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Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Like Corn Straw On My Broom: Angels 5, Rangers 3

Ron Washington isn't panicking, not three games into the season:
"You want to win so some frustration sets in, but we're not feeding on that," Washington said. "We know what's happening. We didn't catch any breaks here. We know we're better than what we played here. We will get better."
Sure, but the Rangers made five errors in the series, and barely pushed men across the plate with runners in scoring position. Chalk one up to the Angels' pitching staff; yesterday's game was an Ervin Santana showcase, in a circumstance he normally doesn't shine in, day games. Santana got some dramatic help from Gary Matthews, Jr., who robbed Michael Young of a homer in the first. GMJ just seems to be everywhere all at once, doing it all at the top of the order with yet another multihit game; he's now hitting .500 on the young season.

I'm not generally much on reading a lot into a player's performance based on a three-game series; if I were to do that, I'd have to say that Matthews, Jr. is the AL's leading centerfielder, just as I'd have to reason that Juan Pierre is one of the NL's worst based on his performance in the recently completed Brewers series. But I do think that's it's fair to say that the Angels won't have to worry about too many teams running on balls hit to center, which is more than than the Dodgers can say for Flippy. I'm not the only guy who follows both teams and got a sense of the (immediate and far from permanent) disparity in the two signings, as evidenced by comment 67 in yesterday's Dodger Thoughts mid-day thread:

The Angels game just started and already Matthews Jr. has robbed Young of a HR and scored a run. I hate that the Matthews Jr. signing is making our Pierre signing look even stupider. I guess it might not hold up over the 4-5 years, but man does it bug right now.
There was also something I didn't hear in the radio broadcast, but at comment 104, apparently one of the Rangers' players — and I'm guessing based on the time and the plays that this was Gerald Laird in the fifth on Kenny Lofton's tapper to short — tried to swat the ball out of Howie Kendrick's glove. If that's true, it puts Laird, whom I had no particular feelings for or against, in the same category as A-Rod and Robert Fick, mitigated only by the fact that I didn't see the play myself.

Other treats included Jose Molina successfully reaching first on a bunt single; who in Heaven was taking calls yesterday? Besides that, the middle of the order seems to be fully operable, especially Casey Kotchman, who's doing everything he can to dispel the "cursed player" voodoo you sometimes see in print from people who don't really follow the Angels. And then there was K-Rod's teeth-chattering finish.

At last, a word about box scores. I really despise MLB.com for constantly moving their "Box Scores" link in their game recaps every year; for reasons I don't understand, those links don't work on recaps even of games played last year. I've been plugging ESPN's box scores previously, but unfortunately it looks like they've eliminated the play-by-play summary on those, now, which is lame. I like their box score formatting better than what you get with Yahoo (side-by-side is better than away-atop-home), but it looks like the play-by-play data is still on Yahoo, plus the Y boys get a little more love for having a lighter-weight page that loads much faster on Firefox. I'm gonna have to bookmark those guys, and not just on my blogroll.

RecapYahoo Box

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How could you not have feelings for or against Gerald Laird? Do you not remember the scuffle(s) with Texas last year and that Laird was at the heart of them, at one time him and Adam Kennedy having to be broken up from fighting before the game next to the batting cage? Laird is a punk, and I gave it to him on Wednesday from my front row seats right next to the visitor's ondeck circle.
No, I don't remember that scuffle...

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