D-Rays 1; Angels 9
Lackey was pretty sharp for the first five innings, and for once he didn't seem to be getting cute around the edges. He was challenging guys, using his fastball to get ahead early in counts, and put the D-Rays hitters away. He struck out seven over six innings, none bigger than the bases loaded, two out strikeout of B.J. Upton that ended the sixth. He loaded the bases by walking Elijah Dukes, which prompted an exchange between Lackey and home plate ump Chris Guccione, who really had no idea what the strike zone was for much of the night.
As has been true for much of the homestand, the Angels relied on awful defense from their opponents for early runs. Two Upton errors led to three Angels runs in the fifth inning, two coming home on a double from HGHMJ. The Angels did the rest of their damage in the seventh, primarily benefiting from doubles off the bats of Erick Aybar and Garret Anderson, and a two run single from Shea Hillenbrand. Speier, Carrasco, and Bootcheck all pitched scoreless innings to preserve the victory.
Big Bart is scheduled to go today if his ankle permits.
Brandon Wood Called Up
He'll replace Kendry Morales, who heads back to AAA. The Angels are essentially clearing a spot (3rd base) for Chone Figgins to do his rehab work at Salt Lake. Additionally, this is something that the Angels have been pretty good about over the last few seasons, and I think it's a good strategy. They've consistently brought their top prospects up for a taste of Major League Baseball, and not just during September. They did it with Howie Kendrick. They did it with Casey Kotchman a couple of years ago. They did it with Morales last year. They bring these guys up with very little pressure. They know that unless they set the world on fire, which no one expects, they're probably going to go back down. But most importantly, when they recall those guys (and Kendrick is probably the best example of this) at a time where they actually DO need production, the players can focus on getting the job done. They've already dealt with the distractions of making their major league debut, and they can just focus on baseball.
Wood will come up, get some at bats, start a game or two, an in a week, he'll be back in Salt Lake, hopefully with a better idea of what he needs to work on. And when he comes back up in the fall, or next season, he'll be ready to play ball.
Darren Collison Staying at UCLA
Not really surprising that he's staying, but I'm a little surprised that he's not testing the waters and getting some feedback from NBA scouts. This isn't big news so much next year as it is for the year after. My understanding is that a player can't "test the waters" twice. In other words, Arron Afflalo could not put his name into the draft pool like he did last year and still come back to school, even without hiring an agent. What this means for Collison and UCLA is that Collison can test the waters next year, and if he so chooses, can still come back for his senior season.
Now, it may sound crazy to imply that Collison won't be a first rounder after next season. But the fact is, you just never know. You never know who's going to explode onto the scene. You can't know how the next season is going to play out. The consequences of Collison testing the waters this season were that he'd probably come back, but was definitely gone after next season. But by deciding not to test the waters this spring, it means he's definitely back next season, and his options are open for his senior season.