WP: Bartolo Colon (13-6)
LP: Sidney Ponson (7-10)
BAL: 51-55 (4th in AL East, 9.5 behind Boston)
Another game that was over before it began.
After three innings, the Angels had already taken a 4-0 lead on Sidney Ponson and the Orioles via a Vladimir Guerrero RBI single, a Guerrero two-run homer and a Garret Anderson solo homer.
Guerrero would hit another two-run homer later in the game, and the Angels would put a total of 10 runs on the board.
The Orioles got their only run when B.J. Surhoff hit an RBI single that scored Javy Lopez from third base in the fourth inning.
For the O's, Eric Byrnes continued to bat .400, going 2-for-5 with a double, and Brian Roberts went 3-for-5, also with a double.
Tonight is game two of this three-game set at 10:05. Erik Bedard (5-3, 2.32 ERA, throws left) will start for the Orioles against John Lackey (8-4, 3.70 ERA, throws right).
Bedard struggled in his last start, going just five innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and four walks.
I took no positives from this game. I see no end to the struggles, and it looks like the dark cloud that has been hanging over the entire team is actually a loooong-lingering tropical depression. It could be a long August.
Shocker. Ponson gets shelled. That's all I'm going to say about his performance.
You'd think the ridiculous name change from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Anaheim, by the way, is not in Los Angeles County) would draw the ire of the baseball gods. But clearly not as much as having one of your players reach sacred statistical territory only to then be suspended for steroids.
This is all I can think at this point. We are being punished by the baseball gods for Palmeiro's actions.
In actuality, it has to be a distraction. How could it not be?
Also, since the All-Star break, a lot of fans have been calling for Mazzilli to step up and bring some fire; to throw a Lou Piniella-like fit in the locker room calling everyone scrubs and pansies and really whooping everyone into shape. Now it appears that the problem looming over everyone in the clubhouse was the Palmeiro scandal. So it's pretty clear that Lee throwing a fit wouldn't have helped much. When something this depressing happens to your ballclub, the manager throwing a fit and telling you that you suck doesn't really help. If it was just a slump, sure, throw some chairs, flip the tables with the post-game spread (ideally when Ponson is standing where it could land on him ... although where else would he be?), go nuts. But in this situation, yelling won't help. The team is just going to have to fight through it.
This, to me, kind of raises another question, though. Is it now bad form to fire Mazzilli when it looks like the collapse is something that was occurring outside of his control? The answer is probably that it could draw criticism from some writers, but in the end, this is sports. You can fire your manager/coach whenever you damn well please.