We are starting a four game series against the Angels. The Angels are in a different place than they were when we last saw them back in May. Back then they were 10-15, Pujols wasn't hitting, Wells was playing and not hitting, their pitching wasn't great.
Since we left, they have gone 30-16. They've moved up to 2nd in the AL West just 4.5 games back from the Rangers. They are hitting, they are pitching and Vernon is on the DL. Things are good in Orange County.
I sent off some questions to Rev Halofan of Halos Heaven. Here are his answers:
I see our old friend Vernon Wells is on the DL. What's the injury? What happens when he is ready to come off, you seem to be better off without him.
His finger was in a cast. He is supposed to be back Late July. He hurt it fielding in San Diego. Vernon will be the 4th outfielder, traded (with salary relief of course) or DFA, the proof is in the pudding to a degree that nobody can deny he he doesn't have any role on this club.
How is Albert Pujols doing? When we saw you last he hadn't hit his first home run yet, until he hit one against us.
Pujols has bounced back from a terrible early season slump, the worst 27 game stretch of his career. He is warming up nicely now.
Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we will see?
Dan Haren give up homers but otherwise is a strong #2 type pitcher. If more than one batter walks he compensates with heat he doesn't have and those end up in the seats. He usually, though, walks few if any batters..
Ervin Santana was terrible to the point of just shrugging it off to a reporter and saying "Hey, I'm a homerun pitcher" ...they were calling for his head in Haloland and then suddenly, boom, he pitches a one hit shutout, a perfect gaem into the 7th inning and now he is a cool assassin with a slider that falls off the table as the batter pathetically swings at it.
Garrett Richards is up from AAA Salt Lake to spell fifth starter Jerome Williams. Richards is 24 and has lively action on a decent fastball and a knee-bending curve. He has been ahead of schedule.
C.J. Wilson is our free agent left hander who pitches to contact and survives more often than not, almost all the time in fact.
Who has been your biggest surprise to this point in the season? Biggest disappointment?
I thought Santana was toast up until two weeks ago. His great outings have bee a huge shock. Vernon was a disappointment but I had zero expectations of him so other than the Pujols stretch of lousy back in April I would say Howie Kendrick has lost almost all gap power and the singles up the middle that appear on occasion look eerily similar to the voluminous groundball outs he has weakly sent the way of opposing fielders.
How is Scott Downs doing?
Ever seen an ERA+ with four digits? That good.
Anything else we should know about the Angels?
Our new closer, Ernesto Frieri, has allowed so few baserunners relative to batters faced that Baseball Reference does not have enough data to calculate his ERA+