Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Twins 7; Angels 1

Well, make that six out of eight. On the bright side, there weren't any wasted efforts tonight. Not one player in an Angels uniform deserved to win this game except for maybe Jose Molina, and almost all of them deserved to lose it. Ervin Santana, who pitches great in night games at home, apparently took the mound while the sun was shining a little too brightly, because he got roughed up for three runs in the first, and that was all the Twins and Francisco Liriano needed. Santana recovered and pitched seven strong innings giving up only the three earned runs with another unearned run added in. JC Romero followed with a perfect eighth, but Hector Carrasco was absolutely putrid in the ninth giving up three runs on five hits to the first five batters he faced, and that was pretty much all she wrote.

Liriano was terrific for the Twins. His 90mph slider and solid change kept the Halo hitters off base all night. They didn't get a hit until the sixth inning, and even that required a bad call from first base umpire Ed Hickox. They actually got a little threat going in that inning, putting runners at second and third with only one out. Then Garret Anderson and Vlad Guerrero suddenly caught a case of Junior Felix disease, which caused them to swing at a combined five consecutive pitches out of the strike zone, promptly ending the threat, and really any hope that the Angels had to come back.

As if the contrast in pitching performances wasn't enough, Juan Rivera had enough action in center to show why he really shouldn't be playing center unless he's hitting. Figgins was part of two double plays, but unfortunately both were on the offensive end, the second coming when he broke from first on a rip by Garret which was caught nicely by Lew Ford in right field to end the eighth. He also botched a play at second that Kennedy clearly would have made. Molina was the lone bright spot, reaching base twice via the base on balls. He also made a fantastic play to pick Jason Kubel off third base to end the sixth inning. Everyone else sucked, though.

In other news, the Angels inked Kelvim Escobar to three more years, with terms undisclosed. Assuming the money is reasonable, I like the move. Escobar has been solid when healthy, and he's young enough that the Angels have now locked up four spots in their rotation for the next few years, and they have all five spots already booked for next year. That should allow someone like Saunders to work out of the pen next year before possibly moving into the rotation in 2008, and by the time Escobar's deal is up, Nick Adenhart and Jose Arredondo are just about ready.

Off day tomorrow, then on to underachieving Cleveland, who could break out, or hopefully continue to underachieve. Should be good pitching matchups throughout.

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