One swing of the bat was all the Angels needed.
So long, Seattle. Thanks for coming out. The Angels really needed a confidence boost and the sweep they completed tonight was a perfect means to that end.
The Angel bats failed to capitalize on their momentum from their previous win, but none of that mattered with the way John Lackey pitched tonight. Lack was mowing the Mariners down with extreme prejudice and is peaking at just the right time to make sure the Angels defend the AL West title and have a legit shot at making noise in the post-season.
Though he doesn't always get credit for it, John Lackey IS an ace by any measure. If not for his early season injury causing him to miss six weeks and get off to a slow start, we'd probably be talking about him as a Cy Young candidate right now. He's been so freaking awesome lately that he has now pitched two straight complete games (which is a real rarity in this age of pitching specialization and pitch counts) and has allowed just one earned run in his last three starts. For all the talk of the Angels needing to add starting pitching depth for the post-season, they might have just been able to jump on Big John's shoulders like they did tonight and have him carry them to the promised land (still, getting Kazmir was an excellent idea).
Now the Halos not only have the confidence of knowing their ace is going to annihilate the opposition every five days, but they also get a little extra lift from finally dominating an AL West opponent. Let's just hope they can hold onto that feeling for the next month.
Don't be frustrated, Ichiro, there is always next year, right? Yeah, probably not.
- Let's hope tonight's homer by Torii is the start of a hot streak for him. He really needs to step his game up if he is going to be the protection for Vlad Guerrero instead of Kendry Morales. Not a lot of pitchers have been scared of Torii lately and it is holding Vlad back.
- How spot on was my Howie Kendrick prediction? He was all over Ryan Rowland-Smith tonight, collecting three hits. Now his average is up all the way to .292 and I really have to wonder when he is going to start stealing some at-bats from Maicer Izturis.
- I didn't think it was possible, but the Angels held Ichiro to just 1-for-14 for the series. He didn't score a single run, draw a walk or steal a base and he even struck out four times. When you consider what a great hitter that guy is and how much trouble he has always given the Halos, that is really a staggering accomplishment.
- I had to listen to the radio for this game and was treated to Hud's latest fixation, getting a movie made about Kendry Morales defecting from Cuba. You know it is bad when even Terry Smith and Steve Physioc seem annoyed by Rex and he is way past that line with this latest distraction.
Big John made this selection easy. He didn't just have a five-hit shutout, he made pitching look easy as he was never really in any trouble at any point during the game. If not for Bill Hall having his number, I'm not sure Lackey would've needed more than 95 pitches to get the complete game