Posted on: April 17, 2008 1:50 pm

Royal pain in the butt

That road trip to Boston and Detroit is looking pretty inviting right about now. Seriously, anyone but the Royals...they own us. Last night's 3-2 win ran their streak to six in-a-row over the Halos dating back to last season. They beat Jered Weaver with a few well-placed singles and an error, commited by Weaver himself, that allowed the third and deciding run. Gil Meche seems to own us as well, as he picked up the victory to run his career record versus the Angels to 7-2.

I do own Meche in a fantasy league, so the game was bitter-sweet for me, although I am NOT one of those guys who roots for his fantasy players when they're playing my team. Real baseball always trumps fantasy baseball, and if you don't agree, you're not a real fan.

*steps off soapbox*

Some positives from the game:

  • Weaver again battled and kept us in a ball game without his best stuff. This seems to be a recurring theme for him. Just waiting for his "best stuff" or at least some "better stuff" to appear, because he'll need it for his next start in Boston.
  • Casey Kotchman is turning into a professional hitter. That little inside-out single to left to drive in our only two runs was Gwynn-esque. Cool stat - Kotch currently has more homeruns (4) than strikeouts (3). Pretty sweet. Also that heads-up double play he turned on that infield pop-up was very nice. ESPN showed him look down the line to check where the batter was. Very heady play.
  • The bullpen was good, especially O'Day, who looks like he's going to be a fixture for the season.
  • Aybar had a nice 0-for-4, if such a thing exists. He hit some absolute tracers to left field that seemed to be Teahen-seeking missles because they ultimately found their way into the Royals' left fielders glove. He's swinging the bat pretty good right now.

Hopefully we can solve the juggernaut that is the Kansas City Royals tonight against Brett Tomko. He's pitched pretty well so far, but c'mon he's Brett Tomko. Jon Garland takes the ball for the Halos looking to rebound from a so-so outing in Seattle.



Posted on: April 15, 2008 6:21 pm

Angels Catchers Getting it Done

It wasn't easy watching the catching tandem that helped bring the Angels a World Series title go elsewhere. Bengie and Jose Molina held down the position with class and professionalism together for five seasons, Bengie getting clutch hit after clutch hit and Jose throwing behind unsuspecting base runners who wandered a little too far from first base. Man, they were fun to watch and easy to root for. While Bob Boone is still the best catcher in the organization's history, in my opinion, the Molina's comprised the best catching duo the Angels ever had. And while the team may have let Bengie go a season or two too early, they knew they had some young guys in the organization who were ready for the challenge.

We're now in the early stages of the 2008 season, and the Halos young catchers are showing why they were willing to part with Bengie after the 2005 season and Jose toward the end of last season.

Jeff Mathis has been a name Angels fans have been aware of since he was picked in the first round of the 2001 draft. He steadily moved through the minor leagues, and was named the organization's Defensive Player of the Year in 2005, while also batting .276 with 21 HR. It appeared he was ready for the show. Mathis was named the team's starting catcher to start the 2006 season and he struggled...mostly with the bat, but he wasn't very good defensively either. He was soon sent back to the minors and another young prospect, Mike Napoli, was called up.

Napoli took advantage of the opportunity and solidified himself in the Angels lineup, hitting .228 with 16 HR and 42 RBI in just 268 at-bats. He was also more than respectable behind the plate, throwing out 31% of would-be base-stealers. It was a good enough rookie season to make me think, Mathis-who, we got Napoli.

Now the two Floridians comprise one of the best young catching tandems in the Major Leagues and both are off to a heck of start in 2008. Napoli has played in nine games and is batting .273 with 4 HR and 8 RBI, while Mathis has made the most of his five starts, hitting .353 with 2 HR and 3 RBI. It appears the catcher position for the Angels will be in good hands for the foreseeable future.

Posted on: April 13, 2008 9:42 pm

Nice Cup 'o Joe

Yeah, I know, it's a corny title. But since we're in Seattle, I thought I'd tie-in a coffee reference. Before I get into the game particulars, did we even get Raul Ibanez out once that series? I mean, I know we got him out, but geez...he is scary hot right now. If you're in a shallow fantasy league he is a must-add right now.

As for the game, a nice 10-5 win for the Halos, we pretty much treated Baek and O'Flaherty like BP pitchers, racking up 15 of our 16 hits off them and all 10 runs. We were probably fortunate that Bedard's hip is still bothering him, but hell, we needed a win and we'll take it. Joe Saunders (who I referenced in my witty title) pitched another nice game, going 5 1/3 and giving up two earned runs. He has by far been the Angels best starter in the early going and he got plenty of run support today courtesy of RBIs by seven different Angels, including a two-run shot by Jeff Mathis that sealed the win. The offense came through with RISP, something they hadn't been doing all series, and the bullpen hung on so we could avoid the brooms. Now the team heads to Texas for a quick two-game set against the Rangers before the next homestand.

By the way, for those who watched the you think Justin Speier was throwing at Ichiro? That was weird...two balls in a row that were practically behind him. We may see some retaliation when the M's visit the Big A in a few days. All right...good win, lets take care of business in Arlington.

Posted on: April 13, 2008 3:01 am

Winless in Seattle

Pitching, defense and timely hitting wins ball games, and the Angels haven't done much of any so far in this series in Seattle. Another sub-par pitching performance, this time by Garland, two errors and Raul Freaking Ibanez did in the Halos as they lost to the M's 8-3.

Once again, the Halos hit the ball pretty good, amassing 12 hits, including Casey Kotchman's third homer of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Problem is, scoring only three runs on those 12 hits isn't very good, ie. "timely." The middle of the order didn't do much of anything tonight, as all the production came from the 6-9 spots in the batting order. Another bright spot besides Kotch's bomb was Howie Kendrick going 3-for-4 after missing a few games with a banged up thumb. Dude can flat-out hit. Aybar also had a nice night with three hits and a run scored.

The pitching continues to be a weak spot for the club. Garland battled for a while without his best stuff (although truthfully, I don't really know what his "best stuff" looks like yet) before the M's scored three times in the fifth, getting two on a Richie Sexson homer. I know our pitching staff isn't anywhere near full strength, but veteran guys like Garland need to step up and give us a chance to win games. The bullpen has been atrocious, except for O'Day, whose been getting the job done. Bulger just isn't a big league pitcher yet, but we don't have a lot of options.

Still no reason to panic. The pitching will get healthy and the bats look pretty good from top to bottom. Tough matchup tomorrow with Bedard going (I think McLaren held him back just to face us), although April is not his best month historically and he has looked farily hittable so far. Hopefully we can avoid the brooms. Saunders on the bump for the Halos...and we need a good outing from the lefty.

Posted on: April 12, 2008 2:21 am

Bullpen Gets Bullied...Again

Too much Raul Ibanez and not enough bullpen tonight as the Angels dropped game one of the three-game series against the division-rival Mariners 8-5. Weaver looked pretty good through five innings (unless Ibanez was batting) and then ran out of gas in the sixth and Oliver couldn’t bail him out. As much of a difference maker Ibanez was(two solo shots and an RBI double), it was Brad Wilkerson’s well-placed fly ball that dropped between Torii and Vlad that was the killer, plating two runs and sealing the win.

The offense was good tonight. We banged out 11 hits including solo homeruns by Mathis and Matthews and we hit “Prince” Felix pretty hard. The difference in the game was the bullpens – theirs did the job and ours didn’t. Darren Oliver looks like the Oliver of the first half of last season and right now, we need him to pitch like he did after the All-Star break. His stuff actually looks good, he’s just not getting it done.

Game two tomorrow and a chance to even up the series. By the way, can you believe the A’s won again tonight…crazy.

Posted on: April 11, 2008 3:17 pm

Bombs Away!

The ball was flying out of the yard on Wednesday for the Halos to the tune of a grand salami courtesy of Mike Napoli, a 3-run bomb from Vlad that was last seen heading north on the 57 freeway and a pair of solo shots by Garret and Kotch. The pitching was good enough and really, I think Dustin Moseley pitched a nice game. He gave up some runs late, but he didn't walk many (one for the game, I think), and with a big lead, you gotta make 'em hit the ball and that's what he did. After all, Cleveland is a VERY good hitting club, so we weren't going to hold 'em down all game. Now 6-4 on the season and off to Seattle for a 3-game set with the club that's supposed to challenge our stranglehold on the AL West. Should be a tough series as we face "Prince" Felix (he's not quite a king yet, in my opinion) and Erik Bedard, who I believe is Canadian. U.S.A...U.S.A...U.S.A.!!!! (yes, I know not all our players are American)


Category: MLB
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