By Brian Waller, AngelsWin.com Columnist
WOW! In a 24-hour period so much has changed. This team is like a crazy roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain; the ups and downs of this season have fans everywhere jumping for joy one day and pulling their hair out the next. The Halos dropped the opener of their brief two game series with the Oakland Athletics but they managed to win game two for a series split. Although Tuesday’s game was just one game out of a 162 game season, it signified much more. I, like many of you, have thought this team was poised to break out numerous times this season..I actually think now is the time!
Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 on Tuesday, finally resembling the old Pujols that dominated baseball for 11 seasons in St. Louis. This was a much needed performance, not just for the Halos but for Pujols’ psyche. It’s no secret that he has looked lost at the plate recently, a 3-hit performance has to boost his confidence somewhat. Hopefully yesterday’s game is a sign of things to come and not an aberration.
Mike Trout continues to improve and produce. Let’s be honest, the Angels have had some big prospects come through the system that flat out flopped once they got to the majors, I think each and every one of us are crossing our fingers thinking Trout is just too good to be true. On Tuesday, Trout showed that he just might be the real deal as he went 3-for-4 with a home run, an RBI and 3 runs. Harper-Mania may be sweeping the east coast but so far in 2012, after only 57 at-bats, Trout has 3 home runs, 8 RBI’s and 3 stolen bases…all while batting .316. Over the course of 500 at-bats Trout’s projected numbers are 26 home runs, 64 RBI’s and 24 stolen bases. Not too shabby for a 20 year old leadoff hitter.
Although Pujols and Trout had big games, the biggest news happened off the field as General Manager Jerry Dipoto dismissed longtime Angels’ hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. I don’t want to criticize Hatcher anymore then has already been done but I think it was pretty apparent that a change had to be made. It was a loooong time coming. Although it didn’t work out this season for Hatcher with the Angels, I honestly wish him the best in the future.
Ervin Santana. Angel fans have gotta’ love the way Santana has turned his season around. After starting 0-6, he has won his last two starts, improving his record to 2-6. His ERA continues to drop with each outing, standing at 4.36 after Tuesdays win against the A’s. It was a big win by the Angels going into another short series against the Chicago White Sox.
The Angels will welcome the Chicago White Sox to town for a quick 2-game series beginning tonight at the "Big A". There is a lot to feel positive about if you are an Angels fan; Mike Trout and Albert Pujols are coming off of big offensive games, the bullpen has allowed only 1 earned run in the last 5.1 innings, and the Halos get a new hitting coach which will hopefully improve a lackluster offense. Although it’s a short series, it’s an important one because it starts a stretch in the schedule where the Angels will play 12 games against the White Sox, Padres, A’s and Mariners who have a combined 65-84 record. If the Angels are going to make a move and get back into the race before summer then this may be the stretch to do so.
5/16 – Jerome Williams (3-1, 4.19 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (3-3, 2.53 ERA)
5/17 – C.J. Wilson (3-2, 3.42 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (3-2, 3.08 ERA)
5/16 – Sunny with a high of 83 degrees
5/17 – Partly cloudy with a high of 80 degrees
5/16 – 7:05 p.m. / FSW / Peter Bourjos Bobblehead
5/17 – 12:35 p.m. / FSW
Player to Watch:
Albert Pujols without a doubt is the player to watch this series. Fans, sports analysts and probably Pujols’ own teammates are wondering if yesterday was King Albert’s breakout game and a sign that he is back on track or if it was an aberration. The Angels will be facing two good young pitchers in Chris Sale and Gavin Floyd so it will be interesting to see how Pujols performs, especially now that the Halos have a new hitting coach.
Angels’ Team Statistics / League Rank (as of 5/7/12)
Avg.: .250 / 7th
OBP: .301 / 12th
SLG: .379 / 11th
OPS: .680 / 11th
Hits: 309 / 6th
HR: 32 / 10th
RBI’s: 127 / 12th
R: 134 / 12th
BB: 88 / 14th
SO: 248 / 10th
SB: 19 / 9th
W: 16 / 11th
ERA: 3.93 / 7th
SV: 5 / 14th
SVO: 11 / 12th
IP: 322.2 / 10th
HR: 35 / 11th
BB: 106 / 12th
SO: 257 / 8th
Avg.: 245 / 7th
WHIP: 1.26 / 4th
Opponent Interesting Facts:
Founded: 1893, as the Sioux City, Iowa franchise in the minor Western League. Moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1895, then to Chicago in 1900 when that league was renamed the American League, and which became a major league in 1901.
Formerly known as: Sioux City Cornhuskers, 1894. St. Paul Saints, 1895–1899. Chicago White Stockings, 1900–1904.
Home ballpark: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago. (This park, originally known as "New Comiskey Park", was opened in 1991; the original Comiskey Park was in use from mid-1910 to 1990. The original home field in Chicago was South Side Park. The previous home field in St. Paul was Lexington Park).
Uniform colors: Black, Silver, and White
Logo design: The letters "SOX", interlocked in Old English Script font
Current Team motto: "Appreciate the Game"
2005 World Series Championship Season Motto: "Win or Die Trying"
Fight Song: "Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox" by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers
All-time regular season record (through 2010): 8628 wins — 8413 losses — 101 ties — 3 no-decisions
Local Television: Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WGN, WCIU
Local Radio: WSCR 670AM "The Score"
Television Announcers: Ken Harrelson, Steve Stone
Radio Announcers: Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson
Spring Training Facility: Camelback Ranch, Glendale, Arizona