Sunday, May 24, 2009

Angels 10; Dodgers 7

The Angels fought back from an early 4-0 deficit to take the series from the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, keeping Matt Palmer from taking his first loss of the season. The bullpen showed some cracks for the second straight night, but the offense arrived to bail them out as the Angels moved back to the three games over .500 on the season. They remain three games behind the first place Rangers, who completed their sweep of the Houston Astros.

Palmer struggled early, as he's done a few times this season. He allowed the first four hitters in the second inning to score, three of whom came home on Jamie Hoffman's first career home run. But Palmer settled down and kept the Dodgers scoreless into the fifth inning before he was replaced by Jason Bulger. Bulger tossed an inning and a third scoreless, and was followed by Justin Speier, who also delivered a scoreless frame.

In the meantime, the Angels offense got rolling. In the third inning, Robb Quinlan doubled home Erick Aybar, and a Chone Figgins single chased home Quinlan to cut the lead in half. In the sixth inning, the Angels erased the deficit completely and took their first lead of the game. Following a Chone Figgins walk and Bobby Abreu single, Torii Hunter delivered an RBI single. It came just minutes after Hunter almost left the game following a dazzling catch made while crashing into the wall into the bottom of the fifth. Juan Rivera followed with an RBI single, and Kendry Morales got Hunter home on a sac fly for a 5-4 lead.

Hunter's two run single in the seventh pushed the lead to three. The Dodgers threatened in the bottom of the eighth. They pulled to within one and loaded the bases with one out. But Darren Oliver induced a first to home ground out from Rafael Furcal, and Juan Pierre lined out to second to end the inning. The Angels added three in the top of the ninth, and though the Dodgers put on on the board in the bottom of the ninth, they could get no closer.
  • He wasn't sharp all day, but Matt Palmer continues to provide what you want out of a fifth starter, which is a chance to win. He's kept the Angels in the game in his starts, and the offense has responded.
  • Another 16 hit outburst by the offense. It's not a reliable way to score, but they've won a few games this year with the same death by a thousand cuts approach that was so successful in 2002.
  • Kendry Morales may not be Mark Teixeira, but he's providing nice production for about 20 million bucks cheaper, and he's actually been pretty solid, if not spectacular, at first base.

1 comment:

Rob said...

The myth of the "death-by-a-thousand cuts" 2002 squad dies hard. In fact, that team had a much more balanced attack than any Angels team since fielded; they placed sixth in overall SLG and fourth in runs scored compared to their AL counterparts. They have never been as high in SLG since, and have only matched their rank in runs scored once.