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SATURDAY HALOLINKS: Joe Saunders' A Winner On and Off the Field

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Up next for the Angels: vs. Chicago --
Ervin Santana vs. John Danks

Saunders shuts down White Sox as Angels win 4th straight -
"It's like night and day, besides the results," said Saunders, who missed 17 games last month because of irritation in his shoulder. "I feel strong. I feel good, I feel confident, and I've turned the page. I'm way past the injury and the DL stint, and I'm ready to go through the stretch."

Joe Saunders pitches Angels to another win --
A day after John Lackey beat Seattle with a five-hit shutout, Saunders (13-7) almost matched him, giving up a run and three hits in seven innings against a solid Chicago lineup. It was the 10th time in 13 games that an Angels starter gave up fewer than two earned runs and it dropped the rotation's September ERA to 1.70.

White Sox-Angels Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
Los Angeles hopes Santana (7-8, 5.71 ERA) can avoid a third consecutive loss after allowing five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 defeat at Kansas City on Monday. "He's fine," manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official Web site of the right-hander, who's 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts since winning four in a row.

Chi White Sox vs. LA Angels - September 12, 2009 - Gameday Preview: Chi White Sox vs. LA Angels - September 12, 2009

Team Reports -
"In our conversations this spring, just for fun, we did play around with some numbers. But what Kendry is doing right now is not a surprise," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the expectations for Morales. "I don't think he's exceeding what his talent can do. This is his potential. The fact that it's come together in his first go-round is -- I'm not going to say surprising. It's very satisfying to see a kid play to his potential."

Team Reports II -
--LHP Joe Saunders had a 7.51 ERA over 13 starts before going on the DL in August with a sore shoulder. In four starts since returning, he is 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA. --Angels manager Mike Scioscia pulled LHP Joe Saunders from his start Friday after seven innings despite the fact that Saunders had thrown only 101 pitches and retired the last 15 batters he faced in a row. "Joe's still rebuilding from the little shoulder issue he had earlier in the year," Scioscia said. "If it's a night we don't have to extend him into the 115-, 120-pitch range, we're not going to do it."

--DH Vladimir Guerrero had a pair of RBI singles in Friday's win. Guerrero has 22 RBI since returning from the DL on Aug. 4. Only Kendry Morales (29) has driven in more for the Angels in that time.

Video highlights from last night's game:

Angels, Saunders dominate the White Sox -
Joe Saunders subdued the White Sox across seven breezy innings in a 7-1 romp in front of 38,375 at Angel Stadium

Izturis plates two runs with a two-bagger -
Maicer Izturis swats a double to center field, bringing across two-runs in the fifth

Saunders hurls seven innings of one-run ball -
Joe Saunders strikes out three in seven innings of one-run ball

Ayabar's foul ball hits Ozzie in the arm -
Erick Ayabar's foul ball hits White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in the arm, leading to a humorous exchange between the two

That one's pretty funny.

Saunders Suite Night another success -
So after numerous hospital visits and the birth of their first child, a daughter named Mattea, last year, the couple decided they wanted to do more. With the Angels' help, they decided to create an event called Saunders Suite Night. The event, which allows selected families to meet with Saunders on the field before the game and then watch the game in a suite, was held for the fourth time on Friday before the Angels' opener with the White Sox.

I've mentioned quite a few times Joe Saunders is one of my favorite Angels, here's another reason why.

Torii's Storiis: Thrilled to be up for Aaron, Clemente awards
I've been told I'm up for a couple of prestigious awards, named after two of the greatest players ever, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente. Just being mentioned in the same sentence with these two men is enough of a reward, never mind winning.

Angels observe 9/11 with ceremony -
The Angels observed 9/11 on Friday night with ceremonies featuring the unfurling of the American flag in the infield by members of the Orange County Fire Authority.

Lackey Proves He’s Just Fine - FanGraphs Baseball
Worry about John Lackey was pretty widespread this spring. He spent 53 days on the disabled list with a "triceps strain" last year, and developed a bit of a home run problem when he was on the mound. This spring, he was diagnosed with an "elbow strain" and a "forearm strain", and he spent the first two months of the season on the disabled list. Three different strains and two lengthy DL stints for a 30-year-old who carried a heavy load early in his career? You could almost hear Dr. Andrews sharpening his knives back in April.

Rangers coach Mike Maddux headlines unsung heroes of 2009 - Jon Heyman -
3. Mickey Hatcher, Angels hitting coach: There was a day last month where all nine players in the Angels lineup finish the game with a .300 batting average or higher, the first time that had been accomplished this late by any team in the last 70 years. Hatcher is extremely patient and positive, which is exactly how he was as a contributor on the most surprising World Series champion of the past half century, the 1988 Dodgers. With these results, it's no wonder he is positive. But he is cerebral, as well. People around the team say he tailors his approach to each hitter's need and style. He emphasizes the mental game over the mechanical, which seems to work just fine for one of baseball's best organizations.

What makes him so good this year? Is he doing something different?

Angels Have A Playoff Prayer - Bleacher Report
I think in a short series or a lose and go home format Scioscia can shine and take the Angels all the way to the World Series Championship. The Angels are built and managed for the post season and can score big or play traditional playoff style baseball.

Setting The Playoff Rotations - Ken Rosenthal - FOX Sports on MSN
Kazmir is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA against the Red Sox this season, with both of his starts coming at Fenway Park. He also threw six shutout innings at Fenway in Game 5 of last year's ALCS. The plan, then, should be this: Right-hander John Lackey in Game 1 at Angels Stadium — he had a 2.63 ERA in his two starts against the Red Sox in last year's Division Series. Righty Jered Weaver — 9-2 with a 2.89 ERA at home, 6-3 with a 4.98 ERA on the road — would pitch Game 2. That would leave Kazmir for Game 3 at Fenway and either lefty Joe Saunders, righty Ervin Santana or Lackey on short rest for Game 4.

Guillen high on the '09 Halos -
"I think they have a chance, if they make the playoffs, to go all the way," Guillen said. "If you have a good pitching staff in a short period of time, you can move guys to the bullpen and be even stronger. And we all know, in baseball, how good of a club they have."

Angels catcher Napoli in search of comfort zone - LA Daily News
The results aren't there these days, but Mike Napoli has been going on gut feelings and believes he's ready to turn a corner offensively. The power-hitting catcher has nowhere to go but up with three hits in his last 36 at-bats since Aug. 23, good for a .083 batting average. His last home run came Aug. 21. The one before that was on July 31.

ESPN Spikes Neyer's Whicker Piece - ShysterBall
Whicker's piece showed what happens when editors are either asleep at the switch or, more likely in my view, not empowered to challenge name talent when they write garbage. People, especially junior people stuck working over a holiday weekend, can get fired for telling a guy with a column who has been around for two decades that they won't run his piece. This happens an awful lot at newspapers, and I can't decide if it's (a) a sad thing to see time-tested journalistic conventions break down like that; or (b) a hilarious thing given how much crap the journalists have given the bloggers for our alleged irresponsibility. What good are the credentials and that editorial layer the Buzz Bissingers of the world go on and on about if they're incapable of stopping an abortion of a column like Whicker's?

This article is more about ESPN removing Neyer's post, but I thought the above paragraph was just as interesting.

Could Matt Holliday Go To the Angels Next Year? - Bleacher Report
Let the Matt Holliday free agent speculation begin. From Buster Olney: "But I'll venture a guess (and it's nothing more at this point): Holliday winds up signing with the Angels, effectively replacing Vladimir Guerrero within their salary structure." Now comes the obvious question: could it actually happen?

Derek Jeter stands alone as New York Yankees' all-time hit king - ESPN
Jeter broke the New York Yankees' hit record held by Gehrig for more than seven decades on Friday night with an opposite-field single against Baltimore. It gave Jeter 2,722 hits, one more than Gehrig, whose Hall of Fame career was cut short by illness in 1939.

I'm too sure why this is such a big story. Would it be just as important if a player had just broken the Royals all-time hit record? By the way, who's the Angels all-time hits leader? And who's the current active Angels hits leader? (Answer HERE)

September 12 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on September 12.
1965 - Washington's Brant Alyea debuts with a pinch-hit home run on the first pitch from Rudy May in his first ML at bat. Yes, a major-league first. In Washington, 840 fans watch the Senators beat the Angels 7 - 1.

840 fans? I couldn't even imagine being one of 840 fans at a game.

Happy 75th birthday to an original Angel
1934 - Albie Pearson, outfielder; All-Star