Bright Light at End of All-Star Game Tunnel for Angels? [UPDATED]
UPDATED WITH FIGGY NOW IN AND HUNTER CLARIFICATION (THANKS, HALOMANIA!) . . .
Neither Chone Figgins nor Jered Weaver were was not added to the American League roster of tonight's All-Star game. (But, as the Los Angeles Times just blogged, Chone Figgins was just added due to an injury to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria.) Only closer Brian Fuentes, one of two Angels named to the team, will be in St. Louis. The other, outfielder Torii Hunter, will be at home in Dallas, nursing his right groin/adductor muscle that he injured crashing into a wall. (Hunter--or more likely his team assistant--blogs about his disappointment in missing what would have been his first All-Star game as an Angel here; he'd been named to the 2002 and 2007 All-Star squads as a Twin.)
Despite Hunter and Vlad Guerrero being on the DL, the Halos have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Texas Rangers in the AL West at the break after LA of Anaheim's sweep of the red-hot Yankees. OK, pushing aside the Posers in Pinstripes has become so frequent in recent years it's not news anymore. But this is: the very real prospect of a Fall Classic freeway series against the Dodgers, something suggested by the LA Times' Bill Shaikin (who adds the caveat of a NL West showdown first between the Doyers and those pesky San Francisco Giants).
And then there is this: Mark Decotis in FloridaToday.com writing that the steroid-induced power game in baseball has been replaced by speed on defense and offense--you know, the way the Angels play. Decotis quotes John Boles, a onetime Florida Marlins manager who is now a special assistant to Seattle's general manager. Boles sums it up this way: "Speed kills":
"You can manufacture runs. The old Kansas City Royals, they developed a reputation, they were going first to third. You try to stop it. That's what Mike Scioscia does now with the Angels. The Angels play a National League-style game. Their kids are taught from the day they sign: 'We're going first to third, we're going from second to home.' That's a style of baseball that, if you have the ability to manufacture runs, you don't have to rely on the home run."
So, no, there won't be much for Angels fans to cheer about tonight while watching the action from St. Louis. But save those lungs for October.
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