Tagged: Closers

Small Ball?

The Angels won last night by a margin of three grand-slams.

Still during the commercial break inbetween the ninth inning I was nervous.

They wouldn’t put Frankie in for this situation, would they?

Thankfully not. Twelve runs with only three outs to go seems like a huge differential. That is, until you have to watch Francisco Rodriguez close your games every night.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I like Frankie. I always have. But I don’t know that my heart can handle watching him pitch for much longer. He has a 1.264 WHIP, and a 6-2 record… neither are numbers that a closer (especially on a team that relies on pitching and defense) should boast.

Night after night Angels’ fans are forced to see Frankie load the bases. BY WALKING A GUY! Needless to say it is more than frustrating to see him in, especially when my favorite pitcher has gone seven and given up just one run (a more than quality start).

But getting to the bottom of the ninth was the exciting part of last nights game. A two run shot by Garret Anderson was one of many highlights. It is my opinion that there GA must be the come back player of the year. Honestly who else could  be? Anderson has been plagued by injuries over the past few seasons, even missing 50 games due to a hip flexor this year, but since he has been healty (in a post All Star break era) he has posted some of the best numbers of his career. He already has over 60 RBIs since the break, and the season isn’t yet over. Many of those came during a streak where he had at least one RBI in each of 10 Angels games- a record which he now owns.

And lets face it, he is a Yankee killer. Which plans to be of very beneficial, as it looks as though the Angels will face the Yanks in the first round.

Then there was the first career homer of the highly toted prospect, Brandon Wood. Originally my dad and I both thought it was Mathis. They look surprisingly similar at the plate, and also have a similar facial structure.

Speaking of Mathis, I’m torn at who I want behind the plate. I feel that Napoli is more imposing. But Mathis really knows how to block the plate.

Overall last night was a great game. Though I am surprised that Kelvim gave up six runs, very uncharacteristic of him. He now has 17 wins, and here is to hoping that Lackey can match that number tonight.

One quick football note- I hope that Eli Manning is given enough time to completely recover from his shoulder injury. I enjoy watching him play and would hate to see his career compromised for one game.

Frankie needs to RELAX

The era in which a starter was asked to go a full nine innings is so far removed that complete games are celebrated as extraordinary feats rather than the norm.

So why is it that the only way John Lackey can get a win is if he throws a complete game shut out?

One would assume that giving the ball to Frankie would insure a win, since he is "one of the best relievers in baseball," but that title, and that assumption, is for the Frankie of 2006, not 2007. Francisco has been nothing better than erratic this season, and for baseball fans who don’t follow the Angels religiously that outing at the All-Star game wasn’t half of what we have to stomach through on a nightly basis. Plain and simple a great, or even good, closer shouldn’t have a record of 5-2 with 6 blown saves. Frankie’s fastball is not overpowering, and a lot of major leaguers have figured out the slider. So that leaves his other pitch… you know, the one where he falls off the mound.

Frankie is directly responsible for at least two of Lackey’s no decisions this season, including tonight. You add those to the win column, and suddenly Lackey is leading the MAJORS in wins. But alas, what was supposed to be baseball finest bullpen has been anything but.

Honestly I have more problems watching Frankie pitch than Shields. And Shields looked awesome tonight (and I mean that in the Godly sense with which one is to use the word awesome).

IF Frankie getting pulled during the ninth inning was not a clear sign of a demotion (which it should be), then there is something seriously wrong. He is the one who needs to be throwing simulated games now. Shields went in and worked on it, now it is time for Frankie to pay his dues as well.

On a lighter note Lackey was very impressive in his 7 innings of work, as he showed just the strikeout pitcher he is.

And I apologize for the lack of updates, I was at NASCAR for the Labor Day weekend, and had a wonderful time. I met my favorite driver, Kasey Kahne, but since it was over 100 degrees all weekend long that resulted in a bit of heat stroke. Well worth it though, I must say!

As for Thursday night, I was out at watching the Saints vs Colts game with my friend, Lance. Peyton and Marvin looked stellar. Reggie Wayne was grand. And I havn’t seen the Colts’ defense look so solid and unified ever. This plans to be a good football season!

Oh Mercy, It’s Percy. AGAIN!

If I search hard enough I can find his face in the old 1990’s Angels’ team pictures hanging up in my bedroom at home. Somewhere in the back, near Erstad. A few years ago he was “one of the only ones still with the team.” But in 2005 that changed, and he went to the Tigers.

I have so many great memories of Troy Percival. Who, as a baseball fan, could forget the expression on his face after the Angels won the World Series back in 2002 and Bengie Molina jumped into his arms as Scott Spiezio literally jumped for joy? But I don’t think that is my favorite memory of Percy.

I remember when he became the Angels all time saves leader. My dad and I reenacted Spiezio’s jump over and over in our living room.

And then we were there for the ceremony to celebrate the feat. It was a game against the Orioles, and I was still star struck from meeting Jeff DaVanon. And Robb Quinlan got the last hit of his 21 game streak (tying an AL Rookie record). A few of the Angels’ old timers were at the ball park that day, and it was fun to see the new guys, and the old guys interact.

Then there was the game he saved for Detroit at Angels’ Stadium. We were there for that too. It was a Friday night game, with little to no appeal to anyone other than a die hard baseball fan. I thought there would be plenty of tickets left (it was the Tigers), and invited my then boyfriend to join my friends, my dad, and I for a night of baseball. Of course upon arriving we found out it was little league night, and therein sold out, and we had to find a scalper with an extra ticket. But walking around the stadium for the first two innings was well worth it to see Percy (even in a Detroit uniform). And so as he ran out to save the game we all yelled “if we had to lose to someone, at least it is him.”

So when we heard that he was on the disabled list, a little bit of every Angels’ fan got crushed. To see a hero fall before our own eyes. And when we heard the stories of how the Tigers had voted him a full share of the World Series profits we all knew why. Percy was a team guy who never questioned his role.

Then finally we thought we had seen Troy’s final pitch. The first pitch of the 2007 season was thrown by non other than the now retired Angels’ great. And I don’t know that anyone was more elated than my dad and I knowing he would retire as an Angel.

So when I heard on Angels’ Live that he could be back, I was not only shocked but ebullient. Overwhelmed with joy really. A long time hero could be back with the team. This is… Roger Clemens-esque. Think just how much the young guys like Dustin Moseley would learn. Obviously Troy wouldn’t take Frankie or even Shields’ spot in the ‘pen, but what could this hurt? We have a great pitching staff and a veteran presence could only increase this. No, he probably won’t have a super fast fastball, but does he need to? He doesn’t have to go into the game with the entire organization depending solely on him, that is Frankie’s responsibility now. But knowing Percy, he would probably prefer to have it that way.