Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mid-Season Reflections

The day after Opening Day, I expressed my thoughts about the Angels and their chances this season. I didn't say much because, first of all, the Angels had only 2 of their 5 starting pitchers on the roster (the rest being on the DL). Secondly, my reflections were based on only one game. Not much to go on there. Nonetheless, I was excited but on the fence about whether we could preform well under the particular constraints under which we started the season.

But now it's the All-Star Break and half of the season is over. Here's the negative perspective:

-We still don't have all five starting pitchers healthy.
-Nick Adenhart (a young replacement starter) was killed the night of his first start.
-I'm not sure about now, but for most of this first half, our bullpen has been the worst in baseball.
-Vladdy has spent more time on the DL than not on the DL.
-We've gone 2W-7L against the Rangers, our AL West competitors.

Actually, the last one hurts the most since our ability to perform against the Rangers may determine our playoff chances down the stretch. If you would have forced me to write this email one week ago, it would have been too depressing to read. We had just lost 2 of 3 to Texas and losing that series knocked us out of 1st place and propelled them into that spot. It was terrible and I didn't think that following that performance up with a series against the Yankees was going to help things much. Imagine how excited I was to hear that we were entering the Yankee series with Torii Hunter and Vlad Guerrero on the DL with Juan Rivera joining them the next day!

But now it's time for the positive perspective:

-We swept that series against the Yanks and, with the Rangers losing 2 to Seattle, we entered the Break in 1st place by a game and a half.
-Jered Weaver is pitching up a storm and is carrying our struggling pitching staff.
-The little guys (Izturis, Aybar and Mathis) are making up for the home runs that Vladdy and Bobby Abreu aren't hitting.
-Torii Hunter is going above and beyond what anyone could ever ask of him, providing needed leadership and inspiration on and off the field.
-The Angels have won 5 of the 6 games that I've been able to attend and they've all been pretty exciting.

So, as my beloved Halos enter the 2nd half, I'm hopeful. I'm not sure when or in what condition Vladdy, Hunter and Rivera will return and I always worry that trips to the DL might ultimately mean the end of a season—or career—for a player. But the Yankee series showed that, if the rest of our team has their game on, we can play adequately without them. Our bullpen still needs A LOT of help, but they've settled down somewhat and aren't an exhibition in dismal failure anymore. I'm going to see the Angels play the Athletics in Oakland tomorrow night. That will be my final game before going back to Ukraine. I'm not excited about seeing Ervin Santana pitch but, if the offense is on, I'm not too worried. And even if we lose, they'll still have a winning record on games that I've been able to attend—I can't ask for much more when I'm around for only parts of every 3rd or 4th season. So, as we say goodbye to the first half of the '09 season, I can say, from the depths of my heart and with high hopes for the remainder of the season, "Go Halos!"

1 comment:

eric O said...

I guess I have to lay off of Santana for now. He pitched 8 innings of great ball, giving up only 1 run. We scored 6, 2 of them off of Kendry Morales' homer that came within about 30 feet (maybe 50) of where I was sitting. It was a great way to end this season of going to actual games. Now I just have to hope that they can keep it up, make it to the playoffs and, by some form of divine intervention, beat the Red Sox.