Things started out well. John Lackey had another great outing on Monday, but this time he picked up the win. He gave up three runs on only four hits through eight innings while K-Rod saved his 19th game of the season. Napoli drove in two runs and Chone Figgins went two for four with a run and an RBI in the 5-4 win. All five Angel’s runs were scored in the eighth inning.
It went downhill from there. On Tuesday, The Angels got two runs in the first to give Jeff Weaver a nice cushion, and then he proceeded to get shelled. He was gone in the third without getting anybody out and he was credited with six runs. Gregg then came in and he got beat up (but struck out six in three innings). This was an ugly game and the final was 12-4. Rob Quinlan homered and Napoli drove in two runs. Izturis scored twice.
The Angels dropped the series yesterday. The Rockies scored four in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie and this time it was Scott Shields who was the culprit. A solid start by Ervin Santana went to waste and Vlad Guerrero had three hits in the 6-2 loss.
So wen’re down by 6 1/2 games and there’s almost no chance for a wild card spot. Every team in the west has struggled the last 10 games except for Seattle so fortunately the Angels haven’t dropped that much ground. Next up is the Dodgers, who have also been struggling of late so hopefully we’ll be able to take advantage of that and pick up some wins.
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) broke down the Angels minor league system yesterday. Salt Lake is playing well while Arkansas is playing pretty poorly. He had some pretty good words for Joe Saunders at Las Vegas.
As we pass the half-way point in the 2006 MLB season, I regret not buying myself some All-Star game tickets for this year. The exciting game and last-strike comeback inspired me to find some American League baseball tickets this season. As well as seeing our very own Angels with my Angels home game tickets, I am excited to get some Oakland A�s MLB tickets and see Eric Chavez make some more runs. I hope to see a great match between these teams with my Angels tickets at Angels Stadium.
The 2006 MLB schedule has produced some tough games at Angels stadium, but I�ll be sure to buy some Devil Rays tickets this season and hope for a repeat performance of our last series. I am really keen on seeing Michael Young live up to the expectations that winning an MVP award brings, so I guess I�ll be looking out for some Texas Rangers tickets as well as Angels tickets this season. I think our upcoming series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field will prove very tough for Hector Carrasco and John Lackey. I am also slightly worried for Angels fans with Yankees tickets for the upcoming games, I sense a show of strength by Alex Rodriguez may disappoint them. Anybody lucky enough to be holding onto Kansas City Royals tickets this season are going to see some great baseball, the rest of us will just have to wait to see them with Angels home game tickets.
Although the Angels have faced some tough games and are currently third in the division, I feel we can come back later this year. The most recent series against Seattle is a good example of what to expect from Angels tickets this season. After winning the first game 5-4 we went on to lose two high-scoring games and eventually lost the series 1-2. At the time I heard a lot of complaints about our finishing pitchers, but these soon died down after we won the following Yankees games and beat the Rangers at home thereafter. When we beat teams of this quality it is easier to forget the bad times, such as the one I experienced with my Chicago White Sox tickets in April.
The Angels have a lot to do if we are to see post-season action this year. Some of those with Dodgers tickets will say that they are more likely to represent LA in the World Series than the Angels. I disagree. The latter half of this season offers up opponents against whom we have a favorable record. You won�t be a disappointed Los Angeles fan if you have tickets to the Angels versus Baltimore game, Toronto Blue Jays tickets or tickets to Detroit Tigers home games this season. The Angels� battling spirit still lives on through players Howie Kendrick and JC Romero, so don�t be surprised if they earn us a trip to the playoffs this year and be get ready to have your World Series tickets in hand.
We’re still seven games back of Oakland and we’re still in last place in the AL West. At least we’re keeping pace though because with everyone in the division playing at least .500 ball the past couple of weeks, we could have really slipped back even further had we gone through a really bad streak.
On Friday, Ervin Santana got the job done for the Angels. He gave up two runs on seven hits and six walks (??) with two strikeouts over six innings. He’s now a very impressive 8-3 on the season. Orlando Cabrera and Mike Napoli both homered and Maicer Izturis drove in three runs. The Angels jumped all over the Diamondbacks early and by the end of the third inning, the Angels had a 5-0 lead. Final score was 8-2.
Yesterday we had an extra inning thriller. The Angels were down 4-0 but then they exploded in the seventh and tied the game up with four runs. Chone Figgins had a two run single and Orlando Cabrera drove in two with a double. Neither team scored over the next five innings but then in the top of the thirteenth, Rob Quinlan hit a two run homerun to give the runs the Angels needed to win. Bartolo Colon was knocked around and he gave up four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Brandon Donnelly threw two innings and picked up the win while K-Rod picked up his eighteenth save of the season. Final score was 6-4.
Kelvim Escobar got knocked around today. The Diamondbacks scored four in the second and four in the fifth on him and he dropped to 5-9 on the season. Kendry Morales hit his fourth homerun of the season and Tommy Murphy drove in two runs in the 9-7 loss.
Next up is a three game series against the Colorado Rockies who have cooled down after a hot start. It’s at home so we won’t have to deal with the unusual conditions in Denver. Tomorrow’s match up of John Lackey vs. Jason Jennings should be a good one.
Record – 70-91, Finished Eighth Place in the American League
Pythagorean Record – 77-84
C - Earl Averill (.266/.384/.489)
1b - Steve Bilko (.279/.395/.544)
2b - Ken Aspromonte (.223/.322/.290)
3b – Eddie Yost (.202/.358/263)
SS – Joe Koppe (.251/.339/.343)
LF – Leon Wagner (.280/.348/.517)
CF – Ken Hunt (.255/.325/.484)
RF – Albie Pearson (.288/.420/.400)
Homeruns – Leon Wagner (28)
Batting Average – Albie Pearson (.288)
OPS – Steve Bilko (.939)
Best Fielder – Ken Aspermonte (11 Fielding Runs Above Average)
SP – Ken McBride (241.7/12/3.65)
SP – Eli Grba (211.7/11/4.25)
SP – Ted Bowsfield (157/11/3.73)
SP – Ron Moeller (112.7/4/5.83)
CL – Art Fowler (89/5/3.64)
CL – Tom Morgan (91.7/8/2.36)
Wins – Ken McBride (12)
ERA – Tom Morgan (2.36)
Strikeouts – Ken McBride (180)
Saves – Art Fowler (11)
The Angels inaugural season wasn’t a complete failure. While the team was on their way to an eighth place finish in the American League, there were actually two teams that finished behind them, including the expansion Washington Senators. They did way better then the National League expansion teams that rolled out in 1962, which included the infamous 1962 New York Mets. They also seriously underperformed their pythagorean win/loss. The won seven fewer games then they should have based on the runs they gave up and the runs they scored and had they played to their potential, they would have moved up two spots in the standings.
The team won their season opener 7-2 against the Orioles on April 11, 1961. They scored three runs in the first, and then four in the second, knocking Orioles starter Milt Papas out of the game in the second inning. Ted Kluszewski hit the first and second homeruns in the franchise’s history and he drove in five RBIs. Kluszewski would eventually yield the starting spot at first base to Steve Bilko and would be used mostly as a pinch hitter in the second half of the season. Eli Grba won the first game in franchise history with a complete game six hitter. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
The Angels then lost their next eight games and it wasn’t until the team was over two weeks into the season when they won their first home game, which was played at Wrigley Field, where they’d play only one season. No, not Chicago’s Wrigley Field. William Wrigley at one time owned both the Cubs and the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels and he built a stadium that was similar to Chicago’s Wrigley in Los Angeles. For more information about the team’s stadiums through out the years, you should check out this Hardball Times column.
In mid-May, the Angels had another tough stretch and lost seven in a row. By that time, they were 9-19. At the All Star Break, the team was an unimpressive 35-51 and that was after a six game winning streak near the end of the first half. They played two All-Star games in 1961 and no Angels got into either game.
The team then went into September without any real chance of winning their first pennant. From the All-Star Break through September 16, 1961, the team actually played .500 ball before losing eight straight. Between the second half and the team’s pythagorean win/loss, the team had something to build on.
While the team didn’t have a player who hit 30 homeruns, five different players hit 20 and the team as a whole hit 189 homeruns, good for second in the American League. They were also one of the worst hitting teams and their .245 batting average was the second worst in the league. They led the league in walks drawn (681) but they were also first in strikeouts (1,068)
The pitchers didn’t fare as well. The team’s ERA (4.31) was the second worst in the American League although the team played in an extreme hitters park (park factor of 111) so their ERA+ ended up at 105, which was above average. The team was dead last in complete games (25) and they finished eighth in the league with eight shutouts. The team gave up both the most walks (713) and the most homeruns (180) in the league, but they were first in strikeouts with 973.
For more information on the Angels and their early years, I highly recommend you check out this Hardball Times column.
Another series loss. Sadly, we got some really good pitching against the Giants. We just couldn’t get runs.
Kelvim Escobar threw a four hitter on Monday, but he dropped to 5-8 because Matt Cain shut us down. Oddly, we scored our only run in the first without getting a hit. Cain then held the Angels hitless until the eighth inning when Chone Figgins, who scored that one run, singled with two outs.
I really thought we’d win yesterday, and while John Lackey didn’t let me down, the hitters did. Lackey threw seven innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He’s now 4-5 despite having a 3.31 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Mike Napoli homered for the seventh time this season and Adam Kennedy had two hits and an RBI.
Six runs isn’t a ton, but it allowed us to double up the Dodgers this afternoon. The Giants jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second and the game was tied 3-3 heading into the eighth. Then the Angels broke the game open with three runs on Maicer Izturis’ bases loaded clearing double. Jeff Weaver had a pretty good game. He gave up two runs on six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. K-Rod got into trouble in the ninth but he picked up his seventeeth save of the season. Scott Shields picked up the win and he’s now 4-4.
The Angels head to Phoenix this weekend for a three game series against the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have really struggled this month so hopefully we can use that to pick up a few games.
John Lackey is my favorite Angel and he’s having a career year. You wouldn’t know it though, because he’s only 4-4. He throws tonight for the Angels, and hopefully he can get this team back on track with an outing like he had last week.
Yeah, I know the Angels are in last place, but they’re my team. And I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a serious comeback. Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon is back and while I know it was at the expense of super prospect Jered Weaver, this Angel’s fan is hoping we’ll have some room (cough, trade Jeff Weaver, cough) for Jered after the trading deadline.
I also love baseball history. At first glance, the Angels might not have much of a past, but this is team that’s been around for 44 years. In that time they’ve won five division titles, a wild card and of course that World Series four years ago. Did you know that five different Angels hit 20 homeruns in their inaugural season? Or did you know Dean Chance was the first Angel to win 20 games? These are things we’ll be looking at in the weeks to come.
So hopefully you’ll stop by on occassion. And I love the banter, so feel free to drop me a line or drop a comment. Also, I added some links and these are some of the sites I frequent. If you have a site and I didn’t add you, please don’t be offended. I probably just haven’t found your site yet so drop me a line and I’ll get a link up.
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