May 17, 2010

Happy days are here again (The week in review May 10-17)

Happy days are here again
The A’s were swept, the Angels win
So let's sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again

Now that’s what I’m talking about. The Angels played three outstanding games over the weekend - putting a nice beat down on the Oakland A’s.

It all started with an “atta boy” performance from Joe Saunders, who threw a complete game four hit, shut out. This is the Joe Saunders we’ve been waiting for. This is the Saundo we expected to see all season long. How big was this peformance? Saunders lowered his ERA from 6.19 to 4.96.

Saunders effort was special. He was facing Dallas Braden who was coming off a perfect game. It was reminiscent of last year’s complete game shut out against Cy Young award winner - Zach Greinke and the Kansas City Royals. Like last season, Saunders stepped up to out shine an opposing pitcher who was getting a great deal of publicity coming into the game.

Cheryl and I usually wear our Saunders shirts when he pitches, but we didn’t Friday night. It was our own little version of showing a little “tough love” to our favorite pitcher (not that he would know or care). In our minds, he hadn’t deserved that kind of support. Call it silly, call it whatever you want, but it was own our mild form of protest.

Those t-shirts are a big deal to us. In 2008 Saunders didn’t have his own shirt yet in the Angels Team Store. Even after making the all-star team the store didn’t carry one. Cheryl and I took our complaints to anyone who would listen and it wasn’t long after, that shirts with his name on the back started appearing. The fact that it had come to us not wearing those shirts meant something.

Maybe in some strange way it worked to make him pitch better (again, I know this is a reach). Maybe it was the group of kids Saunders had brought to the game; a group called Team Saundo. Whatever it was – it helped restore our faith in his abilities.

Happy days are here again
When Saunders throws the Angels win
So let’s wear our Saundo shirts again
Happy days are here again

Saturday night saw the Angel bats come alive in a 12-3 victory over the A’s. I have to tell you, seeing the Angels pound the A’s never gets old. It doesn’t necessarily happen often (the two teams are notorious for close ball games), but when it does – it’s a beautiful thing.

Ervin Santana pitched a strong six innings, giving up three runs (2 earned) while striking out six; however, the big star of the night was Kendry Morales and his two homeruns and five RBI. Even Brandon Wood got into the act with a hit and two RBI.

Funniest moment of the night came in the 7th inning. Jack Cust watched a catchable ball hit by Hideki Matsui sail over his head for a double; at which point I commented out loud that Cust might be the worst left fielder in baseball. Those words proved to prophetic as he three batters later he would watch a fly ball from Brandon Wood skip off his glove to score a run.

Cust looked at his glove in bewilderment. It’s always funny when players do that. Needless to say the fans let him have it pretty good and when he caught a routine fly ball hit by Michael Ryan the next inning, they were on him again. Cust was a good sport about it as he gave the fans a thumbs up and a tip of the cap.

Did I mention that the Angels won 12-3? I just loved the sound of that; 12-3 over the hated A’s.

Happy days are here again
Jack Cust cant’ field the Angels win
So razz the guy over and over again
Happy Days are here again

The third game of the series was a thing of beauty as Joel Pineiro looked magnificent in his complete game, 4-0 win. Pineiro only needed 98 pitches in the victory as he struck out five and only walked one batter.

Bobby Abreu went yard and the Angels had their sweep.

Don’t you love the sound of that? The Angles sweep. Even better, they swept the A’s. To top off a perfect weekend, John Lackey and the Red Sox lost. How perfect was that?

Happy days are here again
John Lackey lost, the Angels win
I’m so happy; I don’t know where to begin
Happy days are here again

Yes, I hate the A’s and sweeping them has been the biggest bright spot of the season to date. I could get used to this.

Mean while, this week’s True Grich award goes to Joel Pineiro who did not give up any earned runs over 15 1/3 innings in two games. I like this signing a lot.

In other news...

Between the games Cheryl and I managed to attend Tim Salmon's book signing at the Borders in Brea. Salmon's book is appropriately titled "Always an Angel" and we are looking forward to reading it.

There was a nice turn out to see "Mr. Angel."

When we finally made our way through the line to Tim - he looked up and saw my "Salmon Nation" shirt and said, "I've seen that shirt before." I reminded him that we sent him one; to which he said, "you're those people?" with a smile. He then told us that he as chest at home where he stores some special keepsakes and the Salmon Nation shirt is folded and put away there. Very cool.

BallHype: hype it up!

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