August 11, 2010

Signs of life

Last night was like old times. The stadium was full and blanketed in red (sixth sell out of the season), the Angels had good pitching (Dan Haren got his first win as an Angel), they ran the bases aggressively and even managed to squeeze home a run.

It was simply a fun night to be at the ball park. The 514 Fanatics were also out in force for “Break out the Red” week. Bo & Mary, John & Linda, John & Ann, Jeff, Bob, Stephen, Dori, Wendy, Nick & Patty and others were out in force to cheer on the Halos.

Oh how I had missed these kinds of evenings.

We even were treated (yes, I said “treated”) to a Brian Fuentes save, but not before fans moaned as he trotted in from the bull pen. Yes, it was a vintage night of Angels baseball for sure.

Despite all that, as we look at the standings today – with 47 games left in the Angels’ season – we see the Texas Rangers with an 8.5 game lead. Is there enough time?

If you read the message boards and listen to sports talk radio – there are plenty of people trying to give Angel fans hope. They’ll point to the fact that Texas still has games left with the “Beasts in the East” – Yankees, Rays and Red Sox. They’ll point out that the Angels and Rangers will tangle in seven of the final fourteen games.

I’m all for having hope. I would love for nothing more than the Angels to be playing meaningful games in September. The thing is – I’m not that optimistic. I’m just not.

It would be one thing if Kendry Morales was still in the lineup or if Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera and Hideki Matsui were having years like they had in 2009. Fact is they’re not. Virtually every player has under performed or under achieved this year. I can’t see them flipping the switch to make a run. They haven’t given me any reason to believe they’re capable of doing that.

These are desperate times.

We’ve come to the point where the Angels lineup is basically what I would call “make shift.” Let’s be honest, a lineup with Maicer Izturis as the #5 hitter isn’t the kind of lineup any of us had probably envisioned for this team.

That’s not a knock on Izturis because he’s a fine player. Thing is, he’s a fine role player and not the kind of guy who should be in the lineup every day, let alone batting in the heart of the order Besides, I keep waiting for him to break.. When he made a diving catch last night, I fully expected to learn that he’d be put on the DL today because he’s just fragile.

This lineup lacks pop and until last night – they weren’t manufacturing runs. Like it or not the offense is stagnant and requires maximum effort every night just to compete. Too many things have to go right because there doesn’t appear to be a lot of three run homeruns in the tank.

And then there’s the glaring fact that the Angels haven’t been very good against the best teams in the AL. You could look it up….

I will say this – for all the whining people do about Brian Fuentes, he’s one of the few bright spots on this team. He’s saved 17 of his last 18 games. He’s only blown four saves all year. I love to yell “B.F.F – Brian Fuentes Forever” whenever he walks in from left field. I guess I’m just contrary that way.

Now just because I’m not feeling confident about the team doesn’t mean I love them any less. I haven’t stopped going to games and I certainly haven’t stopped cheering. I still watch and hope, but I’m also trying to keep it all in perspective.

If all we get out of the rest of the season is the emergence of Peter Bourjos and a return of Scott Kazmir to his old self, I’ll be somewhat happy. In the mean time, I will look for more games like last night’s game and hope for the best.

More games like last night’s and I’ll have something good to focus on and perhaps a reason to believe.

The Angels have a video they show from time to time at the games with music from The Bravery singing the song “Believe.” The chorus is "So give me something to believe." At this point in time, that’s all I’m asking for. Last night and the past few games have been a good start. I’d just like a little more of that. Is that too much to ask?

What are we waiting for? What are we waiting for? So give me something to believe…

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Bob from section 514August 11, 2010

    If you're looking for a reason to believe, check out tonight's Rangers-Yankees box score. I don't know if this year's Halos have what it takes to make a run but you & I do know that the Rangers' pitching is still suspect & has not been battle tested. Tonight, the mighty Cliff Lee was their starter & they still blew a 6-1 lead at home. Now, if we could only do something about those pesky A's...

  2. James, Last night was a lot of fun for all of us diehard 514 Fanatics. Starting pitching and defense has come around of late. The blow pen is still suspect with the the likes of "load um up" Shields when he toes the rubber and Frodney comes out and throws 97 mph at nose level until you remind us to cock the bills of our caps to the right and a positive hex settles him down. The lack of offense is under amusing so much that the dreaded wave has been starting as soon as the 5th inning. I'm not your typical Catholic that has a conviction of going to confession in order to partake in the communion of our Lord during mass. However, i will be going this Saturday because i have lowered myself to hoping the Jankees would win over the Texas Rangels.

  3. 7.5 games back boys... There is a little bit of hope after all!