Friday, April 13, 2007

On GA and #42

Shorter Garret Anderson detractors:

"Why won't Garret Anderson just shut up and wear the #42 like all of us white people are telling him to?"

See Rob's better post on this subject.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Maybe someday a manager will come along who, having spent the vast majority of his (or her - hey, it's the future we're talking about) life in baseball, can recognize when a pitcher clearly doesn't have major league quality stuff/control, and is man (or woman) enough to realize his (or her) mistake after one hitter.

Maybe when that day comes, we'll be spared the atrocity that was the bottom of the eighth inning of today's game, where Scot Shields couldn't find the strike zone until he was facing Travis Hafner with two runners (whom he had walked) on base. One swing, and a one run lead was a two run deficit. But hey, at least he finally threw a strike.

Angels 4; Indians 1

Didn't make it to Milwaukee last night. Snow. Lots of it. It's actually a really easy drive when the weather is OK. I play golf a few times per year about a half hour from Milwaukee, so it seems like your close to home not long after leaving the stadium. Kinda like driving from Pasadena to Temecula. But when a 90 minute drive becomes a four hour drive, it's not quite as inviting.

That doesn't mean Tuesday night's game didn't have an affect on me, though. I was still so tired from Tuesday that I fell asleep for the last two innings or so, but by that time, the Angels had done most of their damage, and Saunders was about ready to turn it over to the lights out guys in the bullpen.

Saunders had some trouble finding the strike zone, but for the most part was excellent, making me look like an idiot for putting him on my bench this week. He walked four, but only allowed four hits and one run, a solo homer to Jhonny Peralta who did his part to help the Angels with an error out at short. Saunders also struck out five.

The top of the order did a little damage tonight, pounding out six hits, while HGHMJ scored twice. But it was Mike Napoli's RBI triple that held up for the winning RBI, and few pitches later he came home on a Jake Westbrook wild pitch. A little station to station ball accounted for the fourth run, with Cabrera singling home Matthews. Shields and Frankie closed the door from there.

I'm getting the feeling that we can see more out of this team, but it's still early. With all the expectations, you'd like to see them go on an early season run that opens up the type of real estate between them and second place, the type that takes those teams a long time to crawl back from. I think they have it in them.

Mosely takes the mound today, and serves as a reminder that Bart and Jered Weaver are on the mend. Weaver especially had a terrific outing last night. The lineup will look a little different in a month, and this team should only get stronger.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Angels 6; Indians 7

My second trip to Milwaukee and my first trip to Miller Park. You've really got to hand it to Milwaukee. On basically one day's notice, for two teams that aren't even in their league, they drew more people than the A's drew for a home game against the 2005 World Champions. But I don't need to remind any of you that A's "fans" suck.

I'm very glad that I had purchased and printed my tickets out earlier in the day. As it was, it took us a while to get into the parking lot, and we missed most of the first inning. Had we stood in the walk-up line, we wouldn't have gotten into the game until the third or fourth inning.

As we were walking to our seats, we were interviewed by Erin Toner of Milwaukee's NPR station for a national story. Unfortunately, it sounds like we ended up on the cutting room floor. They played the story on Morning Edition and they only used interviews with Indians fans. My friend was right. We should have told them we had flown in that day from LA. A lot more compelling than an interview with someone who drove up from Chicago.

We had seats (as you can see from the pictures in the post below) down the third base line. Started in row 25, but met up with Josh from Pearly Gates who was in the same section in row 9, and we sat with him for pretty much the entire game. All tickets were $10, and parking was only $8. The stadium was nice and warm. I hear the concessions lines were pretty long, but I never left my seat, so I can't give a first hand account. Still, on short notice, the Brewers did a pretty good job of throwing this together. I was pretty sure I was going to try to get to tonight's game as well, but with the snow (they're supposed to get 4 inches or so up there), it's not worth the four hour drive that it will become.

Santana clearly didn't have it. He couldn't throw strikes, and the ones he did throw got tagged for two long home runs. The Angels had Darren Oliver up in the fourth before Santana got out of the inning, and followed that up with two runs to get back into the game. At that point I mentioned to someone that they probably ought to take Santana out, because he was likely to give those runs back, and sure enough, he conspired with Pipo to do just that, with Pipo giving up a sac fly and a two out, two run double before getting out of the inning.

Still, the Angels worked their way back into the game, with two runs in the eighth and a run in the ninth. They had the tying run on first base, and Howie Kendrick coming to the plate. Speculating from the stands, Erick Aybar never even entered my mind. I thought for sure they would use Willits or Murphy to pinch run in that spot, but I'm assuming the idea was to move Kendrick to first and Aybar to second if they had tied the game. And seriously, standing there, Jose and I went back and forth over how bad of a baserunner Aybar was. He's fast, but he's not a good baserunner, and he's not a good base stealer by any means.

So what happens with a fast guy on first and a hot hitter at the plate? Aybar goes and gets thrown out to end the game for the second time in a week. It was quite possibly one of the dumbest ways to end a game I've ever seen. At least when Frankie dropped the ball a couple of years ago, it was lazy, but it was a mistake. This, on the other hand, was simply an awful, awful decision, and the blame is shared equally between Aybar and Scioscia. Scioscia should have been smart enough to give Aybar the red light, and Aybar should have been smart enough to just say no to the green light.

Other than Howie's 4-4 night and GA's 3-5, the other bright spot was Chris Bootcheck. 1.2 IP, no hits, a walk, and a strikeout. I'll take that from the fifth or sixth reliever every time. Props to Darren Oliver who got Travis Hafner looking in a tough spot as well.

It really was a fun evening, despite the douchebags sitting in front of us for the last few innings. I enjoyed Miller Park, and it was kind of neat to finally attend a game indoors. First time I've ever been in a dome, or at least a retractable roof stadium with it's roof closed. Sight lines could be a tiny bit better, but otherwise it was a really nice park, and it was super easy to get out of the parking lot after the game ended. I wouldn't mind getting up there for another game sometime this season.

In other news, Brendan Donnelly is still kind of a bad ass, and Jose Guillen is still a cocksucker. Donnelly struck out the piece of shit on three pitches, then grabbed his crotch, which set Guillen off. Guillen got run, and Donnelly plunked the next batter. I love baseball.

Pics from Miller Park

Game one of the three game set between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Cleveland Indians of Milwaukee.



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Off to Milwaukee

Just bought two tickets for tonight's game. Third base line. Section 126, row 25. $11 per. Not too bad. I've only been to Milwaukee once, and it wasn't a particularly memorable experience (just stopped for dinner before heading over to Madison).

How often do you get a chance to see two American League teams play in a National League ballpark?

Monday, April 09, 2007

One Week Down

So the Angels are off to a 5-2 start, which has to be just about the best start they've had in the last few years, and they're a couple of key hits away from being 7-0. Still, the offense has sputtered with runners in scoring position, or at least it sure did against the A's. Only Cleveland, Seattle, and Minnesota have allowed fewer runs to this point, and that's only because Cleveland and Seattle had an entire series postponed, while Minnesota has played two fewer games. The starting pitching has been darn near stellar, and only the Yankees have a better relief ERA to this point.

Offensively, Vlad has been a monster, and the Angels have the fifth best OPS in the league to this point, due in large part to Vlad's 440/483/880, and Casey Kotchman's 375/464/625 line. Howie is off to a slow start at the plate, but he's been downright excellent in the field. Speaking of which, early returns on the defense are mixed. A two error inning on opening day led to a run and a ton of pitches from Lackey, but didn't affect the outcome of the game, and HGHMJ has been pretty solid in the field to this point, save for his one error.

It would have been nice to take three of four from Oakland, but I'll settle for a split. Now the Angels move on to Milwaukee to face the Indians. It's cold here, folks. Too cold for baseball. And I'm not surprised that the morons in charge have Minnesota, a dome team, playing in Chicago (where one game was canceled due to single digit wind-chills), and Seattle (not) playing in Cleveland, where as mentioned above, not one game was completed. Good thinking, schedule makers. With any luck, I'll be able to make it to Milwaukee for one game. It's about a 90 minute drive, but I'm working on making plans for the game.