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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Torii And Howie's Four-Fers Lead Angels Charge: Angels 10, Yankees 5

I'm going to minimize my kvetching about Jered Weaver, for two reasons: first, it is the Yankees, though they are only sixth in the league in runs scored and a couple places ahead of the Angels, and second, Weaver's descent into utter mediocrity is basically complete. Sure, he had three quality starts of his last six, but his bad outings have a way of sticking with you. That's mainly because the last three haven't been good, as this one wasn't either. He wasn't quite as horrible as he has been in some starts (his thoroughly wretched June 16 start against the Mets was probably a low-water mark since he corrected his mechanical problems earlier in the season), but as I said earlier, he does plenty to annoy me; even though his ball/strike ratio was good (111 pitches, 70 for strikes), when he missed it was way out of the zone.

Weav got through five in decent enough shape except for the damage to his pitch count, giving up a leadoff homer to A-Rod, who does that, and a couple more in a long third where the Yanks threatened to blow the game open, loading the bases. He then got a couple 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth, but surrendered a solo homer to the lately hot Xavier Nady on a perfectly hit ball that hooked just inside the third-base foul pole over the low wall. The Yanks notched another run on a triple to Robinson Cano that bounced off Vlad's head (so the radio announcers informed us), a ball that should have been caught; Melky Cabrera's groundout to Mark Teixeira cashed him in.

Luckily, no matter how well Jered Weaver's former crosstown rival Ian Kennedy may have pitched for USC, he was far worse for the Yankees today, as the Angels pretty much knocked him silly, scoring twice in the first, one of those on a weird Torii Hunter double that might have been caught at the wall but for the Angels groundskeeping crew failing to secure the left-center gate; Johnny Damon made a leaping catch attempt, but the gate opened and he missed the ball. The Angels then threatened for more but Garret Anderson stranded Hunter on a popup to short to end the inning.

The Angels opened with Howie Kendrick's leadoff double in the second, but the bottom of the order didn't do much against Kennedy, as he failed to retire only Jeff Mathis, who walked. But the Angels busted the Yankees' starter for three runs in the third, with Teixeira's leadoff double the only ball falling for extra bases; the Angels got four consecutive singles, one of them an infield hit (Hunter's) before Joe Girardi came out with the hook.

That brought Darrell Rasner into the game, who quickly restored order. Rasner's been knocked around more than usual in his starts this year, despite a decent opening to his season in which he had a quality or better start in five of his first six appearances, but none since. He gave up a run in the fourth on Vlad's double and Hunter's RBI single, and then really bombed in the seventh, starting with a solo homer to Torii Hunter and leaving the game after giving up Howie Kendrick's third single and fourth hit. Brian Bruney then came in, allowed his inherited baserunner to score on a Jeff Mathis double, and also plated pinch-runner Reggie Willits on a wild pitch. (Willits had to leave the game to be examined due to a concussion he sustained while sliding into home. He's listed as day-to-day.)

The rest of the game was surprisingly tame, with Jose Arredondo facing the minimum in the seventh and eighth. Scot Shields finished the game, giving up a pair of singles to pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit and Damon, but got Derek Jeter to ground out to first to end it.

Both Hunter and Kendrick ended the game 4-for-5, with Hunter a triple away from the cycle. Chone Figgins struggled again tonight, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, two of those looking.

ESPN BoxMLB.com recap

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