Monday, August 15, 2005

Angels Back in First......for now

The Angels completed a sweep of the lowly Mariners, repaying the northerners for the four-game sweep they laid on the Halos just before the All-Star Break that went a long-way to helping the A's catch, and briefly pass, the Angels in the standings.

Most notable was Vladimir Guerrero's twin upper-deck shots in game 1. The Ruthian blasts traveled a combined 865 feet though Manager Mike Scioscia quipped "I wish we could break that up into about 40 singles". Uh, no thanks Mike. Much more entertaining for us at home to watch the stunned faces of Mariner fans who have to be wondering what in the hell happened to this once viable franchise.

The Angels pounded Seattle pitching for 25 runs on 42 hits in the three-game set. Guerrero was a one-man demolition crew, going 8 for 14 (.571) with 3 HR's and 5 rbi's. One reason Guerrero has been able to find pitches to hit is that the Angels are offering plenty of protection behind him. Even with a gimpy Garret Anderson the Angels Guerrero-Support-Group are getting the job done. On Friday it was Bengie Molina going 3-5 and further down the line-up Adam Kennedy's 2-2 performance. On Saturday Anderson and Steve Finley combined to go for 2 for 5 at DH while Juan Rivera collected 3 hits in 5 AB's in the #6 hole. On Sunday the trifecta of Casey Kotchman, Juan Rivera and Adam Kennedy went 6 for 11. So giving Guerrero a free-pass is not as easy an option for AL managers as walking Barry Bonds has been for NL skippers. But I for one was watching Sunday and told my wife that it was a big mistake to pitch to Guerrero with runners at first and third. Walk the bases loaded and take your chances with Molina. Since I was watching on DirecTV in Arizona I had the Mariner's telecast and they were soothing Seattle fans with news that Guerrero was 0-5 with a K against incoming reliever Julio Mateo. I responded to my TV "which means that Guerrero is due." Naturally, Guerrero went yard but then, surprisingly, Molina did too! So perhaps the M's were doomed no matter what they did. In any case, it is much more fun being on this end of Guerrero's majestic blasts and watching opposing teams scramble to find a way to pitch to him.

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