An Angel series in which the Halos swept away the Blue Jays and many early season doubts.
Los Angeles Angels of AWESOMENESS
- This series qualified as a tremendous Angels offensive outburst. Scoring 16 runs on three games isn’t usually very impressive, but the Angels hadn’t scored six runs or more in a game since Opening Day, and they managed to do that twice in this series.
- More central to the Angel sweep than the offense showing some life was the fantastic performances from the Angel starting pitchers, with Jered Weaver kicking it off in the first game by keeping the Jays in check over seven strong innings of work. Really, Weaver just made two bad pitches all night long and both mistakes got busted out of the park, otherwise, he continues to evolve into the ace the Angels were hoping for.
- Just when I had written Joe Saunders off, he goes and pulls me back in. Joe was simply fantastic in his Saturday start. He didn’t miss a lot of bats, but he kept the ball down and was able to dance out of trouble whenever he found it.
- I will be the first to say it and I can’t believe I am even suggesting it, but maybe the Angels would be better off keeping Rodney installed as closer once Fuentes comes back. Rodney had two saves this series and both were perfect outings, something that is becoming increasingly rare in the Angel bullpen. Keeping Rodney as closer and having Fuentes move to middle relief would give Scioscia more flexibility with match-ups since he would have a southpaw at his disposal again. At a minimum, I have to think that the two could at least share closing duties based on match-ups.
- Seriously, who doesn’t love Reggie Willits? The scrappy little outfield reserve is back and winning everyone over yet again, probably even Mike Scioscia. Serving as a spot starter for Rivera and the Hunter, Willits reached base twice in both of his starts and even gunned a guy at home from right field. Depth was supposed to be a bit of an issue for the Angels this year, but it looks like the Angels have the Willits of 2007 back on the bench now, giving Sosh some much needed depth and versatility off the bench.
- I think Howie Kendrick must really want to bat second. In his first shot at filling the two-hole this year, Howie went off on Saturday for three hits, a home run, 3 RBIs, 2 runs scored and a stolen base. Kendrick has looked great at the plate so far this year and pretty soon it is going to be very hard for Mike Scioscia to justify benching him in order to get Maicer Izturis some starts.
- I don’t know about you, but I sure am feeling a hell of a lot better about the Angels now that they are finally on a winning streak. Many Angel fans probably would have been ecstatic if the Halos had just won two of three in this series, but a sweep like this one has probably made everyone forget about all the problems the team had the first week and a half of the season.
Los Angeles Angels of FAIL
- As I said before, Rodney was great this weekend, but he shouldn’t have had to be. Both of the first two wins should have been cake walks for the Angels but first Jason Bulger imploded (again) on Friday and then Kevin Jepsen couldn’t get the job done (though Brandon Wood certainly didn’t help). One good reliever does not a bullpen make, so somebody else is going to need to step up and help Rodney out.
- Speaking of Brandon Wood, there is a rumor that the Angels have petitioned the governor to have Wood declared a natural disaster area. I keep wanting to be on his side, but he is making it really hard. He didn’t really do much at the plate this series and his misadventures in the field on Saturday could prove to be truly damning to his ability to stay in the line-up. I don’t know how much longer Mike Scioscia is going to stick with him, but he has already displayed the patience of a saint to stay with the kid this long.
- What is going on with Bobby Abreu? He just isn’t himself so far this year and went 1-for-9 with three strikeouts in the series. The killer part is the Abreu not only isn’t driving runs in right now, but he isn’t getting on base either, having walked just twice all season, which is very unlike him. He is such a pro, that it is unlikely Sosh will do anything drastic and move him down in the order, but he is going to have to get it going soon otherwise the Angel offense will continue to sputter.
- I’ve seen a lot of screwy things in baseball over the years, but never did I think I would see Mike Napoli be used as a pinch-runner. I mean, Naps runs decently for a catcher, but for a normal baseball player, he has below average wheels at best. Personally, if I were Hideki Matsui, I’d be pretty insulted right now.
Halo Hero of the Series
A sign of things to come?
The Angels got three strong pitching performances this weekend, but Santana’s gem on Sunday took the cake both in terms of overall dominance and unlikeliness. Ervin had looked absolutely terrible in his previous two starts, displaying no command whatsoever of his pitches, but Sunday was a completely different story. Santana needed just 106 pitches to earn a complete game victory and came within one pitch of making that victory a shutout only to have Adam Lind break up the bid with a solo shot. That blemish aside, the Jays had no chance against Ervin as he looked sharper than eve and pounded the strike zone. With his performance and the similarly strong outings from Weaver and Saunders, I imagine the rest of the AL West is shaking in their boots right now./