Monday, April 24, 2017

Sweet & Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

THE GAME: Angels vs Blue Jays

The Angels went 6-2 in the first eight games of the year. They had the highest average in the American League.

In the twelve games after that, they have gone 2-10 with the worst average and fewest runs per game in all of baseball.

So which team is the real Angels?

Probably neither... but I'm guessing it's closer to the latter than the former. (Especially since once again they have lost their #1 starter, Garrett Richards.)

But, what the hell. I'm not in the mood to watch any basketball tonight, and even with the Angels sucking, it's always fun to watch Mike Trout.

NOTES ON THE FOOD: 
  • I sliced a chicken breast in two so that it would cook quicker.
  • I've mentioned my preference for Bubbies pickles on more than one occasion. It just so happened that I recently had finished a jar, so I saved the liquid, which makes a great marinade for chicken before frying. 
  • I left the pieces in overnight. Any longer than this and they turn pale and gummy. (You can still eat them, they just take on an unnatural, unpleasant texture.)  
  • Sometimes I make my own mixture to bread/batter a piece of chicken. But more often than not I use a premade mix. I've tried more than a dozen. My favorite was Thomas Keller's ad hoc fried chicken kit. But that costs $17 and at any rate I haven't seen it for sale in at least a year. Dixie Fry is the second-best; it costs $2.50 and can be found at almost any grocery store. I shook the marinated chicken pieces in the mixture and fried them for roughly seven minutes. 
  • I placed one of the cooked pieces on a soft roll, drizzled over a healthy amount of "sweet & spicy" wing sauce, then topped it with slaw. 
  • It wasn't quite as good as the Nashville hot chicken sandwich I made back in January, but it was still fantastic.

NOTES ON THE GAME:
  • The Blue Jays had three wins on the season coming into the weekend. It was the worst start in the history of the franchise. But if they win tonight, they will have doubled their win total since Friday. The Angels are really bad right now. 
  • And I'm not sure it's going to get better anytime soon: As I wrote above, the Angels #1 starter is on the DL with no certainty about what is wrong with him. Their #2 and #3 starters are missing the entire season with Tommy John surgeries. Their three best relief pitchers are all on the DL right now. If you have a great farm system, you might be able to weather a stretch like this. The Angels have what is regarded as anywhere from fourth-worst to the very worst farm system in baseball at the moment. So these numerous injuries have crippled the team.
  • The pregame informs us that the Angels picked up a new pitcher from Atlanta today. That makes four new pitchers they have added in the last four days: David Hernandez, Kirby Yates, Chet Steadman, and Brooks Pounders. 
  • Quiz: I made up one of the above names. Can you guess which? 
  • If you're, say, 12 years old, and your memory of baseball only extends for the last five years or so, do you realize that the guy batting cleanup for the Angels is one of the greatest players in the history of the game? Or do you think of him only as an incredibly slow, heavy-set guy hitting .234 and making 26 million dollars this season?
  • The Angels end the 2nd inning by grounding into their 26th double play of the season, which is shocking: it feels like they've had twice that many. (Still, that's second-worst in all of baseball.) 
  • Quiz answer: Chet Steadman. That was the pitcher in Rookie of the Year, played by Gary Busey. 
  • The Angels announcer just mentioned that they used to have a "skills competition" during All Star Weekend. I have no memory of that so I looked it up. Apparently 1989 was the last year.
  • Russell Martin hits a homer and the Blue Jays go up 1-0. That is the 32nd homer allowed by the Angels this year. Wanna take a guess where that ranks? You got it: dead last in all of baseball.
  • Trouts leads off the 4th inning with a triple and scores on a Pujols single. Without Trout, I don't think there's any question the Angels would be the worst team in baseball. 
  • On that note, what if Trout ends the season with 11 WAR and the team only has something like 65 wins? What's the largest % of a team's wins that a player has ever accounted for? 
  • Cameron Maybin has been disappointing in most aspects so far this year, but as they say, speed never slumps. He scored from third on the contact play just now. 
  • Pujols just broke his bat on a groundout, it flew about 80 feet and impaled in the ground, not far from the Blue Jays 3rd baseman. That was pretty cool: 
  • Bases loaded, two outs, full count... and Maldonado watches a strike right down the middle of the plate. The Angels had the bases loaded with one out and couldn't get another run. Wanna bet - considering their makeshift bullpen - that failure to add another run comes back to haunt them?
  • Former Angel Joe Smith comes in and retires the side on 7 pitches. He only needed one to get Trout. That was, sadly, predictable. 
  • Justin Smoak came to the plate representing the go-ahead run for Toronto. That guy has destroyed the Angels for years. (Just to be sure, I double-checked on baseball-reference.com, and sure enough, he has 15 home runs against the Angels, more than any other team.) Fortunately, the Angels new pitcher, Hernandez, picked off the runner at first to get out of the inning. 
  • That's about as boneheaded a mistake as you can make as a baserunner: getting picked off first with two outs and the go-ahead run at the plate. It's nice to see other teams make mistakes like that instead of it always being the Angels. [Ed. note: Smoak led off the next inning by getting a hit.]
  • Despite putting two on with no outs, the Angels 4th-string closer gets a K and a DP to get the save. I was wrong, that failure to score in the 7th inning didn't come back to bite them. 
  • But I'm not exactly going to break out the champagne to celebrate a split at home against the team with the worst record in the league.  

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