Rays 4, Angels 3 Game 2 – Rays 10, Angels 3 Game 3 – Angels 12, Rays 3 Los Angeles Angels of AWESOMENESSAn Angel series loss to the Rays in which the Halos lost but still kept on courting Carl Crawford. Game 1 –
- Hooray! Dan Haren finally got some run support, and how. Clearly the offense was trying to atone for their previous failings, scoring just 14 total runs in Haren's previous six starts as an Angel. 12 runs proved to be more than enough, but I have the feeling that Danny is going to wish they had saved a few of them for later this year.
- That 12-run outburst was an amazing thing wasn't it? The Halos have been scrapping and scratching for every run lately, but they explode for a slew of scores in one game and suddenly it seems like all is right in the world again. And maybe it will be. Maybe this game will spark something in the bats to get them clicking again, but it could just as likely be a mere flash in the pan.
- One player that won't be a flash in the pan, it seems, is Howie Kendrick who is embarking on his annual late-season surge. Going 8-for-17 in the series is awfully impressive and no matter how you look at it. No doubt this will spark the normal speculation that he is finally "figuring it out," but I am more of the line of thinking that this only proves that Howie is, and always will be, a very streaky hitter. When he is hot, he is scorching hot; when he's not, he is ice cold.
- I'm not going to lie, I like the idea of Juan Rivera playing first base. In fact, I think it is long overdue. The Halos flirted with the move before, but it took some truly awful outfield play from him this season to force their hand. If Juan is going to stay with the Angels beyond this season, he is going to need to be more versatile since he likely will be relegated to a bench player or at least a part-time player. As much hate as he has been getting lately, he does have a useful bat and the Angels should find a way to get it in the lineup more. I can't say that I like the fact that Rivera's at-bats are coming at the expense of Mike Napoli instead of Jeff Mathis, but at least it is a start.
- Now we should see a true test of where Scioscia's loyalties lie. He can't, in good conscience, keep Napoli benched very often after seeing him explode for a six-RBI game like he just had. Even with him competing for playing time at both catcher and first, he should still be playing most days until he cools off.
- Now the question is what uniform will Carl Crawford be wearing the next time he sets foot in Angel Stadium? Having the Angels lose the series probably didn't help, but maybe he was impressed by the fight they showed the final game of the series? Maybe none of this really matters though. All this Crawford courting may very well boil down to who can right the biggest check.
- It is time to start worrying about Erick Aybar. I've noted in this blog his increasing rate of mental gaffes the last few weeks and it appears that he is getting close to a boiling point. He has looked pretty lost at the plate lately and then he committed the cardinal sin of forgetting how many outs there were on defense. The end result was him getting benched in favor of Brandon Wood (of all people) so that Scioscia could give him one of his trademark "mental days off." I don't think Aybar is on the verge of doing anything bad, but his maturity has always been an issue and as the Angels' games become more and more meaningless, his focus is only going to wane more and more. As of right now, he is still one of the golden boys of the franchise, but if he doesn't get his head on straight soon, he is going to jeopardize that status.
- Before anyone starts getting all hyped up over Jordan Walden hitting 101 MPH on the radar gun, let's not forget that he also got tagged for a run in that same outing. Lots of guys can throw hard, but if you don't know where it is going, it doesn't really matter. Walden still has plenty of time to figure it out, but he won't if everyone just makes it all about worshiping the radar gun.
- Scot Shields threw back-to-back shutout innings. This should be a good thing, but I fear that it is only going to result in him pitching more often and in more high leverage situations. That is definitely not a good thing.