Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Light Up the Halo -- Angels Win!

The Angels started the defense of their AL Western Division crown by knocking off the Texas Rangers Tuesday night 3-2. The Halos were led by reigning American league MVP Vladimir Guerrero who belted a solo homerun and had an rbi double off the centerfield wall late in the game to give the Angels the lead.

Bartolo Colon pitched a strong 6.2 innings and had the type of debut Angel fans had hoped to see last season. But the big right-hander was hampered early in 2004 with an ankle injury that caused him to give up gopher balls like a Dominican Pez dispenser. Colon righted the ship late in the season but many had questioned the big dollar signing of a perennially overweight power pitcher. The question now is can Colon put together the type of season the Angels need from their number one starter? Clearly the Angels are hoping for an 18 - 20 win campaign for Colon with 5 or 6 complete games and an ERA in the 3.00 to 3.50 range. Last season Colon did manage 18 wins but had no complete games and just 208.1 innings after compiling 242 innings and 9 complete games the season before for the White Sox.

Other observations from game one:

*Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler made the obvious (and now hackneyed) observation that the Angels 'may have the best outfield in all of baseball'. But then they did actually have one astute comment in that the Halo outfield is probably the deepest in the majors with backups Juan Rivera and Jeff Devanon. Both of whom could start in a number of other major league outfields (the Rangers being one that comes to mind). Devanon made their point with a clutch 2-out single in the sixth and then scored on a Guerrero double deep to center (making up for hitting into a first-inning double-play right before Guerrero's solo HR).

*Darin Erstad returned to the Latvia hitter spot and promptly walked. A very good sign. Followed by an 0-3 night at the plate.

*All three of the Angels runs came with 2-outs.

*The Rangers stranded 9 runners on-base, the Angels just 3. Texas out-hit the Halos 7 to 6.

*macro historic made his Angels debut in the seventh inning, pinch-running for Robb Quinlan and scoring on a beings Moline single which proved to be the difference-maker in this game.

*Most worrisome development: Scot Shields was all over the place, giving up a towering homerun to Mark teaser along with two walks and two strictures in 1.1 innings of work. Being as it is only the first game of the year I would normally not be worried but with Shields developing an injury to his shin in Spring Training it could affect be playing into his mind and mechanics. Nothing to worry too much about but stay tuned.

*Tomorrow's game features jarred Washburn vs. Kenny Rogers. Look for a more "American leagues" score, say 9-6 or so.


Blogger Uncle Al said...

And, for the first time since September 1, 1965, the Los Angeles Angels played a regular season game. In spite of this, the sun DID come up this morning.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Dodger Hater said...

I am baffled by peoples' continued reference to Colon's "strong" pitching performance--he pretty much sucked!

He walked four batters, was continually behind on the count, and was hit hard most of the night. He didn't have a strong performance, he had an unbelievably lucky one. The hits were solid and many of the outs were even more solid, but found gloves.

It is shocking to me how the major media and people in general would call this a good outing. That he only allowed one run was a fluke based on the way he pitched. The Rangers could easiy have scored 5.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

DH: I guess someone's view of Colon's Opening Day performance is colored by their perspective. ANY performance where the Angels did not get blown out on Opening Day should not be characterized as "sucked" (for a good view on that see: Diamondbacks, Arizona). Colon kept them in it and with solid defense, that's good enough.

The Rangers are one of the best hitting teams in the league so the fact that Bart kept them in the yard (for the most part) was "strong". Remember, Colon traditionally gets better as the year goes on. Look for a more dominating performance from him 3 - 4 starts in. Also look for a much more dominating performance against weaker teams (next start: this weekend vs. the Royals!). If Colon gets hit hard (even for outs) against KC then I will be more critical.

Uncle Al, by gosh you're right! I thought the stadium would cave-in but the LA Angels have now won and lost a game with that moniker and the sun is still shining. Amazing.

10:00 AM  
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