Whether it was the Texas heat or the pressure of the game, the Angels had the Rangers right where they wanted them but couldn't hold up and now find themselves three games back in the AL West and once again fighting for their playoff lives.
Leading up to this game, I had one lingering thought in the back of my mind that kept bugging me: Jered Weaver complaining after his start on a hot humid day in Florida back in June. He put up a good line in the game, but he talked quite a bit afterward about what a struggle it was for him as he had some command issues and just seemed to tire in the heat. He could afford to be a little off against the Marlins, but not the Rangers. So imagine my chagrin when Jered came out in the first inning and repeatedly missed Jeff Mathis' target by feet, and not inches.
Weaver obviosuly didn't have his best stuff but did a respectable job of keeping the Rangers in check as long as he did. Ultimately, it seemed like, as in the Florida game, the heat had just taken too much out of him so that when he came out for the seventh inning having thrown less than 100 pitches to that point, he couldn't slam the door like he normally would in that situation and that was the opening Texas needed to take the series and give themselves some breathing room in the AL West once again.
- Losing this series is not the end of the world. It obviously would've been better for the Angels to win tonight, but three games is hardly an insurmountable margin. In fact, there is a very good chance that the Angels could be in first place ten days from now. While Texas will spend their next nine games battling the Rays at home for three before going on the road for four in Boston and three more in Tampa, the Angels get to feast on four games in Seattle followed by three home games a piece against the Twins and the Mariners again. The Twins and Mariners are both terrible right now, so I wouldn't put it past the Halos to go 8-2 in that stretch, which would put them in first if Texas merely goes 4-5 at the same time. Keep hope alive!
- It was funny hearing Bobby Valentine pontificate at the end of the game about how Mike Scioscia might have sent a bad message to his other two starters by skipping over them this series and also to his bullpen by sending Weaver back out for the seventh inning, suggesting that the pen can't protect a one-run lead. Hey, Bobby V, do your research. Jerome Williams hasn't done anything to deserve to start in such a series and Joel Pineiro knows full well that he is lucky to even be in the rotation right now. They aren't suddenly going to feel slighted. Nor is the bullpen because, well, we all know they can't protect a one-run lead. In fact, my biggest fear going into this series was exactly what unfolded in the seventh, where Weaver was pushed beyond what he could handle stamina-wise because of the short rest all because Sosh wouldn't want to go to any relievers other than Downs or Walden.
- How is it Fernando Rodney still has a job? I know his ERA is 3.26, but he hasn't worked a clean inning the entire month of August. I really just don't get it.
- Believe it or not, the Angels may have caught a break this game. Nelson Cruz had to leave due to injury, which could be a big problem for Texas the next week or two when their schedule is very tough. They are already without Adrian Beltre, so losing Cruz could make the Texas lineup a bit vulnerable.
I hate doing this because Weaver competed hard, but the fact of the matter is he is the staff ace and he is supposed to win games like this and he didn't.