After a rather tumultuous series against the White Sox the Angels managed to keep the final game of the series under their control the entire 9 innings to record a much needed win. New ace of the staff Jason Vargas put up another 0'fer in 7 IP, though he lost his command at times leading to 3 walks in a 114 pitch out, although he did strike out 6. The Angels offense has settled nicely even if Hamilton is still struggling, though he's showing signs of being able to make consistent contact instead of K'ing on 3 pitches every AB. The pitching probably won't settle as nicely as the offense has in the past week, but if Vargas can keep putting up these ridiculously high quality starts the Angels will be in an improved position from a month ago.Once Weaver comes up you can chalk the Angels pitching staff up to being actually serviceable, with ace Weaver leading the charge and the refreshed C.J Wilson manning the #2 spot in the rotation.
Any good pitching staff builds itself off of 3 quality starters and having the off-and-on Hanson at 4 is something the team can work with, though Blanton is just something we'll have to deal with for now. Still think Garrett Richards should be pitching 5th since that spot is best used for developing young starters.The Angels are actually a couple steps away from solidifying their rotation, though it's still left to be seen whether or not they can get it together in time.
We can be thankful the Angels pulled together a nice win on a Sunday, something we haven't seen in a good while. Let us rejoice and be glad.
-- Jason Vargas has been an absolute godsend for this starting rotation, and you'll still find detractors who claim the Kendrys-Vargas swap was not worth it. This was another start in which Vargas went at least 7 innings, giving the bullpen a much needed day to relax. Three relievers still made an appearance today, but it wasn't a complete disaster as it was in yesterdays Joe Blanton start. It seems as if Dane De La Rosa may be losing some effectiveness as he came into todays game and allowed 1 run and 1 walk in only 1/3rd of an inning pitched. Even through his wildness Vargas was able to strike out 6 guys, which is pretty impressive given his walk and pitch totals. Seeing the pitching staff keep the opposing offense to only 1 run does offer a bit of hope for the team, especially after the disaster yesterday. Then again we've all seen exactly how bi-polar this team can be so it wouldn't be a complete shock to see them lose in a complete blowout next game. I'd like to say this is the start of a streak, but it would be about the 5th time I would have said that in the past 2 weeks.
-- The offense wasn't exactly on top of it's game today, they were largely helped out by Peavy's 5 walks allowed in todays outing. Two of those walks came with the bases loaded, giving Erick Aybar 3 of the 6 runs scored as the early runs in the game can be attributed to Aybar. I'm not 100% sure how to feel about this, it's nice to see the Angels let a pitcher work himself into trouble after they've broadcasted their inability to show plate discipline, but I can't tell if this is because of the Angles newfound appreciate for taking pitches or just extreme wildness on Peavy's part. To be fair at times John Hirschbeck was putting an incredible squeeze on both Angel and White Sox pitchers at times, most notably on Peavy and Ernesto Frieri in the 9th.
-- Speaking of Frieri, his control (which was a problem last year) is looking worse off than it was last year. Frieri's breaking pitches are practically allergic to the strike zone, and he insists and throwing them in tight counts without relying on his fastball. Too often does Frieri fool around with breaking pitches before going back to the fastball, often times being too late to get the batter out. If he can consistently punch the zone with his fastballs and finish off the hitters he could be far less shaky then he's been his past few appearances. I think it's become apparent Ryan Madson needs to be making his way to the Angels 'pen very soon, even if the Angels do want to dick around with keeping on a minor league rehab stint a few more weeks (which seems a bit much for my taste). Frieri is too prone to going on a bad streak and right now the Angels need as little of that as possible, bringing Madson in might offer more consistency to the bullpen, but that is something that only time will tell.
This one goes to Vargas for offering the Angels pitching consistency, something that very few Angel pitchers have given the team. Another start in which you go deep into a game while keeping the lead with your team can do crazy things in the long run, like get you wins and all that fancy stuff. If he can keep it up he might just be the Halo Hero for the whole season, especially with the way this rotation has shaped up. He's pitching like an ace, so it's only fair he gets treated like one.
Hopefully he can keep it up throughout the season