Matsui’s Second Half Success Key For Angels
In the larger scheme of things it was just one home run. A two run shot in the 7th inning of a 6-2 ball game in July. However Hideki Matsui’s first home run in almost a month felt much bigger than that. The “blast” that barely cleared the short porch in right not only gave the Angels an 8-2 lead over (Matsui’s former team) the Yankees, but it also gave them hope that maybe… just maybe Hideki can turn things around and provide them with the consistent power presence they thought they’d acquired this winter. Angel’s manager Mike Scioscia sure hopes so. “He hit an off speed pitch and that’s good to see,” Scioscia said. “Hideki’s been searching a little bit, his last 50 at-bats or so, definitely not driving the ball. Hopefully that’s a good sign.” Since that night Matsui has gone on to homer in 3 of the Angels last 6 games. So maybe Scioscia was onto something?
Angels brass has to hope Matsui can sustain this production throughout the second half. Despite two other similar hot stretches this season, quite frankly watching Matsui has been painful. Its not that Matsui has been terrible, it’s just that Vladimir Guerrero who the Angels made little effort to sign this past off-season has been as good as ever. IN TEXAS.
Angels fans witnessed this first hand earlier this month. The scenario that unfolded at Angels Stadium on July 1st was something no fan should have to endure.
Vladimir Guerrero’s 4-4, 2 home run 5 RBI outburst was akin to seeing your ex girlfriend (who was once extremely hot but packed on a few LBS. prior to your breakup) at a party with a new guy, who you really don’t like all that much AKA the Texas Rangers. On top of that, your ex girlfriend (Vlad Guerrero) now looks even hotter than before and the girl you’re at the party with (Hideki Matsui) looks old, haggard and is clearly past her prime.
That’s exactly how anyone affiliated with the Angels (Fans, Management, Angels Players) had to feel that night. Like the poor fellow who discards the amazing girl a little too soon, the Angels watched helplessly as Vlad Guerrero reminded us all of his beauty. This is not to place blame on the front office. I was also in the Vlad will never be the same… It’s time for a change camp. I thought Matsui, (who had a better year than Vlad in 2009) would provide more patience at the plate and add another run producing bat to the lineup. I figured Matsui would be an upgrade over Guerrero. I like Tony Reagins and crew was wrong. Vlad is currently on a tear we haven’t seen from him since 2007. Matsui meanwhile has been wildly inconsistent struggling miserably at times and currently is hitting .253 with 14 HR, 55 RBI’S and an OPS of .757. When compared to Vlad Guerrero’s line of .307, 20 HR, 77 RBI’S and an OPS of .875
Three facts are made clear:
1. Hindsight being 20/20 the angels clearly made the wrong choice. Vlad is still the superior hitter.
2. If the Angels are to somehow miraculously catch the Rangers , Matsui is going to have step up and Vlad has to cool off ( which he already has at least some)
3. Like Q Tip said. Joni Mitchell never lies.” You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Til It’s Gone!”