Still plenty of optimism about all of this - HA! Can you imagine if Texas had been 9-0 while we had gone 2-7 - they would be 8 games back... oh wait, that would still be the largest divisional lead in baseball.
Francisco Rodriguez STILL has more saves than the Mariners have victories. August 22, man.
Okay, well we can still be happy - can ANYONE recall the last time that Mike Scioscia had a closed door meeting to chew out the players (don't believe the propaganda in the mainstream media that he calmly told the players they needed to focus better. He might have used a word with some of the same letters as focus, though...)
We are at least getting our asses kicked by great teams - Tampa and Minnesota are better than Senior Citizen Boston or Faded Bluejeans New York. We are getting schooled by young, hungry hustlers in generically inoffensive boring uniforms.
But we are playing quite flat, tweaked really, probably aching, definitely unfocused and likely in need of 2-Game rest stops for each player. When did it happen? I have found the moment. We were on a mighty roll, a five game winning streak and were tied in the 12th inning TEN DAYS AGO when Mariner prospect Wladimier Balentein hit a HR off of Justin Speier. VIDEO. Watching that will be painful, but pay attention to Torii Hunter's landing. It is the bigger ouch than the Speier predictability. Torii has disappeared offensively since that bad landing. And he has taken the offensive continuity with him...
The video does not explain Howie's slump (his inability to hit a curveball or slider explains that). It doesn't explain the recent sloppiness, lethargy or resistance to dumping Justin Speier. It gives no clue as to why Shields could not find the strike zone on Tuesday. But it does show an important Angel getting a severe tweak that was like the first of a few dominos falling into a summer dog-days slump.
Let's hope a game off his feet and a Scioscia tirade have started the healing in the Angels clubhouse.