Results tagged ‘ Stomper ’

Stomper Was Ahead Early, However the Rally Monkey Is Winning the Championship Rounds

There is simply nothing like the battle between the Angels and the A’s, the battle between California’s two American League franchises and founding members of the American League West. The A’s have an 8-6 season series lead, however the Angels are three games ahead in the American League West.

Before yesterday’s victory over the A’s the Angels had 80 wins, the first team to 80 wins this season, which is a perfect complement to the best record in baseball. At that point of their eightieth win the Halos were only one game behind the 2008 team and which had 81 wins in the same time span. The 2008 team netted 100 wins, the best record in franchise history.

A furious division battle does not come without its casualties, both Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs are out for the season. For the Athletics, Coco Crisp went down with an apparent neck injury last night while trying to rob a home run. The Angels being the classy organization that they are, did not initiate the home run fireworks that are customary as a result of the opponent’s injury.

I can not underscore the importance of creating distance now during this four-game series with only two more off days the entire season, the Angels need to create as much distance as possible in order to create a cushion to fall back on should things become even more interesting. This season is much different than the 2002 season which was the last time these two teams directly competed against each other for a postseason berth. The new wild card format allows the creation of a sudden death game which would be unfortunate should one of these two teams find themselves on the losing end, thereby magnifying the importance of winning the division.

With 16 of the 19 season meetings between these two foes in the history books, a gets more interesting every passing game, these two teams are the class of the division and the class of baseball. I may have a strong dislike for Oakland, but I wouldn’t want to be battling with any other team in baseball. My hatred is a result of the respect I have for the Oakland Athletics organization and their fans. May the best team win, hopefully the team wears red.

-ICE

The Beautiful Glow of the Fire Lit Halo

The Halo is on fire, indeed glowing beautifully. The Angels find themselves 3 1/2 games back of the Oakland Athletics; however, that’s not the story. The Angels have stayed pretty close to the A’s throughout the season. The story lies in how they have kept up with them.

The Angels have the second-best record in all of Major League Baseball, second only to the team they are chasing. They do have the best home record in all of Major League Baseball with an impressive 32-15 record, this record includes three home sweeps and an 11 game home winning streak, along with 27 come from behind wins. It is extraordinary how they’ve been able to keep up with the A’s and not be able to overtake them yet.

Part of their success is attributed to Garrett Richards who possesses a 10-2 record and a 2.71 Earned Run Average in 18 starts for the Angels. It’s amazing how someone can be this good and still not make it to this year’s All-Star game, for that matter it’s amazing that a team can be this good and only have two representatives so far in The Midsummer Classic.

The sports networks often cite the American League East as a class of baseball. It is actually the American League West. The top two records in all of baseball reside in the American League West. It may be the West Coast bias, it may be that the American League East just happens to have two of the most storied franchises in baseball in the Yankees and the Red Sox. That certainly isn’t the case this year, and once the Texas Rangers recover from this year’s injury plagued season, the AL West may continue its dominance over baseball next year.

Yes, the dog fights of the summer are here. Pull out your popcorn, it should be a good division race between the Angels and Athletics. Can the monkey keep the rally going and blaze past Stomper? I truly believe that the Halos will. As baseball fans, let’s sit back and take in all the sights and sounds of the best division in all of baseball.

-ICE

The Showdown in Oaktown

Everything is back to normal. The two remaining founding members of the American League West are number one and number two in the standings respectively. The Angels and the Oakland Athletics renew their rivalry tonight. The way it should be, Stomper and The Rally Monkey spar again.

The Angels come into the series smoking hot, they won five out of the six series and earned a split in the last series against the Seattle Mariners. They have a record of 14-6 over the last 20 games. The Halos are 1 1/2 games behind Oakland, and if all goes well they may be in first place in the American League West by the end of the weekend, to quote Phil Collins “I can feel it coming in the air tonight.”

Once again the rivalry between these two teams has a playoff feel. The division race appears at this point to be a two horse race between the Angels and the Athletics although it’s early in the season, the division games are crucial to the success of both teams. Yes, all is normal again. Fans from both sides really enjoy this civil war between California’s two American League franchises. What side are you on? Obviously, one doesn’t need to ask me. Go Angels!

-ICE

Get Your Red on

“Get Your Red on” this is a slogan to the marketing campaign that the Angels have embarked on in the 2014 season. I like it a lot. No, it’s not because red is my favorite color since I was a kid, although to me that’s icing on the cake. Overall it’s a very smart marketing strategy especially when juxtaposed against the “Think Blue” campaign employed by the cross-town rival the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Perhaps the campaign is appropriate, until last night the Angels were a perfect 6-0 when wearing the red alternate uniform until their first loss last night in that uniform against the Oakland Athletics. The Angels have slightly changed their uniform, a change that I must say I like a lot. The Halos will wear red shoes and red belt during their home games this season at least when wearing the red uniform. I hope they include this change for road games as well. I believe that it adds to the team’s identity much like the blue shoes add to the identity of the Dodgers or the white shoes that add to the identity of the Athletics respectively.

The Angels may have lost last night, however I really enjoyed the excitement brought on by last night’s game between these two American League West rivals there something about this rivalry that cannot be duplicated with the rest of the teams in the American League West. Maybe it’s the proximity between the two cities, maybe it’s the fact that these are the two California American League franchises, or maybe it’s the best explanation of all, these two teams captured 10 of the last 12 American League West titles.

Perhaps the rivalry was magnified by the fact that Albert Pujols hit his 496 career home run, a shot that went into the beautiful night sky. The green and gold elephant seems to bring out the best in the Angels and vice versa.

These two teams also share another commonality, they are known as the “other” team in the region. They live in the shadow of their bigger more famous brother, the Dodgers and the Giants respectively. Yet, it seems that their little brother steals the spotlight and has had success more often than their older, cockier sibling. Our National League counterparts cannot say that they’ve traded shots with each other 10 of the last 12 years. They may be known as a bigger rivalry, but their rivalry hasn’t been as competitive over the years. I have a healthy hatred for Oakland, in other words, I love to hate them. It’s not the same if both teams are not at the top of their game. The best part? The baseball season is young and the Rally Monkey and Stomper have a lot of sparring yet to do.

-ICE

Stomper Is Ahead of the Rally Monkey on the Score Cards

Baseball is a lot like boxing, the longer a fight goes, the later rounds become exponentially important. The American League West division race is much like a boxing match, especially the second half of the season where less than half the games are left. I mentioned in a previous entry a strong start coming out of the All-Star break would be especially important for the Angels. I said that numbers now matter.

The Angels started off strong by taking two of three from the Oakland A’s, the Halos needed to sweep the A’s in Anaheim and in Oakland in my opinion, in order to make any sort of meaningful progress in the division race. After losing ground by dropping the last game of the series against the A’s at Angel Stadium, then the Angels dropped two out of three against the Minnesota Twins. To add to the problem, the Angels have lost two out of four in the current series against Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum. The best they can hope for is a series split by winning tomorrow’s game.

Yes, baseball can be like a boxing match at times, it is quite possible that the Angels will receive a knockout blow by possibly losing Albert Pujols for the rest of the season due to his ongoing condition of plantar fasciitis. He left Oakland and returned to Southern California in order for doctors to run more tests, dare I say it doesn’t look good. He may have to go on the Disabled List for the rest of the season.

I can’t help but question the thought process that led to the poor handling of the situation. The team knew that this injury would be an ongoing problem; they should have rested number five, early during the start of the season. I realize he is a competitor, but I also realize that the Angels have invested a lot of money into his contract for him only to be able to play at half strength. The Angels knew that they would meet him late in the stretch run, and I question why they didn’t act accordingly. Now because of what I consider to be a poor decision, the team and their fan base are suffering the consequences.

I do realize that the Angels have their share of injuries, mainly Jason Vargas, however Albert is a big part of the Angels’ future plans and the team is not acting like it. I take solace in that history can repeat itself. The Halos must ironically take a page out of last year’s Oakland A’s playbook. If I recall, the Oakland A’s were in a similar position this time last year and won the division championship. At the very least the Angels must concentrate on winning one of the two wild-card spots and make a playoff push that way. They did that in 2002, and we all know what resulted. The Angels have the championship pedigree, but like any true champion they must come back in the later rounds and when the fight.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/07/13/the-symphony-of-the-numbers-game
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/04/12/stomper-mercilessly-stomps-out-the-rally-monkey-then-swept-him-away
http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-angels-albert-pujols-aggravates-foot-injury-20130727,0,612262.story

Update: Albert Pujols will likely miss the rest of the 2013 season

http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/angels/la-sp-0729-angels-athletics-20130729,0,4351670.story

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

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