I'm with the Rev on this one. I can't think of one particular player, or even two, on whom this loss can be pinned. Escobar only lasted six, and gave up three runs, but he also struck out 14, so it's tough to blame him. Of course, he occasionally had trouble getting the strikeouts he really needed, but that's simply analysis in hindsight.
Figgins blew a simple tag that cost the Angels a big run. Heads up play by Josh Hamilton on that slide, but as I told my dad after that play, if I'm the Angels, I make sure every tag comes down hard. No retaliation, but send the message that if they're going to make tricky slides, they're going to pay for the privilege. And while a review of the scoreboard says Erick Aybar's error didn't matter much, it more or less put the final nail in the coffin. It's a lot easier to get one run than two in an inning featuring the Angels' three best "sluggers".
Mike Napoli and Orlando Cabrera had less than stellar nights at the plate. They were a combined 1-9, with five runners left on base, three in scoring position.
But ultimately, they just played against a team who played better than them, at least for one night, and sometimes that happens. They aren't going to win every game. But losing the first game of the set puts extra importance on the last two. It doesn't help matters that the Mariners simply won't lose. They've won five in a row and nine of their last ten, and they now sit only a game back in the loss column. I still don't think the Mariners are *that* good, but what I think doesn't matter. All that matters is what they think, and if they think they're that good, they're going to be very tough beat this season.
In other news, the Times is reporting that Dallas McPherson has been cleared to run on a treadmill, and Juan Rivera will be taking batting practice as soon as next week. In addition, Maicer Izturis is almost done with his rehab assignment. Sooner or later, someone needs to figure out where all of these guys are going to go. There are four guys on the DL who could return by mid to late July, and three of those should be back much sooner. So where do they go?
Nathan Haynes will go down, obviously, so that covers Rivera. If you bring back Ztu and McPherson, Aybar will have to go, but who else? Another outfielder? Hillenbrand? As much as many of us might like it to be Hillenbrand, I'm not sure I could see the Angels brass making that move.
Who goes out for Speier? Oliver? Carrasco? Bootcheck and Moseley have outpitched both of them, but will the Angels cut those ties? There are some tough decisions coming up, assuming other injuries don't come into play to "help" the Angels make those roster decisions.
And finally, I haven't seen this noted anywhere else, but Casey Kotchman now has eight homers, and is on pace for 21. I think most people have considered Kotchman to be a 20-25 homer guy (per season) for his career, which is good, but not great power. But I'll tell you what. For a guy who isn't supposed to have great power, he has hit the shit out of the balls that have left the yard for his last three or four homers. These haven't been of the Garret Anderson in the 2003 home run derby variety*. They've been getting five to ten rows deep into the right field bleachers in Anaheim, which isn't easy to do for a left hander, and the one he hit yesterday was an absolute bomb. The kid is only 24. Don't be surprised if in three years or so, he's hitting somewhere between 30-40 per season.
*GA won the 2003 home run derby, and I swear that he didn't one homer more than about 3 rows deep at the Cell. It was like he was hitting wedges and dropping them right on the pin. It was more a display of conservation of energy than pure power. But it was impressive.