Mike Scioscia can say all he wants that the demotions of Jose Arredondo and Howie Kendrick were not intended to be used as a wake-up call for the rest of the roster, but good luck finding anyone who believes him.
The Angel hitters certainly got the message as they exploded for 26 runs in their weekend series against the San Diego Padres. Let’s consider the facts:
- Torii Hunter has a three home run game for the first time EVER. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. I’m sure that was a total coincidence.
- Juan FREAKING Rivera follows up Hunter’s performance with his own multi-homer game. This is a guy who has made a career out of failing to lock down a starting job. Now all of the sudden his job security is in peril and he turns into Babe Ruth, only with metrosexual hair highlights.
- Maicer Izturis actually cashes in on Scioscia’s confidence for the first time ever now that the starting second baseman job is up for grabs.
- Just try and tell me that Kendry Morales busting out of his slump with five hits, including two dingers, isn’t related to Kendrick getting demoted and Brandon Wood playing games at first base in the minors.
Yes, clearly this was all mere happenstance. We should all be so lucky.
- I don’t know how Matt Palmer does it, but he’s now 6-0. His luck will run out sooner or later, but don’t underestimate the impact a guy like him can have on a clubhouse. Until he loses a game, he’s like a human lucky rabbit’s foot that they can trot out their every fifth day to pick up a win, even if he pitches poorly.
- And exhale. Joe Saunders is back, dominating in his weekend start. I don’t care if it came against a weak ass line-up like San Diego’s, it still counts.
- A complete game shutout for Jered Weaver. I’m going to keep on saying it, but when is Weaver going to some publicity as a potential Cy Young candidate. The major media outlets are so busy stroking Zach Greinke, Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay that Weaver’s stellar season has gone totally unmentioned.
- I love contract years. Chone Figgins contract is now all the way up to a season-high of .326 and his on-base percentage is now over .400 on the year. The Angel can’t wait to pay him $10 million next season when his OPS dives back down to .685.
- Only 13 strikeouts as a team over the course of the sweep. Considering how many whiffs the team had been generating recently this is fantastic news.
- Two games in the majors and zero starts for Sean Rodriguez. I can already feel a tirade coming on.
- So you’re telling me the proper response to Mike Napoli slumping is to bench him the final two games of the series in favor of Jeff Mathis who is now batting .196 with a .538 OPS (and this is AFTER hitting a home run Saturday).
- Still waiting on Vlad to bust out. He was pretty much the only Angel “slugger” not to go yard in the series and now he is bound for the bench for six of the next twelve games
- Torii Hunter
The call for leadership went out to the Angel lockerroom after their embarrassment in Tampa and Hunter stepped up to answer the call this weekend, shaking off a nagging groin injury to belt four homers.