Thursday, September 18, 2008

Angels 6; A's 4

Cross posted at SoCal Sports Hub

The Angels salvaged the third game of the series in Oakland, surviving a rocky ninth inning to hold on to a 6-4 victory, giving Joe Saunders his 16th win of the season. With a little more than a week to go before the start of the post-season, Mike Scioscia has struggled to maintain a balance between going for home field advantage and resting his star players, but some of the bit players came through for the Angels today. After scoring only three runs through the first two games, the Angels got that many runs in three at bats in the seventh inning today.

The Angels struck first in the game's opening frame. The first three batters of the game reached safely, with Mark Teixeira's RBI single scoring Reggie Willits. They added two more in the fifth innings, chasing A's starter Josh Outman. Robb Quinlan's RBI single scored Mark Teixeira and moved Torii Hunter to third. A few pitches later, Quinlan broke for second on a delayed steal. Torii Hunter took advantage of the ensuing rundown to steal home, and in the confusion, Quinlan returned safely to first.

The Angels provided some thunder in the seventh inning. Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, and Brandon Wood blitzed A's reliever Keith Foulke for back to back to back home runs, giving the Angels a 6-0 lead. Joe Saunders finished the A's off in the seventh, at which point Mike Scioscia decided to sit him down for the remainder. Amazingly, Justin Speier worked a perfect eight inning.

In the ninth, all heck nearly broke loose. Jason Bulger began the inning by hitting and walking the only two batters he faced. Jose Arredondo came on and allowed a walk and an infield hit before striking out Travis Buck. With the bases loaded, the tying run stood in the on deck circle, making it a save situation, and Frankie Rodriguez entered the game. He allowed a walk and single (sandwiching a fielder's choice in between) before retiring Ryan Sweeney for the game's final out and his 59th save of the season.

Top three Angels performers:

Gary Matthews didn't produce much in terms of runs, but he did deliver three hits, and made a beautiful diving catch in right field.

Robb Quinlan didn't make a huge impression on the box score, delivering one hit and one RBI, but he made big contributions. The delayed steal mentioned above helped bring in a run (he later stole the base outright). In the fourth inning, the A's loaded the bases with no one out, and Quinlan turned a grounder into third into a force at his base, from which point he threw home to retire Emil Brown, and helped Joe Saunders escape the inning with no damage.

Joe Saunders twirled seven scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 3.52 and pick up his sixteenth win.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

Jason Bulger is working hard to keep himself off the post-season roster, and he didn't do himself any favors, failing to retire a batter in the ninth. In his last two outings, he's allowed five runs on one hit, three walks, and a hit batter, while failing to retire even one hitter. Ouch.

Play of the game:

The back to back to back homers were nice, but Quinlan's double play from third to home kept the A's off the board in a big situation when the game was still within one run.

What to expect tomorrow:

The Angels head to Arlington to take on the Rangers. Jon Garland looks to build on his last two excellent starts (3 runs in 13 IP), while the Rangers counter with Matt Harrison who's 8-3 record belies his 5+ ERA. Expect another patchwork lineup as Scioscia balances health and rest for the post-season push.

Game Time is 5:05 on FSN

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seitzes in the News

Three of them, in fact.

A few days ago, when Governor Palin returned to Alaska, there was a welcome back rally. On that same day in downtown Anchorage, there was a much larger anti-Palin rally in downtown Anchorage. About twice as many people showed up for the anti-Palin rally. Apparently my sister-in-law was there with my nieces (no idea where my brother was). Anyway, she made her way into the AP story about the event:
Hilary Seitz, 39, attended the rally with her two girls, 8-year-old Abbigale and 11-year-old Taylor. If McCain becomes president and Palin is the VP, Seitz said she fears what will happen on the Supreme Court and keeping abortion legal.

"It really scares me that if we lose that option what are women going to do," Seitz said. She said that she was at the rally for her girls and their futures.
They even spelled Abbigale right, which is to say they spelled it unlike the normal spelling, but correct for the way that my sister in law chose to spell it. And I'm proud of them for going.

Anyway, it's pretty cool that a family member got into a national story. First mention for a Seitz of our clan in a national paper since I made into the Wall Street Journal about five years ago.

Recent Concerts

So I haven't really been doing concert reviews or recaps lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been going to shows. August was a little on the slow side in the wake of the Pitchfork Festival, but September has been picking it back up. In the last week or so, we had three really great shows.

Spiritualized @ Metro - 9/8/08

I finally saw J. Spaceman for the first time at P-fork, and that show was essentially the hour long outdoor version of their regular show, so the set was pretty similar, only about a half hour or forty minutes longer. Most of the extra time was taken up by older material, which I particularly enjoyed since I didn't see any of the shows in support of those albums.

The P-fork set made appearances here and there, mostly in a good way. He again opened with 'You Lie You Cheat', which devolves into noise, then cuts beautifully into 'Shine A Light', from the Laser Guided Melodies album. He finished the set, again, with 'Come Together' from Ladies and Gentlemen.... which segued into the old Spacemen 3 tune 'Take Me to the Other Side'. Added in along the way were some new songs (Death Take Your Fiddle), some Spiritualized classics ('Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space', 'Lay Back in the Sun') and another Spacemen 3 number (either 'Walkin' With Jesus' or 'Sound of Confusion', depending on what album you have). He ended the night with a rousing rendition of 'Lord Can You Hear Me'.

Their live set, at least indoors is very loud and engrossing. You've heard the phrase "wall of sound". Well, this is an ocean of sound, and you're drowning in it. It just absolutely engulfs the entire venue. The pacing was pretty good. The two songs that start this set really draw you in. There's little to no crowd rapport, not even a "thank you" between songs, though I think he said it on the way out. It's really quite an experience. An excellent live show, and one I hope I get the chance to see again.

You Lie You Cheat

Take Me To The Other Side (Live)

Grand Ole Party opened. I saw them open for someone earlier this year as well. Three piece band with a female drummer, who also handles lead vocals. She's got quite a voice. Entertaining act.

The Walkmen
@ Metro 9/12/08

This is the third or fourth time I've seen them in the last year and a half, so it's been interesting to see them go from supporting "A Hundred Miles Off" to trying out some new material, to eventually supporting that material, most of which appears on the new album "You and Me". It's an album that didn't really grab me at first, certainly not as quickly as the last one, but after five or six listens, it's really grown on me and might be my favorite album yet.

The set lasted a little under an hour and half, which is probably the longest set I've seen them do. The set was heavy on the album, and light on everything else. They played the classics. 'Wake Up', 'Little House of Savages', 'Thinking of a Dream I Had'. They played some songs that are much better live than on the record, like 'All Hands and the Cook', and 'What's In It For Me'. The new album has a lot of horn parts, so they were able to play 'Louisiana'. And they proved again that 'The Rat' is the best four minutes of live music on the planet.

But the new album really made up the meat of the show, and fortunately, it's a really good album for a live show. It's got some slower tracks that help round out the pacing, but the standouts from the album were the standouts in the live set. 'Donde Esta La Playa', 'On the Water', 'the Blue Route', 'Canadian Girl' all delivered. The crowd seemed fairly familiar with the new material, as loud cheers went out upon hearing the opening strums of 'In the New Year', the first single and a real highlight of the show.

As usual, the Walkmen, more than any other band I've seen a bunch of time, are more than worth the price of admission. Along with the Super Furry Animals, they're probably may favorite act currently in existence, and their live shows are really terrific. The opening acts were pretty interesting too. Ezra Furman and the Harpoons were kind of a straightforward pop-rock four piece with a funny frontman, and klezmer-rock six piece Golem were, well, something I wouldn't expect to see at a rock show, and something I'd even less expect to like, but they put on a very entertaining set. No complaints.

In the New Year

On the Water

The Broken West
@ Schuba's 9/15/08

Small crowd, but Monday night shows aren't typically heavily attended, especially for lesser known acts like the Broken West. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a great show. I saw these guys open for the Walkmen last year, and I've seen them another four times since, and they always put on a good set. They released a new album last week, their second, so the set drew heavily from that, but they worked in some favorites from the first album as well. This is the type of show where you can hang around and chat with the band afterward, so that's kind of fun. I try to wait to buy albums at shows if possible, because I think they get a bigger piece of the pie. This is an L.A. based band, around Silverlake I believe, so it's nice to support local acts from my hometown.

A band called the Builders and the Butchers opened for them. They're kind of folky, but really heavy themes. Lost of death and afterlife sorts of stuff. Like if the Decemberists were a little harder and sang a lot of dirges. But the music is really engaging. I usually need to listen to an album a few times before it connects, but I was digging their debut on first listen. I was wearing a t-shirt from the Moose's Tooth, a pizzeria and brew pub in anchorage. The lead singer saw it started up a conversation about Alaska. Turns out half this band is from Anchorage, and a couple went to the school where my brother used to teach. Small world.

Down in the Valley

A's 8; Angels awful

Cross posted at SoCal Sports Hub

John Lackey made his first start since an unimpressive outing in Chicago nine days prior, and the extra rest didn't appear to help. Lackey allowed four runs on nine hits, failed to complete the sixth inning, and picked up his fourth loss of the season as the A's used some late offense to win 8-1. Sean Gallagher recorded his second victory, evening his record at 2-2. It follows a pattern of lopsided wins for the A's over the Angels, which have usually been followed by a flurry of close Angels victories. They'll try to maintain that pattern tonight.

Lackey looked a little inconsistent through the early going, looking very sharp at times, and very shaky at times. Kendry Morales staked the Angels to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run, his first of the year, in the fifth inning, but the A's responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. They added two more in the sixth, chasing Lackey from the game.

With the last bullpen spot seemingly available, thanks in no small part to Justin Speier's inability to keep the ball in the park, Jason Bulger didn't exactly make a case for playing in October. He entered the game in the seventh inning and proceeded to allow a walk, a single, another walk, and a third walk before hitting Travis Buck. He recorded no outs, and allowed three runs on only one hit. Kevin Jepsen, on the other hand, finished the sixth inning by retiring the only two hitters he faced, one via the strikeout. Jepsen's thrown 3.2 scoreless innings since being recalled a little over a week ago.

Top two Angel performers of the game: Can't really pick three after a game like this, so we'll go with...

Kendry Morales hit his first homer in the season, probably about five months later than he thought it would have come considering his contributions the last two seasons. He gave the Angels a very brief lead.

Kevin Jepsen continues to look good in relief, though it's an incredibly small sample.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

In lieu of just picking "everyone", Bulger's meltdown gets the nod over Lackey's rough outing. None of the hitters were any good, but at least they didn't leave many runners on base. Of course, you need runners to reach base before you can leave them there.

Play of the game: I'm not sure which one sums up the ineptitude better, but I'll go with Bulger's plunking of Travis Buck, coming on the heels of a hit and three walks, over John Lackey's wild pitch that score Kurt Suzuki. That's the kind of night it was.

What to look for tonight: More roster shuffling from Mike Scioscia, who figures to play a lot of guys over the next week before tightening the lineup in the run up to the playoffs. Jered Weaver was very good in his last start, and tonight he makes his second since returning from injury. Aside from the bullpen battle, you have to figure that Weaver and Garland are dueling for that last post-season rotation spot. Good problems to have for Mike Scioscia.

Game time is 7:05 PST on FSN