June 15, 2012

The Saturday night dilemma...

Saturday night is going to be one of those nights that is filled with mixed emotions.  The Angels will be playing the Arizona Diamondbacks in a game that will mark the homecoming of Joe Saunders.  As regular readers of this blog know; Cheryl and I are absolutely huge Joe Saunders fans.  To top it off, it also happens to be Joe Saunders’ birthday.

We knew that sooner or later this day would come and it wasn’t necessarily something we were looking forward to.  We have a great deal of affection for Joe and always want to see him do well; however, Saturday night will be the one time Cheryl and I will not hope for “all” the best for Joe.  Sure, we want him to pitch well, but at the end of the day or in this case – the game, we want to Angels to emerge victorious.

A 1-0 Angels’ victory would be just fine with us – especially if that one run came after Joe leaves the game.  Actually, the Angels could win 10-0, so long as those 10 runs come at the expense of the D-Backs bull pen for all we care.

Joe is having another solid season so far.  He has a 3.48 ERA and is on pace to surpass his best seasons for strike outs (49 in 75 inning so far).  Normally a contact pitcher – he’s striking out 5.9 hitters per nine innings which is his best mark since 2006.  His walks per nine innings is 2.3 which is the second lowest of his career.

All in all –Joe is having a solid season and yet – he remains the subject of trade talks and is seen by some as someone blocking the way for the D-Backs biggest pitching prospect Trevor Bauer.

Joe’s not a sexy pitcher. He’s not a power pitcher with a big arm and a ton of strike outs.  He just gets the job done. 

Okay, so that last statement just got me an eye roll from the sabermetric types didn’t it?

Look, for whatever reason – Joe defies the expectations of a lot of “experts” which in my mind isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s one of the things I love about Joe.

One thing you can’t argue is that by-in-large, he keeps his team in ball games.  You can count on him for a good 200 innings a season and that in and of itself, is something to be proud of.  I would even venture to say that he is vastly under-rated.  And yes, I know I’m biased.

In any case – Saturday night will be interesting to say the least.  Should I wear my Joe Saunders D-Backs shirts with an Angel hat or should I wear my Joe Saunders Angels shirt instead? Or should I wear my Joe Saunders All-Star jersey from 2008?   Hey, these are important decisions (for both Cheryl and me)!

Look – Joe is one of the good guys and Cheryl and I are always going to be fans of his.  We’re Angels' fans first – but if ever there was a close second – the D-Backs (when Joe is pitching) is it.

Good luck Joe – but Go Angels!

Check out this link for other previous blogs related to Joe Saunders

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