Purgatory Online

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Angels 10, Rangers 0. That's entertainment! The Angels received their rings before last night's game, big ol' chunks of gold, ruby, and diamond that are reported to be worth an estimated $15,000 apiece (you can see a picture of the ring here, at least for now). A might fine piece of jewelry, to be sure, but the Angels seem to be a bit weary of all the hoopla - their comments have all seemed to be along the lines of "we're ready to put last season behind us and concentrate on playing baseball." It's funny how that sounds different than it usually does...

Anyway, I got a chance to watch last night's game via the magic electrical box in my living room. The Angels looked almost exactly like they did last year, getting on base, getting hits in bunches, being aggressive on the base paths, the whole nine. They absolutely broiled Chan Ho Park (2.2 IP, 6 ER), who started for the Rangers, and scored runs off C.J. Nitkowski with a workmanlike efficiency. Amid this team performance, a few individual items stand out:

Mickey Callaway - you'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of a pitcher settling down after a rocky start. Callaway left the bases full in the first, two runners on in the second, one on in the third, and then allowed no one to reach base for the rest of his time on the mound (he lasted through the sixth). His by-inning pitch count was something like 30, 23, 12, 8, 10, 9. Not bad at all.

Scot Shields threw two terrific no-hit innings.

Ben Weber was a little shaky, finishing the game with a ninth inning that included a hit, a walk, and a couple of other hard-hit balls. Weber worries me, a little.

Darin Erstad went 3-for-3 with 3 runs scored. He looks slightly heavier than he did last season, but also managed to steal a base (albeit off of Chad Kreuter).

Tim Salmon went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. I can't stress this enough - if Tim Salmon hits in April and May the way he usually hits in July and August, the Angels are in great shape.

Garret Anderson. Dude was 4-for-4 with a walk. You hear a lot of talk about how the Angels don't have a "legitimate superstar," whatever that is (who's an "illegitimate superstar?"). The people saying that are not paying attention. GA's first three hits last night were flares, and you could sense that he's still finding his stroke, but then he just smacked one into the right-center alley that put him on second base, the first of what will be many, many doubles this year.

Brad Fullmer is saying that he's hitting better right now than he ever had in his career. He golfed the Angels' first home run of the season over the center-field fence last night to prove it.

Bengie Molina ended Pudge Rodriguez's string of 10 Gold Gloves last year, and deservedly so. But Lord, he is the slowest land mammal around. He hit into a double play last night, and I swear that Michael Young made a cell phone call to check on his dinner reservations before turning it. Of course, Molina later hit a two-bagger, the first of what will be three doubles this year.

Troy Glaus went 0-for-5, although he was robbed of a double by Hank Blaylock, who made a fine play on a line drive. Glaus was clearly frustrated, but hopefully will shake it off - he doesn't hit well for average, and is pretty streaky. His situation will bear watching.

Because the game was a laugher, a lot of guys got in during the late innings - our old friends Shawn Wooten, Benji Gil, and Julio Ramirez got some PT, as did the only new Angel on the roster, Eric Owens. Owens hit a medium grounder to second and damn near beat the throw. Dude has some jets.

The Angels finish their series with the Rangers starting...well, now. Time to see which Ramon Ortiz we're going to be treated to today!