Max Scherzer is Pretty Good

Max Scherzer's 7 innings silenced the Angels.

Max Scherzer’s 7 innings silenced the Angels. (Getty/Leon Halip)

Understatement of the year or what?

Seven strong innings, with only one earned run on 3 hits. J.B. Shuck led the game off with a home run, but after the 3rd inning the Angel bats went silent. Albert Pujols connected on a Vernon Wells Special in the top of the 9th, but nothing else could be done. Detroit’s bats came alive against C.J. Wilson early, taking advantage of command issues that sometimes plague the left hander. Nick Castellanos and Victor Martinez went deep, essentially putting the game out of reach. The Tigers needed to steady the ship after last night’s onslaught, and they did just that.

Fun Fact 1 - With today’s loss, Los Angeles has not been able to climb past the .500 mark since the first game of the 2013 season, a 3-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day. Not really fun, actually.

Fun Fact 2 - Mike Trout struck out 4 times in a game for the first time in his career. Wear that Golden Sombrero proudly boy fish.

The series wraps up tomorrow morning, a 10:05 AM Pacific start on Fox Sports West and KLAA 830. Hector Santiago will look to build on his own 7 inning, 1 run start against the Oakland A’s. Detroit counters with Rick Porcello, who must be happy he isn’t pitching in Anaheim. The last time the Halos faced Porcello, they dropped a 9-spot on him in the first inning, an 11 batter blitzkrieg that ended on a Mike Trout grand slam to deep center field. I wouldn’t mind a repeat!

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Tamed Kittens

Kendrick and Pujols were the catalysts for Los Angeles' 11-6 victory

Kendrick (right) and Pujols were the catalysts in Los Angeles’ 11-6 win. (AP/Calos Osorio)

Ever since the Carlos Guillen Game, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have owned the Detroit Tigers. In the past nine meetings, the Halos are a perfect 9-0.

Now make it 10-0.

The offense showed its true potential tonight. Howie Kendrick came into the game with a ghastly .281 slugging percentage and promptly hit 2 home runs to the opposite field. Mike Trout laced two well-struck doubles and chipped in 3 RBI. Ian Stewart, replacing a sore David Freese at 3B, was a homer shy of the cycle. Albert Pujols took another step toward the magic 500 HR mark with a 3-run blast that capped off the Angels’ 11 run, 10 extra-base hit barrage. The lead was too large for an Angel bullpen sabotage, though Josh Wall tried very hard to do so (no outs recorded, 5 earned runs). Thanks to two excellent plays by backup infielder John McDonald,  Detroit could do no more.

With two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera struggling to find his groove, other players not performing up to usual standards, and Justin Verlander not pitching this series, the Halos have an excellent shot at continuing their dominance over Detroit. A series sweep would go a long way toward establishing themselves in this big-time road trip that will stop in Washington D.C. and the Bronx. So far, it’s helped Jered Weaver re-establish himself as the ace of the Angels’ pitching staff with a 6 inning, 1 run performance that may point to better things in the future for both he and the club. Detroit has been one of the top teams in the AL the past few seasons, so to win and win big is an accomplishment.

The next two games have the ungodly 10:05 AM Pacific start. Sucks for people like me that like to stay up all night, but you know I’ll be watching. The Halo Shines Tonight.

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AA Review: Eismalsott’s Weißblendung EP

Genre: Black Metal

Year: 2014

Country: Germany

Tracks: 3

Rating: 4.0

Resources: Bandcamp, Metal Archives, Facebook

AA Reviews is a new series of music reviews written for this blog or other websites. I will be using the 0-5 star rating system favored by Rate Your Music. This review originally written for my Rate Your Music account.

This was a nice surprise for me. Eismalsott was recommended to me by a friend who didn’t enjoy the traditional Darkthrone/Norsecore styles most black metal bands adhere to. The Best Before: Spring EP and early demo showed that Eismalsott could add weird and psychedelic flourishes to their atmospheric black metal, and have them make sense within the context of the music. It never overpowered the music nor was it the main focus.

I thought they had dropped off the face of the earth until I discovered this EP. It’s as if they never left. The little flourishes add an extra dimension to the excellent guitar work, as evidenced by Zweifell and the piano bit that adds a nice twinkle to the great atmosphere. A mash of ethereal sounding tremolo riffs, jagged and stuttering sections, and thrash-influenced riffwork all work well together to create an easy-flowing, intelligent 20 minute journey. The term progressive fits this band perfectly, as everything works together as it should. It all comes together on the closer Weißblendung | Titus Oates, an excellent 8 minute tune with an awesome stuttering riff they ride to perfection.

Fans of the more melodic side of German black metal like Nagelfar, Verdunkeln, and early Empyrium will feel right at home. Because of its length, the tight songwriting, and the overall quality of the recording and performance, I went ahead and gave it a 4.0. I can see this being one of my favorite releases this year, and maybe it will be in your lists too. At 20 minutes, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to give it a look and see if it interests you. The benefit of releasing an EP. Check it out.

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John Jaso is a .415 hitter at Angel Stadium

Everyone should have seen the go-ahead homer coming.

 

But we didn’t. We got buttercup’d again.

Lefty A-Rod sucks.

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Computer Problems

I didn’t give up because of Just Another Slow April or anything like that. I’ve been watching all the games.

Now that my problems are fixed, I’ll be updating regularly. Los Angeles starts a three-game set against the New York Baseball Mets, the Angels’ first interleague series of the season. 7:05 PM start as always.

BTW Hambone, you’re a big idiot for sliding into first base. I’m expecting a full Vernon Wells when he comes back, not because Josh Hamilton is done as a player, but because THAT’S HOW IT WORKS WHEN YOU FOLLOW THE ANGELS.

It’s a hard knock life. For us.

Mike Trout Gets Paid – Angels Win and Set Opening Day Roster

The past 24 hours have been incredible for the Los Angeles Angels. As a lifelong fan, I am excited for our future, no matter what the reality could be.

Mike Trout celebrating with fans during his press conference.

Mike Trout celebrating with fans during his press conference. Photo courtesy of @MLB on Twitter.

A day after Miguel Cabrera received an extension that made him the highest paid player regardless of sport or location, Mike Trout and the Angels agreed to a 6-year extension worth $144.5 million. If you’re not an Angels fan, but have friends who are, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about this 22-year old baseball player. Please realize, Michael Nelson Trout is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. Anaheim has never been the home of a player of Mike Trout’s caliber. In just 2+ seasons as a professional, Mike Trout has placed his name amongst some of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Ruth. Gehrig. Mays. Bonds. Pujols. He is among their number due to two of the most amazing seasons I have ever seen, and really, ANYONE. I’ve witnessed Pujols and Alex Rodriguez and both Human Barry and Super Barry. I saw the Japanese legend, Ichiro Suzuki, break one of the holy records, George Sisler’s 257 hits in a season. I’ve witnessed Peyton Manning’s 49 and 55 TD, Tom Brady’s 50, and our guy Drew Brees put up four 5,000 yard passing seasons. I’ve seen Jamal Lewis and Adrian Peterson set the single-game rushing record. I’m a witness to LeBron James’s mastery, and saw Michael Jordan win rings 4-6 with those excellent Chicago Bulls teams. Tiger Woods’s incredible decade of golf. The dominance of Roger Federer and the Williams sisters. Mike Trout compares to ALL OF THEM. I believe everyone, sports fans or not, should see this man at least once. His greatness is inspiring to me. It makes me feel like I can maximize my talents and be great in my own right. It’s a pleasure to watch Mike Trout every day. Even the little things turn amazing when he does them, he has ability unlike anything I’ve seen in my 26 years.

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Fantasy Baseball Draft – Aybar Hates the Bees

Earlier tonight, I put together this team using the 8th and 3rd picks in snake format. Here’s what my team looks like:

Aybar Hates the Bees

Aybar Hates the Bees GIF

Look at him. He hates them so much!

C Yadier Molina, StL

1B Brandon Belt, SF

2B Howie Kendrick, LAA

3B Adrian Beltre, Tex

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Col

2B/SS Everth Cabrera, SD

1B/3B Josh Donaldson, Oak

OF Yasiel Puig, LAD

OF Starling Marte, Pit

OF Matt Holliday, StL

OF Brett Gardner, NYY

UTIL Kole Calhoun, LAA

B1 Norichika Aoki, KC

B2 Nick Swisher, Cle

B3 Anthony Rendon, Wsh


P Felix Hernandez, Sea

P Homer Bailey, Cin

P Gerrit Cole, Pit

P Jered Weaver, LAA

P Julio Teheran, Atl

P Michael Wacha, StL

P Addison Reed, Ari

P Ernesto Frieri, LAA

P Joakim Soria, Tex

B1 Rex Brothers, Col

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The Longest Year

Joe Blanton, it’s nothing personal. You were doing what you’ve done for a very long time. You take the ball and pitch.

I’m glad it’s all over. I’m sorry dude. You’re the worst Angel I’ve ever seen. I’m not the oldest Angel fan alive, but they’re hard pressed too. I figured, if I’m gonna talk shit, at least I should direct it at you. Let’s just say I’m not anonymous behind a computer screen either (pretty depressing). Just a fan. A very big, emotionally invested fan. I get it, it’s difficult. I couldn’t make it past Little League. It’s not easy when you’re facing dudes who can catch up to 100 MPH baseballs and hit them out.

At the same time, we both know. Everyone knows. It’s gone. You’re gonna try to hang on, and I respect that. In my own way, I’m trying to hang on too. We have to know when it’s time to go, though. It needed to end.

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Songs In My Life 1

Every so often, I’ll post a list of five songs dominating my life. With the amount of music I enjoy, and the constant stream of new and old music I’m exposed to, I feel like I should be sharing some  good things I’ve found and enjoyed over the years. I’m not a big mainstream guy, so I hope my little bit of exposure for lesser known artists helps them out in any way. Same with the big time guys, I don’t hate on success, because success isn’t guaranteed for anyone.  Don’t I know that one.

I hope you enjoy my picks. Support the artists. Leave a comment below if you enjoyed, and don’t be afraid to send some recommendations my way!

(If the videos don’t load on the page, I apologize and please visit the links. WordPress is kind of a punk sometimes)

Katatonia – Journey Through Pressure

People who know me know that Sweden has produced many of my all-time favorite artists. Katatonia is at the very top. I’ve been a fan for 12 years and have seen them perform live on three occassions (woulda been four if we hadn’t lost our mailbox key in 2007!). One of my favorite things about this band is their ability to write incredible album closing numbers. Journey Through Pressure is the final song on 2006′s The Great Cold Distance, a cathartic finish to an album that touches on every dark thought you may have had in life. Katatonia’s style is simple here, they repeat verse and chorus a few times before sending your drug-addled mind into a tailspin with the bridge section. The chorus sounds like a mental breakdown with the huge atmosphere and Jonas Renkse’s dissociated vocal work. Katatonia is the band for your personal rock bottom.

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Lives Up to the Name

March Madness is always out of control. I’m not going to break it down or anything, I’m not knowledgeable enough about basketball to do it, but I’ll tell you these few things that stuck with me:

1. Virginia and UCLA are resilient teams. UCLA hasn’t been tested too heavily yet, but when they have been, they take control. Same with Virginia, I’ve been seeing that for awhile now, I’ve seen a lot of their games this year for some reason.

2. Iowa State would be one of the favorites to win it all if they still had Georges Niang available. We’ll see how far their heart takes them. They beat a North Carolina team that plays to its competition.

3. Wichita State got screwed by the NCAA selection committee. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Congrats Kentucky.

4.  Seems to me like every bracket has had at least one “this team matches up terrible against the other” game per round. Today, it was Gonzaga looking pretty helpless against Arizona.

5. I never trust #2 seeds. They’re always the weirdest teams to predict. Kansas and Villanova are big examples of that.

Finally, I’ll say that if you don’t watch any basketball at all, I recommend you give the NCAA Tournament a chance. The passion and the atmosphere make it unlike any other sporting event. I’m decently into college ball today, but I got into it from watching a school like George Mason have a Cinderella ride into the Final Four. You never know what will happen.

I’ll be back with more Angels talk tomorrow, and I’ll touch on the Dodgers/D-backs series from this weekend. I watched both games and have a few things to say about those teams. Good night folks!

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