Friday, August 22, 2008

Twins 2; Angels 1

See also here.

Following a blistering July and first half of August, the Angels offense appears to be slowing down to June levels. They struggled to generate any offense last night, and they failed to exert any pressure on the Twins defense. They managed only one hit and three baserunners in the last eight innings of play last night, and wasted an otherwise solid performance from John Lackey. On the other side, Scott Baker threw eight innings of four hit baseball to lower his ERA to 3.74.

The Angels took the lead on a first inning home run from Mark Teixeira, his fifth since the trade. The Twins scratched out a run in the fifth inning to tie the score on a two out double from Nick Punto and an RBI single from Carlos Gomez. That was all the offense until the 12th inning.

In the 12th, Mike Scioscia made the inexplicable decision to turn to Justin Speier, who has now allowed at least one run in five of his last seven appearances (an 8.64 ERA over that span). Punto led off the 12th with a triple on a ball that, quite frankly, should have been caught by Torii Hunter. Two batters later, Denard Spann drove a single past the drawn in Chone Figgins for the eventual winning run.

Angels Top Three Performers:

1) John Lackey pitched eight innings of one run ball, allowing seven baserunners and striking out five. He pitched his way out of a jam in the eighth (which he helped create with his second error of the night), with some help from Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar, who turned a nifty double play.

2) Mark Teixeira was the only Angel with more than one hit, and provided all the offense with his 5th home run as an Angel.

3) The bullpen (non-Speier division). Frankie Rodriguez, Scot Shields, and Darren Oliver combined for three scoreless innings. Each allowed a hit, and Shields walked a batter, but struck out two.

Jeff Weaver of the game:

Take your pick between Scioscia, for going with Speier when he could have extended Oliver (or gone with Arredondo), Speier (who's simply been awful this year), or Hunter, who in addition to failing to catch a very catchable ball, went 0-4 and left four runners on base.

What to look for tonight:

Joe Saunders goes after win number 15 again. The Twins counter with Glenn Perkins, a 25 year old Minnesota local with a very nice 10-3 record and a 4.17 ERA. He's struggled a bit in four of his last five starts, but tossed eight innings of scoreless baseball against the Yankees a week and a half ago. Garret Anderson looks to start a new hitting streak after having his 23 gamer snapped last night (though in all likelihood, he'll get the day off).

Game time: 7:05 PDT; Television: KCOP

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