OK, so maybe the Angels didn't need to make a trade after all. Scoring a combined 35 runs in a three-game road sweep of the Minnesota Twins sure has a way of making a general manager look smart, doesn't it?
All those perceived weaknesses that the Angels should have addressed at the trade deadline were hardly even noticeable in the weekend's sound thrashing of the Twinkies. The Bullpen of Doom was called upon to work 10.2 innings in the series and allowed just two runs, while also pitching five innings of shutout ball in an extra-inning win on Friday night. So much for the bullpen being ready to implode, eh?
Even better than the bullpen's performance was the progress shown by all three troubled Angel starters (Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Jered Weaver). The struggling trio all displayed real signs of improvement and provided the team with a some real hope that they would snap out of their funks in the near future. Weaver looked excellent in his start, picking up the win while fanning eleven. He did surrender two home runs, but only allowed four total his in 6.1 innings. Joe Saunders still has some work to do, but he did only walk one batter and kept the ball in the park while winning his first decision since late-June, so even though he was hardly dominant, he now has a foundation he can build upon to get back into form. Finally, the least encouraging start came from Ervin Santana who allowed a number of extra-base hits in his six frames of work, but he continued to tease at finding his groove at any moment by whiffing eight batters on the night.
Then again, it may not matter what kind of performance the Halos get from their struggling starters if they continue to mash on offense like they did this weekend, scoring in double-digits in each game. If I were the rest of the American League, I would be soiling my pants right now after seeing the "small ball" Angels go deep eight times in three games. There is simply no way of combating that kind of offensive versatility and if the Angels can keep it up, their trade deadline failure will be something they all look back on and laugh at by the end of the year.
- Guess whose got the best record in the American League? That's right, baby! The Halos have no surged past the rest of the field in the AL and if the Dodgers lose tonight, the Angels will take over the best record in all of baseball as well. Suck it, everyone else!
- It took a couple of weeks for the Angels to realize that they could be using Sean Rodriguez in left field instead of Reggie Willits, but at least they finally figured it out. S-Rod rewarded their confidence with three hits, including one home run, in his two starts and perhaps more importantly, he walked once and didn't strike out at all. With Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero due back soon, it might be too little too late though.
- Was there really ever any doubt that the Angels were going to pull off the comeback on Friday?
- For the first time, I honestly can't think of a bad thing to say. The Angels kicked some unholy ass in this series and to try and shoehorn in a negative just for the sake of filling some space would be poor form.
K-Mo decimated the Twin pitching staff with three homers and nine RBIs in the series. He just becomes a more and more dangerous hitter everyday as he even clubbed two dingers off of southpaws in Sunday's game. With the way he and Juan Rivera are hitting, there is a legitimate argument to be made that Vladimir Guerrero should be hitting no higher than sixth in the order when he and Hunter return.