So, I'm sitting here watching the Angels game on Saturday. They are hosting the Mariners who were pre-season favorites to win the division but are playing more like Mouseketeers than Mariners. Despite that, however, they managed to beat up the home-team Angels in the series opener.
The game on Saturday wasn't “must-win,” it wasn't even big game–it was just another game in a long, long MLB season. Coming off a loss however and against a division foe, it would be a nice game to win.
The weather was nice, Angels ace Jered Weaver was on the mound and the stadium was filled with Angels fans, most of which wore red in support of their team. In fact, if statistics mean anything, Angels fans are the best in the game after reaching one million in attendance faster than any other fan base in MLB. They have come out in droves to support what has been, to date, a very mediocre team.
Angels fans are the best.
Angels players, well, not so much.
They were down to the Mariners through eight innings. Felix Hernandez, who inexplicably is nicknamed “King”–don't you have to at least be the best at your position to earn that nickname?–was mowing down Angels like they were nasty weeds growing in an otherwise pristine lawn.
To be fair, Weaver was matching him pitch for pitch.
The Mariners sole run coming on an umpire decision after an Aybar airmailed the baseball into the stands. With Jose Lopez on first, who was running with the pitch, Matt Tuiasosopo hit a routine groundball to Aybar which forced the Angels shortstop into a decision.
It's one of those split second things that occur often in a game of baseball: do I take the easy out, or go for more? Aybar opted to make the “wow” double-play instead of just taking the out. The ball sailed into the stands, Lopez was awarded two bases from the point of throw and instead of getting two outs, Aybar got none after not even getting the lead runner.
The game stayed that way until Bobby Abreau connected off the “King” for an Angels homerun that tied the game in the eighth inning.
The seven innings of plodding followed by one inning of excitement were a perfect microcosm of the Angels 2010 season. They are like the little engine that could, working hard to get up the hill but never really making it all the way.
The score remained tied 1-1 until the 10th when the game displayed yet another Halo season similarity; one step forward, two steps back.
The Angels' half of the 10th started with a whimper, Aybar flying out to center. Macier Izturis then doubled which forced the Mariners to walk Abreu. That's when Figgy decided to take one for his former team.
You ever notice how this happens fairly often? A former player returns to play against his old team and promptly drops a pop-up, strikes out in a key situation or flubs a routine grounder like Figgy did. Maybe it's just my imagination but it seems to happen more often than not.
Either way, thanks, Chone.
The table was now set for the Angels MVP Kendry Morales. Bases loaded, crowd screaming, Rally Monkey jumping… everything was set for, well, who knows with these Angels this season. One step forward, two steps back remember?
First pitch is driven to center: going, going, gone!
The fireworks go off, the team rushes out to congratulate Morales and the Mariners walk off the field dejected.
One nice step forward for the Halos.
Then Morales jumps high in the air, hoping to find home base on his descent. Instead, he finds a teammate's foot and twists his ankle instead. Paramedics are called and Morales is carted off the field–not on the shoulders of his teammates but on a stretcher.
Two steps backward.
In 2010 the Angels can't even win without losing, it seems.
Turns out Morales broke his leg. Forget the Clipper Curse, maybe there is a Halo Hex in effect this year.