Friday, August 27, 2010

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By David Saltzer - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

Anaheim, CA -- Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. That’s true whether we’re talking physics or we’re talking baseball. Tonight just felt like a series of actions and reactions rather than a game of baseball.

Action: Right before the Angels took batting practice, Tony Reagins came down to the clubhouse with a stoic look on his face. Reaction: The members of the media immediately gave him some privacy while he had a private conversation with Fuentes.

After Reagins had his meeting, an announcement was made: Brian Fuentes had been claimed by and traded to the Minnesota Twins. The media reacted: they began to speculate on what this meant for 2011 rather than thinking about 2010.

Fuentes was asked a bunch of questions by the media about the move. He gave classy answers about what the move meant to him and to the Angels. Just because he wasn’t the most beloved closer in Angels’ history didn’t mean that he had to return the favor to the fans. In departing with class, Fuentes earned some respect.

The news hit the airwaves and fans called to radio shows or wrote on message boards with their initial reactions of happiness to see Fuentes go. But then they reacted to themselves and began to wonder if they will later regret losing Fuentes, much like they regretted losing K-rod. In spite of all the cringes, Fuentes’ 71 saves led the American League, and it’s not like the Angels gave him many save opportunities this year.

The Japanese press learned of the of the Fuentes deal. They immediately broke out in rushed conversations about what it means for Matsui, and more importantly, for them. Many thought that they needed to get a bag packed because with the way Matsui is playing of late, and, since he’s only signed to a one-year deal, he could be the next Angel to go.

Discussions occurred amongst the press about whether or not Juan Rivera could be moved on the waiver wire. The general consensus was not very likely, not unless the Angels picked up some of the remaining money on his contract for next year or else let him go for nothing. Making a claim for Rivera is a lot more risky for a team than going for Matsui because of how the money is structured in his contract. So Rivera is not as likely to go right now, but may be dealt in the offseason.

Napoli’s name was brought up regarding the waiver wire. Again the press speculated that such a move was not very likely. They reasoned that the Angels have him out there to measure interest for him a trade in the offseason. Next year, Scioscia won’t play Napoli as the primary catcher. And between Abreu and Rivera (if he’s still here), there won’t be enough at-bats for Napoli in 2011. The consensus amongst the press was that Napoli could be the biggest trade chip that the Angels have to use this winter.

The members of the media parsed the quotes from Reagins for hidden meanings. A key absence was found: in all the discussions about how the Angels will continue to close out games in 2010 one key name was absent—Scot Shields. Members of the media catch the absence and note that players like Jordan Walden and Michael Kohn, with very limited time in the Majors were all mentioned, but no one talked about Scot Shields—the last link to 2002. Once upon a time, fans debated if Shields could be or should be the closer.

The fans show up to the game and watch the Angels take batting practice and look for player autographs. The players oblige: the game goes on. Most in the stadium probably won’t know about the deal until the drive home or tomorrow, but they still seek any autograph they can get.

The Baltimore Orioles take an extra-long batting practice. Trevor Bell got a bit flustered while he waited to go to the bullpen and warm up. That carried over to the first inning where he was jittery before settling down for the rest of the game.

The first inning run given up by Bell was the sixth game out of the last nine that the Angels have given up a first inning run. Their record in their last nine games: three wins and six losses.

The Angels offense is in a horrid funk. Torii Hunter tried to force the issue by taking third base on a deep fly ball. He’s thrown out to end the inning. It’s a blunder, but a more common blunder from him as he tries to spark anything out of the offense. Even though this wasn’t entirely his loss, he was still beating himself up pretty badly for the mistake after the game. The man takes pride in his play.

Felix Pie’s outfield assist on Hunter was his third assist in his last four games. The Angels aren’t the only ones who think that they can advance on Pie.

In the sixth inning, Bobby Abreu hit a double to Pie in left field that was not fielded cleanly. Abreu puts the brakes on rounding second not wanting to make the same mistake as Hunter.

By playing it safe, Abreu was in scoring position with the chance for the Angels to tie the game. The next batter, Howie Kendrick, hit a comebacker that resulted in Abreu getting thrown out at third base. The Angels can’t catch any breaks.

The Angels got a quality start out of Trevor Bell. He went seven complete innings and only gave up two earned runs. He still took the loss because the team’s offense cannot get it together. So goes another tough-luck loss for an Angels’ pitcher.

Jordan Walden comes in for the ninth, strikes out two and throws some serious heat (striking out Ty Wigginton on a 100 mph heater). The fans love it and cheer loudly. Maybe the media is wrong, the fans won’t miss Fuentes.

Action: the Angels lose 3:1 on the game after they matched their season high for runs scored in a game (winning 12:3 on Wednesday). Reaction: That’s Angels baseball in 2010..
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