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DOG DAYS AHEAD: Angels to Play 17 Games in 16 Days

17 games in 16 days. That is the uphill hump ahead, dogging our dog days of August. Hope the team enjoyed their off-day, it is about to be quite the damn grind, and against good competition.

On the plus side, the Rogers Center Skydome has no ill weather to contend with and even though scattered rain is on board for the weekend in Boston, it doesn't look like it will even hit 80 degrees. Seven games at home follow and hopefully the Yankees will have cooled down by then.

Our closest competition, Seattle's Maryners are having their own grind, and when we finish off this two-week-two-day sleepwalk, those very Sasquatches will be rushing out of the Safeco-Kingdome in order to fly to Cleveland for a one-day makeup game before a weekend series in Toronto, so they too have an ordeal with luggage on tap, albeit a week after us.

Boston is growing haggard, showing their age and has a cardiac-attack media about to deluge them with more hometown tension than any team can stand. Toronto is bored, not playing sharp, and is off a lousy road bender through a suddenly dominant Kansas City.

While the Yankees are hot, a lot can change in a week and we will have played 7 games in 6 days before coming home to face them. Then it is four dates with the Blue Jays on our home grass before the showdown in frapuccino town.

Napoli should be back by this weekend to spell an overworked (but homer-happy) Jeff Mathis, Matthews needs to get in the field or go on the DH as Vladdy's knees deserve two games in Toronto at DH - especially considering that there is a doubleheader immediately following the concrete-turf series.

But those are the only glaring issues, as the team has jelled in the past two weeks. Had Shields been on board and Cabrera capable of a few sac flies we'd be looking at building on our 12-game win streak. As it is we are 12-5 in our previous 17 games, so let's hope for something similar over the next rollercoaster twist in this exciting 2007 season.