After going 1-2 against the Rangers for like the 17th time this season, my confidence in the Angels was understandably low. After all, the only games that really matter are divisional, and the Angels' success over the last few seasons has been largely related to their ability to beat Oakland, Seattle, and Texas at a .500+ clip. Meanwhile, an improving Vlad and an MVP candidate in Torii Hunter both hit the DL.
If this isn't a cursed season, I don't know what is. Also, I'd really like to have a meeting with the team strength and conditioning coaches and ask why they can't keep a team on the field. It's ridiculous that so many athletes are getting hurt playing the least physical major sport in America. Hockey players don't get hurt this often.
Regardless, I was expecting a blowout when I checked the score while walking back from the Charles. 3-0 Yankees in the first, and with the way Saunders has been pitching, the expectation was that each subsequent inning was likely to add another run or two to the New York cushion. The Yankees scooted out to a 4-0 lead before the Angels got one back in the bottom of the second. The real fireworks, however, came off the bat of a constantly-improving Kendry Morales. A three-run homer coupled with an Abreu RBI single in the fifth would put the Angels ahead, and they'd score 2 and 3 runs in the next two innings. The second triad of runs was courtesy of an Erick Aybar three-run shot, so bravo, Erick.
More about Kendry tomorrow, perhaps, as Fangraphs had an interesting story up a few weeks ago.
The nice thing about this lineup, at the moment, is versatility. Missing it's two best players, it still has power in Morales, Napoli, Rivera, and (supposedly) Abreu, while still utilizing a former All Star in Gary Matthew Jr. off the bench. If the front office realizes that now is the PERFECT time to put Figgins in the outfield or at second and call up Brandon Wood, maybe he'll finally begin to develop as a major league player.
Tonight's game is at 4:05 Pacific and happens to be on national TV, virtually guaranteeing an Angels loss. On top of that, Jered Weaver threw 118 pitches last week, showing that Scioscia reads this blog and is trying to completely demolish my small, loyal group of readers. As such, I'm not expecting much from him, particularly as his last start after throwing over 110 was pretty underwhelming.