July 2012

The Big White Elephant in the Room

The Tampa Bay Rays took two out of three from the Angels this past weekend. I’m not going to include any statistics or try to explain away why the Angels lost, except for maybe one statistic that jumps out. The Angels have gone the last 22 innings without scoring a run. Despite a good outing by Zack Greinke in his Angels’ debut.

The dog fights of summer have really begun, this was supposed to be a two team race between the Angels and the Rangers. After the Angels signed then free agent Albert Pujols, the Rangers responded by signing Yu Darvish. The chest game between these two teams has gone on since this past off-season, with the Rangers coming off of two straight World Series appearances and being one strike away from winning the championship. The Rangers are doing everything they can to get back to the World Series, while the Angels are trying to reclaim the American League West as their own; much like he did last decade training titles with the Oakland Athletics. The Angels are also trying to make it back to the World Series on their 10th anniversary since claiming the 2002 World Series Championship.

The Oakland Athletics, all I can say is wow! Somehow they have managed to slip into second place ahead of the Angels by a half-game. They’ve only lost four games in the month of July, including a sweep of the New York Yankees in recent weeks. They have unexpectedly become relevant in the American League West. Can they keep it up? Who knows, the Angels are used to the battles with the A’s and the Rangers are used to the battles with the Angels; can the Rangers really handle fending off two teams? While the Angels are used to dealing with both the Athletics and the Rangers. So it is my belief that the Angels would have the upper hand in this scenario.

Tomorrow the Angels begin a big four-game series with the Rangers in Arlington, I wonder who Athletics’ fans will be pulling for in the upcoming series? On the one hand, they wouldn’t want the arch-rival Angels to get ahead of them in the standings given our history, but then again, they can ill afford the Rangers pulling away any further in the division lead. This should be very, very interesting.

For years now the American League West hasn’t gotten the respect it deserves, whether one calls it East Coast biased, or otherwise I guess the West Coast games are on too late for the sportswriters and they need their sleep since most of the time they are too busy covering the East Coast teams.

The situation has become very exciting, the Athletics have made it exciting for baseball fans outside this division to want to pay attention. For fans like me who have followed this division for as long as I can remember, it’s just another day at the ballpark. Long live the beauty of baseball!

-ICE

The Angels Have Gone from Cranky to Greinke

Three days before the trade deadline and I find myself shocked yet again. I am not shocked that the Angels actually made a move before the trade deadline, I’m shocked as to how they did it. For those of you that read my previous entry you know that I humbly suggested that they take a shot at Zack Greinke. I postulated that it would take Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana, and two or three draft picks and/or Minor Leaguers. Boy was I wrong, not about the Minor Leaguers; but about Ervin Santana and Peter Bourjos.

The Angels acquired Greinke from the Brewers in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and Double-A pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Peña. I honestly thought the Halos would have paid a heavy a price as stated above, but Angels’ General Manager Jerry Dipoto has done it again, he brought Major League Baseball to a standstill when he signed Albert Pujols and now, Greinke.

I honestly have mixed feelings about this move on the one hand, I am excited; the addition of Zack Greinke has made the Angels’ starting rotation one of the most formidable rotations in all of baseball. On the other hand, Greinke is considered an “rent a player” he is a free agent at the end of the season and I hope the Angels have made the trade with realistic expectations of re-signing him. Greinke’s current status with the team concerns me very much.

The best part is that it makes the Angels even better than what has already talented team is, and it gives the Texas Rangers a serious threat to win the division. There was a high possibility that if the Angels did not sign Greinke that the Texas Rangers and that would have spelled disaster for the Angels hopes of capturing the American League West title.

There are wonderful things on the horizon for this Angels team. As a fan I can do nothing but sit back and enjoy the Angels have gone from being cranky because of the second-place position to the possibility of winning the American League West. Essentially they have gone from being cranky to Greinke. Go Angels!

-ICE

Basking in the Halo Heat: A Season of Surprises in the American League West

This season is starting to get interesting, the Angels took the rubber game from the Texas Rangers beating them from our 7-4. Both teams still have two face each other 10 more times this season so it should be interesting.

The Rangers starter this is hot. They seem to be on fire during the months of April and May but have since then cooled off. Especially Josh Hamilton other teams seem to have adjusted to his strengths. Yesterday the Angels pitching staff very rarely pitched to Hamilton inside, Hamilton’s aggressive swings did the rest.

The Angels on the other hand have gone in the opposite direction they still trail the Rangers by five games however everything seems to be clicking together especially the TNT boys (Trumbo and Trout) this explosion by the offense has a lot to do with the detonation of TNT.

Here are some of the effects that the detonation of TNT has had on the Angels:

Bringing the Halo Heat

6-14 Angels’ record before Mike Trout was called up on April 28.

46-30 Angels’ record since April 28, the second-best record in baseball during that span.

.352 Trout’s batting average, best in the American League.

.622 Mark Trumbo’s slugging percentage, best in the AL.

.404 Trout’s on-base percentage, third in the AL.

26 Home runs hit by Trumbo, fourth- most in the AL.

30 Stolen bases for Trout, most in the AL. He’s only been caught three times.

The numbers may be dated by a day or two, but one gets the idea. The pitching is still a little suspect, but it’s my hope as well as I think it is a hope of every Angels’ fan that are pitching problems can be somewhat resolved by a trade before the trading deadline July 31.

I am thoroughly impressed by the Oakland Athletics who somehow have seemed to get themselves back in the American League West race they currently sit in third place only a half-game behind the Angels, Billy Beane still has some magic left in that hat of his; “Money Ball” indeed, Stomper should be proud.

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that the Elephant has joined the Angel and the Ranger in staking its claim to the American League West crown, the dogfights of summer have truly begun.

-ICE

Will There Be a Halo over the Baseball Casino?

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when Major League Baseball resembles the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The time a year with the wheeling and dealing begins. It’s known throughout baseball as the July 31 trading deadline.

There have been conflicting reports both over the Internet and in the local newspapers that cover the Angels. Some outlets are reporting that the Angels tend to stay pat, others are reporting that they plan to be minimally active. I think the Halos need to make a move especially since there has been a rule change regarding the wild-card the second wild-card and the play in game changes everything there are teams at this point I could very easily claim the second spot if they make the right moves. The Angels are one of those teams.

I believe that the Angels should trade for Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers for Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana and maybe a couple of draft picks. It would be great if the Angels could trade Peter Bourjos for Zack Greinke. However, I don’t think the Brewers would give up a starting pitcher for an outfielder without someone to replace him on the pitching staff that’s why Ervin Santana will be included in trade. The Angels have a logjam in their outfield especially once Vernon Wells comes back.

The Angels need to be proactive now and prepare for the eventual situations that may come about. Zack Greinke would help the Angels compete for the wild-card were even overtake the Texas Rangers for that division lead in the American League West, but really all Angels need is a wild-card spot since we all know what happened last time they clinched the wild card. We don’t really need to win the division in order to win all, evidence of this is 2002 when the Angels were crowned the 2002 World Series Champions.

Tonight, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball features the Angels versus the Rangers in the Angels need to take advantage of these head-to-head matchups against the Rangers, since the Angels can’t seem to take advantage of Rangers’ losses when they need to the most.

-ICE

The Angels Must Fly Alongside “Bats” Not Try to Ride “Bulls”

I don’t know which is more frustrating, the bullpen debacles or the fact that the Angels cannot take advantage of the opportunities to cut into the Texas Rangers’ lead in the American League West. Yesterday was the Texas Rangers being idle the Angels’ bullpen gave up a game that they had all but won. The Halos had a 5-2 lead at one point and had a 5-4 lead after six innings ultimately losing the game 8-6.

If the baseball season ended today the Angels would have the second wild-card spot and would be playing the Detroit Tigers in the wild-card play in game at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The Angels went on to annihilate the Detroit Tigers today 13-0.

I think it is key for the Angels to take advantage of the opportunities given to them by the Texas Rangers especially since they are coming here and far between. The Halos started three-game series against the Rangers on Friday. ideally the Angels need to sweep the series or at the very least take two out of three. They need to be able to take advantage of Rangers losses as well as be able to beat them head to head, especially with the number of injuries the Rangers are going through at the moment.

The prospect of the Angels clinching the second wild-card to play in the postseason makes me nervous. The last time the Angels had to play game number 163 was when they gave up a 10 game American League West lead and lost to the Seattle Mariners in Seattle.In the mid-1990s

It has it to be seen how the positioning in the standings end up. Either way I have a feeling this season will end like it started, historic.

-ICE

The Angels Are Reaching for the Stars

Once again I find myself apologizing for the short hiatus, life happens. I wish I could eat, drink, and breathe baseball every day if I could only be so lucky.

First and foremost, and let’s make a quick comment regarding the Freeway Series the Angels took four out of six games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and head into the All-Star break 10 games over .500.

Mark Trumbo is hitting with the media has dubbed “Trumbombs” with regularity. His performance in tonight’s Home Run Derby could be a sign of things to come. The Angels sent four All-Stars to the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Jared Weaver, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, C. J. Wilson and were very close to sending a fifth, Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri.

The second half of the season should be fun, the Angels are only four games behind the Texas Rangers at the All-Star break. They show no signs of letting up. It should be a lot of fun. Go Angels!

-ICE

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