April 2013

The Angels Are Starting to Create a Buzz Just As I Acquire My Bee Wings

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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.

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Yoenis Céspedes preparing for a plate appearance.

Yoenis Céspedes preparing for a plate appearance.

Albert Pujols in his batting stance at Home Plate.

Albert Pujols in his batting stance at Home Plate.

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!”

-ICE

Stomper Mercilessly Stomps out the Rally Monkey Then Swept Him Away

The American League West Slugfest:

Stomper (Photograph Credit: HTTP://www.athletics.com)

Stomper (Photograph Credit: http://www.athletics.com)

Versus

The Rally Monkey (Photograph Credit: HTTP://www.Angels.com)

The Rally Monkey (Photograph Credit: http://www.Angels.com)

“It’ll be okay, we’ll get them tomorrow”. Those were the consoling words of a beautiful young usher as I was leading the deflated Angels’ fan base out of the front gates of Angel Stadium on Wednesday night. Tomorrow never came, the Angels were swept by the Oakland Athletics with a game one score of 9-5 a game two score of 11-5 and finally a game three score of 8-1.

First and foremost taking nothing away from the Oakland A’s, I tip my cap, they were the better team in the series and deserved to win. Second, I must thank the Oakland A’s for bringing to light to the rest of the world what diehard fans already know, the Angels are in trouble.

No matter where one looks, the starting rotation, the bullpen, or the offensive production there are many things to improve. Some will say that the Angels’ misfortunes are due to injury, but let me be realistic, Weaver’s injury was of zero impact for this series because his spot was not scheduled to be due up against the Oakland A’s. Ryan Madson is recovering from Tommy John surgery, although he is progressing nicely, it will still be quite a while before he can contribute to the team in any major capacity.

In previous entries, I questioned the Angels organizations personnel decisions. My concerns are coming true. I questioned the Angels decision not to extend a qualifying offer to Torii Hunter, now the Angels lack a legitimate number two hitter which they have tried to patch up with moving Mike Trout to the number two spot, consequently they now lack a legitimate leadoff hitter. What logic is there in the giving a contract to a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery, a surgery which not all pitchers recover from; and not giving Dan Haren his club option? Dan Haren was also coming off an injury plagued year, but he wasn’t coming off Tommy John surgery, he could have made an immediate impact. This way of thinking doesn’t make sense to me, especially given the history of Angels’ pitching the last three years. The Angels don’t have the luxury to experiment and hope for the best. As I mentioned before, it’s not satisfactory to the Angels’ fan base for this team to compete, they must contend.

I am a strong believer that coaches in any sport have a lifespan if and only if they don’t evolve in their coaching techniques, methods, and application. When a coach evolves, it allows them to keep their players attention, by keeping things fresh and innovative; players are less likely to tune a coach out. Unfortunately, I think this is what’s happened to Mike Scioscia, he hasn’t evolved, and the players have tuned him out. The Halos are very talented, but there shouldn’t be any reason why they’re not producing and winning.

Yes, this team has a lot to work on, they need to figure themselves out extremely quickly or they are doomed to repeat the unsatisfactory season of a year ago. The good news is that there are 16 meetings left between the Oakland Athletics and the Angels, 16 meetings to avenge a sweep at home that hasn’t happened since the year 2000. I must admit the Angels got stomped on by a white elephant, however the Rally Monkey will rally, that’s his nature; Stomper better be ready when the next rounds come about. This was only the first three rounds of the 19 round American League West slugfest. Go Angels!

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/10/06/as-a-birthday-wish-i-wish-my-hundredth-post-was-about-the-angels-in-the-postseason
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/02/13/i-dont-want-peanuts-or-crackerjacks-give-me-the-baseball-glove-and-the-baseball-bat
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/07/youre-a-mean-one-mr-grinch
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/11/17/the-sky-is-always-darkest-before-the-dawn
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/11/04/waiting-for-the-sun-to-rise
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo

Are the Angels the Team Where Superstars Go to Supernova?

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.

Weaver’s injury

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.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo/

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 Halo State”

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.”

-ICE

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