My trip home is sadly coming to an end, I head back To the State capitol tomorrow morning. I was able to catch two games while I was home, against the new arrivals to the American League West, the Houston Astros; and the forever hated rival the Oakland Athletics. After a sweep by the A’s, they lost the series against the Twins in Minnesota (there is one more game to be played in Minnesota since the last game of the series was postponed) the Angels came home to take two out of three from the Houston Astros and unbelievably sweept the Detroit Tigers.
The Angels are on quite a turnaround, they outscored the Tigers 22-4 in the three-game series. I’m especially impressed by the youngsters; relief pitcher Michael Roth who was promoted from Double-A affiliate the Arkansas Travelers directly to the major league squad; he is holding his own quite well. Luis Jimenez who was promoted from Triple-A Bees and is doing quite well at third base, and last but certainly not least; Mike Trout hit his first career grand slam on Saturday afternoon in the 10-0 shellacking of Detroit Tigers.
Leaving home for me is bittersweet, first and foremost I miss my family tremendously, and it is always hard to be away from home especially during baseball season. Unlike when I lived in the Bay Area when I could see the Angels every time they played the Oakland Athletics, Sacramento does not have a major league team. Sacramento is the home of the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s; the Sacramento River Cats. I hope that I’m able to catch a few games when they play the Salt Lake City Bees that way, I am at least able to see future Angels play the game that I love.
Tonight begins a “Texas sized” series against the Texas Rangers, it is my hope that the Angels are able to continue their winning ways and slowly but surely climb into the upper echelons of the American League West.
It is my sincere hope that the Angels turn it around, so the next time I come home, which will be soon; I’m able to enjoy the sweet nectar that is brought when the Angels play to their potential, and “light up the Halo!”
What constitutes beauty in sports? Is it a winning streak? Is it the underdog coming from behind to beat their heavily favored opponent? Or is it the team that was expected to be irrelevant during a given season, beating the odds to raise the championship trophy in their respective sport? One can ponder these questions all day and still not come up with answers.
Questions that one may never find the answers to, this concept can be aptly applied to how I feel about the Angels so far this season. They dropped two out of three in Arlington, to make matters worse Jered Weaver fell victim to an injury, suffering an elbow strain by landing awkwardly on it; in an effort to avoid a ball that was coming towards him.
Albert Pujols has what amounts to be an inflamed heal which makes it hard for him to change speeds while running. This is an injury he is dealt with most of his career, however this is the first year it has affected him this early in the season. Josh Hamilton is making my worst fears come true, as I mentioned in previous entries, I am afraid of his inability to hit the inside fastball, a fear which unfortunately is coming true; through the first five games of the season he has gone 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts.
Are the Angels snake bitten? It seems that every time a bona fide star comes to the team they go through a sharp decline in which a player is unable to return to his former glory. A clear example of this is Vernon Wells, are Pujols and Hamilton next?
There are some positives coming out of the series with the Texas Rangers, the Home Runs; Albert Pujols hit two Home Runs in one game, Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos each contributed with a Home Run.
Tonight the Angels have an opportunity for a fresh start, as they face the Oakland Athletics in the Halos’ home opener. It is their opportunity to be impeccable, nearly perfect at home. Perhaps, this is the jumpstart they need to be successful this season.
Update: Weaver is out of the Angels’ pitching rotation 4-6 weeks with a broken elbow. This is very unfortunate. http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130409&content_id=44305998&c_id=ana
Texas: “The Lone
Star Halo State”
With the first series of the season over, the Angels had a less than stellar performance, only winning one of three games. Yes, it is the first series of the season. Yes, the Angels had the distinction of being the first team in Major League Baseball history (along with the Cincinnati Reds) to play an interleague series in the first series of the season. Yes, it was in a National League ballpark with National League rules. Yes, the first series does not make a season.
Now that all possible explanations for the Angels’ poor performance have been stated, here’s the truth; the Angels have the best record overall when it comes to interleague play. They were in a hitter friendly ballpark in Cincinnati. There is no reason why the Angels shouldn’t be hitting the cover off the ball, in the series the Angels fell victim to 36 strikeouts and they left 27 men on base. These were the determining factors that led to the Angels downfall. The bullpen on the other hand was pleasantly surprising. I was especially impressed by Mark Lowe who kept the Angels afloat in the 13 inning marathon opening-day, if the bullpen stays solid and the hitters can find their groove, the Angels should be alright this season.
The Angels go to a hitter friendly ballpark in Arlington for the next series, a showdown with the Texas Rangers. Another hitter friendly ballpark, under American League rules which means an extra hitter, with the incorporation of the DH, no more pinch-hitting for the pitcher which should alleviate the taxing of the bench.
I hope with these different variables, the variables that the Halos are accustomed to; they can get back to form. They cannot have 36 strikeouts and 27 men left on base and expect to survive against a talented team like the Texas Rangers. Arlington Texas is in “The Lone Star State”, now with the incorporation of the Houston Astros into the American League West, the Angels will be traveling to Texas twice as much from this point forward and they must dominate the Texas teams on the road. The Angels must make sure that Texas is known to the baseball world as, Texas: “The Lone
Star Halo State.”