Inside Baseball: Angels having heavenly season - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Inside Baseball: Angels having heavenly season

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Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2008 8:34 pm | Updated: 10:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

About the only thing that is confusing about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but based in Orange County where Scott Boras has a field-level suite is their name.

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Read Jack Magruder's blog, 'Inside Baseball'

The Angels have the best record in the majors, a strong top of the rotation in Joe Saunders, John Lackey and Ervin Santana, the best closer in baseball in Francisco Rodriguez and a middle-of-the-order punch of Vladimir Guerrero and Mark Teixeira that stacks up against anyone.

Since Teixeira joined the Angels, Guerrero is 14-for-37 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

Guerrero, who seemed to look old in May, has hit .332 with 14 homers and 38 RBIs since June 1, bringing his season average to .292.

"Although he was batting a mere mortal .270 for the first part of the season, I don't think there was ever any doubt what he was going to bring to our lineup over the long haul," manager Mike Scioscia said.

Guerrero hit his 20th homer Wednesday, his 11th consecutive season with at least that many, five with the Angels. Tim Salmon had six straight 20-homer years, the franchise record.

Guerrero has hit .300 with 25 homers in each of the past 10 seasons. Should he get there again, he would tie Lou Gehrig's major league record.

Torii Hunter, who signed a franchise-record $90 million contract as a free agent last winter, said he will do everything he can to convince Teixeira to remain alongside Guerrero in the middle of the order. Each homered Saturday.

"I'm going to wine and dine him, let him see the O.C., a little bit of L.A.," Hunter said. "I'm just going to speak good about the place, point out how nice the weather is. You can tan naked if you want."


With Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye must-plays at the corner outfield spots, newcomer Ken Griffey Jr. will spend his time in center field, meaning Nick Swisher has turned into a de facto platoon partner at first base with Paul Konerko, who has struggled with a .218 batting average and 11 homers.

"I'm pretty sure it will cut playing time, so I'll just do what's asked of me," Konerko said. "That's it. Make the best of it. We have a good team here, just help when I can help, that's all I can do."

Konerko believes Griffey will fit in with the rest of the Sox and their mission to win a World Series.

"Anything short of getting to the playoffs and having a crack at it is a failure of a season," Konerko said. "We have players in here that have been to the World Series and know what it takes to win. Once you get that taste, you want to do it again."


Greg Maddux beat San Francisco for the 30th time last Sunday, tying Phil Niekro and Don Sutton for the most victories against the Giants since they moved to San Francisco in 1958.

Maddux is 30-14 with a 2.78 ERA and a .682 winning percentage. He is 7-0 with a 2.40 ERA against the Giants since May 9, 2003.

"Who knows?" Maddux said. "I know they've had pretty good teams."


Cleveland was 61-47 after 108 games last season and 47-61 this season, in part because of stuff like this:

Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera had to leave Wednesday's game with a sprained ankle when he tripped and fell while taking the field in the bottom of the sixth. That was four innings after Ryan Garko was removed for failing to leave the batter's box on his grounder down the first-base line.

Relievers had blown 15 of their last 33 save opportunities, and needed only 16 pitches to give up six runs in the ninth inning of a 10-7 walk-off loss to Tampa Bay.


Washington is spending $23.34 million on the players on its current 25-man roster and $26.94 million on players on the disabled list or that have been released. The Nationals have jettisoned veterans Paul Lo Duca ($5 million), Felipe Lopez ($4.9 million), Rob Mackowiak ($1.5 million) and Johnny Estrada ($1.25 million).

Looking ahead The Los Angeles Dodgers play home series against two of the NL's best, Philadelphia (4 games) and Milwaukee (3).


Detroit left-hander Nate Robertson, who will start against Oakland today, has the worst ERA - 6.11 - among qualifying pitchers. Robertson, who signed a three-year, $21.25 million contract extension before 2008, has not beaten an AL team since June 10.


Seattle's Raul Ibanez, whom Seattle chose to keep rather than give away at the nonwaiver trading deadline, tied franchise records with 11 RBIs in two games and 14 RBIs in three games Aug. 3-5. Ibanez had two homers and a double among eight hits to tie Ken Griffey Jr.'s record, set in 1980.


St. Louis' Adam Wainwright is on a rehab assignment that is tailored for a relief pitcher, and he might become the Cardinals' closer when he returns. Wainwright won 14 games as a starter last season but was in the bullpen in 2006; the Cardinals have 27 blown saves this season.


"We might look into bunk beds. Manny said he wanted the top."


New Angels first baseman, who temporarily shared agent Scott Boras' guest house with Manny Ramirez after the two were dealt to the West Coast at the trading deadline

Writers from around the league contributed to this report.

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