Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back for More

Since my self-imposed hiatus from Angels blogging on July 12:

* The Halos went 8-9 the rest of July and shrank a comfortable 8 game lead over Texas to a 1 game (as of yesterday) lead over Oakland.
* Vlad Guerrero had the lowest monthly batting average of his career (.208) but in his first two games of August he seems to have turned things around, hitting .714 with 2 HR and 7 RBI while walking twice and striking out zero times.
* I saw the funniest movie in a long time in The Wedding Crashers. I have not seen a movie with that many quotable lines since Napoleon Dynamite.
* Two Major League Players have been hit with suspensions for steroid use: Raphael Palmeiro and Ryan Franklin. Why one can understand why Franklin could use a boost, why would a sure-fire hall-of-famer like Palmeiro besmirch his reputation by validating Jose Canseco? Could he just not get that 3,000 his without being on the juice? Of course, like Barry Bonds, Palmeiro now finds himself in much hotter water as the United States Congress will investigate him for perjury after his denial before that body of "ever" using steroids. Maybe old Raffy just decided now would be a good time to give 'roids a try, who knows. One thing is certain, he will deny "knowingly" taking any performance enhancing drugs. Most people who know anything about steroids put zero credence into this argument but perhaps the general public will cut him a break if he says "I thought I was taking Altoids -- you know, for minty fresh breath." Then again, maybe his lady thought his Viagra needed some extra punch.
*Speaking of steroids, my last post on 7/12 was regarding Brett Boone being signed by the Twins. Yeah, well they released his now-steroid-free ass and BB had better hand them up or get back on the juice because he is stinking. His brother meanwhile just signed to play for the Indians again in '06.
* Dallas McPherson and Jarrod Washburn both went to the DL. McPherson is making some rehab starts in the minors while Wash will be shutdown for at least a week (he is eligible to come off on August 12th). That means another start is likely for rookie Chris Bootcheck which will give the Angels two rooks in the rotation.
* John Lackey has just been nails over his last four starts. The big righty has had two shut-out performances (7 innings in Minnesota and 8 in Toronto) while allowing two runs in each of his outings against the Yankees (5.1 innings) and last night against the O's (6.2 innings). Nice to see the good 'ole boy stepping up with his team needs him the most.

Overall it has been a pretty sucky month for Angel fans but I dare say the worst is likely over. Despite having to start two rookies in the rotation the bats are coming around (32 runs in their last four games) and their recent losses were due to tragic performances from the bullpen. If there is one area where the Angels do not need to worry it is the pen and they apparently have straightened themselves out. We will have to wait until the Angels get in a jam again to see how they perform under pressure but so long as the hitters keep giving the starters huge margins to work with then the bullpen is taken out of the equation anyway.

Oakland will not continue to play .800 ball. They always fall back to Earth and so long as the Angels can stay with them (and they look to have done that) then they will be fine. Huge series next week in Oakland for the Halos that could go a long way to setting a tone for the stretch run.


Blogger Uncle Al said...

Welcome back. I for one have missed your commentary.

6:02 PM  
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