Purgatory Online

Friday, August 15, 2003

Last night's victory over the Chicago White Sox marks not just the first time the Angels have won a series since the All-Star break, it's the first time they've won two in a row since July 12-13 versus Minnesota. You know, back when they were in contention. A month ago.

Clearly, the story of the night was Scot Shields and his 7.2 innings of four-hit, one-run pitching. Lord, the guy is such a breath of fresh air compared to the other starters on any given night. He throws strikes consistently, but has terrific movement on his fastball. Even when he's off the plate he's always near the strike zone. He's now made three starts since replacing Appier in the rotation, and each time has pitched well. I was encouraged to see Mike Scioscia quoted as saying "[H]e's got great stuff. We're going to see if he can maintain it."

With the win, the Angels need just six more victories to avoid a 100-loss season. Beginning tonight, they have a three-game series with the Tigers, who at this point might as well move to a town called "Hapless," inasmuch as that particular adjective seems to prefix their name pretty routinely these days. David Eckstein is expected to return to the lineup after missing a few games with hamstring tightness.