The Angels have finally done something special on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball that they haven't done in a while; win in glorious fashion. Before the Angels were near perfecto-d by Chris Sale before barely escaping that fate only to still face an embarrassing loss. Angels usually can't do anything right when playing the media's favorite team on the 2nd biggest stage next to the World Series, but today they were glorious. Weaver was unbelievably fantastic through his 6+ IP affair in which he shut out the Red Sox all the way. This could very well dispel the worry surrounding Weaver, his lowered velocity, and recent jump off of the DL; his fastball floated around 90 and touched 92 MPH which is very promising to see his rebounding smoothly and quickly. Josh Hamilton has kept his hot streak alive with a double which stretched his hitting streak to 12, a streak which has seen him hit well over .300.
Everyone was hot today, even J.B Shuck who constantly see-saw's from the worlds worst outfielder to key hitter at the top of the lineup. Even though he cannot stop screwing up in the outfield he always ends up on the good side of the see-saw, though his fortunes could change fast if the Angels drop off again. Not to sound too caught up in a fantastic victory, but it looks like the Angels are serious with their recent play given Josh Hamilton bringing incredible life to the club.
It might have come later than some would have liked, but it's here and it's bound to stick around for a good while. Even though Hamilton is incredibly streaky he's finally starting to find a good "medium" within the balance.
Let's hope the Angels good fortune continues into the following week.
-- Even though Albert Pujols has been mired in an extremely rough patch he's beginning to bring back some value to the team. On top of a base hit Pujols made an incredible head's up play that allowed him to steal extra bases practically behind the Red Sox's back. Pujols was on 1st when Josh Hamilton worked a walk, which sent Pujols to 2nd. Thanks to the Red Sox inattention and the overshift Pujols was able to take off for third due to it being devoid of a defender, winning a close footrace to make it to the bag. His bat is slowly coming too, but it's good to see his veteran instinct and generally reckless aggression paying off for once. Usually Pujols' recklessness leads to him trying to stretch out a base hit that he has no business trying to beat out. That's just Pujols though, it's to be expected when he's feeling overly cocky. Glad to see it actually work out in his favor this time.
-- Weaver was absolutely fantastic today. Despite a horrible play by J.B Shuck that should have been typical outs to open the game Weaver was able to battle through a 1st inning no out, man on first and third with 2 K's and a lineout. He would have to continue to battle by throwing a troubling amount of stressful pitches early on, at one point he had pitched to 4 consecutive full counts in only the second inning. He had his 50 by the 3rd inning, yet he was still able to take it to 6.2 scoreless IP on 114 pitches. It's no question that Weavers strong return has finally anchored down the bullpen, he's no stranger to putting the 4 guys behind him on his back. Once he does that in due time they all fall in line and pitch fabulously. Imagine how insane this staff will be with Weaver, C.J, and Vargas consistently strong and Joe Blanton putting up impressive starts in shorts bursts. Weaver's return and Hamilton finding his footing in ridiculously dramatic fashion will keep this major surge alive for a while. I can see winning streaks for days from here on out.
-- What impressed me more than Weaver's impressive start was the bullpen's ability to come in and shut things down. DDLR came in to relieve Weaver in the 6th with 2 men on and was his clutch self as always by getting a stressful out on only 2 pitches. I can't say this enough (I really can't, I say this all the time), but Jerry Dipoto is just a master at bringing in relievers. I know his move on Madson and Burnett haven't worked so well, but that's not entirely his fault. Madson is just having the roughest return from Tommy John a lot of us have witnesses in a good while, and Burnett has been fantastic in the very very few innings he's pitched outside of his massive DL stints. His trade of Steve Geltz to the Rays for Dane De La Rosa has proved huge for the Angels, for the most part he's been a killer reliever who often pitched multiple scoreless innings in games he's desperately needed for. He's arrival might not have been as impactful as Ernesto Frieri's, but he's still been a saving grace for the Angels from time to time.
-- The legend from Mike Trout continues as the A.L East fanboys from ESPN were forced to bask in his eternal glory despite their ever-shining Red Sox taking plenty of blows today. A first inning homer from Trout proved to be huge for the Angels as they were riding 1-0 for a while before Conger's huge solo blast. The pitching wouldn't need it as the pitching would shut out the Sox the whole way, capped off by a 3 K appearance by Frieri. Things are looking good the Halos down the stretch right now.
Weaver has been a rock for the Angels his entire career in Anaheim, and with his return he's once again shown he's the rock we can all rely upon when things are going down and especially to keep the good times rolling. His return has seen the Angels to go on a massive tear which has brought the Angels just a few games within .500 and inching closer as and closer to the top of the A.L West ladder as the weeks go by. More realistically if the Angels can keep a more consistent level play, even if it isn't as hot as what we're seeing now, will more than likely win a Wild Card berth.
Good times indeed