June 28, 2010

I know it's only the Rockies, but I like it

The current home stand has been solid thus far. Winning two out of three games in back to back series’ is getting the job done. Of course it would be even better if the Texas Rangers would slow down a bit and lose a few more games; but that’s okay, they’re about to get theirs.

As we approach the mid-way point of the season it’s interesting to see how things have played out thus far in the AL West. Most of the so-called experts who picked the Seattle Mariners have to be a little red faced right about now (I might even suggest Angels red). Seattle is 15 games out and quite frankly it’s a beautiful thing.

I really got tired of hearing about the supposed great moves the Mariners had made in the off season and how they were going to win the west. Did I mention that they’re 15 games out?

The Mariners are 29th in runs scored this year. It’s amazing to me that anyone picked this team to win the west. Anyone with any common sense could see this team wasn’t going to score runs. By the way they’re 15 games out of first place. Just saying.

Then there are the Rangers… Good grief. They’re playing amazing baseball. Yes, I know they’re schedule of late has been softer than the mid section of the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing and beating up on the crappy teams and make not mistake about it – the Pirates and Astros (the Rangers last two opponents) are two of the worst.

A lot of people who do projections are feeling pretty good right about now because this is the group (as opposed to columnists and TV analysts) who predicted the Rangers to have this kind of year.

Will it last? I don’t know. What I do know is that there is a lot of talk about how the dog days of summer will take its toll on the Rangers pitchers and they’ll start to fade. To be honest with you, this kind of assumption makes me nervous. I hate it when people assume something just because that’s what happens every year.

It’s like last year during the play-offs everyone assumed the Angels would lose to the Red Sox because it had become tradition and then when they put the beat down on the Sox, the same group assumed the Angels would beat the Yankees because again, that’s become the tradition.

Well, so much for that kind of tradition…

So here we are at the end of June, the Angels are 4.5 games out of first and looking up at the Rangers and guess who’s coming to town this week? I’m sure you don’t need to guess. If you’re any kind of an Angels fan, you know.

This is a big series for the Angels. I know Mike Scioscia would disagree and say every series is important, but let’s be real. Any time you face a team within your division, especially one that’s ahead of you, it’s huge. Not make or break huge, but big enough to get the competitive juices going.

The Angels better jump on them this week because when it’s over – the Rangers will get to continue to cruise towards the all-star break with some more cream puffs (with the exception of the White Sox who are surging) by playing at home against Cleveland and Baltimore.

How nice. The Rangers will have played THE four worst teams in baseball in a matter of a few weeks. Whatever. Looks like the Angels will have to do this (win the west) the hard way.

Here’s some things to think about as the two teams square off this week. Even though much is made of the Rangers’ fire power – the Angels have actually hit more homeruns this year (80-75). Then again, it is somewhat telling that although the Angels have out homered the Rangers, their team OPS isn’t where it should be. The Rangers have a .779 OPS (4th best) compared to the Angels’ .732 (17th best).

The Rangers also have a better team ERA (3.90 – 10th best) to the Angels 4.44 (23rd best). Both teams have pitched better over the last month. The Angels have a 3.87 ERA and the Rangers a 3.56 ERA over that time period. Basically both teams are playing well right now.

Okay, enough with the statistics, right? Who am I and what am I doing looking at all these numbers? It must be an off day today. It’s time to play ball.

It will be strange seeing Vlad Guerrero in a Rangers uniform. Same goes for Darren Oliver. I hope Vlad gets a nice ovation and Ian Kinsler is booed like he’s Public Enemy #1. Kinsler’s mouth has given me a good reason to really start to despise the Rangers. Besides, they’re after something that’s ours. That’s right – the AL West Pennant.

I’m hoping for a better showing from the 514 Fanatics this week. I didn’t see many of them last week. I’m not being critical because we all have things in our lives that impact whether or not we can go to baseball games. I’m just stating my wishes. I like being at the ball park with my fellow fanatics. I just miss them and hope they show up in big numbers. It makes the games that much more fun.

Before I sign off on this post, I would like to give a little applause (clap, clap) to Brandon Wood. I know, I know – one grand slam does not dismiss an otherwise miserable season, but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because if Mike Scioscia believes in the kid, I’m going to believe in the kid.

I know I’m in the minority (along with my wife Cheryl) when it comes to Brandon Wood, but I still believe he can turn this season around. I like going against the flow anyway and piling on Brandon Wood just isn’t any fun; in fact it sucks.

Now – let’s get after it. Time to kick some Rangers’ butt. Time to remind them who the boss is. Who’s with me?

BallHype: hype it up!

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