Thursday, August 06, 2009

At Least They Got One: Angels 9; White Sox 5

It took a couple of days, but the Angels finally found the offense they left in Minnesota. Combined with an adequate performance from Ervin Santana, the Angels salvaged the last of their three game set at the Cell with a 9-4 victory.

The Angels got things rolling early with six runs in the first three innings, two on Jeff Mathis' solo shot, and one on a bomb from Vlad Guerrero, his first since coming off the DL on Tuesday and fifth of the season. Jason Nix hit a three run shot in the second inning for the Sox. In the bottom of the third, Santana, after plunking Paul Konerko to load the bases, walked Mark Kotsay, forcing in the Sox' fourth run, and things looked bleak. But Santana froze Nix on a 3-2 pitch for a called strikeout, and induced an inning ending ground out from Chris Getz.

Bobby Abreu hit his ninth homer of the season in the fifth inning. Kendry Morales delivered an RBI with his first hit of the series in the seventh inning. Erick Aybar slugged his fourth homer of the season in the ninth, and at that point the game was beyond doubt.

Santana lasted six innings and allowed four runs for his fourth win of the season, and Jason Bulger provided two innings of perfect relief to make sure the Sox didn't entertain any thoughts of coming back. Kevin Jepsen pitched a shaky ninth, allowing a solo homer to Dwayne Wise before recording the final out.

Thoughts on the game:

  • The Angels attempted seven steals, but were only successful four times. The most egregious attempt came in the seventh inning when Guerrero broke from first base too early. Aybar, on third base, tried to come home on the play, but was cut down. Vlad later scored on Morales' single.
  • Santana on the road in a day game is usually a perfect storm of suck. But he survived the three run homer and a very shaky third to close the game strong. His bases loaded walk came after he was up on Kotsay 0-2, and he almost walked Nix after getting ahead 1-2.
  • The Angels drew five more walks, giving them 13 in the three games. That's usually enough to win, but they had only one extra base hit in the first two games. They pounded out five today, including four homers.
  • The weather in Chicago has been perfect the last few days. I haven't even had to turn on the AC. But it's going to get very hot this weekend. The Angels are leaving at the right time.

Angels 2; White Sox 6

Jim Thome slugged two homers and Gavin Floyd pitched into the ninth inning as the White Sox downed the Angels for the second consecutive night. Again, the Angels offense never got going, and was unable to pick up Sean O'Sullivan, who was strong through five innings, but collapsed in the sixth as the Sox broke the game open.

The Angels took the lead in the first inning. Bobby Abreu singled with two outs, and Jermaine Dye's error on a Vlad Guerrero fly ball to right field allowed Abreu to come all the way around from first base. Unfortunately, that was the last run the Angels would score until the game was well out of reach in the ninth inning. The offense managed only six hits, one for extra bases, and grounded into three double plays.

Sean O'Sullivan, fresh off his AAA no-hitter looked sharp through three innings, allowing only one hit. Jim Thome got to him in the fourth for the Sox first run of the game. In the fifth inning, the Sox scored the go ahead run, and in the sixth, Jim Thome's three run shot off of Darren Oliver (two runs charged to O'Sullivan) put the game basically out of reach. Paul Konerko added a solo homer in the eighth inning.

Thoughts on the game:

  • Apparently the Angels got a lot of rest on Monday's off day, and they haven't quite woken up. The offense has looked awful, with only one extra base hit in the first two games of this series.
  • The pitching has not covered for the offense. John Lackey and Sean O'Sullivan delivered performances that were good enough to win when the Angels were scoring 10 runs per game, but the low output the last two nights have left their starters out to dry.
  • Ervin Santana goes today on what was his nemesis before last season: Day games on the road. We'll see if he can turn around what has been a forgettable season so far, but if I were a betting man, I wouldn't wager that the turnaround would start today.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Angels 4; White Sox 5

The Angels left their bats in Minnesota. Following a series in which they pounded out over 50 hits and scored in double digits in all three games, the Angels managed only five singles against White Sox pitchers and failed to take full advantage of seven walks in a 5-4 loss to the White Sox to open the midweek series.

After the Sox scored single runs in the first and second innings on solo homers from Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin, the Angels scored three times in the third on only one hit, four walks, two wild pitches, and a passed ball, which was enough for the Sox to yank Jose Contreras. Unfortunately, Sox relievers combined for 6.1 innings of one run ball allowing just six baserunners, and the Angels were only able to push one more run across. Bobby Abreu delivered a sac fly in the fifth to give the Angels a 4-3 lead that they would take into the 7th inning.

The Sox tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on a two out double by Scott Podsednik and an RBI single from Beckham. John Lackey left the game after eight innings having allowed four runs (three earned), while striking out seven and allowing seven baserunners. Kevin Jepsen relieved him in the ninth inning and promptly retired the first two hitters he faced. But Jason Nix drilled a two out double to center field, and Scott Podsednik's drive into right center field chased Nix home for the game winning run.

Thoughts on the game:

  • All four Angels runs came from runners who reached via the walk. Figgins walked three times. But the power bats that crushed the Twins last weekend didn't make an appearance last night.
  • Bobby Abreu was named the AL player of the month for July, and his three RBIs in last night's game give him 32 in his last 29 games going back to July 1st.
  • On the other hand, Kendry Morales, the reigning AL player of the week, was a non-factor: 0-4 with a strike out.