Tuesday, August 02, 2005

As you know, the Angels just finished the 17-game Gauntlet against some tough teams, and came out much the worse for wear. As you may or may not recall, before that series of games began, I figured the Angels had to go 9-7 in those games to meet expectations, which was stupid because they played 17 games, not 16, so all I proved is that I don't know how to count.

So they "should" have gone 10-7, probably, but went 8-9 instead. So, with our division lead down to a tenuous one game, how do the next few weeks look?

The next week brings us a scuffling Baltimore team and a typical Tampa Bay team. That's six games at home, and we need to and can win both series. Going 4-2 on the homestand would be fine, going 5-1 would be fantastic. Getting those two series is particularly big because the Lads then have a grueling 13-game stretch with no days off, playing Oakland, Seattle, Toronto, and Boston. It's imperative to strike back at Oakland, Seattle, and Toronto for their recent humiliations of us -- those teams have gone 9-1 against us since the beginning of July.

And though we get Boston for four games at home, it's still Boston, so the outlook isn't brilliant. A split there would be acceptable, but we're getting way ahead of ourselves.

As for now, it's up to Bartolo Colon to put a stop to the madness. The Big Mango had put up three starts from the June, 2004 Collection before pitching well in a no-decision in Toronto last week. He's facing a reeling Orioles club, but one that, even without Rafael Palmeiro, still has some pop. Their 143 home runs rank third in the AL, and their .460 slugging percentage ranks only behind the Ballpark-aided Texas Rangers.

These numbers are not a mere creation of Camden Yards; Balitmore ranks second in the league in runs scored on the road, and their .474 slugging percentage on the road is the best mark in the circuit. Though Oriole Park does increase home runs, it cuts down on hits and extra-base hits, and overall is a fairly neutral park, often leaning toward the pitcher's side of things.

I mention this because one of Colon's heel's is that he gives up a number of home runs. And, as I mentioned, the O's still have power in their lineup. Brian Roberts has come out of nowhere to post a 325/400/549 line, and has raked right-handed pitchers to the tune of 365/431/609.

Miguel Tejada is his usual kickass self, and Melvin Mora is having a very solid season, as well.

All of which is to say that Bartolo has to be on his game tonight to get the Angels back on track. The Orioles aren't pushovers, and our offense might have to get in gear to beat them. The time is now.

Tuesday night was much needed. But they need to go 5-1 in this homestand or it will be a waste.

And given their perpensity to lose mid-week day games, they need to win on Wednesday night.
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