At the risk of sounding cocky I’m just going to go ahead and say this, I knew the Angels had yesterday’s game in the bag as soon as the pitching matchups were announced. Then again, most of you probably foresaw the same outcome that I did, another offensive outburst for the Angels. I wouldn’t call this an “outburst” per se, as the Angels have been averaging 6 runs per game over the last couple months of the season as opposed to the 4 runs per game in the first half. As long as the offense can keep rolling the way it is this team will be in good shape to finish off the Rangers as the regular season comes to a close.
This game was a great first step in the right direction, leaving the Angels one game closer to a sweep and 2 games closer to the Texas Rangers. So far they’ve done what they failed to do during the series against the Mariners last week, and that is picking up wins AND games in the standings. It’s kind of funny how the Angels pitching was the saving grace of this team the majority of the season, but in the last few weeks the offense has been carrying the team during the final stretch. If the offense and pitching can keep in tune with each other while the Rangers pitching falters this team might just stick around come October.
- Dan Haren did not have his best stuff during his start last night. In fact, he hasn’t been bringing his best stuff to mound lately. Maybe his workload this season is starting to wear down on him, or maybe the pressure of being in a real September playoff race is getting to him. He hasn’t pitched for a contending team in a while, not since his time with the Athletics in 2006, a team which was swept in the ALCS. Last night was nothing special for Dan Haren as he gave up 3 runs on 10 hits while striking out only 3, one of those runs coming off a solo shot off the bat of Brendan Ryan. Haren’s start to the game was not very promising, luckily for him he was bailed out by Torii Hunter both defensively and offensively as he got the RBI’s rolling in the bottom of the first. Good thing the Angels were facing a scrub pitcher, if it was anyone with volume behind their name the Angels might have been out of it early on.
- Does anyone remember how bad this bullpen was in the middle innings without Bobby Cassevah? When he pitches it makes Reagins look a lot less incompetent for bringing no one fresh into the bullpen. He’s been pretty much shutdown in whatever situation Scioscia throws him in. Long relief? No problem, he came in for Weaver during the Minnesota series and pitched 2.2 masterful innings of 1 hit ball. Got the bases loaded with 1 out in a tight ballgame and you’re looking for a double play ball? No problem, bring Cassevah and he’ll get it done. I’m sure the kid could even close out a couple games if he needed to. The point is Cassevah has saved this bullpen from what seemed to be imminent destruction, but he’s plugged up some holes nicely. This bullpen still has plenty of room for improvement, but with Cassevah effectively removing the need for Rodney we can all say he’s a big step in the right direction.
- With Trumbo’s mammoth golf shot in the 1st inning he’s brought himself 5 homeruns closer to tying Tim Salmon’s rookie record of 31 home runs. With the power surge he’s been on I don’t doubt that he can, at the very least, break 30 home runs if not tie Salmon’s record. There are only a couple of weeks left in the season to reach that record, but it’s not like he hasn’t hit a gang load of homeruns in a short amount of time before. In a span of 10 days, from July 6th to July 16th, Mark Trumbo hit 5 homeruns, 3 of those homeruns coming in consecutive games against the Seattle Mariners. If he could do it then he could do it now.
Special Tag Team Award! Hunter and Trumbo get to share today’s Halo Hero due to their efforts at the plate to get the offense rolling. the 4-5 punch of Hunter and Trumbo has shown no shortage of electricity, Wells has even gotten in the action with his solo shot yesterday. Hopefully these two can keep the offense rolling not only into the playoffs, but beyond 2011.