By Pete Zarustica/Garden Grove Journal
Two winning streaks will be on the line this summer at the stadium just over the city limits in Anaheim.
Not only will the Los Angeles Angels be trying to continue their string of four straight American League West titles (six in the last seven years) but also they’ll host the 2010 All-Star Game, which the AL has won 12 times in 13 years with one tie.
Of course, if the Halos do grab their fifth straight, they’ll be doing it with a revamped lineup that may make a lot of Orange County fans reach for their scorebooks to tell who’s who.
Gone are three of the team’s biggest stars: Vladimir Guerrero, John Lackey and Chone Figgins.
New to the team are Hideki Matsui (designated hitter) and right-handed pitcher Joel Pinero. Matsui is a former Yankee who bedeviled the Angels last year; Pinero won 15 games for the St. Louis Cards and helps keep the Angels’ pitching staff one of the best in major league baseball.
The rotation of Pinero, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana and Scott Kazmir (an ERA of 1.73 with the Angels in 2010) should give the Angels a lot of quality starts, and the Halo bullpen is solid, led by Brian Fuentes and Scot Shields.
Even with Chone and Vlad missing, the Halos will still have a formidable lineup, led by Howie Kendrick (.302 lifetime), Bobby Abreau, Torii Hunter and Matsui.
Of course, the Angels are managed by Mike Scioscia, which means an emphasis on defense, speed and “small ball.”
Scioscia is the senior manager in the AL, and arguably the best. His teams will always contend, and in the tight race that the division is expected to be, the smart money won’t be betting against Mike and the Halos winning the west all over again.