Monday, April 06, 2009

A's 0; Angels 3

1 down, 161 to go. Nice way to start the season as Joe Saunders showed no signs of a dead arm, going 6.2 scoreless innings. He allowed only three hits, while walking and striking out two. He was probably on a pitch count of about 90. He finished with 93 pitches for the game, 56 of them for strikes. He fell behind a number of times, but generally seemed to find a strike when he needed it. He induced three double play balls, although the Angels infield only turned one of them, or else he may have completed the seventh inning. The A's threatened in the third inning, putting two runners on with only one out. But Jeff Mathis made a great throw to third to gun down Mark Ellis, who was the front end of an attempted double steal. Saunders got Orlando Cabrera to pop up, ending the inning.

The bullpen did its job. Jose Arredondo retired the only batter he faced. Scot Shields recorded his first hold of the season with a perfect eighth, and Brian Fuentes worked a perfect ninth for his first save as an Angel.

The offense pounded out nine hits, two each from Howie Kendrick, Vlad Guerrero, and Juan Rivera. One of Kendrick's hits left the yard, an opposite field blast to right center field over the big wall. For a guy who isn't supposed to hit for a lot of power, he hit the ball a long way. His other hit was an RBI single in the third inning. The newly patient offense looked a lot like the old 'not all that patient' offense, drawing only one walk. They did, however, work quite a few deep counts, and A's starter Dallas Braden was at nearly 100 pitches through six innings.

So far so good. Some opening day jitters, but the Angels won the way they're probably going to win this year. Good pitching, timely hitting, and a shut down bullpen. Now we get to see how the rebuilt rotation really works. Dustin Moseley takes the mound tomorrow against Trevor Cahill.

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