So, I'm bringing back series previews. I used to do them, then I got ambitious and did game previews. Then I scrapped those because they took up too much time with little ROI. But now I am back to series previews because I feel like some stuff needs to be said that often goes unsaid going into each series. I'm going to try a fun format, but it will take time to figure out what works, so hang tight. Tell me if you like something. Tell me if you don't. If you tell me nothing, then I will assume nobody is reading them and probably stop again. I'm not sure if that is a threat.
FRIDAY, 7/19: Jered Weaver vs. A.J. Griffin: First pitcher to hit 91 MPH on the radar guns wins!
But seriously… I'm not real big on "message games" nor do I actually think that the Angels have a realistic shot at reaching the post-season, but it really feels like they need Weaver to come out and dominate in this one if they want any chance of getting on enough of a roll to not become sellers at the trade deadline. That and it would be nice if the Angels would beat an AL West foe every once in awhile.
SATURDAY, 7/20: C.J. Wilson vs. Dan Straily: The whiff of a legit #2 starter.
But seriously… C.J. Wilson has been, dare I say it, pretty great lately. I know that is weird because he is such grind to watch and because it is hard to get your head around the idea that a Dipoto signing might actually work out well, but for the last month or so, he has been a bona fide #2 starter. The problem is he has mostly done it against weak lineups like the Mariners, Cubs and Astros. If he really has ironed out his command and consistency issues, then there is hope he could keep it going against a strong lineup like Oakland. If not, well, at least he has that sweet, sweet Head & Shoulders endorsement money and a lingerie model fiancee to keep him warm at night. That's great for him, but not so great for the Angels.
SUNDAY, 7/21: Jerome Williams vs. Bartolo Colon: Is Garrett Richards warming up yet?
But seriously… this particular game has disaster written all over it. My working theory right now with Williams is the league finally caught on to him, not that he was hard to catch on to. Jerome pretty much throws four-seamers and sinkers mixing in changeups and curves to keep hitters honest, only it is turning out that his change isn't very effective. As such, teams are starting to load up against him with lefty bats as we saw in his last start where the Mariners had one right-hander in the lineup. The A's are a platoon heavy lineup themselves, so they figure to batter Williams pretty badly.
-Joe Blanton doesn't pitch this series! Never a bad thing. Now if we could just do something about that Jerome Williams guy…
-Dane De La Rosa got four days off!! Now Scioscia can use him every day for three straight weeks.
-Baseball is once again being played!!! Those four days felt like forever, right?
-This could be the beginning of the end for the Angels. If they get swept in this series, they might as well hang a for sale sign out front.
-This could also be a beacon of false hope. Should the Halos do the sweeping, it would help them get within shouting distance of the division lead and close enough to .500 that they might foolishly become buyers at the deadline. This is the problem with hope.
-We are going to have to look at Josh Reddick's hair and Bartolo Colon's frog-like throat sac. Nobody should be subjected to that.
Since small sample sizes are something we all love to ignore, I can't wait for us all to read way too much into how Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton perform this series. If Pujols hits well, everyone will passively aggresively point out how having four days off must've magically cured his ailing legs and feet and then bemoan that the Halos didn't place him on the DL back in May. As for Hamilton, if he has one bad game, we'll all immediately jump all over him again, assuming that his hot streak has come to an end and that he has turned back into a $125 million pumpkin. Baseball fans, we're the greatest!