Remember the days when you couldn't wait for the Rangers to come to town so we could relax and have a three-game win streak and cowboy beat down? Well, they're baaaaaack! In a display that we would have considered to be rather stunning back in April, the STRONG offense led by minorr league phenoms rolled through the Rangers staff - including Yu Darvish - while the STRONG starting rotation, led by Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker, chewed the Rangers bats into sawdust. WTF? Well, hallelujah and break out the brooms!
Let's open with Friday. where Richards went 6 fine inning and gave up a single run on 4 hits against 7 strikeouts. Facing ex-Halo Joe Saunders, the Angels ripped off 7 runs in the middle innings. Collin Cowgill and C.J. Cron combined to go 4 for 9 with a Cron home run and the Angels took the opener 7-3...........Richards is, far and away, the team leader in bWAR at 2.4 and only Mike Morin, with about 1/4 the innings pitched, has a better WHIP. He has a Top 10 League ERA and an ESPN feature interview during Sunday Night Baseball, but his injury earlier this season has choked back his innings and the possibility for being among the leaders in that all-important All Star selection criteria: Wins. But he should be there. Oh, and we got a pretty nifty play out of Erick Aybar...........Let's move to Saturday, and Jered Weaver plowed through 8 commanding innings, matching Richards from the night before with 1 run yielded out of 4 hits surrendered, and 5 strikeouts. But the Angels were only up 2-1 entering the ninth inning, having scored on an Efran Navarro infield groundout and, yes, another C.J. Cron home run. Kevin Jepsen took over for Weaver in the 9th inning and immediately surrendered a home run to Shin-Soo Choo and blew the save. But Josh Hamilton singeld in the 10th, took off on a hit-and-run (run-and-hit, technically) and scored all the way from first base on a very timely double into the left field gap by Howie Kendrick for a 3-2 walk off win..........Which brings us to Sunday, the feature game in MLB and broadcast nationally on ESPN. Matt Shoemaker was sent in to face down Yu Darvish, who came into the game 7-1 against LAA. And there, in front of all of baseball, Shoemaker utterly destroyed what is left of the Rangers offense and went 7.2 innings with 6 strikeouts against 8 scattered hits and only 1 run. Meanwhile, the Angels, led by ANOTHER home run by C.J. Cron (third in three games!) AND a home run by Kole Calhoun, just ripped Darvish for 5 runs in 6 innings. And the Angels swept the Rangers by taking the final game as well, 5-2.
So, in review, note again the names I ripped off in the broom-fest against the Rangers: Garrett Richards, Collin Cowgill, C.J. Cron, Matt Shoemaker, and I even threw in an Efran Navarro and Mike Morin. Think about that a while, and let your mind wander back to the Great Panic of April 2014. Wow. And these kids could really come in handy, considering that somewhere in the attic space of Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, there is a picture of an assemblage of has-beens and never-were baseball players dressed in green and gold, that is aging into miserable and decrepit buffoons. And we can only hope that one day they are not identified by the rings on their fingers.
Other Angels News.............Yeah. It's true. Raul Ibanez was released just 10 Plate Appearances short of his next bonus, and he takes his -0.4 WAR with him. Probably a nice guy, and I hope he remains a nice guy in all his future gigs - elsewhere.............The Stanley Cup made a visit to Anaheim, but to the wrong side of Katella.............Buster Olney puts up a piece on Mike Trout that you have to hear for yourself to believe. yeah, Mike Trout at full speed (which happens real fast), sounds like a beast on the basepaths. Sit at field level sometime. It is a phenomenon............Garrett Richards is blowing the doors off of all his pre-season projections. It's almost Shoemaker-esque.............Tyler Skaggs appears about ready to return, with Scioscia insinuating that Skaggs should be back in the rotation next weekend.............Nike has unveiled the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout signature cleats, so Mike's got his own shoe line. I wonder if they come in periwinkle?
Moreno-Carpino Shame Update
Jim Fregosi still not being honored with a memorial patch.
74 games lost. What with the incredible response around baseball for their personal losses elsewhere, it's no longer possible for these men to save face. They picked a bad year to ignore our own Hall of Famer. At this point in history, their reputation as inconsiderate, negligent and/or ignorant concerning the value of our heritage to us fans, is sealed.