Monday, May 5, 2008

By Victor Varadi - Columnist

Overall Record: 20-13 Games Ahead: 1 Week Record: 4-3

Week in Review:

Jon Garland started the week by getting shellacked by the Oakland A’s but he finished his week on a high note by going 8 innings and giving up only one run in a win over Baltimore. Pitching Coach Mike Butcher gave Garland a DVD to study, a recording of one of Garland’s career highlights, a complete game win in Game 3 of the 2005 ALCS…against the Angels. It could prove to be the turning point in Jon Garland’s season. Stay Tuned. Meanwhile, Joe Saunders improved to 5-0 on the young season while Ervin Santana dominated the A’s through 6 2/3 innings. Nick Adenhart was given a rude awakening in his MLB debut while Jered Weaver turned away any comparisons to his older brother by shaking off a rough start to go 7 innings against the O’s.

Honorable Mention: Francisco Rodriguez. Say what you want about this guy, but he takes the ball and gets it done. He started off the season looking like he might have aged a decade over the winter; his fastball was slow, his slider lacked bite and I doubt could have found the strike zone during BP. This week, Franky recorded 3 saves while giving up only one hit.

Offensively, Casey Kotchman has settled into the 4-hole and seems a lock to stay there as long as he continues to hit and drive in runs. Torii Hunter continues to provide a legitimate power presence in the 5 spot and Erick Aybar is showing why the Angels could so easily trade away one of the best shortstops the organization ever had in Orlando Cabrera.

The Bottom Line: The fact that the Angels are hitting all those homeruns and scoring all those runs without a productive Vladimir Guerrero or Garret Anderson is only a testament to how good this offense is. The team is near the top in all major offensive categories and there is no reason to think that this won’t continue.

The Week Ahead:

The last 2 weeks provided the answer as to how good this Angel team really is; going to Boston and Detroit and handling them, and then coming home to face the Oakland A’s and the AL east leading Baltimore Orioles was no easy task. While the A’s split the series they did so by beating up on a Triple A pitcher in his MLB debut on 3 days rest. The A’s are good, but they aren’t THAT good. This week should prove a little bit easier. The Angels travel to Kansas City and Tampa Bay for 3 game sets each. Although the Royals and Rays are playing good ball, they are still, after all, the Royals and the Rays. Anything short of 4 wins would be a tragedy.
Love to hear what you think!


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