Monday, April 10, 2006

Rangers 2; Angels 5

This is pretty much the way they draw them up for this Angels team. Timely hitting, excellent pitching, good defense, and win by a couple of runs. All seven runs were scored with two outs, and the Angels did an excellent job of answering the Rangers two first inning runs with one of their own in the bottom of the first, followed by three in the second. The unsung play of the game was Adam Kennedy's hustle in the bottom of the second to beat out a double play. It extended the inning and was followed by Chone Figgins' RBI triple, Orlando Cabrera's RBI single, and Vlad Guerrero's RBI single (which extended his hitting streak to 37 straight against the Rangers).

Those four runs were all John Lackey would need (though they added a fifth). He fantastic following a first inning hiccup which saw him Walk Mark Teixeira with two out, which Phil Nevin followed with a homer. From there he settled down, allowing only those two runs on four hits and walk, while striking out eight. Almost as important, of the 12 batters who made outs by putting the ball in play, nine of them did it on the ground. These are the kind of starts that Angels fans and fantasy owners expect Lackey to put together on a more consistent basis this season. He did it against a heck of an offensive lineup, and one that has had his number in the past.

As for the defense, it was excellent as well. Cabrera, Kennedy, and Kotchman combined for a double play ground out by Michael Young. Kotchman himself turned in the defensive play of the night when he stabbed a hot shot by Hank Blalock with one out in the seventh. They completed the game without commiting an error, which is an encouraging sign after committing nine in their first six games.

Jeff Weaver goes tomorrow against Rick Bauer, who didn't start in his only appearance this season. It doesn't look as if it will be on Extra Innings, so it will probably be a computer night. A lot of people picked the Rangers ahead of the Angels this season, so it would be nice to open up a little teensy bit of daylight with a series sweep.

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