Monday, August 3, 2009

Good Vibes From Angels, But Must Continue Surge In October

Just consider the intriguing streak an exhibition season, as the calendar reads mid-summer. Still, October hasn’t arrived yet, and it is normally a month their perplexing power surges are doubtful.

And when the Los Angeles Angels fail to advance pass the first round of the playoffs as results advertises fiascoes. In previous postseason appearances, they’ve being victims of agonizing collapses, and have taken the route to early exits.

A favorable season quickly relapsed and suffered a bizarre letdown to the Chicago White Sox in 2005. For a majority of rally monkey die-hards, it was painful to experience catcher A.J. Pierzynski strike out swinging and race to first base when umpire Doug Eddings ruled the call that Angels’ catcher Josh Paul never applied a clean tag.

It was also grueling to assimilate heart throbbing losses to the Boston Red Sox three times in the postseason, misfortunes that have wasted propitious pitching dominance because of inabilities and futile hitting that wasn’t enough to subdue a level of compulsory.

Truthfully, the rally monkeys were just a marketing crusade, not a bail out of troubling meltdowns. If it was the case, the Angels wouldn’t have suffered agonizing disappointment, swept by the Red Sox in the AL Division Series in ’04 and ‘07.

And a year ago, the 100-win Angels swings deteriorated and cleared advantages for the Red Sox unstoppable and dynamic pitching to seize eminence, which led to a 3-1 first round loss.

At 63-40, a problem that has hinged advantages, and weaknesses in the batting order whenever the postseason comes. But right now, it isn’t a concern. Instead it might draw attention this fall, but until then, let’s all anoint the Angels as the hottest team.

Because they’re clearly the best team in the American League, if not all of baseball, it’s brainwashing to mention their failures in recent years. Maybe it is convenient to believe they’ll survive blunders and batting droughts in October.

For many seasons, the Angels have being a team known for its aggressive base running and stealing bags to secure scoring position, following a bunt or a wild pitch that would allow agile players to race home.

But it is small ingredients that haven’t being enough for avoiding postseason anguish, which fans wonder why the front office prefers holding on to their farm system. Yes, a promising future is well-established, consisting of depth and growing stars that will emerge into important role players and superstars.

But if the Angels expect to escape a series without any troubles and refuse to go home, they will need to survive with a powerful hitter in the middle of the order. By virtue, it doesn’t seem dropping hits into gaps or depositing forceful shots are disadvantages.

It still doesn’t justify it’s sufficient to call the Angels a championship contender, having much to prove when winning is meaningful, other than playing a solid 162-game season.

After failing numerously to obtain a forceful hitter to blend into the batting order, the Angels have being criticized for not adding depth at non-waiver trade deadlines in previous season.

Although general manager Tony Reagins takes much bashing from critics and disgruntled fans for the lack of effort shown in acquiring remedy on an indecisive club, credit him for pulling off the biggest mid-season deal at the deadline a year ago and acquired switch-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira from Atlanta in exchange for first baseman Casey Kotchman.

They knew exactly what they were getting themselves into with the acquisition of a rental player, particularly a high-profile player like Teixeira, who was seeking $200 million contract as a free agent.

Negotiating with baseball’s powerful agent Scott Boras is usually a bidding war for teams that are too manageable in conserving money. After all, the Angels knew exactly that they were consulting with a stubborn and egotistic agent who demands that all of his clients agree on the richest deals available.

So clearly, retaining the slugging first baseman was a steep price that the Angels assumed wasn’t worth squandering in a long-term deal, still offering Teixeira an eight-year, $160 million but he turned down a premium offer to explore the market for hire.

As a result the Angels lost the bidding war, and Teixeira migrated to New York and signed an eight-year, $180 million contract deal with the Yankees.

Kendry Morales was an indefinite first baseman a year ago, but has made Reagins into one of baseball’s cleverest general managers, voicing adventurous personal decisions by giving Morales the everyday first base assignment. Much optimism and gambling a potential disappointment turned into a surging option in the Angels unfathomable lineup, entering this season.

On Sunday, Morales captured a pair of three-run homers that resulted in a career high of six RBIs and assaulted the Minnesota Twins in a 13-4 rout, finishing a three-game sweep. Maybe if the Angels can translates late a multiple RBI and home run spectacle, then odds will favor them as felicitous contenders.

Maybe if they continue to locate and execute satisfying pitching qualities, there’s a considerable chance they could wreak a Dodgers-Red Sox or a Red Sox-Phillies fall classic, a pair of series matchups everyone is eager to check out in late fall.

Aside from postseason matchups, the Angels allowed the clock to strike 12 a.m. ET without acquiring a big-name pitcher or slugger. There were speculates that the Angels were in discussions for Toronto’s ace and best pitcher in baseball Roy Halladay, but pulled out at late for steep prices, similar to when they removed from significant bidding wars in competitive sweepstakes.

Over seasons, the Angels missed out on trade opportunities that could’ve benefited in the future, which generated one-and-done postseason series to condense and relinquish in an extravagant season.

Having a robust John Lackey, who is developing into mid-season form, has thrown effectively with phenomenal command and continues to control momentum in the pitching department.

Early on, rust mangled Lackey’s usual form on the mound, but now, he is solid and won four straight starts. His last win came against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, when he pitched seven reliable innings, yielding on three hits and one earned run. As the rest of the rotation continues to struggle with up-and-down pitching complications, Lackey ensures the rotation stays ideal.

Ervin Santana is having trouble to recover from an elbow injury, with a 3-6 record and a 7.29 ERA in an 11 starts. Many remember Santana has a young phenom who adapted into the majors relatively quickly, but injuries have slowed down legitimate pitching perfection. If he can recover and revamp into 18-game winning form, the Angels rotation can pose a threat on a competitive American League. Image a hitless pitching duo, overpowering an entire league.

Meanwhile, imperfection stifles pitching commodities that describes the Angels and resources for building into a contender. Joe Saunders can contribute by avoiding droughts and relocate his pitches to bolster a rotations dimension.

Currently, he is 9-6 with a 5.07 ERA, as it has being difficult escaping innings without allowing a run to score. And by limiting run production, Saunders is a suitable reinforcement among pitching.

They’re fortunate for the scorching batting surges. It continues to keep the Angels atop the American League, as October looms closer to prove it they’re tangible in the postseason or just dominance in the regular-season. A winning streak is glorifying, but it’s unknown if it will come a few months from now.

One thing they’ve ensured is that they can maintain balance without Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, two ideal players who are nursing injuries on the disabled list. Manager Mike Scioscia has utilized successful options and getting run production and aggressive batting from a numerous of players.

The Angels shouldn’t miss the two main producers, with a supporting cast, of which stepped up their roles. Now the team is a vital threat, consisting of Bobby Abreu, who is patient at the plate and knows win to swing at pitch that enters the strike zone. He is a factor to the Angels surging streak, with essential contributions in hits and runs score, which has turned around a few games this season.

Juan Rivera returned to the lineup after nursing a hamstring injury, but has deposit a few long shots out over the wall, emerging into arguably the teams best hitter, including sizzling muscles from Erick Aybar’s 13-multi-hit game in July, and Mike Napoli’s hard swings to connect with a fastball that results into a homer.

Chone Figgins who continues to play small ball with aggressive base stealing and speed to advance 90 feet closer often, and second baseman Howie Kendrick was giving a message when the Angels demoted him to triple-A Salt Lake in June for his offensive struggles has suddenly emerged and grasped a sense of awareness, knocking in a career high five runs in a win against the Indians last week.

As it stands, the Angels have won 13 of 15 games and are 16-3 in its last 19 road games. In an appealing three-game series the Angels was historical, managing to amass 52 hits in the entire series and almost set a club record by compiling 35 runs. It's just a demonstration of how hot the Angels are as an entire.

It is definitely a contending team, if they continue to surge on offense efficiently. But effortless offense is meaningless, if the Angels can’t light up the halos in or believe rally monkeys, when it counts.