Spectacle. Pageantry. Theatrics. Bandwagon fans. Yankee-biased strike zone squeezing.
This game had all the trimmings of a usual visit by the Bronx Bores, but there was a distinct frisson surging throughout the southland tonight to welcome the American League's best team(at least as far as records go). The reason, of course, is that the Angels, unlike the Yankees, are in a divisional race with the Texas Rangers, who won handily over Oakland earlier in the evening. That makes this game, and weekend series, must win contests. The good news is that while the Yankees have a very formidable lineup, tonight they had to not only play in a REAL major league ballpark, but they had to face arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball. Yes, Jered Weaver was on the mound, and you can go ahead and forget about his last few starts; this guy was ON tonight.
UPDATE: Mindblowing Derek Jeter photo, after the jump.
Jered Weaver faced off against NY pitcher Bartolo Colon tonight, and while I wish I could write that Weaver ruled/Colon drooled, it's just not true. In pure 2011 season fashion, Weaver looked as dominant as he has all season. Yet, he couldn't get any love from his offensive brothers in arms. Colon looked like an ace against the Angels hitters...that's seriously all I should have to say about that. Colon is NOT an ace, just to be sure. The Halos' offense just sucks.
Weaver finished with 11 strikeouts, including two each for Curtis Granderson and Andruw Jones. After the last series against the Skankees, those Granderson strikeouts were sublime and made my friday night. Throw in a couple amazing plays by the Angels defense, most notably Howie Kendrick's web gem in the top of the 4th(with a man on base...possibly saving a run. Awesome play). The Halos ace also only allowed 1 run off of 3 hits, with 2 walks. The thing that I will take away from this game the most is that Jered was dealing. Big time. And against one of the most potent offense MLB has to offer. Hopefully this means he's shrugged off the last couple of middling starts and, considering his competitive nature, is ready to carry this team on his back all the way to the playoffs. The only flaw in his game tonight was one misplaced pitch to Jesus Montero, which rocketed out to the stands in left field for the Yankees lone run scored. Actually, the pitch wasn't REALLY misplaced. It was exactly where Jeff Mathis set his glove. So lets blame that one on him.
Bloops, dinks, grounders galore...this is how the next handful of innings went, until the Angels offense woke up. It started with a great Peter Bourjos bunt, then Mathis reaching on a baffling Derek Jeter screw up, then Howie Kendrick hitting a 2 out single to score Fleet Pete. Score: 1-1.
The game cruised from that point, until the 9th inning. Jordan Walden showed he had guts, getting through the middle of the Yankees lineup, with the game on the line, and looking like the All Star he is. In the bottom of the ninth, the deluge was officially on. Alberto Callaspo started it off with a single. Cue pinch runner Jeremy Moore. Follow that with a shockingly timely base hit by Vernon Wells...then a HBP for Bourjos. The stage was set. Maicer Izturis, the subject of recent adjulation here on Halos Heaven, hits a sac fly to center, scoring the winning run. What a great week for The Boy King.
The Angels didn't gain a game tonight. But they didn't fall farther behind in the AL West race. Their ace looked as dominant as he has all season. They had timely hits in the late innings. This is reason to celebrate, although they need to bring this fire all weekend.
But for tonight, at least, we can relax. Jered Weaver has soothed the savage Halo fan's soul for now, and once again, proven that this 2011 team is a roller-coaster ride. So for tonight, at least, let's just kick back...and again, soothe that savage beast that's frothing at the mouth for a taste of the promised land.
UPDATE: ANGELS GIVE DEREK JETER PAINTING OF DEREK JETER, BAR AS GIFT FOR HIS 3000th HIT. Et Tu, Hula Dula?
Can you believe that nonsense?! via Victor Rojas tweet
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