Purgatory Online

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

For whatever reason, Texas has been the scene of some pretty happy memories for the Angels over the past few years. They clinched their first playoff berth in 16 years here in 2002, leading to joyous locker-room calls to gone but not forgotten comrades Gary DiSarcina and Chuck Finley. They took three out of four in Texas at the end of last September to eliminate the Rangers and catch Oakland heading into the final weekend of the year, including winning a ridiculously exciting game that ended with the winning run at first and another ridiculously exciting game the Angels tied after being down a run with two outs and nobody on in the ninth.

While last night's 13-3 pasting of the Rangers really isn't in that league, it was nevertheless pretty nice to see, and represented the continuation of both the Angels' dominance of their closest division rival (8 wins to 2 losses) and specific streaks by Bartolo Colon (10 consecutive wins versus Texas) and Vladimir Guerrero (28 consecutive games against Texas with at least one hit).

Most intriguingly, the offensive explosion last night came with a lineup that was minus Orlando Cabrera, Steve Finley, Dallas McPherson, and Bengie Molina. Nominal benchwarmers Juan Rivera, Maicer Izturis, and Jose Molina went 4-5, 2-5, and 0-5 in their stead, that last number no doubt leading to a little intrafraternal heckling once the elder Molina quit puking; Bengie was out of the lineup because of "flu-like symptoms."

While I was at the game, I actually missed the first couple of runs scored. Note to people with children: when people are waiting in line behind you at a concession stand, it is NOT the time to teach your child how to order and pay for food. "Tell the man what you want...what do you want? Do you want nachos? Huh? Nachos? Peanuts? Ooh, how about a hot dog? Don't you want a hot dog? Here, now, give the man this money...no, don't give it to me...give it to the man. What? No, honey, I don't think they have go-gurt."

Fucking precious.

Anyhow, some more random thoughts:
  • Colon took one off the foot in the fifth inning, a hard-hit ball off the bat of Gerald Laird that fortunately ricocheted almost directly to Darin Erstad. Although Mike Scioscia and Ned Bergert came out to look at Colon, he stayed in the game without even throwing any warmup pitches to test the foot. I was a little worried when his first two pitches after that play were balls, but he seemed to settle down fine. However, Colon did leave the game after completing eight innings despite having thrown only 87 pitches (66 for strikes). This could mean that the foot was starting to swell, or it could simply have been Scioscia trying to get Jake Woods a little work, since he hadn't been in a game since June 19th.
  • Guerrero's home run was one of the most easily predictable homers I've ever seen. Here's the math: Vlad Guerrero plus left-handed pitcher plus sidearm delivery minus any incentive to pitch around equals line drive into the seats you could've hung your washing on.
  • The scary voodoo vibe around the Halosphere appears twofold: first, that we've somehow used up all our runs, and will only scratch out a couple in the next three games, and second, that the Angels' 7.5 game lead is their largest since - cue stabby violin sting - 1995. In response to both: get a grip. The Rangers have Wasdin, Rodriguez, and Young coming up, any of which could pitch well, but their performances will have nothing to do with last night, and neither will the Angels' hitting. And that 1995-boogeda-boogeda-boogeda stuff went out the window on October 27, 2002.
(Edit: changed "first playoff berth" to "first playoff berth in 16 years," an obvious and stupid mistake. Also corrected the spelling of Ned Bergert's name. One is tempted to wonder who copyedits this shit; personally, I blame the schools.)