Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mariners 5; Angels 2

The Angels lack of offense made life made life difficult for Angels pitchers. John Lackey pitched a good but not great 7.1 innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits while striking out only two. But the offense never came close to bailing him out after the Mariners scored three runs in the third inning, and the Angels dropped their third game in the last four.

Lackey seemed to have decent command. 68 of his 106 pitches were in the strike zone, and he only walked two, but he was not missing a lot of bats. He struck out only two hitters. In the third inning, the Mariners did enough damage to win the game as they strung together four hits, a walk, and a sac fly, pushing three runs across in the process.

homered in the fifth to pull the Angels within one, but Endy Chavez drove in the Mariners’ fourth run a half inning later. The Angels threatened in the seventh. They closed the lead to two runs, and had the tying run on base with one out. But Jason Vargas struck out Mike Napoli and Howie Kendrick to end the threat.

  • had a nice game, with three hits, a homer and a terrific catch that robbed Russel Branyan of a home run.
  • On the other hand, the Angels had only five hits. Two by hitters not named .
  • Maybe Lackey and Santana needed an extra rehab start or two. Neither have looked particularly sharp since coming back, other than one Santana start. Lackey’s ERA is now 6.05.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Angels 3; White Sox 1

The Angels salvaged the final game of their three game set against Chicago. Jered Weaver, who has clearly been the Angels ace this season, shined yet again. He needed 103 pitches to last eight innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight. He improved to 4-2 on the season, and he dropped his team leading ERA to 2.36. Brian Fuentes allowed only a hit in the ninth inning to close out his 13th save. Fuentes has now allowed only one run in his last 9.2 innings of work.

The Angels, who looked lethargic at the plate in the first few innings, got all of their offense in the sixth. Jeff Mathis led the inning off with a single. Chone Figgins followed with a single of his own, and Bobby Abreu drove both of them in with a double to right field. Two outs later, Juan Rivera hit what was arguably the worst pitch I’ve ever seen into the gap in left field for an RBI double, completing the scoring. Gavin Floyd threw a letter high change up that didn’t move an inch, and Rivera killed it.

Thoughts on the game:

  • Weaver’s fastball seems down a couple of ticks from last year, but his location and control have been phenomenal. He’s changing arm angles and hitting his spots. He’s really having an all-star season so far.
  • Bobby Abreu was on base three more times in this game. His OBP of .414 is actually higher than his SLG (.408). With Chone Figgins reaching base a .374 clip, the Angels actually have some table setters at the top of the lineup.
  • Brian Fuentes is really starting to pitch well. He’s not going to blow guys away, so he won’t post the dominant saves that we used to see from Frankie Rodriguez when he was on his game, but the Angels just need him to get outs, and he’s doing that now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Angels 3; White Sox 17

The score pretty much says it all. Not one Angels pitcher delivered an acceptable performance. It started at the top. Ervin Santana allowed the first five batters he faced to reach base, and gave up three first inning runs. The Angels offense bailed him out, getting three runs themselves in the bottom of the first, two coming home on Torii Hunter’s 38th and 39th RBIs of the season. But then the roof really collapsed. Second inning, single, single, single, homer, walk, and Santana was gone.

As bad as Santana was, the bullpen wasn’t any better. Rafael Rodrigues, up for the injured Shane Loux, allowed six runs in three innings. Jason Bulger allowed a run in two innings (the Angels’ ace of the night). Justin Speier allowed two in two innings. Jose Arredondo allowed one in his only inning.

Fortunately for the pitching staff, the offense was just as bad. The Angels managed only four hits all night, and only one after the first inning. This loss was a total team effort.

Thoughts on the game:

  • Good news and bad news. The good news is that Vlad Guerrero was back in the lineup, and Howie Kendrick felt good enough to get into the game after it was out of reach.
  • The bad news is that Guerrero and Kendrick combined to go 0 for 6 with two strikeouts.
  • On the plus side, there’s no sense in wasting good offense on a night when the other team scores 17 runs, so hopefully the Angels saved something for the last two games.

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.