After hitting a hot streak and looking like a legitimate contender for .500 1st half (don't laugh) they end the run with a sweep in Seattle. Despite ending the 1st half on the season under .500 and facing an ugly sweep against the Mariners the Angels are still in a decent spot to make a run after the break. Out of the Angels next 20 games 13 of them are against teams ahead of them in the standings, meaning that a much needed extended rest could put the Angels in a position to go hot right out of the gate.
An ailing Pujols can rest his pained foot and knee, Mike Trout gets to bask in the glory of the All-Star spotlight (thus gaining even more confidence heading into the 2nd half), and key players on the DL like Vargas and Bourjos get valuable time to finish up their return schedules.
Plus, with the Biogenesis bans ready to roll (or so they say) plenty of key players from key teams in front of the Angels will be lost. We just need to hunker down and ride this witch hunt out all the way to the playoffs. Unless players on the Angels happened to be named.
That's what we call an "icing on the cake" type of season
-- To be fair none of us really thought Joe Blanton would put up a valuable start today, we never do. He actually managed to exceed my expectations by not only managing to give up horrible home runs in the worst spots, but by only lasting 4 innings while doing it. A key 2 run bomb to Michael Saunders in the 2nd inning put the Mariners up 3-0, which proved to be vital because it kept the ever inching Angels truly away from the game. Despite Trumbo immediately hitting a solo shot, ending his first half with 21 HRs and 57 RBI's, the Angels couldn't come close while the Mariners inched further away after really hitting hard. What surprised me was not only did Blanton throw a bitch-fit in the dugout, he threw it at the Angels coaching staff in Mike Butcher and Scioscia. Apparently because of some miscommunication between Iannetta and Blanton the Mariners were able to open up the floodgates on Blanton. I get that he's just upset that he cares, but I'd like to think if he cared hard enough he could magically make himself stop sucking for more than 2 games in a row.
-- The offense was relatively nowhere to be seen as the Angels were only able to scratch runs across on Trumbo's solo shot and Callaspo's 2 RBI single. This put the Angels close to the game, but they just couldn't capitalize on it. Especially when Pujols doubled off of Charlie Furbush to lead off an inning only to see the next 3 batters retired rather effortlessly. I think this is the time when giving the guys a good rest will pay off for the team. It's a bit of a shame to see Hamilton get so hot just before the end of the season. Hopefully he can carry that confidence into an explosive 2nd half.
-- Aside from that not much really happened. It was a rather slow game. A large amount of relievers pitched in todays game, thanks for Blanton, so there's no surprise there. I could name off each reliever and what they did, but I can say they were all pretty fantastic. If the Angels really need a trade chip Scott Downs has done something good by finishing off rather strong. It's his last season with the club, so I'd like to see him get shopped strongly so the Angels can get a little bit more of a long-term return on the original investment. I'm sure a contending club with serious bullpen issues like the Red Sox would kill for a lefty reliever with pretty numbers such as a 1.33 ERA. It's a very foolish ERA as he has trouble getting righties out and generally chokes in tense situations and is very injury prone on top of that. Oh yeah, and thank god for this break; an over worked Dane De La Rosa is desperately in need of one. Let's hope it can keep him strong.
Despite the Angels playing a losing game with a horrible Joe Blanton pitching I can't really call anyone out. Sure Blanton is there, but he's the obvious one and it gets painfully redundant picking on the same guy over and over again. Instead lets enjoy this gif of Mike Trout robbing a home run