October Baseball Comes to the Angels in April

The Angels’ five game winning streak came to an abrupt end yesterday in a perplexing manner, Brian Fuentes was just was activated one day before, was sent in to close the ninth inning at that point the Angels were leading the ballgame three runs to two. It was really academic the Tigers weren’t doing much on offense and it looked like the Angels were on their way to winning their sixth straight, instead, Fuentes walked the first batter he faced and then gave up the home run to the second, mind you, he had just been activated from the disabled list the night before, one would think that with the Angels ahead they would put in a hot Fernando Rodney who had earned five straight saves in the five previous games. Rodney has been lights out as a closer, and he’s had his struggles as a setup man so would be logical think that with Fuentes being a little rusty from his stint on the disabled list, putting in Rodney would be all but a certainty. I wasn’t the only one with this line of thinking, after Fuentes gave up the home run the Angels’ Stadium crowd started chanting ” We want Rodney! (clapping in between) We want Rodney!” Sitting in left field, behind the bullpen with no obstructions there was no mistaking what the crowd was saying.

The night before last I had the opportunity to listen to “Angel Talk” with Jeff Biggs, since it was right after an Angels win most of the callers wanted talk about how impressed they were with Rodney earning his fifth save, one caller asked Biggs if he thought that Rodney would become the new closer. Biggs responded that although he was impressed with Rodney’s performance, he felt that Brian Fuentes would remain and should remain the closer, Biggs cited that Fuentes was a former All-Star and that he has the experience to be a successful closer, Biggs continued to claim that although Fuentes does not have an overpowering fastball he still is affective because he relies on deception to get the job done.

I must respectfully disagree with Jeff Biggs, his line of reasoning is flawed, yes Brian Fuentes is a former All-Star, yes he knows what it takes to get the job done, but the question is does to have the ability to follow through with his actions and not just his thoughts? my answer is that Brian Fuentes is not able to follow through, knowing what to do and been able to do it are two different and distinct things. If one really thinks about it, using that line of reasoning the Angels would have many valid points as to why they should have kept Vladimir Guerrero on the Angels’ roster, focusing on what the player did in the past without showing at least some clue that the player is headed to the days of old, is a very nostalgic way of running a team.

As I was exiting the game last night, I ran into a fellow Angel fan who brought up a very important point, let’s pretend for a moment that it is October instead of April and we’re facing the Yankees for the right to go to the World Series, same situation, the Angels are ahead in the ninth and Alex Rodriguez is up, a home run by Rodriguez can tie the game, as a diehard fanatic and a baseball enthusiast would you really are on someone like Fuentes that can possibly fool Rodriguez? or Rodney that could easily focus them below Rodriguez away? I think the clear choice would be the latter. I strongly believe that the Angels would be better served if Fuentes was in the setup role and Rodney and was a closer.

I know I didn’t talk much about the game itself, but as I’ve stated before I like to focus on themes instead of a recap of the game. Any newspaper can give you a game summary, but how many newspapers can give you the feelings of a true fan?

I have nothing but faith in Mike Scioscia he has shown time after time, that he knows how to play the game better than anybody in Major League Baseball, however this is a situation that I hope he comes to the right conclusion and rectifies it soon. Fernando Rodney should be the everyday closer of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim! As always your comments, questions, concerns, or anything else can think of are always welcome here at the Halos’ Hot Corner.

-ICE

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