Posted on: September 21, 2009 5:19 pm
The nail-biting can now stop. Barring a collapse of 1995 proportions, the Angels will wrap up a third straight AL West title in about a week or so. And really, I don't think a collapse like that is likely under a Mike Scioscia-led team. Nope, they usually wait till the playoffs start for that (baddump-bump!). In all seriousness, I was a bit nervous for this past series with Texas in Arlington. I had visions of Marlon Byrd hitting homers and Neftali Feliz mowing down Halos (seriously, though, how good does that kid look? WOW). The boys showed some stones, however, in taking two-of-three from a pretty depleted Rangers squad who had dominated the Angels in every way over the course of the season. Props to the Rangers and their fans on a great season. I'm already nervous for next season.
But first, time to be nervous about the playoffs, where the Halos look headed for their eightteenth consecutive matchup with the Boston Red Sox. I'm really getting tired of this ALDS matchup, as I'm sure most Angels fans are. Whereas, I'd bet the Red Sox and their fans have noooo problem in seeing the Angels in the playoffs again, homefield advantage or not. I'm not gonna rehash the Angels recent playoff failures, as it's been done to death, but I'll be darned if the Red Sox don't look fairly vulnerable this time around. Of course, I remember thinking the same thing last year, soooo there's that. I guess.
This Angels squad looks to have all the ingredients to make a deep playoff run. It's one of the best offensive clubs in the franchise's history. They have a little more pop, to go along with the speed and agressive base running and the starting pitching looks to be rounding into shape as the regular season draws to a close. The biggest question mark is something Angels fans aren't used to questioning. The bullpen. Brian Fuentes has done little to instill confidence in Angels fans' hearts, although, by the numbers, he's been more effective than Franky Rodriguez this year. Jose Arredondo wasn't able to back up his fantastic '08 season and mainstay Scot Shields had season-ending surgery earlier in the season. Perhaps the best bullpen arm the Angels have right now is Kevin Jepsen, who is getting all the "closer of the future" tags right now. But remember, Arredondo got those same tags last season. Jepsen has been really good since some early season struggles and his power arm has really solidified the 8th inning. Is it a bad sign when you're more nervous when your closer enters a game than the set-up man. Yeah, thought so. Oh well, Bring on Boston.
Posted on: May 11, 2009 3:58 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2009 6:52 pm
The Angels won their fourth straight game (and 6th of last 7) yesterday in completing a sweep of the Kansas City Royals. They are now 16-14 and just a half game behind the Rangers for the top spot in the AL West. The makeshift starting rotation has been one of the best in the AL all season without studs John Lackey and Ervin Santana, who are both set to make their debuts later this week. Fill-ins Shane Loux, Matt Palmer and Anthony Ortega have performed very capably, especially Palmer (pictured left) who has gone 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA. His solid work has probably earned him a chance to remain in the rotation when Lackey and Santana return, with Loux probably heading back to the bullpen and Ortega, who got roughed up by the Blue Jays in his last start, heading back to Salt Lake.
Posted on: July 16, 2008 5:08 pm
I posted this on the main baseball board in response to a thread about Francisco Rodriguez filing for free agency after the season. Here are my thoughts on the matter...
This is something that most Angels fans knew was coming since last season, maybe even the season before. The Angels have made fair, market value offers for Franky the past few seasons, but obviously, nothing that bowled him over. He's a very good and still very young closer who I'm guessing will become the ML's top paid reliever after this season. I don't think the Angels will be the team to give him the dough, however.
You can't predict these things, but he looks like a candidate for arm troubles, and may already be experiencing some, as his velocity has dipped 2-4 mph this season. His violent delivery and the amount of sliders he throws has and will take their toll. The pitch that has sort of re-invented him is his changeup, that he only throws to lefties. I think it's his best pitch, as his slider has become predictable and inconsistent.
If he leaves, the Angels have a couple candidates in Scot Shields and youngster Jose Arredondo, who, if you haven't seen him, is pretty nasty. They may also try to find a cheaper option through free agency or a trade. We'll have to wait and see.
It's not so much the dollars per season I have a problem with, it's the length of the contract (probably 6 or 7-plus seasons) he's looking for that makes me say: adios Franky, thanks for the memories.
Posted on: May 23, 2008 3:40 pm
The Halos exorcised some demons in Toronto, taking 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays, and now head to the South side of Chicago for a three-game set with a scorching hot White Sox club. The Sox have won eight games in a row, mostly with good starting pitching, but their offense is starting to come around a bit. Should be a tough series as the team's just split four games in Anaheim last week.
The key will be for the pitchers to keep the ball in the yard. The Sox have some bombers in Carlos Quentin, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and Jim Thome, but not much else offensively. If we limit the long ball, I think we win the series.
On the offensive side, the bats really sputtered in Toronto, and had it not been for a 2HR, 4RBI night from Vlad, the Angels would have dropped 2 of 3 instead of the reverse. Guys are just not getting on base and when we do get guys on, we're not doing the job of making productive outs and getting guys over and in. That needs to change. Hopefully Figgy missing yesterday's game was just a blip, because we need him at the top of the order.
The White Sox pitching has been good, but I look for the Halos to make more contact than they have lately and to get back into their style of ball. Those guys in the Blue Jays rotation are NASTY...thank God we got out of there with a series win.
Time to cool off the Sox and take another series on the road.
p.s. I'm digging Jose Arredondo...he's got good stuff.