Monday, August 07, 2006

After a surging July, it was inevitable that our offense would crash down to Earth somewhat. This dovetailed just wonderfully with the A's coming to town; we managed a grand total of six runs in three games (which came after averaging 6.44 runs per game from July 1 through July 30). Texas pitching was something of a cure, and we managed an unimpressive split against them (I mentioned to a friend that we lost the first two games because we suck, then won the next two because they suck).

All-in-all, a 3-4 homestand wasn't really what we were looking for. But some good things did happen; Joe Saunders had his best start yet, Ervin had two good starts (a 2.81 ERA over the homestand), and Kelvim pitched well in a non-decision.

Howie Kendrick continued his hitting streak, but, honestly, his line over the past week (310/310/448) is rather unexceptional. Still, he's been having good at-bats and has been hitting some of his outs pretty hard, and overall is becoming a formidable presence in the lineup.

The next week-and-a-half will be tough, though. One game at Chicago, three at Cleveland, four in the Bronx, and two at Texas ... as of today, those teams (weighted by how many games we'll be playing against each) have a .532 winning percentage. As that's higher than our winning percentage, and we'll be playing on the road, and playing with no days off, I'll be thrilled if we can just split those games, going 5-5.

Unfortunately, Oakland's weaksauce opponents over that period -- Texas, Tampa Bay, and Seattle -- have a collected winning percentage of .448, and all the games will be in Oakland. We can't worry about that, but the A's are poised to go 5-4, 6-3, or even 7-2 over the next nine games, and could increase their lead by a couple of games.

But that's just on paper, and of course anything can happen. The Angels just need to focus on their own games and what they're doing. The starting rotation is going strong (sure, John Lackey is coming off a bad start, but after a horrific start against the M's on June 10th he came back to deal seven superb innings against the Royals, and went 4-1 with a 0.77 ERA over his next six starts, so he's been able to shake off bad starts before), and that can go a long way, inconsistent offense or not.

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