Typical. I start writing about the winning streak, with the Angels up 6-1 against the Dodgers in what, I assumed, would be game nine of it….and, yeah.
However, I will continue, with the same direct question to the Angels that I was going to start with, if they had won today.
"Who are you people, and what have you done with the Angels?
You won eight straight. You’ve been knocking in runs at an astonishing rate, and doing so both with monster hits and good old fashioned hustle. You have superstars who are playing like they deserve the name, and unknown call-ups who look like they’ve been in the majors forever. Even your deservedly derided pitchers have suddenly come right, and you might even have an Ace again by Wednesday. Even today, when the streak ended, despite CJ Wilson’s issues in the 5th, you all pretty much played the way you’re meant to, you just couldn’t quite get it back after the 5th inning.
Is this some kind of a trick? Were you playing possum all of April, in an attempt to deflect expectation, or are you building us fans up now so that if things fall apart again, we can at least say “Well, they had a good May”?
Or, dare I hope, have you finally started to put it all together?"
It certainly feels like it. Admittedly, those eight wins came against struggling teams, but the Angel’s have lost to worse teams this year and, let’s not forget, until this streak they were a struggling team as well. They’re still a long way back from the Rangers and A’s, both of whom are winning regularly, so the streak hasn’t made up all that much ground in the division. There’s a long way to go yet, but you have to start somewhere, right?
The most encouraging thing is that the improved results have been on the back of truly complete team efforts. The starting rotation, if you can still call it that, has been remarkable. They’ve gone deep, too, (until today) limiting the bullpen’s exposure, although even that hasn’t been the terrifying prospect it was earlier in the year.
The offense has, if anything, been even better. Prior to the start of the freeway series, the Angels had scored 119 runs since May 1st. Several of their losses earlier in the month were close affairs, and their wins have ranged from the gritty to the downright blowout. Add in the solid defense that even hardened skeptics have come to expect from this team, and it’s been a great run. Even Mike Scioscia getting ejected, I think, was a good sign – he’s passionate again.
All good things must come to an end, and this particular streak just did. Here’s hoping it wasn’t an anomaly, and that this season might just have gotten started. My only gripe – I understand dramatic tension, but did they really need to leave it this late? We get it. Now get on with it.