Purgatory Online

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

So I was channel-surfing last night, looking for an old episode of Sisters, or maybe dwarf porn, when I stumbled upon a game between the Angels and Blue Jays. I bemusedly paused to see when the game had been played - perhaps it was from the sacred season of 2002 - but quickly saw that the Jays were wearing their new uniforms, the ones that look like they were designed by Pablo Picasso, John James Audubon, and a 24-year-old graphic designer after a bottle of absinthe apiece.

As I listened to Hudler and Physioc drone on, it slowly dawned on me that this was, in fact, no archived game being rebroadcast on ESPN Classic; it was, in fact, being played that very night! Stunned, I rushed to my computer and consulted the Internet, only to discover that, through some scheduling quirk, some technical loophole in the MLB rules, the Angels' season did not end when Frankie Rodriguez failed to catch Jose Molina's return throw on August 11! In fact, I learned, the Angels were actually being allowed to play games that counted in the standings, and had not been eliminated from contention!

Well. I was floored, let me just tell you. And to put the cherry on the ice cream sundae, it turns out the Angels have actually been so ungallant as to win their last four games, which must put a distinctly uncomfortable cramp in the style of anyone who may have declared it time to throw in the towel, strike the tent, fold up the camp chairs, hit the bricks, and/or start paying attention to football. I just hope that, wherever such folks may be, they can bring themselves to believe the incredible fact that the Angels made up a one-game deficit with 50 to play. Maybe they left themseleves a loophole.

In any event, the Angels won a very big game last night, finally taking a close one from the Blue Jays. It's an old baseball cliche that some teams just have your number, and the Angels needed this one to get past that mental block. With four games against the very tough Red Sox coming up, they just cannot afford to be stymied by a lesser team. The fact that Darin Erstad, poster boy for the Angels' brand of aggressive baseball, has now come through in the clutch on consecutive nights makes it all the sweeter.

Oh, and the A's blew a 2-0 lead in a comical seventh inning and lost to the Orioles, too.

Interesting bits from the papers this morning:

The L.A. Times sez that Erstad moving back to center is a possibility:
Said Manager Mike Scioscia: "To move Erstad, it would have to make the
whole lineup better. It would be a significant move. You would expect
significant results."A lot of it hinges on how Garret is. If Garret can play the
outfield, we can still get Kotchman's bat in the lineup" at designated
To quote Keanu: whoa. Scioscia has been adamant about keeping Erstad at first, but the situation they find themselves in - Anderson injured, Finley ineffective, Kotchman showing signs of life - makes the idea seem awfully attractive. Throw in the fact that Guerrero is being intentionally walked like he was Barry Bonds or something now that Anderson is out of the lineup, and one can't help but have visions of Ersty flying around out there again. Is it possible to win Gold Gloves in two positions in the same season?

(Eating crow department - looks like all that agitating I did to see Anderson hit in front of Guerrero in the lineup was, uh, in error.

That despite the fact Seattle manager Mike Hargrove pretty much laid out the
plan after Friday night's game, when Guerrero had hit 864 feet worth of home
runs. Hargrove said he would pitch around the 2004 AL MVP without Anderson
"If Anderson's not hitting behind him, sure," Hargrove said. "But
Anderson's too good a hitter to put men on in front of him."

Though I still think Molina would come through most of the time, he sure hasn't so far.)

Meanwhile, Paul Byrd becomes the latest Angels starter with injury problems, though apparently not serious ones. Byrd has been scratched from tonight's start with "back spasms," which may or may not have cleared up already. Joe Saunders has been promoted from Salt Lake to make tonight's start - which, of course, isn't on Extra Innings. Jeff Mathis has been sent back down to make room on the roster.