While the Angels have been performing wildly over expectations the past few series they were unable to pull it all together this Sunday for a big sweep of the Texas Rangers. While the Angels are no way in any position to make a playoff push they can still keep other teams like the Rangers from doing so, and I think that's something we all desperately want to see. Todays charge was led by the rookie phenom Kole Calhoun, who seems to do something Angel hitters have struggled with mightily the past few years; getting key hits in key spots. Whether it's a crucial RBI spot or a table-setting position Calhoun gets it done, no ifs ands or buts. The fact that he's hitting so well in such limited time goes to show how talented and ready to play he is. With his surge towards the top it makes it hard to think the Angels won't be quietly shifting their philosophy towards young talent over big names and big money. While it has been pretty obvious the Angels would make this change in the offseason players like Calhoun coming up and showing the Angels what young talent they have in their system is probably the final nail in the old philosophies of the organization.
This recent Angels team that has shown up looks incredible, and it makes it hard to see how they could fail to live up to expectations in 2014. As long as they can keep the core of young talent together and avoid bone-headed moves this team might be in position to make a strong push next year. Let's pray our high hopes can be validated.
-- Vargas is continue to perform to expectations after coming off the DL. While he hasn't been as impactful as he was before he went down he has still shown to be a key pitcher to this club, namely because he can get the outs without giving the game away. Vargas pitched 6 innings of 2 run ball against Texas while striking out 8 total batters. While his performance was strong enough to earn a win the bullpens was not. Buddy Boshers allowed the tying run on board, while Michael Kohn allowed the go ahead run to score in the same inning. Not the best performance, but it wasn't exactly a bullpen meltdown either. Dane De La Rosa continues to pitch strongly, lowering his ERA to 3.17 with his 3 strikeout performance. He is looking to secure himself a strong role coming out of the bullpen next year, I would say a Scot Shields type 7th inning guy with Frieri manning the setup role and a hopeful improvement manning the closer role. While there are still a few question marks left with this team it seems as though many of those questions are answering themselves. That should make the Angels job going into this winter much easier.
-- The offense was looking good until the late innings of the game, most notably the 8th, when Calhoun doubled to lead off the inning only to be stranded with 3 consecutive outs. One of the bigger players in todays game was, shockingly, Andrew Romine. Romine came away with a HUGE RBI double early in the game, putting the Angels up 3-1 at that point. What was so awesome about the hit was seeing Romine smile all the way to second base. As soon as he came out of the batters box you could see him trying to keep the smirk down as he ran the bases. As soon as he got to second you could see the look of childish joy on his face as he stood on the bag. When your team really has nothing to play for this is the kind of thing that keeps you watching, the love and joy of the game.
-- I was a little irked the Angels couldn't hit the Rangers with them essentially using the bullpen to pitch the entire was through. Their starter, Tepesch, lasted only 3.1 innings while allowed 2 runs to score. It's not like he was pitching exceptionally bad, the Rangers were just being cautious with him having recently finished a DL stint. Aside from him the Rangers used 6 other pitchers in the game and only one of them allowed a run. You would have thought the Angels could have hit the Rangers a bit harder since they were able to kick their starter out rather early, but it was not to be had as we saw. The Angels still have time to do damage to the Rangers in the stretch, so I'm hoping next time around the Angels can put a seriously brutal beating on the Rangers.
I can't really think of any Angel that performed so badly out of their element that they deserve to be recognized as such. Instead it would be much more fun if we all hated on A.J Pierzynski.
Doesn't just watching him get clocked in the fact take all the pain away?