Saturday, May 02, 2009

No Relief: Angels 9; Yankees 10

Yet another night when the Angel offense delivers more than enough to win. Yet another night when the bullpen can’t hold on to a huge a lead. Rafael Rodriguez, Jose Arredondo, and Brian Fuentes combined for six earned runs in two innings, and blew a five run lead. This is starting to get ridiculous.

Jered Weaver shook off a tough first inning in which he allowed four runs. He followed it up with five scoreless frames, and left with a lead that he had to think was safe. But after a solid seventh inning, Rodriguez ran into trouble, and started the snowball that became four run eighth for the Yankees, with the runs evenly split between Rodriguez and Arredondo. Brian Fuentes entered in the ninth and failed to retire any of the four batters he faced. A walk and three singles later, the Yankees finished the comeback and celebrated a 10-9 victory.

The Angels got offense from almost everyone. Robb Quinlan was the only Angel who failed to reach base. Erick Aybar and Gary Matthews each had three hits. Matthews added four RBIs, three coming on a bases loaded triple in the sixth inning. Jeff Mathis drove in three runs, two with a single and one with a squeeze bunt. But yet again, their effort was undone by baseball’s worst bullpen.

Thoughts on the game:

A lot of people were happy to let Francisco Rodriguez leave. His numbers would be the best in this bullpen by far. The haters will point toward his post season struggles as justification for letting him leave. Well, good news. The Angels probably won’t have to worry about post-season failures this year.
The Angels drew 7 walks. That’s gotta be close to a record for this decade. And they still lost.
This is the sixth game in which the Angels have scored 8 or more runs. They ‘ve lost four of those games. That’s pathetic.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Speier We Know and Don't Particularly Care For: Angels 4; Yankees 7

Just when you thought it was safe to bring in Justin Speier, he reverts to 2008 form. He allowed three eighth inning runs as the Angels dropped their first game in the new Yankee Stadium by a score of 7-4.

Anthony Ortega provided the Angels with a quality start, lasting 6.1 innings while allowing three earned runs. A fourth run came home on Bobby Abreu’s misplay of Derek Jeter’s fourth inning RBI single. Ortega allowed 10 baserunners, while striking out two, but he gave the Angels a chance to win, and that’s the best they can hope for. Scot Shields completed the seventh before Mike Scioscia turned to the surprisingly effective Speier in the 8th, who promptly turned back into a pumpkin. After retiring the first batter he faced, he allowed the next five hitters to reach (one on an intentional walk), and by the time he was done, the Yankees had turned a tie game into a three run advantage.

At the plate, Howie Kendrick shrugged off yesterday’s ofer and reached base three times, twice via the hit and once via the walk. He also stole two bases. Mike Napoli and Chone Figgins both delivered two hits, and both were caught stealing once. Napoli, however, did homer (his fourth) in his first at bat. Kendry Morales went cold again, going 0-4wi with three strike outs after his recent hot streak.

Thoughts on the game:

* Justin Speier’s ERA went up about three points, which isn’t really an indication of how he’s been pitching on the season. But he clearly didn’t have it tonight.
* Ortega’s quality start was a nice surprise, but the Angels really need to win games when either he or Matt Palmer give them the chance, because they probably aren’t going to give the team many chances in 2009. This team really needs John Lackey and Ervin Santana back. Sheesh, they need Dustin Mosely back. I can’t believe I’m writing that.
* Nothing against Jeff Mathis, but I’ll take the defensive deficiencies from Napoli in exchange for his far superior bat.

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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hopefully good music news

I'm a little late to this party.  I don't know much about Pete Doherty.  I never listened to the Libertines.  I have no idea what Babyshambles sounds like.

But anything that might result in more creative output from Lee Mavers is a very, very good thing.