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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Angels Retake First Place With Sixth Straight Win: Angels 4, A's 2

Yes, I know the last time the Angels were in first place was after play on April 5, when they beat the Twinks on opening day. But yesterday's win represents a hard slog to even catch up to a mediocre Texas team; moreover, as the current unified AL standings make clear, the Angels, with their current record, wouldn't even qualify for third place in the AL East.

The Angels knocked out a couple on Bobby Abreu's first inning homer off Ben Sheets, and when the Angels came back for more in the fifth (on an Erick Aybar triple and Howie Kendrick's infield single), that was all they needed, Brian Fuentes on the mound in the ninth or no. Scott Kazmir posted his second-longest game of the year, giving up only one run. Fernando Rodney showed in the eighth why Detroit was happy to let him seek his fortune elsewhere, getting himself into and (largely) out of trouble.

Finally, I wanted to make a mention — if tardy, and only in passing — of the Angels 9-4 win in Seattle on Sunday, which completed a road sweep of the blue-and-teal northrons. Mainly, that's because of something David Pinto forwarded that, owing to the usual time constraints, I failed to comment on at the time. Namely, while the M's haven't been mathematically eliminated, they are getting close to a point where they may as well be. Of course, they did beat Texas in Arlington behind a Cliff Lee complete game, but they really need to sweep the Rangers, and hope the Angels fall apart, too. There's too many teams ahead of them for this to look anything like hopeful at this point, and though comments like that have a way of coming back (remember "the Giants is dead" from 1951?), it would be one of the more remarkable comebacks in late memory.


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It's certainly true that the Angels would be struggling in the AL East. But that really doesn't matter, it seems to me. The AL West is about as crap as the NL West used to be - remember that, until the last week or two of the 2005 season, it seemed possible that the Padres might win the NL West with a losing record (they ended up 82-80). I see no reason at all why the Angels, mediocre as they have been thus far, shouldn't find their way through this year's dismal AL West into the playoffs.

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