Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three Straight: Angels 3; Orioles 2

After becoming the last team in the majors to win two games in a row, the Angels went out and won a third straight game, using the long ball and six strong innings from Shane Loux to sweep the two game set from the Orioles.

Loux had his strongest start of the season, lasting six plus innings, allowing one run on five hits. He allowed the run after loading the bases in the first, but limited the Orioles to a sac fly. In the second, he allowed a lead off triple to Chad Moeller, but got a ground out to first, followed by a comebacker the mound. Loux alertly froze the runner, and a short rundown ended with a Chone Figgins tag-out.

The Angels tied the game in the fourth inning when a Kendry Morales triple chased home Maicer Izturis. In the seventh, Orioles starter Koji Uehara had an inning he’d rather forget. He allowed back to back homers to Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales, and after retiring Howie Kendrick, he was drilled square in the chest by Gary Matthews. The injury forced Uehara’s exit.

Justin Speier continued his surprisingly strong bullpen work. He entered in the seventh with none out and Chad Moeller on second base. He promptly struck out the first two hitters he faced, and retired the third on a line out to end the inning. Jose Arredondo allowed a run in the either, but Brian Fuentes worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save, and preserved Loux’s first win of the season.

Thoughts on the game:

* In his last ten games, Kendry Morales is hitting .341/.372/.707 with four doubles, three homers, and 13 RBIs. It may be a hot streak, or it may be a sign of things to come, but he’s brought his season long production up to a pretty respectable level, with not awful defense. This is what the Angels hoped for when they realized Teixeira was gone.
* Speaking of Teixeira, he currently sits at .206/.363/.381 with 3 homers and 10 RBIs. Kendry, for the season, is at .275/.324/.464 with three homers and 14 RBIs. those numbers are actually fairly similar, thanks to Teixeira’s superior patience. I’ll take Kendry’s production for $20MM less.
* Justin Speier dropped his ERA to 2.08, and he’s rapidly making Scot Shields the fourth option out of the bullpen.
* Maicer Izturis made a diving play in the fourth inning on a Chad Moeller shot that makes you wonder why the Angels think Erick Aybar is the superior defender.

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