The road goes ever on and on... to THE GREATEST BASEBALL GIF of all time. That's right, I'm setting expectations sky-high here. I don't ever expect to find a baseball play more GIF-able than this one.
The road for the Angels the last two weeks has gone through Baltimore, through Toronto, through Cleveland and then FINALLY to the homestand that ended the 1st half of the season. It was a week of alarming pitching performances from the raw wound in the middle of the rotation, bookended by spectacular performances by Jered Weaver. Also, there were dingers, ding-bat runners, and drums.
In cleveland, there are drums.
I think the drums mean that there are Indians in scoring position, but I'm not entirely sure because I try to pay as little attention as possible to the Cleveland Indian franchise. It's just hard to care about Cleveland. Sorry.
But Jered Weaver had to care about Cleveland at least for one night because on Monday he was locked in a pitchers duel with Ubaldo. Late in the game there were some Indians pow-wowing on base, and they were threatening the peace. Fortunately, Weave had this K up his sleeve, and the threat was averted. Jered Weaver, all-star:
That's how you get the job done. Ubaldo could not keep pace. Some Angels got on base and then the drums started playing inside Ubaldo's head. They were the drums of doom. He IBB'd Pujols. He IBB'd Trumbo too. Then with the bases loaded he walked Callaspo on 4 pitches.
Why you let a guy with THE WORST WALK RATE IN THE MAJORS intentionally walk not one but TWO batters to load the bases is beyond me. Manny Acta realized the folly of doing so too late. This is the Golly I'm Dumb Pitching Change of Week:
Unfortunately for the Angels, Weaver is not available to pitch every game, nor can the Indian's folly always be counted on to get us more runs. Dan Haren had a crummy game and had to be lifted for Takahashi. Tak might have gotten out of trouble nearly unscathed, but Albert Pujols decided to get aggressive and that led to the Mike Scioscia's Angels are Aggressive! blunder of the week:
That blunder was a gut-punch, and all the more so because the team had just made a stirring come-back. The best part of the comeback was this Mike Trout homer to left.
That ball is still a'rolling. But the strong offense couldn't overcome the mistakes, nor the poor pitching. The low point of the week was watching Santana get knocked around. It was such a terrible outing, it makes you wonder what's going through Ervin's head:
My guess is: fastball or slider? fastball or slider? fastball or slider? ... ARGH, why no change or curve?!?!?!?
But certainly there are other possibilities. Feel free to read Ervin's mind and suggest them in the comments.
Fortunately, while the Angels were sinking in Cleveland, Texas was getting blown to smithereens in Chicago. The Pale Hose put up 19 runs on the Rangers, 9 in one particular inning. During that 9-run inning things got a little testy over at 3rd Base.
But after their fight they made up:
And then after they made up they made out. But I think Halos Heaven has rules against those kinds of GIF's, so I won't show you that. Plus, I don't want to get carried away and have the WORST BASEBALL GIF EVER in the same post as the BEST BASEBALL GIF EVER.
Moving on. I have to say that before this season I didn't know much about Albert Pujols, except that he was a great, great hitter. Has he always been as aggressive running the bases as he is with the Angels? He is not a nimble runner. This week we forego our usual Erick Aybar Bonehead Play of the Week, and turn instead to Adventures with Albert - on the base paths. During one of the Cleveland games Albert decided to try to take 3rd. He did not take 3rd. Nor did he manage to scamper back to safety at 2nd:
I think Albert saw that no one was covering 3rd, so he decided to go for it. But Albert is slow, and the shortstop and Third baseman would have beat him there easily. So he goes bolts back to second... too late. Here on this next play from later in the week Albert misreads the pitcher and staggers before (successfully!) stealing second base.
I suppose Albert is just trying to play under his new Scioscialist regime, but Scioscialism works better if you're fast. Mike Trout is fast. This is your Mike Trout is Fast play of the week:
Mike Trout worked a walk, stole second, stole third and then jogged home. Mike Trout had 3 SB's in this game. Wieters could not stop him because Mike Trout is fast. By the way, Weiters is not fast at all and that's part of why this next play works. I decided to forego the Erick Aybar Bonehead Play of the Week this time around because Aybar made some great plays, especially in the Baltimore series. Like this one (thank you Wieters for being slow):
That's your Did you know Erick Aybar has a GOLD GLOVE?!? play of the week. amazing. Aybar was also part of a bang-bang play involving Torii and another slooooow Oriole, Jim Thome.
Obviously, that GIF is amusing because both players are pointing at Aybar's glove before the ump signals that Thome is out. If there are any antics anywhere on the field Aybar is usually involved. Aybar also likes to goof around in the dugout, putting on the moves with other players after they get big hits. But after one of Trumbo's homers things got a little awkward:
Aybar wants to share the love and silliness, but all Trumbo wants to do is knock the cover off the ball and then slap Dino Ebel's hand as hard as he can.
I think Trumbo also really wants to get better on defense, and I have to say, he is beginning to look like an honest-to-goodness-real-live-major-league outfielder. This catch by Trumbo was really nice, and he followed it up with an outfield assist to third base in the same inning.
That's more than I expect out of Trumbo. He looks ok out there. Better, by far, than Adam Jones looks on this play:
I was ROTFLMAO. By contrast, Buck Showalter reacts to amusing baseball plays like this:
He reacts similarly when the team forgets how many outs there are. Twice in one game. Or when Jones chases (awesome) junkball pitches like this from Mills:
Unfortunately that was not the worst swing of the week. The Vladimir Guerrerro Swing of the Week (good bad or ugly) goes to Trumbo, whose Caveman with a club approach to this pitch was all kinds of awful:
Trumbo did club several homers this week, showing that he really does belong at the derby.
Ok, it's time for the GREATEST BASEBALL GIF EVER. The Angels sent two players to the Futures Game: Jean Segura and Ariel Pena. Segura did pretty good. Pena stank the joint up with his pitching, but while he was pitching some other player hit this foul ball. What it did is awesome. It's THE GREATEST BASEBALL GIF EVER!
Thanks for reading TWIB - Angels Edition. Go Halo's!!!!