Purgatory Online

Saturday, August 07, 2004

For one brief shining moment, the Angels' offense looked to be putting it all together. After three and two-thirds innings of lackluster performance, this happened:
  • Jose Guillen singled to center. Runner on first with two out and Robb Quinlan due up.
  • Robb Quinlan two-out, two-run Home Run (4) to left, scored Jose Guillen. Darin Erstad due up.
  • Darin Erstad singled to left. Runner on first with two out and Tim Salmon due up.
  • Tim Salmon doubled to left, scored Darin Erstad with two out. Runner on second and Josh Paul due up.
Four hitters, four hits, two for extra bases. 3-0, Angels.

And then Josh Paul grounded out, and it was back to looking at clouds and daisies. The Angels would get two more base hits in the game.

Of course, these were the Royals, so three runs were enough. And considering that Garret Anderson was out of the lineup with knee tendinitis (he should be back in the lineup today, and hitting behind Guerrero)...well, no. No excuses at this point in the season. Sure, injuries have hurt this team, but at this point the Angels need to be looking to catch fire, not shamble through the slack of the American League until being annihilated in September.

Around the league last night...



Guerrero brothers dine together in Kansas City

Omigod omigod omigod! The crack Purgatory Online Investigative Squadron has been deployed to Angel Berroa's mom's house to obtain complete details of this extremely important story! Stay tuned to your computer screens and hit "refresh" a minimum of thirty times a minute to be assured of being completely up to date!

Hurm. Anyway, around the league:

The Rangers finally got what was coming to them, running all those pitchers out there that were working at the Jiffy Lube last year. The bad news is that the Orioles, who start a three-game series in Anaheim on Tuesday, seem to have woken up to the fact that they've got some pretty good bats in their lineup; they're regularly scoring between 5 and 9 runs per game these days.

The Rangers' loss allowed the A's to regain first place, after Octavio Dotel blew a save in the ninth, then nearly coughed up a 3-1 lead in the 11th. Since coming to the A's from Houston in the Carlos Beltran deal, Dotel has compiled a 5.04 ERA, has eight saves, and has blown four. But his K/9 numbers are great, so Billy Beane must be a genius!

Meanwhile, the Red Sox dropped a one-run game in Detroit, allowing the Angels to catch them for second place in the wild-card standings. David Ortiz was out of the lineup, finishing the suspension he earned for throwing an on-field hissy fit in Anaheim a few weeks back. Unlike the Angels, the Sox have no shot at their division title (shut up, A's fans! We do too!), like the Angels, however, Boston seems to be groping after whatever magic formula will let them run off a few wins in a row and take charge of the wild card race.

Finally, the White Sox lost again, this time to Cleveland. I'm going to start using the Sox' annual collapse as a reminder to change the batteries in my smoke detector. In any event, Cleveland's now tied with Chicago for second in the AL Central, so I'm dropping the White Sox from the list of teams I'm keeping close tabs on here. If either the Sox or the Indians get within four games of the wild card lead, I'll pick them up again.

So, going into today's games, the A's lead the West by half a game over the Rangers, with the Angels at 2.5 back. The Rangers lead the wild card race by 2 over the Angels and Red Sox, with the White Sox and Indians 5.5 back.

The A's play early today (1:20 ET) - in a clash of aces, Tim Hudson takes on Johan Santana. Hudson has been on the DL since June 24; Santana was the AL Pitcher of the Month for July. This should be a good, good game.

As that game should be drawing to a close, the Rangers send newly-acquired Scott Erickson to the mound to take on Rodrigo Lopez (4:35 ET). Angels fans who think the recent signing of Andres Galarraga was a sign of desperation are advised to think about those words: "The Rangers end newly-acquired Scott Erickson to the mound."

At 7:05 ET, the Red Sox and Tigers get underway in Detroit, a game that features older and unimproved Pedro Martinez versus Jeremy Bonderman. Much is being made of Martinez' over-4.00 ERA this year, which is all very interesting, but utterly irrelevant tonight. Bonderman's ERA is worse this year than it was in 2003, when he lost 19 games. He's only lost 8 so far in 2004, which I suppose is a testament to the Tigers' improved offense, but a 6.06 ERA in Comerica National Park has to sting.

Five minutes later, at 7:10, you can forget all those undercard matchups and focus on what matters. Bartolo Colon goes for the Angels, and Colon has been studly as hell in this last five starts, all of them quality start wins. Best of all, three of those five were against good hitting teams (one versus Boston, two versus Texas). If Colon continues to challenge hitters like he's been doing recently, and not backslide into trying to get guys to swing at bad pitches, he'll be fine; the movement on his fastball is good enough to deal with the Royals' lineup.

Meanwhile, Kansas City starts Jimmy Serrano, whose nickname just has to be "Pepper." Serrano is making his Major League debut after performing pretty well at all levels of the minors. Serrano compiled a 2.39 ERA in 49 innings while striking out 47, walking 19, and giving up just two home runs in the first half of 2003 for Norfolk in the International League, then got traded to Kansas City and closed out his year in Omaha in the Pacific Coast League. His Omaha stats were pretty good too, considering the PCL is hitter-friendly: a 3.21 ERA in 28 IP, 28 Ks, 11 BBs, 2 HRs. Serrano had a rough time of it in the PCL at the beginning of 2004, however, posting a 5.01 ERA in 32 IP, and seeing his hit and walk rate rise sharply. Although his strikeout rate also improved (41 in 32.1 IP), the Royals sent him down to Double-A Wichita, where he utterly dominated. His Wichita numbers: 1.96 ERA, 64.1 IP, 42 H, 74 K, 18 BB, 6 HR. He comes to Kansas City tonight directly from Wichita. Given the fact that the Angels have made a few rookies look pretty good this year, I would not be surprised to see another low-scoring game tonight.