In a previous post I called this road trip a “test.” Well, half the test is done, and after taking 2 of 3 from the Red Sox (albeit, a flu-ridden, sore neck-ridden Sox club) in Fenway, which has been less than hospitable to the Halos in recent years, I feel pretty confident jotting a big B+ in red pen on the work of the team thus far.
In all honesty, this could have, and probably should have, been a sweep. We were slated to face the two best pitchers the Sox have in Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but both were scratched, forcing the Sox to call up some emergency starters from the minors. Hey, emergency starters or not, you still gotta hit the ball, and the Angels did, getting production from up and down the lineup. Offensive heroes were Jeff Mathis, Gary Matthews, Erick Aybar and Casey Kotchman with honorable mentions going to Torii Hunter and Maicer Izturis, who seems to be coming out of his early season slump.
As for the pitching, not bad considering how hot the Red Sox bats have been and how good they are in their ball park consistently. Weaver went in game 1 and kept us in the game without his best stuff, which has yet to make an appearance thus far. Garland was solid in game 2 getting the win, and really, only made one bad mistake which David Ortiz turned into a souvenir. And today, Saunders pitched into, and more importantly, out of trouble, picking up his fourth win of the season.
The bullpen seems to be stabilizing somewhat, preserving wins in two of the three games with Speier, Shields and Franky all looking pretty good. They weren’t lights-out, but against that lineup, who is? My worries about the early season struggles of the pen are slowly being eased with every lead they hold onto. Franky’s velocity is coming back and his changeup is becoming every bit as devastating as his slider.
Off to Detroit to cool off some more hot bats.