July 22, 2011

Seeing is believing

If you had told me that after losing 7-0 one night, the Angels would turn around and come from five runs down to win the next night and then follow that up with a game where they only had two hits and won 1-0, I would have politely smiled at you and looked around the room for someone to come and take you away in a straight jacket.

And yet… that’s exactly what happened in the Angels final two games of their most recent home stand with the Texas Rangers. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. That’s the thing about baseball – every time you go to a game, you just never know what you’re going to see or what might happen and there is always a chance you will see something amazing or unbelievable. Baseball is beautiful that way.

There was a point Wednesday night where I thought to myself the season was on the verge of spiraling out of control and I thought about the possibility that the Angels could find themselves 7 games out of first. There was a point where my utter disgust for the team was hinging on being at an all-time high.

And then… slowly, but surely things began to happen and just like that – my attitude began to shift and I began to believe the team could not only win the game, but go on to win the division. To say this team showed me something is an understatement of sorts. It’s not like this is the first time this season that they’ve come from five runs down to win. They did it Tampa Bay and in Chicago and I now believe they’re capable of doing this on any given night.

That kind of knowledge and faith speaks volumes. It allows a fan like me to believe anything is possible and when you go to and watch games with that kind of perspective; it’s a lot more fun.

Thursday’s game was beyond words. In some ways it was typical of the kind of run support the Angels have given Jered Weaver all season long and on the other hand, the outcome was exactly the opposite of what has been typical this year.

I’ve mentioned in this blog a time or two about the margin of error and how small it is for the Angels this year. The last two games against Texas are exactly the kind of things that go a long way to making a difference in that margin in my opinion. That being said – losing three out of four in Oakland just prior to the Rangers’ series definitely hurts.

The bottom line is that as I sit here today and look ahead, I have hope and that’s the one thing any fan wants. This team has holes and issues with its offense, but it also has championship caliber pitching and a one-two punch in Jered Weaver and Dan Haren that is second to none.

And how about Jered Weaver? If you have yet to see him pitch a game this year; you owe it to yourself to make it to a game where he starts. He’s having a season that goes beyond the usual superlatives. Saying that he’s amazing or incredible just doesn’t do it justice. In a day and age when superlatives are used to frequently and often inappropriately, the normal praises just don’t do Weaver justice.

A sub 2.00 ERA is just unthinkable in the American League. A 1.81 ERA and a .095 WHIP is just draw droppingly good.

John Lackey was never this good. Most pitchers can’t even dream about doing this well. Jered Weaver is going beyond anyone’s expectations and he has emerged not only as the team’s ace and unquestionable leader – he has emerged as a truly exceptional talent. I simply love to watch him pitch and compete. I can’t remember a pitcher who has brought me more joy as a fan.

Again, do yourself a favor and make it to a game where Weaver starts so that years from now you can say – I saw Jered Weaver in 2011. Granted, there are many more games to play and we don’t know how things will turn out – but the possibility for true greatness is possible. This is a baseball memory that you will want to have. Don’t miss out. Even if you’re not an Angels fan – if Weaver is coming to a stadium near you (Hello Cleveland and Detroit!), you should make the effort to see him pitch.

Regardless of what happens this year, I will never forget what Weaver has done thus far. It’s been amazing to watch.

Switching gears…

Not so amazing… well, you know that would be Jeff Mathis. Now why would I bring up Mathis yet again?

Well, I happened to tune into to Angels talk on Thursday with Jason Brennan and Rex Hudler and “The Wonder Dog” had an interesting observation about Mathis. The Hud-man believes the Angels sent Hank Conger down to get regular playing time so that he can be ready when the Angels trade Jeff Mathis in the next two weeks.

That’s right… TRADE Jeff Mathis. Granted, this is all speculation on Hudler’s part, but he made his observation with conviction and insight and has the strong impression that the Angels are “show casing” Mathis for a trade right now. According to Hudler there are a couple teams interested in Mathis.

Back to back improbable wins and then the rumor about Mathis? Somebody pinch me.

Seriously, if Tony Reagins can shed this team of Mathis and somehow manage to improve the squad, you will be able to color me duly impressed (actually shedding Mathis would definitely be addition by subtraction regardless of who they got in return). I’m not going to hold my breath, but the idea almost makes me giddy.

Last, but not least – big time congratulations to Jordan Walden for becoming the first Angels rookie to save 23 games in his first season. Walden was hitting 100 MPH Wednesday night and is clearly finding his groove. That being said, it’s interesting to note that he has blown six save opportunities along the way, but for some reason most Angels fans haven’t complained much or maybe they simply haven’t noticed. I suppose there is a blog in that observation… (Maybe later).

In any case – I’m loving this season and watching it unfold one game at a time. Let’s keep this ride going because it’s just too much fun to stop.


  1. Why is it that the angels can't ever have a closer that doesn't make you cringe a couple times every time they come in? Percival, Rodriguez, Walden... All good with a lot of saves, but all likely to give you heart problems...

  2. Those two wins and the win last night? So exhilerating! Just what we needed, players and fans alike I think.

    As for Walden's blown saves, noticed and commented upon after I attended the game that was number 3 in a row. But as I said at that point, I expected growing pains from a rookie closer who never planned on being a closer. I think Walden shows grit and promise in how he usually recovers on the next pitch and I think he will be better in this regard next season...and I think that even if he'd blown 9 by this point, we'd still be ahead of where we could have been with Fraudney...whom I don't much care for as the proposed 7th inning guy either, LOL.

    -- Kristen