Game Countdown – 9/21/09: Tex Still Bests Morales in One Area – Yankees @ Angels

Thanks to the rapid development of Kendry Morales, the Angels really haven’t missed Mark Teixeira’s bat in the middle of their order and they certainly haven’t missed paying their first baseman $20 million instead $1.1 million.  However, there is one facet of Teixeira’s game that the Halos have missed, especially lately: his glove.

Kendry Morales fielding

Close, Kendry, but no cigar (Cuban cigar pun not intended).

Lost amidst the Angel fans trying to justify that Kendry Morales is actually a better than Tex despite trailing him by nearly 60 points in OPS is that K-Mo’s glove has failed him on a routine basis of late.  Just yesterday he kicked a very playable ground ball and cost the Angels a run in an incredibly important game against the Texas Rangers.  A few days before that, he misplayed bunt so badly against the Red Sox that it prompted John Lackey to complain about it to the press.  The common thread in these plays is that they both came in pressure situations, situations that the Angels never would have worried about had it been two-time Gold Glover Mark Teixeira manning the first base bag.

This isn’t meant to be a total indictment on Morales’ fielding.  He’s certainly had some excellent moments in the field this year, but he has also had a number of blunders, as represented by his eight errors on the year (as opposed to Teixeira’s three).  For a team that has always prided itself on its defense, that is a significant number.  Is it significant enough to make the Angels wish they had shelled out an extra $19 million?  No, but if Kendry wants to someday be considered as great a player as Teixeira he needs to work on all facets of his game, not just what goes on in the batter’s box.

New York Yankees (95-55) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (89-60)

Starters: NYY – Andy Pettitte (13-6 4.14 ERA)  LAA – Joe Saunders (13-7, 4.75 ERA)

Game Info: 7:05 PM PT TV-Fox Sports West, Radio-KLAA 830 AM, KFWB, KWKW 1330 AM

THREE Questions:

  • Can Joe Saunders continue his push to make the post-season rotation?  Since coming off the disabled list five starts ago, Saundo hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a game while going 4-0.  As hard as it is to believe, he might have a real shot at being the fourth starter if needed.
  • Was yesterday’s 10-run outburst a sign the Angel bats are coming back to life or just a blip on the radar?
  • Do the Angels still have the Yankees’ number?  The Angels lead the season series 4-3, but the loss earlier this week sure seemed like the Bronx Bombers finally figured out a way to turn the tables on the Halos as it was Los Angeles folding under the pressure applied by the Yankees rather than the other way around.

TWO Predictions:

  • Howie Kendrick continues his reign of terror and notches another multi-hit game.
  • I feel another Angel blown save coming on tonight, only I don’t think it will be Fuentes.

ONE Wish:

  • I wish that the day off that Kendry Morales is slated to get tonight will be enough to get him back on track.  K-Mo has been horrid lately and the Angels badly need him to catch fire before the post-season begins.

ZERO Tolerance for… any more meltdowns from Brian Fuentes this series.  With a left-heavy line-up, Tito is bound to get whatever save chances crop up and the Halos desperately need him to handle them with ease if only to boost their own confidence in him come the post-season where they will undoubtedly have to go through the Yankees if they want to win the World Series.

Leave your own questions, answers, predictions or wishes as a comment or just hang out with us during the game or even chat with us on twitter (@MonkeyWithAHalo).

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.