Purgatory Online

Monday, July 14, 2003

The Angels won their fifth straight yesterday afternoon with a mixture of bein' good and bein' lucky. The good involved a solid start from John Lackey (3 ER, 6 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 94 TP) and an opportunistic offense that seemed straight out of 2002. The lucky - well, let's call it a mixture of good and lucky - involved some terrific defensive plays to catch the Twins on the basepaths, including a seventh inning that saw Angels pitchers give up a walk and three base hits but no runs (preserving a 4-3 lead), thanks to a double play and a terrific throw from Jeff DaVanon to nip Luis Rivas at the plate as he tried to score from second on a Denny Hocking single. Lucky? Sure. It's not often you put that many guys on base and get out of the inning unscathed. But also good. DaVanon seems to have locked in with this team, and is easily as much a part of it as Orlando Palmeiro was last year.

So now, just as the Angels are rolling for the first time all season, we have the full. Stop. That is. The All-Star. Break. According to conventional wisdom, this is supposed to mess up momentum, but I have some pretty serious doubts about that. Last year at this time, the Angels had also gone on the upswing right before the break, and started off the second half of the season just as hot. The fact is that they just finished winning twelve of their last sixteen against some decent teams (Dodgers, Rangers, A's, Royals, Twins - not great, but not pushovers), and contemplating that fact can only help their confidence. Plus, their first eight games after the break are at Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Texas, which will hopefully be a momentum-booster before heading into a vicious portion of the schedule (Oakland, New York, Toronto, Boston).

So I intend to enjoy the All-Star Break, because I'm pretty sure there will be some tense moments afterwards as the Angels continue to claw towards October.