No Angels player
reached second base.
Think about that.
What is C.J. Wilson right
now? This team’s number three? Number four?
No Angels player reached second base.
This team has the
league leader in ERA (Cliff Lee) and the league leader in saves (Neftali
Feliz), but it also has the league leader in walks.
And that man didn’t
walk anyone tonight.
Wilson also came into the game as nearly the worst in the
league in pitches per inning, at 17.1 (Justin Masterson paces the AL with 17.6
Tonight: 13 per inning, which is better than what the league
That league leader is Lee, who throws 13.3 pitches per
inning, an obvious reason he’s able to consistently go at least eight, which is
what Wilson did tonight, for just the second time as a big leaguer.
We’ve all seen shots of Wilson attached to Lee’s hip in the dugout
on nights neither is pitching, just as Tommy Hunter was situated tonight. It’s clear that Lee is rubbing off on Wilson
and Hunter and the way they’re approaching lineups, yet another reason that the
Lee acquisition is such a huge thing, and will be for years to come, even if
Lee is no longer around.
Wilson’s effort tonight, while not a carbon copy of a typical
Lee start, looked a lot more like vintage Lee than vintage Wilson. Only three strikeouts (none until the
seventh), but only four baserunners. He was
tremendous. Facing the team about whom
he said, three weeks ago, following a 2-1 Los Angeles win that he took the loss
in, “We’re the better team, 100 percent – when we play up to our capabilities,
it might not even be that close,” he made his words stand up.
Said his manager afterwards: “I really believe C.J. came
into his own tonight.”
When Wilson blew Maicer Izturis away swinging to end the
eighth and marched toward the dugout, the first player to slide across the
dugout to meet him with a pat on the back side?
He may not be here next year, but he’s looking like a part
of this team, even outside the lines.
As does Bengie Molina, whose fist pump after he squeezed the
27th out fired me up.
I don’t love Molina. But
I sure do like him.
Think about this: What if Andy Pettitte and Jason Varitek got
hurt before Jon Daniels made his moves to get Lee and Molina this month?
There are a number of good reasons to strike early on the July
trade market if you’re a contender. That’s
one of them.
The players on the current Angels roster are now 0 for 23 lifetime
against Feliz, who has saved all five Rangers wins over the Angels this season. The sound of the crowd during his inning
tonight, the deafening din that the announcers on TV and radio were both fighting
through, would be my new ringtone if I could make that happen.
There have been more years than not when a late July report
would probably have led off with the note that Derek Holland, trying to ramp up
to rejoin the big league rotation, went three hitless, walkless, scoreless rehab
innings tonight against a bunch of teenage Royals in Surprise, setting six down
on strikes. It’s a worthwhile note, particularly
laid against the reality that Scott Feldman has to be approaching a point at
which he’s pitching for his rotation life.
But it’s a footnote, not a lead.
The Channel 8 News sportscast led off tonight with the
Cowboys camp kickoff party in San Antonio.
I love football, but not the way I love baseball, and right
now the thing I love most about one that the other can never give me is that,
after the awesome awesomeness of these last two nights, we get to do it all
over again tomorrow night, and the night after that.
I love this game, and I love this team.
Especially when no Angels reach second base.
Perhaps the dream
Is dreaming us.
– “When the Angels Fall,” Sting
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(c) Jamey Newberg