The Angels lost again. The bullpen was a mess again. The defense was miserable again. Everything sucks again...
...but not really.
It is a shame that the Angels finished this series in Texas with a split given how the series started. But if you take a step back for some perspective, can we really be upset about a split? In case you forgot, Texas is a really, really good team who is really, really, really, really good at home. Knowing that, I think most all of us would have been just fine with a series split and I feel pretty confident in saying that had these last two losses been boring 5-2 or 6-3 affairs, the level of outrage/panic/desperation/exasperation would be minimal at best. That sentiment is born entirely out of how close this came to being a four-game sweep, which of course would've been seven different kinds of fantastic.
The epic meltdown of the bullpen only serves to exacerbate these strong feelings. These last two games, the bullpen has been nothing short of an industrial grease fire and that has everyone's proverbial panties in a bunch. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't having post-traumatic stress flashbacks to the April version of this relief corps that I dubbed the Bullpen of Perpetual Sorrow. This is everyone's greatest fear because coming into the season the bullpen was considered the Achilles heel of the roster. In April, it definitely was and thus far in August, it definitely is. But did we all not pay attention to the months in between? In May, the relief ERA was 2.62. In June, it was 2.34. The only real difference was the addition of Ernesto Frieri and some shifts in bullpen roles to turn them from a massive liability into a dominant crew for two months. They came back to earth in July and obviously have gone off the rails the last few days, but that is baseball. It is a streaky sport. They will weather this storm. They might not get all the way back to being lights out, but they have shown that they can easily be above average.
Perspective, folks, perspective.
- One more note of perspective, let's not forget about the environment of these last two games. Rangers Park is a hitter's haven on a normal day, but when it is as hot as it was all series, the place transforms into Coors Field Junior. Barely any pitcher had a strong performance over the four games. Should we really be so surprised that the bad Angels pitchers couldn't pitch well?
- Seriously though, it is kind of insane to think that literally none of the Angel relievers can get anyone out right now save for Hawkins. Honestly, I think we all knew this was going to happen tonight, right?
- If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is that Texas' big pick-up Ryan Dempster got shelled. He could easily right the ship right after this, but plenty of pitchers have struggled jumping leagues, so he might also not get much better in a hurry, which bodes well for the Angels.
I'm holstering the Halo A-Hole tonight. There is so much blame to go around here that it would be unfair to single anyone out. More than that though, it also wouldn't serve a purpose (not that it ever does). Everyone knows how crappy these last two losses were, so why bother rubbing it in?
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Yeah, I could say out loud that a split was fine in Arlington but I'd be lying if I tried to tell you I wasn't thinking 3-1 before the first pitch of the series was even thrown. Even more so after the first two games. Ground needs to be made up and the Angels can't depend on other teams to help them. That Wednesday game suddenly feels a whole bunch bigger right now. Last night's game wasn't nearly as horrifying.