Final Score in Anaheim: Angels 6, Yankees 0
Not to be out-shined by Jered Weaver's performance against the visiting New York Yankees last night, Dan Haren came to the park to play this evening. From the beginning of the game, fans could tell that this was not the shaky Dan Haren they had seen in the last few starts. No, this was the "Dirty" Dan Haren that Halos fans were wowed by in the first couple months of the season; dealing and taking names, commanding the mound and utterly embarrassing the opposition. Contrary to Weaver's epic outing last night, however, Haren actually had run support this evening. And you know who was part of that onslaught? Our very own Jeff Mathis, he of the milieu of Worst Player of All Time. He of the Lyle Spencer Sacred Cow altar. A classic, albeit unexpected, outing from this team in the hunt for the AL West crown.
The game was kept close for a few innings, even after Maicer Izturis had an RBI double in the second. This was mainly in part to the starting pitchers of the evening: Dan Haren, of course, and for the Yankees, CC Sabathia. I would give credit to Sabathia for his outing, if the Angels offense weren't already known for being so subdued. Haren, however, proved his mettle by taking the league's most formidable offense and turning them into a figurative pulp via his pitching arsenal.
After the 6th inning, came the deluge. Just about every Angel got in on the action tonight, once CC Sabathia was pulled from the game. I should mention that Sabathia got out of a tough bases loaded jam in the 6th inning, and walked off the field, screaming into his glove out of, I'm guessing, equal parts frustration and celebration. This epic LOBster moment by the 2011 Halos was notable because they could've lost all momentum right then and there. It's not out of the ordinary to see this team get deflated by such scenarios. But what did they do? They picked themselves up. They hit back. In the 7th, facing the Yankees bullpen, they hits came at a bargain price. So much so that even Jeff Mathis rocketed a ball into the bullpen. Only his 3rd bomb of the season, it was also the dagger into the hearts of all the Skankee fans in the stadium. The enemy patrons of Angel Stadium began to trickle out; the Halo Faithful showed them the door, all while cheering their asses off.
With Texas losing earlier in the evening, this game was huge from the get go. It was such a thrill to see the team respond in the fashion you'd expect a team in the playoff hunt would: with Cy Young-like pitching(Dan Haren"s 3rd CG of the year) and offense galore, even from the bit players. If this trend continues, tomorrow's series finale with Ervin Santana on the mound should prove explosive. There is a palpable movement going on with the team, in this series. They are giving us fans all they have, and it's so rewarding watching it on the field. They cannot slip up, however. If they want to play in October...this is the team they NEED to be. Night in, night out. Again, this year's club has proven to be a fickle one; a rollercoaster ride of Scioscia-lasagna proportions. But in arguably the biggest series of the year, against the A.L.'s best team, they are stepping up. And stepping up huge.
AL West Standings
As Alan Falcon points out, tonight was one of the best games of Jeff Mathis' career. For Dan Haren, it was just another Saturday night.
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