Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Heroes and Goats of the stretch run

The craziness that is baseball’s dog days of August have now been in full swing for over three weeks. We’ve watched the Giants fall from the beanstalk at the top of the National League West. Seen the Diamondbacks show a resilient bite with a bunch of unsung big leaguers led by a crusty, stubborn but respected former World Series MVP. As usual the A.L. East has turned into the annual New York – Boston two-man game of musical chairs swapping the division lead until the tunes run out in September. Just when you thought the sheriff had returned to claim the A.L. West again, the Texas Rangers after taking three of four from the Angels in Anaheim, upping their lead to six games, get shot down in five of the last seven. The Halos then suddenly found their wings, winning six straight cutting that lead back down to just two and a half games, with a three game series in Arlington starting on Friday.

There was finally a Carlos Beltran sighting in San Francisco. Since being traded for from the Mets, he’s helped the Giants lose a three game lead to now trail by two. Now, to his defense he has missed the last 13 games with a wrist injury but the patients of Giants fans was running out and he was no longer considered the San Francisco treat! That is until he roped a Tim Stauffer pitch into the right field arcade at AT&T Park for his first home run in orange and black. The solo shot broke a scoreless tie and helped Tim Lincecum win a
2-1 victory. As fans of the defending champs were starting to turn from the free love, costume wearing, first-time winners, into a talk radio lynch mob, with Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff and even Cody Ross headed up the steps for a good hanging; Beltran just bought himself at least a couple more losses with his home run.

In Boston the five tool guys, appear to have found their hammer! Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury combined for eight hits, including two home runs, six runs scored, eight RBIs and two stolen bases, while helping the Red Sox to back-to-back wins against the Rangers, including a 13-2 beat down Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Ellsbury has been consistent to the point that the MVP talk continues in New England. But if Crawford, who hitting .346 over his last seven games comes on like this, the Yankees will be eating New York wild-card cheesecake in a few weeks.

Right now no one is flying higher with his home fans than Anaheim Angel Jered Weaver. The Southern California native has become a hero on and off the field at the Big A. He gave up possibly millions just the other day to sign a contract extension, instead of testing free agency after next season like his agent Scott Boras recommended. He’s reasoning, there’s no place like home. It was that simple and Halo fans love him for it. Then he turns around on the field and tosses seven innings of four-hit shutout baseball for an 8-0 Angels win over the White Sox, their sixth in a row. The victory moves Anaheim within just two and half games of division leader Texas. Dream Weaver’s record is now an outstanding 15-6 and he’s not just an angel to the Orange County fans, he’s a God.

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