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Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Complete Team: Angels 8, Yankees 6

So many good performances. You kind of stand back, amazed, at this point, three up over the Yanks with a series win and the possibility of a sweep beckoning tomorrow. Well: Santana wasn't awful, but neither was he especially good; of his 94 pitches, only 56 were strikes. Missing his command all night long, he gutted his way through five innings; the caught stealing, pitcher, unassisted on A-Rod that ended the first came as a sigh of relief for a very perplexed Santana. Ultimately, he handed the ball to the bullpen much earlier than I would have liked.

And the bullpen was, mostly, brilliant. Yan gave up the first two runs scored against the Angels pen since the All-Star break, but even on the pitch where Giambi took him deep out of the park, it wasn't as though Yan offered him a cookie belt high; it was a fastball low in the zone. Sometimes you're the bug.

It's amazing how much your offense can wake up when it gets to see lousy pitching, and with the sole exception of Randy Johnson, the Angels have feasted on lousy Yankees' starting pitching. Kevin Brown is basically done, and even though I think he's a first-rate jerk, you have to admire his competitive spirit in moments like this. He's done, he has to know he's done, and he's got to do what he can to get those groundball outs. And yet he goes out to the mound to absorb that abuse from the Yankee faithful every fifth day, and once in a while pick up a win. It's a lonely job.

Figgins and Erstad were both great, as was Kennedy, who didn't do much to help his average, but did a bunch by getting on base three times, including two walks. Vlad's game-breaking three-run dinger turned the whole game around, of course, because from that point on, the Yankees would be behind. Even Finley manages a 2-3 night -- though that is tempered by both hits being singles.

Recap


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