All right, here we go, a series preview from the end of dinner (burgers, corn on the cob, and pineapple straight off the grill) before the end of the game tonight. That way it’s still kosher as a preview, right? Thank goodness they’re on the west coast so I get the cushion of the late start time.
Minnesota Twins (58-56) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (66-47)
The Angels started off their homestand by winning two of three from Boston. Now they finish their week at home with three against the Twins. The Twins are in the middle of a nine-game road trip, which did not start off all that well when the Royals took two of three from Minnesota. Los Angeles has the best home record in the American League at 37-17, while the Twins are 26-29 on the road. The Angels are in first place in the AL West with a 2.5 game lead over Seattle.
This is the third series betwixt these two teams, each team has won one series and the season series stands at 3-3. Recaps from game 1, game 2, and game 3 of the last series can be found at those links.
Their normal catcher Mike Napoli is on the DL and the Angels have been relying on a couple of young catchers, Jeff Mathis and Ryan Budde. Mathis has done a very good job, and Budde is getting his first look at the major leagues.
**Just to make this whole “race against time” thing interesting, I take an hour and a half trip into downtown Chicago to give myself a bit of a handicap, it is now the bottom of the fourth inning**
The Angels offense is similar to the Twins in that neither hit very many homeruns. Of course, the difference is that the Angels offense actually works pretty well. Nonetheless, the lack of homerun power lead plenty of people to speculate that the Angels need a big bat to remain contenders. Other people point out that, depending on what numbers are most important to you, a case can be made that no such need exists. Still, it’s a little bit disheartening when the trade deadline passes and nothing at all is done. The trade deadline did see Luis Castillo depart from Minnesota, but before he showed up in New York, apparently he added one last assist to the Twins when found time to help out the Angels in their sweep of Detroit.
Those of us who rely on MLB.tv for our Twins viewing will be treated to the hometown tandem of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler. I don’t think that I would be out of place to call these two announcers “much-maligned”, but an odd thing has happened this year. The number of games these two were scheduled to call was scaled back in favor of a second broadcast team of Jose Mota and Mark Gubicza. Only it turns out almost everybody hates those two even more than the original duo. Additionally, the radio guy has been called into the booth to announce a few games as well, so the powers that be are certainly casting about for a solution.
**Wait a second, the Twins just scored a run. I’ve got to take a moment to savor this.**
Another story that has popped up here and there is the number of vermin violations Angel Stadium has accumulated in the last two years. A bit of careful reading shows a few inconsistencies in the article and its response. The big problem seems to be allowing the dirty stadium to sit overnight before cleaning. Of course, management has offered some reasoning for that, but you have to think this bad publicity will force them to implement cleanup operations in a more timely manner.
I didn’t really have a place for this, but Mike Scioscia has never struck me as a particularly astute tactician. Articles like this only reinforce that notion.
Finally, this has nothing to do with the Angels other than that it happened in a game they were playing in, but umpire gaffes are the kinds of stories that are always good for a chuckle.
**And I’m done with plenty of time to spare. I would have rather Light Rail Baker mowed down the Angels in order and I didn’t quite finish in time, but, alas, it wasn’t to be**