Monday, May 22, 2006
Luxe Life: Dodgers 7, Angels 0
You could hear the chants all around us before the first inning was even done, along with Ervin Santana, again. Mat Gleason, aka the Rev, who was sitting behind me, said he couldn't disagree. "I don't think the Dodgers have beaten on a group of Latinos like that," wrote Haloblogger "Daryl Sconiers", "since they evicted the residents of Chavez Ravine." After two years of frustration at the hands of the Angels, the Dodgers handed it back by the palletload in this series, beating up on a seriously weakened Angels team that can't do anything right at the moment.
Now, I disagree with "Sconiers" that the team has given up; it's simply that its flaws of construction have finally surfaced in a way that will force the front office to do something about them. Mickey Hatcher's hacktastic offensive style isn't helping, but recall they actually started taking a few walks lately; the problem, in my mind, is that the offense was never going to work well so long as it was all about RISP voodoo — and absent a power bat to protect Vlad, that was the only straw the Angels had to cling to.
As this season's showing, the old-time RISP religion is a terrible thin reed; the pitching, not any silliness about clutch hitting, carried the Angels in 2005, and now that's collapsing unexpectedly. The Angels have arrived at a point where the questions become not "when will they contend?", but "who will get traded?" and "how soon do they gut the team so the kids can play?" With each humiliation like Sunday's, getting off the floor gets tougher and tougher, especially considering they need help from their freshmen and sophomores; asking the kids to carry you is always asking a lot. The best thing you can say is that they're done, for now, with playing without a DH, a gaping hole in their lineup at the moment.
You wonder just how tense the conversations between Stoneman and Moreno are.
I could go on about the Dodgers offense, Kenny Lofton's 3-4 day, Nomar's 2-4 day with 3 RBIs. Andre Ethier homered again, the gift the A's gave to the Dodgers that keeps on giving to the Angels. Derek Lowe in some wise got lucky; any team but the Angels would have had Lowe on the mat after surrendering two walks, a single, and a double in the first, yet the Halos weren't able to get one lousy hit with runners in scoring position. It's maybe a test of how good Colorado is, maybe a test of how hot the Dodgers really are, but they'll get to test their mettle against the still-division leading Rockies tonight.
I should also say: there's a real glee in the headline writer for the Dodgers recap. Whether or not it's justified, I can't say; the 2006 team is 24-20, but last year's pitiful squad was 22-20 on May 22. Early season chest thumping strikes me as a road straight back downhill.
Finally — there are times in life when you just want to do one crazy thing. Mine was renting a suite at Dodger Stadium and inviting a mess of friends over. If you have the means, I highly recommend it; we certainly had a blast, and so did all of our guests, including the Rev and his missus, Mr. and Mrs. Weisman, Rich Lederer and his wife, and a bunch of our other friends and family besides. And if you've ever wondered what it's like on that level, well, welcome to the luxe life.
no reason to squelch the optimism at this point, imo.