Friday, April 24, 2009

Up is Down, Black is White, and the Angels Bullpen Pitched Three Scoreless Innings

Signs of life from the Angels last night, especially from the bullpen. They managed to take the rubber match in the best of three series thanks to a solid effort from career minor-leaguer Matt Palmer, three innings of scoreless relief, clutch offensive performances, and four Tigers errors.

Palmer struggled early, allowing single runs in the first two innings before settling down in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. He struggled in the seventh, leaving the bases loaded. Daniel Davidson and Jason Bulger allowed the inherited runners to score, but Bulger got a key double play grounder to Chone Figgins to end the threat. Bulger followed that with a perfect eight, and Justin Speier pitched a perfect night to preserve the win.

At the plate, Howie Kendrick finally hit his first double of the season in the first inning. It took two bases loaded walks in the fourth inning for the Angels to tie the game. Torii Hunter his sixth homer of the season in the fifth to give the Angels their first lead. They added three more runs in the sixth, and four in the seventh, two coming home on Chone Figgins’ bases loaded, two out bunt single, which blew the game open. Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Maicer Izturis, Kendry Morales, and Garry Matthews each had two hits.

With Seattle’s victory, the 6-9 Angels remain 3.5 games out of first, tied with Texas and a half game in front of Oakland.

Thoughts on the game:

  • You kind of had to see it to believe it, but the Angels scored ten runs last night, only three of which were produced on balls that left the infield. Hunter homered, and Abreu and Izturis had RBI singles to the outfield. But two runs came home on bases loaded walks, three on infield singles, and two on Figgins’ bunt single (one of which was attributed to an error on the play).
  • Bobby Abreu stole his eighth base, which leads the league. He also beat out an infield hit, which scored a run. He doesn’t look fast, but he is really running well. Now he just needs to deliver some extra base hits.
  • Justin Speier is looking downright serviceable. He’s appeared in five games and only given up single runs in two of them. In 5.2 innings, he’s allowed only five baserunners, and struck out six. Right now, he’s their best reliever.

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