Seattle Mariners (43-47) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (49-42)
Pitching Probables: WAS – Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.22 ERA) LAA – Dan Haren (9-5, 2.65 ERA)
Game Info: 12:35 PM PT; TV - KCOP, MLB Network; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
Damn you, All Star break! Just when the Angels are on their biggest and best roll of the season, you have to stick your menacing midsummer nose into their business and make them sit around for a few days so that they can cool off.
With the rotation continuing to grow stronger and stronger and the offense actually experiencing a rare power surge, I can't really think of a worse time for the Angels to take four days off. We've already seen how streaky this team can be this season and having the scheduling gods mess with their momentum like this just seems unfair. Let us not forget that this time last month, the Halos looked so terrible that even casual fans were wondering allowed about which players the Angels should sell off at the trade deadline to kickstart a rebuilding process. Now they have completely flipped the script and rattled off eight series wins in a row (granted, it has been against a cushy schedule, but wins are still wins).
Keeping that roll, well, rolling won't be easy, but winning this finale to complete the sweep and have a memory of such fresh in their minds as they spend the next four days golfing/resting/vacationing certainly won't hurt.
On the bright side, the Rangers are faced with the exact same problem, so at least they'll both be starting from square one after the break is all said and done.
Monkey See, Monkey Do - Do hope that Dan Haren gets named to the All-Star game at some point today. He will quickly become ineligible to play in the All-Star game because he is pitching today, but he really has been having an outstanding season, but it seems to have gone under the radar due to the presence of Jered Weaver. Haren has a good chance too since Verlander, Shields and Felix Hernandez will also be declared ineligible today (and maybe injured Josh Beckett too). I don't care that Haren won't play, I just think he deserves the honor of being selected.
Monkey See, Monkey Don't - Don't be surprised if I am flicking channels during inning breaks to check out the Athletics-Rangers game. I'm sorry, but I want the Halos to get a chance to head into the break with a share of first place. It is kind of meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but the symbolic value of that spot in the standings is a motivator and something that could help the Angels stay focues and locked in when they go to try and recapture their momentum when the season starts back up again on Friday, especially since Texas comes to town next Tuesday. Gosh, I'm not looking ahead much, am I?
The Monkey's Bananas Prediction of the Game: This will be the last we see of Mike Trout until September. I guess that is more a prediction of Peter Bourjos' ability to get healthy than anything game related, but given the outbreak of Trout fever in the OC, I think it is worth noting to everyone that it may be just a 24-hour bug. Trout is clearly destined for big things, but the Angels aren't going to force the issue. I never got to give my two cents on this, but I feel very strongly that the Halos only called him up because they knew the All-Star break was coming, so they wouldn't have to rely on him for several weeks on end. Instead, they just promoted him so that he could get his feet wet in the majors then get some rest and head to Triple-A to keep working on his game. A small part of it too is for the organization to see in person how close to MLB-ready he is. Two games is hardly enough time to make a decision, but Trout certainly hasn't appeared overmatched, which is probably all the Angel decision makers needed to see to make it obvious to them that they need to find a way to carve out a role for him on the 2012 Angels.