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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Vlad The Impaler: Angels 8, Rangers 2

One of the expressions you learn early being married is, "You were right, I was wrong." It saves a lot of grief. So, I offer up a similar thought to Richard, who last week stared down the Angels' weak play.

Well: as I write this, the M's are ahead of the A's, 7-2 in the 8th. Update: final score, Mariners 7, Athletics 2.

The A's blogs will be, um, interesting.

I really had no hopes, going into September, of the Angels catching up to the A's. But thanks to an A's rotation collapse on top of an already weak bullpen, the A's are stumbling to the finish line. As well, offensive mainstay 3B Eric Chavez is barely hitting in September (.234/.309/.360). Watching the Dodgers unravel tonight -- they're down 4-0 after Milton Bradley dropped a routine fly ball -- I have some sympathy for that.

But not as long as the Angels have a shot. Which they do.

Back to the game: Vladdy with two homers, D-Mac with one, Anderson slugging one -- and Escobar finally, finally, gets some run support after pitching another brilliant game.

And tomorrow: the Rangers will be back four -- if the M's can hold their lead -- with an elimination number of two. They're sending Kameron Loe against Washburn; Loe first appeared September 26 when he pitched 2.2 innings in relief of starter Ryan Drese, who got chased early in a six-run pounding by the resurgent Mariners.

We can expect they'll fight like tigers (opposite Tigers).

But. This is so not over.


Regardless of whether we win this or not, almost as important I think is the struggles of their "big 3." I'm not an expert on whether or not their bloated second-half ERA's represent a long-term trend or just a blip, but it certainly gives us more hope in the future. Harden's the only thing "big" at the moment.
Are you changing your mind about Vlad, or he's still a big, dumb Dominican slugger?
Raul -- it's nice to see him start hitting, anyway. But I still think he has almost no plate discipline.
Mattkew -- I think this is a long-term trend :-), but that trend is toward September meltdowns. Last year it was just Mulder. This year, it's Mulder and Hudson; Zito has been unreliable all year. Of course, if you asked me for a guess, probably 50% of the pitchers were taking steroids previously; of a sudden, offensive rates have increased substantially. Look at all the pitchers having bad years due to reduced velocity: Colon, Weber; even Gagné hasn't looked like last year's Cy Young winner. Circumstantial, I know, but guys coming off the juice en masse would certainly tend to explain it.
Rob, I agree with you, he's the best bad pitches batter... His swing connects with many bad pitches, what amaze me is that he drives the ball into basehits

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