Welcome to the ALDSAngels Live Blog! Be sure to add me to your MSN Messenger friends list
and chat with me while watching the game on TBS today!
6:04 PM: Bottom of the 1st, 0-0: Boy, it sure seems like there’s an exciting game being played right now. Sure wish I could watch it. Unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain picked today to show the world that he is human, and blew a 1-0 lead for the Yankees in Game 2 of their half of the ALDS, and the Yankees and Indians are tied up 1-1 in the top of the 11th.
So, I have to follow it pitch-by-pitch on MLB.com.
Congrats, Joba. You just made the list.
6:10 PM: Bottom of the 1st, 2 out, 0-0: OK, update: I’m an idiot. Thank goodness my father has a brain on his shoulders and switched over to TNT, or I’d still be watching the lame pitch-by-pitch.
So Escobar is throwing lots of pitches. Great. Nothing inspires confidence like base runners.
****. Lowell walks, loading the bases. Only two walks this inning. I suppose I should feel a bit comfortable that J.D. Drew is batting, but I don’t.
And there’s why. J.D. Drew drives in two. Yeah, two walks in the inning, and now we’re down 2-0 in the first inning.
Pray that Matsuzaka panics like Escobar is doing.
6:30 PM: Top of the 2nd, 1 out, 2-0 Boston: Man on first and third, one out… At least we’re getting base runners tonight! Mathis up. I have to hand it to the Angels, they seem to have shown up more offensively tonight than they did Wednesday.
WOOHOO! Fielder’s choice, Kendry Morales scores! Angels on the board!
Figgins up. Gotta love Chone Figgins and his blog. The only thing I don’t understand is how "C-H-O-N-E" sounds like "S-E-A-N."
Wait… YANKEES JUST LOST! OK, I’m happy for the Indians, but I’m not a huge Yankees hater, so
I’m not jumping up and down with glee. But now, the Yankees are SCREWED. And poor, poor A-Rod… 0-for-4 with 3 K’s. He’s gonna hear it tomorrow.
Orlando Cabrera doubles! Angels take the lead! First time I’ve been happy watching a ballgame since Wednesday!
6:46 PM: Top of the 3rd, no outs, 3-2 Angels: Garrett Anderson’s eye must be better today, because he’s 2-for-2, just blooped a double into right field. And now he gets caught at third… Dammit. Maybe that eye isn’t so great.
Izturis steals second while Kotchman bats. OK, so that takes away the double play and puts a man back in scoring position. Casey Kotchman hits it up the middle, out, but Izturis moves to third. IF it weren’t for that steal, that would have been a double play. Once again proving how the Angels win.
Ah, Morales flies out. Inning over.
7:06 PM: Top of the 4th, no outs, 3-2 Angels: Escobar has finally found his footing, getting out of last inning with only a walk to David Ortiz. It’s a shame Lackey couldn’t look this good on Wednesday, but then again, it wouldn’t have mattered if he channeled Sandy Koufax, he still would have lost.
Kendrick singles to lead off the inning! Three straight innings the leadoff batter has got on base!
Matsuzaka has thrown over 75 pitches so far. This is what happens when the Angels play their game. Ack, Mathis pops out to Varitek. One out.
Figgins hit it sharp, but Youkilis makes a diving stop to get Figgins. 2 out, Kendrick on 2nd. So now it’s gonna take a hit by Orlando Cabrera to go up by another run. No such luck, OC grounds out to 2nd. Middle of the 4th, Angels lead 3-2.
7:16 PM: Bottom of the 4th, 1 out, 3-2 Angels: I’m not sure who is doing the commentary for tonight’s game, but they’re not too bad. Of course, Timmy and Jimmy from South Park would make a better announcing team than Hudler and Physioc. But one of the announcers just said "If the Angels can hold the lead through the 6th inning, they have Speier, Shields, and K-Rod, and nobody hits them very well." I had to laugh, as apparently these postseason announcers haven’t watched much Angels baseball the second half of the season. Especiall Shields and Rodriguez.
Two outs. Coco Crisp singles on a bunt, then steals second. With two outs, I hope he doesn’t care about the runner too much. Especially with Lugo at the plate. Sure, you gotta be careful with any hitter, but Manny or Papi he ain’t.
Lugo strikes out looking for Escobar’s 5th K of the night. On to the 5th inning! Let’s go Angels!
7:41 PM: Bottom of the 5th, no outs, 3-2 Angels: Dice-K didn’t last 5. They pulled him with 2 outs in the top of the inning. I wouldn’t say he pitched badly, just that he didn’t look like a $100 million man.
Pedroia gets a lead-off double, bring up Kevin Youkilis.
There’s something I just don’t like about Youkilis. Every time I see him, he’s whining about some play or call or something. Thankfully, he’s out on a check swing. Pedroia moves to third, one out. Intentional walk to Ortiz. Can’t say I blame them; set up the double play. Not like "Big Papi" is much of a stolen base threat either.
This says a lot about the opinion they have of Manny Ramirez. It used to be death to walk Ortiz, as Manny would make you pay for it. ****, it wouldn’t surprise me if I jinxed it and he makes them pay for it here. But with Manny’s injuries this year, I suppose they don’t see him as much of a threat. Manny pops up to the right of home plate, and Mathis almost has a play, but a fan gets it. If that had happened in Anaheim, a million crybabies from "Red Sox Nation" would be shouting "STEVE BARTMAN!" right now. 0-2 to Ramirez.
****, the announcers just jinxed it, I know it. They said "Escobar has only allowed 11 home runs this year, and Ramirez has only hit one against him." I hate when they do that. Nope, they walked him. Bases loaded.
Lowell drives it into Center Field, sacrifice fly. Pedroia scores. Dammit. Let’s go, Escobar! Scot Shields is up in the bullpen. Come on, one more out! Drew is batting. I jinxed it last time, so I’ll keep my mouth shut this time and not mention what a disappointing crybaby J.D. Drew has been his whole career. Full count. Now he’s fouling them off like he’s Kirk Gibson or something. 9 pitch at bat, Drew grounds out to Kotchman at first.
But the Red Sox tie it up.
8:11 PM: Bottom of the 6th, no outs, 3-3: Shields in for Escobar, strikes out Jason Varitek for the first out. This is where I get nervous. A year ago the bullpen was the strongest part of the Angels team. Flash forward to the second half of the 2007 season, and it’s become ulcer-inducing and tough to watch.
Speaking of which, Shields walks Coco Crisp. Great, now Crisp is on. Just what we need, a speedy guy on the bases. And considering that Shields couldn’t get the ball down in that at bat, I’ll admit I’m worried.
Darren Oliver warming up in the bullpen. In 2004, the Angels lost the ALDS in a sweep to the Red Sox because they didn’t have a single lefty in the bullpen. Thank God for Oliver, otherwise they’d have to somehow bring Jarrod Washburn back to pitch to Ortiz in an extra innings situation. Oh wait, that happened in 2004. Washburn threw one pitch. Ortiz put it in the stands.
OK, that was weird… Lugo pops out to Center Field, Crisp loses the ball, goes back, and he’s out at second… Oh, apparently Crisp passed 2nd base and didn’t touch 2nd on his way back to first. Oh, Terry Francona has to LOVE that. Mental errors always make a manager happy! On to the 7th, 3-3 tie.
8:24 PM: top of the 7th, 1 out, 3-3: Vladimir Guerrero just got hit in the left shoulder, and he is none too happy about it. Can’t say I blame him, this guy has had a target painted on him the last month or so. It didn’t look like it was done purposefully, but it is odd that the only guy racking up HBP numbers for the Angels recently has been their big hitter. I wouldn’t be surprised in Ortiz gets one under the chin next time he’s up.
Pitching change. Guerrero is OK, I probably should have mentioned that. Hideki Okajima in. Watching this guy is strange. I’ve never seen a pitcher who actually turns his head away as he throws the ball. He doesn’t even look at the target as he releases the pitch.
Garrett Anderson at bat. That eye still looks bad. There was an article in the Orange County Register today where Mike Scioscia expressed surprise about Anderson saying his eye was affecting his vision in Game 1. Apparently, Anderson had told Scioscia that everything was OK. It goes to show, managers should not trust players when it comes to injuries. Of course, tonight he’s 2-for-2, so any speculation about the first game is moot. 3-2 count to GA. Flies out to center. He’s now 2-for-3. 2 outs.
Izturis strikes out. On to the bottom of the 7th, score tied, Ortiz due up.
8:47 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 2 out, 3-3: So Shields comes in, gets a couple of outs, then delivers back-to-back walks to Ortiz and Ramirez. Admittedly, Papi had a great at bat, fouling off a few. But for Manny, Scot Shields couldn’t get the ball below the shoulders. He comes out, has some great at-bats, then some lousy ones.
And people wonder why I’m nervous.
Thankfully, he gets Lowell to pop out to Figgins. End of the 7th. Still tied.
9:12 PM: Bottom of the 8th, no outs, 3-3: Dammit. We **** near had Papelbon. Runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 out, and Figgins at the plate. Chone struck out looking. It’s not at all likely that we’ll have that opportunity again.
Nice part was that they made Papelbon throw a LOT a pitches. Twenty-five that inning, in fact. Considering that he’ll most probably be back in the 9th (he is the Red Sox closer, of course), the more you tire him, the better your chances.
Speier is in to pitch, and Chone Figgins is in right field for Vladimir Guerrero. Vladdy was due up 2nd in the 9th, but is now out of the lineup. Odd. Now they’re saying that Vladdy is out of the game due to a bruise suffered from the HBP he took in the 7th. Great, just great. As if we don’t have enough offensive problems.
Speier has gotten Drew and Varitek to ground out. 2 outs. Crisp flies out to Figgins in right. On to the 9th, 3-3 tie.
9:41 PM: Bottom of the 9th, 2 out, 3-3: This is just **** nerve wracking. K-Rod is in now, Julio Lugo is on 2nd, Papi coming up. They’re walking Ortiz, and I can’t blame them a bit. So two out, two on, Manny Ramirez vs. Francisco Rodriguez. Come on, Frankie, I don’t care how shaky you’ve been all year. We remember the 2002 World Series and how dominating you were. Channel that. Get them out.
Nevermind. Manny hits it out. Red Sox wins.
Anybody remember what I said a while back?
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.
Welcome to the ALDS Angels Live Blog! Be sure to add me to your MSN Messenger friends list and chat with me while watching the game on TBS today!
October 3rd, 2007 – 3:15 PM: 15 minutes to game time! The Rockies just beat the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS.
It’s hard to believe the season has gone by so quickly, and here we are in the first day of playoffs! Combine the excitement of this season with the feeling that, as I get older, every year is only half as long as the one before it, I suppose the 2007 baseball season was just destined to fly by as if it were piloted by Chuck Yeager.
This isn’t the match-up I’d have wanted though. In fact, I’m downright terrified of the Red Sox. The Angels are probably the only team in baseball who’d rather face the Yankees than anybody else in the playoffs, but I have to remember that all these fears and hopes are based on years past; they mean nothing today. Yeah, Boston has eliminated the Angels from the playoffs twice. In 1986, in infamous Dave Henderson home run against Donnie Moore. In 2004, the Red Sox swept the Angels on their way to a World Series Championship.
But that is all meaningless. The regular season is meaningless. The only thing that matters are the next five games.
And we’ve got just as good a shot as anybody.
3:39 PM: Top of the First, no out, 0-0: Play ball! I’ve just been informed that Figgins (leading off tonight, as usual) ended the year on an 0-22 slump. But still he batted .330. I suppose I would have known that if I had actually watched the last few games of the season, rather than suffer through Hudler burnout and a desire not to watch my team phone it in and rest.
WOOHOO! Figgins leads off with a hit off Dustin Pedroia’s glove! Good start!
3:46 PM: Middle of the First, 0-0: Figgins gets on with a single, steals two bases (well, both were hit-and-runs), and Garret Anderson strikes out to end the inning. Speaking of GA, his eye looks HORRIBLE. Apparently he has conjunctivitis, and it has nearly swollen his right eye shut. I have no idea how he can see a pitch clearly with that, but the doctors cleared him to play, so again, what do I know?
3:58 PM: Bottom of the first, 1-0 Boston: Dammit. Lackey Meltdown Inning #1. A solo home run by Kevin Youkilis. No biggie, a solo shot won’t hurt you. But then he puts two runners on, and requires a visit from the coaching staff.
Nice. Pop-up by Lowell. 2 out. J.D. Drew up. Ack! Dad’s home, I gotta help him out of the car.
Woohoo! I come back in, the Angels got out of it! 1-0 Boston.
4:19 PM: Top of the 3rd, no outs, 1-0 Boston: Well, it looks like Lackey got his meltdown inning out of the way early (knock on wood), and it wasn’t too bad. He blew through them in the 2nd. Single to Varitek, double play, single to Lugo, caught stealing.
Now TBS is becoming like ESPN. They just missed an at-bat because they had to get their commercials in. 1 out, Willits at bat. If you’d have told me in March that Reggie Willits would have had the year he’s had, I’d have called you crazy. But Willits above anybody else in this lineup has proven how flexible and loaded the Angels are.
You know, I have no idea who is calling this game, but I like ’em. They’re low key, they’re not overtly rooting for Boston like McCarver and Buck would be doing, and they’re definitely not Hudler and Physioc. Somebody tell Arte Moreno to hire these guys.
Willits pops out to Manny Ramirez. Figgins up again. It was nice to see him lead off with a hit. That first at-bat can lay the ground work for an entire series. Don’t believe me? If A-Rod gets a hit in his first at-bat tomorrow, look to see how big the smile on his face is.
Strikeout. Beckett is on his game so far, I’ll give him that. Middle of the 3rd, 1-0 Boston. Let’s go Big John Lackey!
4:31 PM: Bottom of the 3rd, 1 out, 3-0 Red Sox: Double to Youkilis, and a shot by David Ortiz that still hasn’t landed. Seven hits Lackey has given up so far. Dammit.
Now a walk to Manny Ramirez. You can see it on his face, the frustration. I’ve been saying it all year, Arte Moreno needs to hire a good sports psychologist. This pitching staff can handle the physical side of the game; they’re toast on the mental side. And while Lackey has been mentally tougher this year, allowing many fewer meltdown innings this year, look at Ervin Santana, Scot Shields, and Francisco Rodriguez.
Lowell singles to center, Manny scores.
Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo.
4:56 PM: Top of the 5th, no outs, 4-0 Red Sox: It appears that even innings are GOOD for Lackey, odd innings BAD. Lackey blew through the Sox in the bottom of the fourth.
Of course, Beckett has blown through the Angels in every inning.
Izturis pops up, but had a **** of an at-bat, going into a full count. More Angels need to be doing that.
HEY! Jose Mota got a job for the playoffs! He just did some commentary from the field level. If I have to see a familiar face from the Angels broadcasting team, at least it was Mota. If Hudler had shown up, I may have puked.
Kotchman strikes out. 5 K’s, 14 consecutive batters retired by Beckett. Yeah, he owns us tonight.
Let’s change that. GO ANGELS! Ah, Kendrick grounds out. 15 straight.
****, it’s an odd inning. Cross your fingers, pray for John Lackey.
5:28 PM: Top of the 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Boston: 19 straight outs for Beckett. The guy OWNS us tonight. The heart of the order is batting this inning, with Vlad up right now. He’s 0-for-2 tonight. ****, everybody except Figgins is 0-for.
Hey! Vladimir Guerrero gets a hit! OK guys, time to start a rally here!
Just please don’t break out a monkey in the dugout…
Now Garret Anderson pops up. I’d like to blame his eye, but if that’s the case, then everybody seems to have an eye infection tonight. Two outs.
And Izturis grounds out. Josh Beckett is unbeatable.
5:38 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 1 out, 4-0 Boston: Ervin Santana is in the game, Lackey is out. Seems weird to see Ervin in there in relief. And it’s not at all comforting. Last year, it would have been great. But unfortunately, Santana is the strongest indicator of the mental fragility of the Angels pitching staff this year. Though he looks pretty decent right now… Two strikeouts, a pop fly foul caught by Izturis, and the inning is over. Good job, Ervin.
6:10 PM: Final Score: 4-0 Boston: OK, Lackey wasn’t horrible. Sure, he had his problems, but he hung in there and pitched a decent game. Not great, but acceptable.
I sure with the bats had shown up.
Garret Anderson looked silly at the plate tonight. I don’t care what he says, having his right eye (the lead eye for a left-handed batter) swelled shut like that had to affect him, and it showed. But he wasn’t alone. The entire lineup might as well have dragged along seeing-eye dogs to Fenway as effective as they were.
OK, so we’re down 1-0. It’s not the end of the world. But the offense has to show up Friday, and they have to pound Matsuzaka early and often.
If not, it’ll be a sad day in Anaheim on Sunday.
God I hate the Red Sox.
In just a few minutes, the first pitch of the 2007 playoffs will be thrown. In roughly 3 hours 38 minutes, the Boston Red Sox will host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game 1 of the ALDS on TBS!
And, I will be liveblogging it.
Join me here and on MSN Messenger as you watch the game! Just load up the front page of this blog, refreshing it occaisionally as I update the post. Sign into your MSN Messenger and add my as a friend so you can chat with me, ask questions, rag on me for being an Angels fan, whatever you want! My MSN screenname is:
Here’s a few examples of my previous liveblogging efforts:
I’ll see you here at 3:30 PM PST (6:30 PM EST)!
7:32 PM: Bottom of the 2nd, 2 out, 0-0: Whew! What a day! I planned on giving tonight’s entry a full live blog, but dinner tonight (a nice steak at Outback) has proven my grandfather’s theory that the stomach is directly connected to the eyelids, and that extra weight in there from food can make it impossible to keep the eyes open!
I can’t believe I forgot to mention this last night, but the Angels are in SOLE possession of the best record in Major League Baseball! Well, at least they were until Cleveland won today and tied it up. Two days ago, it was a three-way tie between the Angels, Boston, and Cleveland. Tonight, if the Angels win, they’ll be in sole possession of it once again…
7:41 PM: Bottom of the 3rd, no outs, 0-0: I’m trying to pull up MSN Messenger right now (yes, Chris, that’s for you), but now it appears they’ve made a new version and I have to install that. Of course, with Microsoft, it’s never just one thing. Upon installing, I had to make sure to disable about fifty things. Otherwise, I’d have had a new home page in my Internet Explorer (which I never use anyway, as I abhor things like endless pop-up ads, slow web browsing, and easily hacked programs), an account with Rhapsody (thanks, Microsoft, but I already have Limewire), and the legal rights to 3 of my first 5 children.
7:49 PM: Top of the 4th, 1 out, 0-0: Maybe I should actually talk about the game. Not that there’s a lot to talk about. A pitcher’s duel so far. There used to be something romantic about the pitcher’s duel. Whenever I read stories of Sandy Koufax hurling 13 innings of shutout ball, it makes me sigh enviously, wishing against common sense that one day I’ll be at a park to see that.
I say "against common sense" because you and I both know that sitting in a ballpark watching two pitchers throw shutouts into extra innings would be excruciatingly boring. First off, in the day of pitch counts and "Joba Rules," you’re NEVER going to see a pitcher go that long with a mere shutout. In fact, I’d be willing to lay good money that if some pitcher threw PERFECT ball, he wouldn’t be allowed to go that long by many managers. Which is a **** shame.
But again, it’s not all about relief pitchers and the game treating starters like they’re made of porcelain. It’s the game itself. Go back and look up old box scores from when Koufax or Feller or any of those guys were hurling. Most of the time, you’d be hard pressed to find a 9-inning game that took longer than 2 hours. Today, you have to tack an hour onto that, if not more. Last weekend, the Yankees and Red Sox played a nine inning game that lasted 4 hours, 45 minutes.
Why the difference? I’m sure there are a lot of them, but the most likely culprit is television. With all that advertising time to sell, the networks don’t want a game with little downtime. They want longer periods between innings, more pitching changes, more time to be able to go to commercial.
I’d be perfectly alright by me to sit there for two hours and watch a pitcher’s duel. But when they run a minimum of three hours, they tend to get tedious.
Well, it seems I don’t have to worry, as Seattle scored (unnoticed by me) as I was writing that.
8:36 PM: Top of the 6th, 1 out, 4-0 Seattle: ****. Literally, I suppose. See, I had to answer nature’s call (taking the book I’m reading with me, of course), and I come back to find the Halos down 4-0. Jarrod Washburn is throwing a **** of a game. He just isn’t throwing it for the Angels.
First thing, the game ain’t over yet. As my liveblog from the last series against Seattle shows, it truly ain’t over until it’s over.
Now it’s 5-0. No worries.
****, you can’t win them all, can you?
I actually won’t be too upset if they lose tonight. Sure, it’d be nice to clinch the division (and the first playoff spot in baseball) tonight, but it’s not like that ain’t gonna happen. If not tonight, then tomorrow or the next.
See, that’s the key right there: The next. That would be Sunday afternoon, 9/23. The last home game of the year. Fan appreciation.
And my dad and I just happen to have tickets for that game.
So, were the Angels to lose tonight, it won’t be that big a deal. They’ll only be a half game behind the Indians for the best record in baseball. And, if they lose tomorrow, it’s no skin off their backs. The magic number is, after all, a measly one game. They will clinch eventually. Of course, if they lose tonight AND tomorrow, I’d hope that the Indians and Red Sox lose as well, but there’s still seven games or so to fight for the best record in baseball. I wouldn’t like to see a loss or two in a row, but if it happens, it happens.
Because, if they fail tonight and tomorrow and win on Sunday, I’ll be there to see them clinch.
Also, it’s Fan Appreciation Day! I get a 2007 Team Photo when I walk in the gate! I get to delude myself into thinking that I might win 2008 season tickets or other fabulous prizes!
Most important is simply that I get to see the Angels one more time this season in person.
9:27 PM: Top of the 9th, no outs, 6-0 Mariners: Well, if anything is gonna happen, this is the inning. As I’m sure you can tell from my writing tonight, I haven’t exactly been glued to the TV set for this game. My interest just isn’t piqued tonight.
Wow, Ichiro just hit into a double play… That’s something you don’t see every day.
Anyway, as I was saying earlier, if the Angels lose tonight and tomorrow, then come back to win on Sunday, I’ll be there when they clinch. And after what I just read, that scenario looks very possible. It’s not like it’s a great surprise that something is wrong with Kelvim Escobar. Anybody who has watched his last four starts or so knows that he hasn’t had the same stuff he had through August. The surprise here is who is pitching in his place tomorrow.
Yes, that’s right, "El Gordo" is back! Just last week, SI.com printed the rumor that Bartolo Colon had made his last start for the Angels (at home at least), but now it looks as though that ain’t true.
If I’m a Seattle fan, I’m happy about that news.
****, so long as he doesn’t pitch on Sunday, I’m OK with it.
Wow, now we’re at the bottom of the 9th, two outs… Make that three. 6-0 Seattle. No more best record in baseball, but no worries.
What was originally supposed to be a day game is about to go live at 5:06 PM in Anaheim, as the Powers That Be decided that the Angels are worthy of ESPN2’s Sunday Night Baseball!
Either that, or they just LOVE the Rangers…
John Lackey just walked out of the dugout, I just logged in to MSN Messenger (send me a message or question at SIDSPINMOVE@HOTMAIL.COM), and I’m ready for a great night of Angels Baseball!
Well, I hope it’s a great night of Angels Baseball. It’s very possible that it’ll be like the last two nights…
But John Lackey is going for a Major-League leading 17th win, so hopefully we’ll see a great game!
And, thankfully, NO HUDLER OR PHYSIOC!
Thank you for coming to Anaheim, John Miller and Joe Morgan!
5:38 PM: Top of the 3rd, 0 outs, 0-0: And here’s something weird, something I wasn’t expecting to see this season: Juan Rivera in the lineup.
We lost Rivera to a broken leg right before Christmas last year while he was playing Winter Ball in Puerto Rico. I was expecting him to provide some power behind Vlad, then suddenly he was gone until July. Obviously, his rehab didn’t go as expected, as July came and went with no Juan Rivera.
But the way the Angels have been playing, I’d forgotten all about him. And with the second best record in baseball, it’s not like the Angels have missed him.
But now, in the final month of the season, we suddenly get this gift of the return of Juan Rivera. He hit 23 home runs for the Halos last year, and if he’s back to his old form, that extra added power will certainly help.
5:44 PM: Top of the 3rd, 1 out, 2-0 Rangers: Is this a Lackey implosion inning? He just gave up a home run (I missed it, as my dad for some reason likes NASCAR), and then hit the next batter. Got a warning for it, too. But the way Lackey can get rattled, you have to wonder if it was done on purpose… Only John Lackey knows for sure!
I love how the Angels go in and tear Seattle apart, play great ball against the best MLB has to offer, but they’ve been struggling against the Rangers this series. It’s like the sweep the KC Royals handed them in July… Just makes you shake your head and go "Huh?"
Come on, John! Settle down, remember that your offense is good for those two runs plus a few more, and move toward win #17!
6:29 PM: Bottom of the 5th, 2 out, 2-2: Jeff Mathis made it a new game with his SHOT to center field, and both pitchers have been on their games tonight.
So, in the middle of a tight game, ESPN and John Miller have to spend an entire half inning talking about Vladimir Guerrero’s mother’s cooking. And now Orlando Cabrera hits a double down the left field line, driving in Jeff Mathis for the lead, and THANKFULLY they were done showing Mama Guerrero cooking rice and beans and we got to see the WHOLE at bat, unlike the previous few.
Geesh. Why does EVERYTHING have to be a human interest story? Don’t these guys have faith that some people might be able to be entertained by the game itself? If you want to do that stuff, do it during a pitching change or between innings. Wait, I forgot, that’s the time for more commercials…
Woohoo! They intentionally walk Vlad, and Garret Anderson hits a bloop single into left field, scoring Willits and OC! 5-2 Angels!
7:08 PM: Seventh Inning Stretch, 5-4 Angels: Scott just PM’d me on MSN with the following observation about Vladdy’s mother sending Dominican food up to the booth for John Miller:
"I think Vlad’s mom is mackin’ it to Joe Morgan with meatballs."
Makes sense, as Vlad’s dad abandoned the family years ago. Old Dominican mothers need love too!
I’m getting a bit tired of ESPN’s broadcast tonight, as is Scott, the reason he’s making fun of the whole food inning. They have been consistently cutting off the announcers mid-sentence as soon as the inning is over, splitting the screen and showing the Angels game in a small, soundless box while giving updates and clips from other sporting events (even the NASCAR race), and basically assuming that we viewers have extremely short attention spans.
John Miller and Joe Morgan are great (comparatively, at least), but the broadcast quality has been annoying.
Lackey was pulled after 6 2/3 innings. He gave up another home run to bring Texas within one, and put two more on with 2 outs in the 7th. Justin Speier (a GREAT guy who is always friendly with the fans) got him out of the inning.
So Big John Lackey can’t get the loss tonight.
I can only hope he doesn’t walk away with a No Decision.
But with the game as close as it is, naturally Scioscia will bring in Frankie "BB-Rod" Rodriguez, making it a GOOD chance John won’t get the win.
7:25 PM: Top of the 8th, bases loaded, 1 out, 5-4 Angels: Come on, Shields! What has been wrong with Scot Shields lately? He was almost unhittable until about the second week of August, and now he seems to have contracted the mental illness that runs rampant through the Angels pitching staff… Now, on a 2-2 count, the batter has been fouling off the last few pitches…
There’s another foul… Nice at bat by Hank Blalock…
7:51 PM: Bottom of the 9th, 0 outs, 8-5 Rangers: OK, so here it is, let’s see if the Halos have a miracle in store.
Howie Kendrick up. 0-for-3 tonight, but batting over .400 since he returned from the DL. Kendrick doubles… TRIPLES! Nice way to start the inning! Ah, error on Hairston, so double plus an extra base. Still, nice way to start!
Gary Matthews Jr. up… Ah, ****, K-Rod is warming up… And a K on a check swing. One out.
Rob Quinland… BASE HIT! Tying run comes to the plate!
Mathis up… 2-0 count. He had a home run earlier, but Jeff Mathis ain’t exactly a home run hero. I’ll take a base hit here, though, keep the rally going. Ah, Ron Washington out to talk to the pitcher… IN THERE WITH A DOUBLE!!!
Reggie Willits up now! What a time this would be for his first Major League home run! One out, runners on 2nd and 3rd… Tying run in scoring position… Nathan Haynes in to pinch run for Quinland on 2nd. Willits 0-for-3 tonight with a walk. Infield is in… Wow, I haven’t heard an Anaheim fan chant "REG-GIE! REG-GIE! REG-GIE!" since Reggie Jackson was here! 1-2 count… COME ON REGGIE! Fast ball, fouled back. Count now 2-2. FULL COUNT!
Gotta throw him something good now! Come on Reggie! 3-2 pitch… foul, and a piece of his bat went with it. Another foul ball. GREAT at-bat, Reggie! Make it a PERFECT one! LET’S GO REGGIE! Dammit, I sound like a Rally Monkey… Ah, broken bat, caught by Vasquez at 3rd.
One more chance w/ Orlando Cabrera. Ooh, BAD swing on a low fastball. 0-1. OOH! HIT BY A PITCH!
BASES LOADED FOR VLADIMIR GUERRERO!!! "BIG DADDY" VLADDY! BAD VLAD! VLAD THE IMPALER!
First pitch… check swing, didn’t go around. 1-0. If there’s one guy Texas does not want to see w/ the bases loaded right now, it’s Vladimir Guerrero. Foul ball, 1-1. Wow, grown men in good seats with stuffed Rally Monkeys. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose… Wow, ball two, right at his head. 2-2 count. One strike left… The pitch WAY outside, 3-2.
Full count. Bases loaded. Two outs. EVERYBODY is moving on this one. Most exciting play in baseball… WALKED HIM! 8-7 Angels!
Garret Anderson up. He’s finally getting the respect he deserves, but it’s already 0-2 against him. Time to be a hero, Garret… Third pitch WAY high. A single will do it here… fouled off, he’s still alive… And a check swing strikeout.
9:39 PM: Post game thoughts:
And away we go! Another night of liveblogging, another GREAT game against Seattle, a great day for me with my article published by MLB.com, and we lucky Angels fans get to listen to Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc again tonight! Umm… Well, I suppose three out of four ain’t too bad. I have a few minutes before game time, so I think I’ll use this opportunity to complain.
A few years ago, I bought the first season of M*A*S*H* on DVD. I’ve always loved the show, and having it available uncut was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. When I popped in the first disc and checked out the special features, I noticed the greatest thing EVER done with a sitcom on DVD: In the audio options, you had the ability to watch the episodes with the original laugh track or without it. Naturally, I turned the laugh track off, and was surprised to find myself laughing at the funny jokes. Without any prompting.
As I said last night, Hudler and Physioc are like a laugh track for baseball. Rather than just calling the game, they feel that we fans at home are too stupid to know how to root, so they root for the Angels for us. And I can’t stomach that.
Perhaps I’m a bit spoiled, growing up in the Land of Vin Scully, but I feel that an announcer’s job is to announce. Not to be a dyed-in-the-wool homer. Not to get overly excited on every play by the home team (I’m looking at you, Physioc). Not to make stupid statements, ridiculous predictions, or otherwise interject opinions into the broadcast.
Simply announce the game. Give the viewer some historical context, some trivia, some enlightenment. But don’t treat us like complete idiots. I am an Angels fan. I know enough to get excited when the Angels do well, I don’t need announcers to prod me. And I absolutely do not need anybody in the broadcast booth making excuses when my team screws up.
Hudler usually faces the brunt of my displeasure, but I have to say that Steve Physioc is at least as much to blame. Listen to a Dodger game sometime with Charlie Steiner and Steve Lyons. Much like Rex Hudler, Steve Lyons says some pretty idiotic things, but unlike Physioc, Charlie Steiner CALLS HIM ON IT. He doesn’t ignore it, he doesn’t fuel it, he manages to somehow keep the atmosphere in the booth light and still let Steve Lyons know he’s an idiot.
Not so with Physioc.
Steve Physioc really could be a good announcer if only he’d try. First, he needs to stop putting up with the dunce he’s been paired with in the booth. Second, he needs to stop being such a homer and just call the game. And lastly, he needs to learn to adjust his emotional timbre. When listening to Physioc, he gets just as excited (which is very, very excited) when the Angels turn a double play in the 3rd, hit one up the middle in the 5th, or win the game with a walk-off grand slam in the 14th inning. Vin Scully gets excited only at opportune moments; not whenever the Dodgers do somewhat good.
Oooh, game’s starting! More later…
7:11 PM: Top of the 1st, no outs, 0-0: Jeff Weaver on the mound for Seattle. First of all, I think it’s a shame that the Seattle and Anaheim rotations didn’t line up to pit brother vs. brother tonight. I’d have loved to see Jered Weaver kick his brother’s *** out there.
While many Angels fans (bandwagoners) may disagree with me and think Hudler and Physioc are the best thing since Harry Caray, I’m sure there are few who will disagree with me and my hatred of Jeff Weaver. And the fact that Jeff has now given up two hits with only one out makes me (and most of Angels fandom) smile and giggle with glee. More than any one person, it is Jeff Weaver’s fault that the Angels missed the playoffs last year. Going 3-10 for the Angels while having excellent run support (and posting a 6.29 ERA in that period) was inexcusable, especially as he’d been granted a huge contract in the offseason. The rest of the Angels staff was winning last year, yet he just got on the mound and kept losing and losing. Eventually, not a tear was shed in Anaheim when he was designated for assignment to make room for his brother.
Unfortunately, this hack then signed on with St. Louis, where he went on to win a World Series.
It warmed my heart when he signed a big contract with Seattle this year, and proceded to become the weakest link in their rotation.
Garret Anderson strikes out on the hit-and-run, and Orlando Cabrera is caught at 3rd base. *****. Middle of the 1st, 0-0.
Here’s hoping the Angels remember how much this guy let them down last year.
7:20 PM: Bottom of the 1st, no outs, 0-0 Angels: Ichiro leads off with a triple. I completely forgot that Ervin Santana was pitching for the Angels tonight. Great. Well, if I can’t get a brother-vs-brother match up, I’ll settle for this one: Last year’s head case disappointment vs. this year’s disappointing head case.
7:33 PM: Bottom of the 1st, 1 out, 5-0 Mariners: Yeah, that’s right, five runs. And only one out. Scioscia just went out and pulled Santana, so while the end result of the game is yet to be determined (though I’d bet the farm on who’s gonna win this game), it seems that Weaver has won the Battle of the Disappointing Head Cases.
Boy, nothing better than having to go to the bullpen with only one out in the first inning. Dustin Moseley is a long reliever, but tonight he’s basically a starting pitcher.
I’m conflicted right now. As an Angels fan, of course I want the win, and I hope Moseley comes in, shuts the Mariners down, and gets the victory. But if that happens, then the sting of Santana’s outing will not hurt so much, and it will be forgotten much sooner.
I mean, come on, the guy gave up FOUR TRIPLES. In 1/3 of an inning. Wait, strike that, they didn’t score Beltre’s hit as a triple, it’s a double plus he took third.
7:55 PM: Top of the 3rd, no outs, 5-1 Mariners: Nights like these make me want to take my anger out on Peter Angelos (owner of the Orioles) – last year, a trade was all but approved to send Ervin Santana and Eric Aybar to Baltimore for Miguel Tejada.
We probably would have done better with Tejada pitching tonight.
Either way, I have to remember that this team is capable of making up those runs. Despite my pessimism, there is a chance they can come back.
Though it’s not much of a chance. Going down 5-0 in the 1st and having a starting pitcher not capable of making more than one out is **** on the psyche of the team, and it makes it very difficult to overcome.
I suppose it’s not so bad that the last episode of "The Bronx Is Burning" is on tonight. While I’ll still flip back to the game during commercials, I won’t miss watching this embarrassment all that much.
8:25 PM: End of the 4th, 5-3 Mariners: Hmmm… May be a lot of words I have to eat soon. ****, I hope I have to eat those words. None of them about Santana, of course. Just about the game in general.
I can hardly breathe right now. Nothing to do with the game, mind you. I just went into my back yard, and one of my cats snuck out (all our cats are indoor cats). I let them out once in a while if I’m going out, just to let them munch some grass and roll around on the pavement, so I figured there was no harm in it. Well, the cat was sniffing around the patio, and came across a bug or something (I didn’t see it). He started playing with it, and it must have flown off, as he went chasing after it. I’d give him some credit for what happened next, considering how dark it is outside, but cats are supposed to have excellent night vision, so I think it’s just that this cat is stupid. So he chased off after the bug or whatever it was, running straight at it and paying no mind to the ground underneath him.
Which ended abruptly in his path, giving way to my swimming pool.
Let me tell you, you haven’t experienced comedy until you’ve seen a cat accidentally run straight into a swimming pool.
8:33 PM: Top of the 5th, 1 out, 5-4 Mariners: And down goes the second Disappointing Head Case. I suppose I should have been paying more attention, as the Angels have slowly started to come back in the game, but I’ve been too busy sending psychic beams of loathing to Rex Hudler, laughing at my cat, and wondering what the **** happened to Ervin Santana between last season and this season (best guess: his uncle touched him in a bad place after the Santana family Christmas dinner). So Garret Anderson is now up with Cabrera (the tying run) at 3rd and Vlad (the go-ahead run) at 2nd. And "The Bronx Is Burning" starting in 23 minutes.
I can’t really go any further without giving a lot of credit to Dustin Moseley. Hopefully, tonight is an audition for the 5th spot in the rotation and Ervin Santana has either a locker assignment in the bullpen or a plane ticket to Salt Lake City.
Anderson flies to Center – OC comes to the plate – cut off throws to third – Vlad SAFE!!! GAME IS TIED!!!
What a throw by Ichiro. This has to hurt the Seattle dugout, though. They were given the gift of 5 early runs off Ervin "Batting Practice" Santana, and they can’t hold onto it. Of course, it’s their own fault for signing Weaver. Had they asked me, I’d have advised against it. But nobody ever asks me. Hence why they get in these situations.
Top half of the inning over. But the Angels have tied it!
9:27 PM: Bottom of the 7th, 0 out, 6-5 Angels: I don’t know how it happened, but color me surprised as the Angels have taken the lead! Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.
If this holds, it certainly looks like I’m going to have to eat some words.
Speier is in pitching now. The crowd at Safeco Field was going insane in the first inning, and their silence now speaks volumes. As I said earlier with the confidence of the dugout, it has to go double in the stands. Last night John Lackey crushed the Mariners. Tonight, the offense has negated the big hole in the starting lineup.
I can only imagine how deafening it would be in Anaheim if this happened.
10:05 PM: Bottom of the 8th, 2 out, 10-6 Angels: "The Bronx Is Burning" is over. Great series, it’s a **** shame it didn’t catch on. Ooh, end of the 8th!
During a commercial at about 9:45 or so, I walked in to see the Mariners had tied it up. Ten minutes later, I came back to see the Angels had gone ahead 7-6 and Vladdy was up with the bases loaded. He then drove in two. I got a call from my friend Scott, and while I was talking to him another scored.
As I said to him, this is truly the first time this season I’ve felt the Angels could win it all. I’ve known they have the stuff since last year. Sure, they started out crappy this year after that first road trip, but as they started turning it on, you knew this was the best team the Angels have fielded in a few years. They’ve had all kinds of trouble with their rotation, but still have some of the strongest starting pitching in baseball. They won through it all, and I’ve never doubted that they could stick it out and maybe win the whole thing.
But tonight is the first time I’ve truly felt it, experienced it emotionally. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be shocked if they don’t win the World Series or even the Western Division Championship – it only means that I’m willing to devote myself emotionally to the chase of the title, that my heart feels what my head has known for quite some time.
10:13 PM: Bottom of the 9th, 0 out, 10-6 Angels: Shields in for the 9th (I didn’t realize he was in for the 8th), but I’m happy to see that he’s thrown a good inning and can close it out. All Scot needs is a little confidence. It’s not a save situation (though if K-Rod were in, he’d quickly make it one), but if he can close this out without giving up a run, it’ll go a long way to getting Shields back to the form he’s recently lost sight of.
Well, there’s a hit to Jojima. Dammit, K-Rod is warming up. I suppose I spoke too soon. I’m by no means a master of all baseball knowledge, and I’m not all that familiar as to what exactly makes a save situation, but if Rodriguez comes in with a runner on and a 4 run lead, isn’t that a save situation? Butcher out to talk to him… Whew! Didn’t pull him. JUST SAY NO TO RODRIGUEZ!
These last two games have just been amazing to me. The Mariners have been on our *** most of the season, a fierce competitor, having us Angel fans anxiously looking in the rearview mirror. To go into their house with a slim two-game lead and shut them down in game one then show that the Angels will not be shut down in game two, it has to be disheartening.
Strike out. one out.
Pop out to Morales. Two out.
The fact that they could overcome the ding in the morale when Seattle extended their batting practice into the first inning tonight shows a lot, and that’s the reason I now feel they can beat anybody. I don’t care how much a better team Boston is than Anaheim, in a short series these Angels can take them.
Ichiro up with two outs. He started the slaughter with a triple in the first inning.
And the crowd. To hear a crowd go from ecstatic in the first to resigned in the ninth, in a way it feels great.
3-2 count to Ichiro. Holy ****, Scot Shields strikes out Ichiro looking!
WHAT A COMEBACK!
As an Angels fan for going on three decades, I’ve experienced that resignation many, many times. It’s what makes a winning season so sweet. In his resignation speech, Richard Nixon said "It’s only after you’ve been in the deepest valley that you can truly appreciate how great it is to stand on the tallest peak," and in many ways I pity those fans who didn’t care about this team until 2002. They just don’t know how majestic the view is up here.
The season ain’t over yet, but this series (thus far) has been like the Yankees and Boston last year in August, when the Yanks swept the Sox in Boston and killed any chance of them making a run at the AL East. If they win tomorrow, it’ll be known as the "Seattle Massacre."
Or, at least it would be if anybody at ESPN or any other sports news outlet gave a **** about the West Coast.
10:37 PM: Final score – Angels 10, Mariners 6: The game has been over for 15 minutes or so, but I just have to get a few more words in about this wonderful game. It goes to show you how great a game we have here. Even in a season of 162 games, every single one is important, and some can be of such importance that they end up being the one point in a season you point to where everything turned around, fell apart, or where everything came together. I feel that this is one of those for both the Angels and Mariners. Regardless of whether the Angels win or lose tomorrow, the last two games, but tonight’s specifically, really showed the Mariners and the world who is in charge of the American League West.
I’ve always loved September baseball. I love the pennant race, and the Wild Card has done nothing but make it more exciting by bringing more teams into it. But this September looks like it’s going to be something special.
It looks like it’s going to belong to Anaheim.
Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
7:10 PM: Top of the first, no outs, 0-0: And it begins again! As I said in my earlier post, this is probably the most important series the Angels have played so far this year. I don’t like seeing tonight’s lineup – still no Figgins & Kotchman. I tell you, the Angels have been missing these guys the last few games. Either one of these guys by himself would leave a big hole in the lineup this year – to lose both of them at once has hurt, as the Angels scoring these last few games has shown. They still split the four-game series with Toronto, who have owned the Angels the last five years, but with them, I feel we could have done better.
And Reggie Willits is on with a lead-off hit & a good at bat!
Great way to start the game!
Ouch… Cabrera hits into a double play… NOT a good way to start a game…
And Guerrero pops out. Well, one inning down, nine more to play.
Hopefully Lackey can hold it together and not fall apart like he has his last two starts.
7:23 PM: Bottom of the first, 1 out, 0-0: Well, at least John Lackey had a no-hitter for one out. Here’s hoping he doesn’t start panicking because he has a man on base.
I just learned (via Steve Physioc) that today is "Mariner Monday" in Seattle. Good for them. Of course, I should probably mention that Angels fans don’t need to be reminded to wear red to the park. Of course, that’s probably because most of them are so new that they don’t own an Angels item that isn’t red. Yes, I figured out a way to bash bandwagoners in this entry.
The most interesting thing in that article to me is that there are (or were at press time) tickets available for this series. Not only have the Mariners had an outstanding season, nipping at the heals of the Angels most of the season, but here they are with a three game series against the AL West leader in Seattle, a chance to finally take the lead in the division (if Seattle sweeps), and they can’t sell out the stadium.
I guess you need to win a World Series to get a capacity crowd of bandwagoners (that’s twice!)
Inning over. 0-0.
7:58 PM: Bottom of the 3rd, no outs, 3-0 Angels: Rule of thumb: DO NOT throw Garret Anderson high fastballs. Thanks to two mistakes like that, the Angels are up 3-0 on a solo shot and a two-run double by Anderson. But there’s few things quite so nice as jumping out to an early lead, especially against your main competition. Especially when John Lackey is on the mound. Now, if he gives up a hit or, God forbid, a run, maybe ho won’t panic so much with that little cushion.
I have to give it to Lackey tonight. He’s really on his game so far. Of course, the mere act of typing that has jinxed him, and the runner he has on first right now will probably be the first of an onslaught of runs he gives up due to my mistake of typing that. Ichiro is up, and hitting .571 in his last 8 home games against the Angels. Well, blooper there, so make that a bit higher. First and third, one out. See? What did I tell you?
If you’re going to praise John Lackey, make sure you do it AFTER he wins.
8:23 PM: Bottom of the 4th, 1 out, 4-0 Angels: Wow, how often do you see a Suicide Squeeze nowadays? Mathis laid down a perfect bunt while Gary Matthews sprinted toward home. That’s why you gotta love this team – they keep on pushing, fighting for one more run regardless of the score.
Baseball in recent years has been more and more geared toward the long ball. If you didn’t have the big bats, you didn’t compete. It’s refreshing not only to see a team do the best with what it has, but to gear the team and offense toward "small ball."
As much as people complained about not getting a "big bat" in the off season (present company included), I think by now you have to realize that it wasn’t all that necessary.
9:10 PM: Top of the 8th, no outs, 6-0 Angels: I’m kind of impressed by the fact that I did not jinx John Lackey. Usually, I’m afraid to even look at the guy, much less talk about him when he’s pitching. Every game he throws he seems so fragile, like he’s holding onto the game, the lead, and his pitching ability by a single string, a strand of spider silk made of ice crystals. So to see him dominate the Seattle Mariners, shutting them out over 7 innings, warms my heart.
This is completely different than I feel watching Frankie Rodriguez. With Lackey, I feel like I’m watching a toddler inching closer and closer to a rabid chained-up pit bull. Everything around this dog is a perfect circle of sterile destruction, and I’m watching a two-year-old fascinated by the doggy, scared a bit by the barking and slobbering, but nonetheless inching his was closer and closer to the circle of doom. My sphincter clenches, I try to look away, and I hope he’ll somehow avoid those slavering fangs.
With K-Rod, I feel like I’m watching his mother. It’s a definite sense of fatalistic dread. It’s more like watching the above mentioned toddler’s mother. Rather than the fear and trepidation felt in the Lackey situation, this is watching the mother put the baby down by Michael Vick’s pit bull so she can share a hit off a crack pipe with some stranger in an alley. I get angry and resign myself to the fact that no matter the what happens when Frankie pitches, the chances of it ending well aren’t good.
Bottom of the 8th: Wow, Lackey’s back out for the 8th… Gotta love that! I suppose when you haven’t given up a run to a team in three appearances this season, you deserve a shot at the complete game shutout…
But yeah, K-Rod is a disaster in the making. Ralph Branca. Donnie Moore. Bill Buckner.
Soon enough, mark my words, K-Rod will find his name among those.
And Lackey gets through the 8th easily. 8 shutout innings for John! Only one inning left for me to jinx him!
9:32 PM: Bottom of the 9th, no outs, 6-0 Angels: And Lackey is back in! Ooh, one out! Now Ibanez is up. To tell you the truth, I haven’t been paying attention much to the Mariners when they bat, except Ichiro. Gotta love Ichiro! Pop up, two outs! Lackey is a single out away from a complete game shutout, and what a way to start this series if he completes it. Grounder to 3rd… Game over! Angels win, 6-0!
This is a great, authoritative win for the Angels. It is now impossible for the Mariners to take the Division lead in this series. To come into their house and shut them down, dominate them, well, it’s gotta hurt Seattle.
And now I’m 3-0 in Liveblogging!
It’s just a shame we all had to listen to Hudler and Physioc tonight… These guys really could be great, but it seems like they’d rather be complete homers than trust the viewer to know how to root.
Rather than announcers, these guys are a **** laugh track.
Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.