Well, this was a kick in the you know what. The hapless Royals rolled into town against the best home team in baseball (at the time, the Brewers now have one more home win then the Angels now) and left with three consecutive wins. So not only was the four game winning streak cut short in the opener on Monday, it’s now a distant memory.
Today’s game was probably the most disappointing because the Angels couldn’t do anything at the plate. And rallies were squashed by other mishaps. There were two double plays that the Angels hit into and then two hitters were caught stealing. So even though the Angels racked up ten hits, they stranded only six batters.
And a fantastic start by Jered Weaver was totally wasted. He gave up just one run on four hits and one walk with six strikeouts in seven innings and in three of Weaver’s last four starts, the right hander has given up one run or less. This also snaps an impressive five game winning streak as well. In fact, in Weaver’s last eight starts, he picked up wins in five of them and the Angels won seven of them. That’s a nice ratio.
The MVP (Vlad) had five hits in the series but he didn’t drive home a single run and he scored just once. And it’s not that he didn’t have a chance. In today’s game, with runners on first and second in the first inning, he hit into an inning ending double play to squash the rally.
Ervin Santana continued his struggles yesterday and his ERA is now over five and a quarter. Probably the biggest surprise about is record isn’t that he’s 5-8, but that’s he’s pitched so poorly and still picked up five runs. Although that’s not completely fair because he had a nice stretch earlier in June where he was pitching better. It just seems like for every start where he gives up one run, there’s another where he gives up 6+.
The Angels hit the road and they head to Baltimore for a three game series with the Orioles beginning Friday. Normally I’d say this was a slam dunk but after this week’s sweep, anything goes. And while the Athletics have hit the skids and lost five straight, the Mariners have made up for it by winning five straight so the Angels lead is now down to five games. Still comfortable, but it’s something to where if the Angels get swept again down the road, things could get tight in a hurry. Kelvim Escobar takes the mound on Friday and he’ll face Brian Burress in the opener.
It’s hard to complain about how the Angels are playing these days. They’ve won three straight, seven out of ten and they’re 12-4 in the month of June. They’ve gotten their shutouts (like Jered Weaver on Saturday) and they’ve even gotten the bats going with back to back ten run games. The end result is, they have a nice six game cushion despite the Athletics getting hot and on any given day, either their hitters or their pitchers can get it done and win them a game. Not a lot of teams (maybe the Red Sox) can proclaim that kind of balance.
What a game by Chone Figgins. He became only the second Angels hitter (Garrett Anderson in 1996) to rack up six hits in a single game and he was a key part of the Angels come from behind win over the Astros. He also saw his season batting jump by almost thirty points after just that single game and it’d be nice to see Figgins build on this and become the run scorer we all know he can be.
Vlad Guerrero had tapered off a bit in June which makes this recent run all the better. Imagine what the Angels will do when he starts raking again. Anyway, he’s hit only one homer in June and his OPS is a pedestrian .734. He’s still been awesome at home though (1.137 OPS versus .857 on the road).
John Lackey has had a tough time in two of his last three starts and you hope that’s not a trend. Still, he leads the league with ten wins although his strikeouts are down a bit at 75 in 97 1/3 innings. So it looks like once again, it looks like he’ll fall short of 200 strikeouts. Still, his 2.96 ERA and 1.22 WHIP would be career highs because he’s kept his walk rate down so much.
Jered Weaver had his best start on Saturday since his April 28 start against the White Sox but he’s still been pretty erratic despite winning five straight. He’s only pitched six innings once in his last five starts and that’s not really encouraging either since it forces the Angels to go to their pen earlier then they might otherwise.
That’s about it. I know it’s been a while but I’m catching up on a few personal things which are winding down. Game two against the Astros is tonight and it’ll be Bartolo Colon going up against Jason Jennings.
Vlad is the man. His twelth homerun yesterday was a walk off two run shot that gave the Angels a 4-3 win over the Orioles. The Angels won their third straight and they now sport an impressive 5 1/2 game lead. Not insurmountable, but it’s definitely a nice cushion.
How good has Vlad been. In looking at his splits page, he’s hitting .423 in his last seven games. Oddly, he’s killed right handed pitching to the tune of a 1.070 OPS and he puts on a show in front of the home crowd. He’s a .389 hitter at home and “only” .294 on the road. Probably the most impressive number on the page is what he does after he has a 3-0 count. He has a .889 OBP percentage when a pitcher goes 3-0 on him and a 2.089 OPS. Oh yeah, and he’s hitting .371 with runners in scoring position.
Next up is three agains the Twins. The Angels have the best home record in baseball so I like our chances in this one. Plus, we won’t have to see Johan Santana, who threw yesterday. Tonight, it’ll be Jered Weaver going up against Boof Bonser.
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