....I won't go there.

Angels try to complete the split today. With Weaver on the mound and the ball flying out of that ballpark, let's just say I'm not optimistic.