Positively Gushing about the Angels Awesomeness and September Baseball Fun in General

Eleven wins in the last twelve games. Three sweeps and a series win. Moving ahead in the AL Wild Card race game by game by game. Back. To. Back. Sweeps!! The season’s end results may still officially be one great big question mark but, oh my lord, is it ever fun to be an Angels fan right now!! The guys are just on fire. The games are exciting and hard fought on both sides…and they actually mean something. I mean, Friday’s game against the Tigers alone was everything I think September baseball should be.

The best part of the whole thing is…well, let’s be honest here. The best part from my perspective is the Angels. But almost as wonderful as that best part is the fact that, with both leagues’ Wild Card races running hot and heavy, there are a lot of fan bases enjoying their September every bit as much as I am and there is a lot of great baseball out there for the enjoyment of all. I have to say, if this is what September’s going to look like from here on out, my journey towards acceptance of the new playoffs format isn’t going to be a very long one at all.

Soooooooo, long time no blog. And, thus, we have much to discuss…

Jered Weaver’s Tendonitis

On the one hand, it’s hard to lose Jered Weaver in the rotation at this point in the season and no injury news is ever welcome…except…well, I have to admit that I was actually quite relieved to hear about the tendonitis. It means that the trainers have identified a clear and fixable reason why Weaver’s been having so many troubles in his last few starts. Because, seriously, I was starting to worry that somehow…you know what? Let’s just not even go there, actually. Suffice to say, while I wasn’t panicking or anything yet, I was starting to get a little worried. Now, I’m just hoping Weaver and the staff balance the team’s needs appropriately with his body’s needs so that, when he does return, he is as fit and well as any pitcher ever can be come September…and October because it’s going to happen this year. I can feel it!

And, in the meantime, kudos to the rest of the rotation and to the bullpen for kicking ass and taking names! …even if it has involved occasional indulgences in fan torture. Hey, we’re supposed to elevate our heart rates for at least a half hour a day, right? ;)

Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales

I swear, as each season rolls to the end, the race to secure a playoff berth becomes as much a game of chicken with the lurking specter of player injuries as it is a competition with the other teams. Sadly, the Angels have flinched a few times already and a couple of players are fighting injuries. Albert Pujols’ strained calf had as much potential for disaster as Weaver tendonitis but, thanks to all parties involved, the team is rolling with this punch as well. Even if running the bases looks painful, Pujols has gamely taken over the primary DH role for the time being and is just raking at the plate, and all with a huge smile on his face and plenty of encouragement for the whole team on his lips. I was always a fan, but now it’s safe to say I’m a huge fan!

And as for the other half of this equation, Kendrys Morales temporarily resumed his old role at first base so Pujols could rehab the calf. At first I wondered how this was going to work. Kendrys has played first here and there throughout the season and it is clear that he can still move and make some pretty tricky plays. But day in and day out? On that ankle? Nearly two weeks later, Kendrys is still working out just fine at first and he also continues to absolutely pound the ball. Seriously, this weekend was as much the Kendrys show as it was the Trout show. Among his many contributions, on Friday the man hit a legit triple. Yes, on that ankle. ‘Nuff said.

Except…if you want to read a little bit more about Kendrys, my latest LA Angels Insider piece is about the accident and his recovery season. Check it out if you get the chance. :)

Oh yeah, and Then There’s that Trout Kid…

Mike Trout. Can anyone ever praise this young man enough? I know I can’t, but that won’t stop me from trying. He’s actually going through a bit of a rough patch right now but that still means crucial hits, scoring important runs, back to back leadoff homeruns, leaping and diving plays in center, oh, and a walk off robbed homerun. Yeah, you read that right, a walk off robbed homerun. He began Saturday night’s game by putting the Angels on the board with a leadoff homerun and finished it by robbing Prince Fielder of a home run for the final out, thus earning the Captain Morgan pose salute from Torii Hunter — I don’t know when exactly the guys started this bit of fantastic silliness, but I sure hope it continues.

Watching Trout play baseball is like watching all of the stories I have heard about the Golden Age of baseball come alive before my eyes. And to think, he’s still maturing as a player. I don’t think I can fully wrap my brain around what that might mean for future seasons, but I am thrilled at thought of spending them in a more or less perpetual state of dropped jaw. (Some mother, somewhere: If you don’t close your mouth and stop making that face, your face is going to freeze in that silly shocked expression forever! Angels Fan: As long as I get to keep watching Trouty play, Mom, I don’t care!)

Suffice to say that right now the Angels destiny is firmly in their own hands and those hands – along with their bats, gloves, arms and legs — are looking strong, steady and capable of great things.

9 Comments

The Angels were definitely impressive against the Tigers, and maybe they even put the final nail in Leyland’s coffin in Detroit. At least the Angels coaches have a game plan going into a series, and know how to scout the opposition. All the best the rest of the way!
–Mike

Thanks Mike! I thought the Tigers fought pretty hard, really. It’s why the series was so fun.

– Kristen

I was going to copy paste the WAR for Mike Trout from fangraphs.com but of course the columns wouldn’t cooperate. Anyhow, Wins Above Replacement is 8.4. That is absolute insanity for a rookie.
To put it in perspective, NL’s Bryce Harper is at 3.5 WAR. and AL’s Yonis Cespedes is 1.6.
To further the point Derek Jeter is only a 3.1 on the year. (I hate the Yankees)….Sorry couldn’t help myself…
I said it at the start of the season that the Angels were the team to beat. I still believe that. The talent on that team is enormous.
However, I’ve been saving my lucky jersey for the 4 game series against my A’s this week. Halos are in BIG BIG TROUBLE!!!!!!!!!!!! RAWR

Actually, as of today Trout’s WAR is 10, and I do know just how amazing that is. :) As far as Harper goes, I thn it would be more fair to compare him to Trout’s performance last season when Trout also had a bit of trouble adjusting. I’m partial to Trout, because he’s ours, but watching Harper play makes me giddy too. I think next season Harper will be more explosive. As for your lucky shirt, I fear it not. ;) But I do think this is going to be one hell of a series. Can’t wait for first pitch!

– Kristen

Okay, so I should have shown your lucky jersey more respect. I see that now. ;) …Yikes. See, I figured this would be a tough series but for some reason I was under the mistaken impression that my guys would actually hit the ball every now and then and then maybe, you know, score some runs. *FacePalm*

– Kristen

I was saying from Opening Day: I predict a Angels-Nationals World Series. If not this year then next. Both just have too much talent to be contained in a nine-man lineup and five-man pitching rotation. Well that is if the whole “the playoffs are completely unpredictable especially if your factoring in a best-two-out-of-three series into the mix” thing doesn’t get in the way of the teams. But yeah, the Angels are good.
-Mateo

http://mateofischer.mlblogs.com

Yes you have been saying it, Mateo and that would be a fun, fun Series! I almost never make predictions, myself, though. Especially with the new format. Not making predictons however, doesn’t mean that I’m not rooting hard for a red, halo’d October. :)

– Kristen

I agree with your golden age comment. It’s like we’re watching Mickey Mantle mature right in front of our eyes (he kind of looks like Mick too if you squint your eyes a bit). It’s been very cool to watch. He’s made me stop thinking about Albert. Sorta.
–Jeff

I love the Mantle comparison, Jeff. It will be interesting to watch and see how Trout matures as a player. I’ve always wondered how much more incredible Mantle’s numbers could have been without the bum knee (because his numbers were astounding as is). If Trout and some of the other young dynamos continue on their current paths, we might get a clue.

– Kristen

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