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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair: Angels 4, Dodgers 2

By far the most amusing part of this game were the two bunts that ended up going foul (almost) and then staying fair, one for each side. In the top of the third, Mike Napoli let Wilson Valdez's bunt slink along the chalk until it returned back in fair territory, only to discover Valdez had safely arrived at first base. But the Angels got it back in the bottom of the fourth, when Izturis got aboard on a bunt single that did almost exactly the same thing.

Both sides hit a lot of balls hard, but none of them went over the fence. In some ways, the pitching performances were highlighted for the Dodgers by solid outings by Brad Penny and Brett Tomko, both of whom have been suspect; and a solid game for Jonathan Meloan, who hasn't pitched a significant number of innings above high-A. Joe Saunders had a rough first inning, but settled down thereafter to give up only two runs over four innings. The rest was bullpen, including Chris Resop's final appearance with the major league club for a while (he was optioned to Salt Lake after the game). Chris Bootcheck continued his fine spring efforts, and while I don't expect him to last beyond Jered Weaver's reactivation, probably April 16, it's likely he'll be the first called up if something happens to Scot Shields or one of the other pitchers. For the first time, he's looking like a real possibility as a bullpen arm.

Finally: Vlad left the game early, making me wonder if he isn't in one of his increasingly long slumps, and/or injured. I hope I'm wrong about that one.

The Angels finish their spring 19-13, while the Dodgers are 17-16-1.

Recap/Box

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Comments:
Vlad left all three Freeway Series Games at roughly the same point in the game that all the regular starters did.
 
For the first time, he's looking like a real possibility as a bullpen arm.

Really? Then you may have a relative short memory re: spring performances. We've seen this groundhog before. Bootcheck pitched a 0.71 ERA in eight outings last spring, and a 3.37 ERA in spring of '05. It never lasts, but that doesn't prevent Scioscia and casual observers from being perennially fooled.

I would've much rather seen Matt Wilhite take the #6 spot. He had a solid 2006 season, and good spring to boot.
 
Maxwell, you may be right, but he looked different to me this time. I dunno, it could be just a spring mirage. I'm sure we won't see enough of him at the major league level anyway to get a good idea (let's hope, anyway).
 
Bootcheck was terrible in 2006, but apparently he really wasn't healthy most of the year...after he pulled a hammy running in from the bullpen in the "stick that thing out there" game against Choakland. Bootcheck looked a lot better in 2005, including a couple of solid starts.
 

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