Friday, August 31, 2007

Coming off a three game sweep of the second place Seattle Mariners the Angels will be starting a home stand in which they hope to put the Mariners even farther behind in the standings.

The Angels have the favorable schedule the next ten games as they host Texas Rangers, Athletics and Cleveland Indians. Seattle, after losing a make up game in Cleveland head to Toronto, then New York and finally Detroit.

With a 5.5 game lead over the M's the Angels can focus on a few things without having to scoreboard watch with intensity.

Getting Healthy

Angels third-baseman Chone Figgins out with a sprained wrist now does not have to rush back and aggravate an injury.

Mike Napoli. Taking nothing away from the contributions from Jeff Mathis, but having a healthy Napoli will play a big part in how far the Angels can get in the playoffs. His return pushes Mathis to the bench replacing the inexperienced Ryan Budde.

Bartolo Colon. With Ervin Santana again losing his rotation spot. Colon could be used if Dustin Moseley also falters. Colon has begun a rehab assignment, giving up three runs and six hits in five innings for triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday night

Juan Rivera. With the emergence of Kendry Morales, Rivera may be out of luck as far as taking the DH job. However, he will give Mike Scioscia a power threat on the bench that could come in handy down the stretch and in the post-season.


Mike Scioscia can now tinker with his lineup heading into the post-season. Will the designated hitter job stay with Reggie Willits and his .400 on base percentage. Or will the switch-hitting power threat Kendry Morales take the position. In my opinion, the job is Morales' to lose. While Willits has performed admirably, the Angels need another extra base threat in the lineup so that it doesn't take three singles in a row to score a run. This is especially critical in the playoffs when presumably, the Halos may not have as many scoring chances as they would in a regular season game.

Rest for the weary

Angel regulars Vladimir Guerrero, Orlando Cabrera, Garret Anderson & Gary Matthews Jr. will be able to get an occasional day off here and there the rest of the way. Howie Kendrick and Casey Kotchman will both hopefully have uninterrupted playing time to find their grooves as September becomes October.


With 16 wins for John Lackey and 15 for Kelvim Escobar, the Angels have a shot at having a pair of 20-Game winners for the first time since Nolan Ryan and Bill Singer in 1973. Closer Francisco Rodriguez will most likely notch his third consecutive 40 save season.


The Angels take advantage of their home stand while the Mariners play .500 on the road clearing the way for the Angels to take their sixth AL West Division Championship.
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